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ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Ken Baumann of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

May 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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Images courtesy of ABC Family

Back in 2008, the critically acclaimed ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” received a lot of attention as it focused on a normal American family and a shy daughter, a musician who went off to band camp and had a one night stand, to later find out she was pregnant.

The character Amy Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley) struggled with abortion, adoption and in the first season, she decided to keep the baby and during her tough time, she found love with the one student who cared for her, Ben Boykewich (portrayed by Ken Baumann).   As for the baby’s father, Ricky Underwood (played by Daren Kagasoff), he was the bad boy who lived life dangerously and had some personal issues which led him to seek out sex and never took any responsibility.

Over the years, viewers have watched these characters grow older, take responsibility for their actions and make mature decisions.  Amy and Ben had broken up, while Amy started to get closer with the baby’s father Ricky.  And the question everyone was wondering if the two will be married or will they go their separate ways?  But what about Ben?  What will happen to him?  Is there a chance that he and Amy will be together?

A series which lasted for five years, here we are in 2013 and with the final episode of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” is set to air on June 3rd on ABC Family.

Recently, a media Q&A with actor Ken Baumann was held to promote the final episodes of ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” but also to discuss life after the series.

Here is a transcript from the media Q&A session.

The following images are below are of the “Secret Life of the American Teenager” cast members (from L-R: Greg Finley, Megan Park, Daren Kagasoff, Shailene Woodley, Ken Baumann and Francia Raisa) in 2008 and in 2013.

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Moderator    What was it like just ending the series with everyone because you guys have been together for so long?

K. Baumann    Difficult.  Emotional.  Lots of tears.  I thought that I would be able to hold my composure together on the last day, the last day of filming, but I didn’t, which was fine because everybody was sort of a wreck.  It was just hard to know that you’re not going to see your family for the next few years, just because you get to know the people so well, the cast and crew.

Our show, I think, was a rarity in a few ways.  Everybody got along, and I mean everybody, which was almost like surreal, like the Twilight Zone, and the hours were great.  So people were happy to go to work.  They didn’t dread the 14 or 15-hour days.  It was rough.  That said, I think that also sort of shows in the final episode with a little extra emotion that I think the audience will definitely pick up on.

Moderator        Are you working on any new projects or shows coming up?

K. Baumann    I finished a project not long ago called “Call Me Crazy” that aired on Lifetime.  That was a blast and a really, I think, import movie.  It’s five short films directed by five female directors and they’re all about mental illness.  I think the movie does a very good job of presenting mental illness in a way that’s not sensationalized and it attempts to really connect to the truth of the pain and difficulty of living in mental illness.

Beyond that, I just got my first novel published on May 14th.  It’s called “Solip.”  I’ve been sort of doing the book promotions, reviews, book tour thing now.  So that was very exciting for me.

Moderator    Would you say you’re happy with the way the series ended for your character?

K. Baumann    I think so.  I think so.  Jokingly, I think it would’ve been great if Ben could’ve jumped out of a plane and died in a parachuting accident or been involved in another terrible arson or have become a fabled criminal, but none of that was in the card probably for budgetary concerns.  But yes, I think so.

I think that the tone Ben ends on is very, very, very different from the tone he began in the pilot.  I think the character arch was pretty huge.  I think that more importantly where Ben ends up in the final episode it serves the sort of emotional arch of that final episode, which I think ultimately the finale episode’s got to function as an episode on its own.  I think that it really does.  I think it’s one of the best in the series.

Moderator        Do you have a favorite moment from filming the show?

K. Baumann    It’s hard.  It’s really hard.  I have so many.  The one I think back to the most was just the pilot and meeting everybody for the first time and not knowing everybody and how nervous everybody was and excitable and how brand new Daren was to the rhythms of the set, which was hilarious, and now he’s like old pro.

I feel like the pilot I think about the most and that it just was that none of us had any idea that the show would become so successful and then run for five years.  We all thought like at best we were going to put in another ten episodes and that was that.  Yes, that to me I think was the thing that left the strongest impression.

Again, I’m like incredibly close friends with the entire cast and most of the crew.  So it was an experience that I don’t know I’ll be able to have again, working so closely with a group of people for so long.

Moderator    How do you think the fans are going to respond to the ending?

K. Baumann    That’s a good question.  I don’t know to be honest.  I’m very curious.  I know that all I can speak to is how I responded to the ending, both in watching the last few scenes being filmed and reading the script, the final script.  I think it is a very emotional ending and it’s an ambiguous ending.  I know that it’s going to frustrate a lot of people.    I’m very curious.

Regardless, I think that it is an appropriate ending.  I think that it makes sense with the sort of arch of the entire show and I think that—yes, it’s just really emotional.  It just felt right.  It just felt right to me when I read the script and was there watching it be filmed.

Moderator    Do you think the fans are going to be expecting the ending or will they all be surprised with what happens?

K. Baumann    I don’t know.  I’ve seen a little bit of the teasers.  I think their expectations could be on the money but I think that there is a bit of a surprise there at the end.  It’s not such an explicit narrative surprise, but it is definitely emotionally surprising, I think.

Moderator    I feel like we have a lot to congratulate you on with the success of the show, of course, your book and sort of newly being married now.  So congratulations and I hope you’re feeling well with your health as well.  

K. Baumann    I am.  I’m in total remission.  I feel great now thank you.

Moderator    With the finale coming up, of course I wanted to find out what do you hope that fans really take away from just watching the series for so long in general?  What do you really hope that they just take away from watching?

K. Baumann    That’s a good question.  When I think about the TV shows that I admire the most or that I was most sucked into, especially when I was younger, I think that the thing that was most important to me was feeling inspired by such a large story and the privilege of wrapping yourself up in this fictive world and the life of these characters that have been so laboriously painted by the writers and the cast and crew and directors and wardrobe designers and everything.

I also think that with a show like Secret Life the stories from its fans and viewers that have always excited me the most where when people told me that the show really helped them feel more comfortable in their bodies, like more comfortable just with their experiences that they’ve had to deal with, be it being a teen mother or dealing with sort of romantic mishaps in high school or getting married early or losing a parent.

That always was nice because that, to me, proved what fiction and literature and television can do, what stories can do, which is just make someone feel less alone and give someone an opportunity to be empathetic or feel like they’ve been empathized with.

And then the other thing that I think excited me the most that I heard from viewers was the idea that the show made them or encouraged them to talk with their parents and talk about sex and drugs and rock and roll.  And just to be honest with them.  So I think that those two things were really heartwarming to me and surprised me.

I watch a lot of TV that just helps me turn my brain off and sometimes I forget what TV or what long-form narratives can really do to people.  And I felt like those were two really inarguably good things that came from this show.

Moderator    After getting to play such a deep and heartwarming character is there anything that you learned about yourself from playing him for so many years?

K. Baumann    That’s a good question.  I think that I learned to be less neurotic, because Ben is such a nut.  I think, yes, I think I learned how to just calm down a little bit.  It was good.  Ben sort of provided me a model of how not to be in the later years of the show, which I think is incredibly valuable.

And it was also just nice to be sort of like a spoiled rich kid, but like fast and witty and charming and a smart-aleck.   All that stuff was fun.  It was fun to play.  And like I said, at the very least I got to work on something for five years straight and build it a little bit more every day, obviously with all of the guidance in the world from the writers.  So that was nice.

Moderator    How have you and the cast changed throughout the five years because there have been so many marriages and so much that has happened to you guys in your personal lives?

K. Baumann    Yes, there has been an incredible amount of change.  It’s hard.  As I said earlier, when I’m thinking back to the pilot it almost feels like alien territory being that young with everybody and trying to recall how everybody behaved before everybody sort of grew up.  But everybody did grow up.  We were all still pretty young and doe eyed.

Again, I probably won’t get that experience again because even if I hop onto another thing that runs a decade I will have started it as an “adult” and will end as an adult or as I still thought that.  Most of us, Shai and me especially, were just teenagers.  It was really nice.

It was basically like going to high school but you actually learned from doing the job that pays you money and everybody is incredibly nice and people care about you.  It was like some weird inverse dream world of high school.  Everybody was celebrated and financially supported to be creative and all goof off and make this thing together.  I guess that’s how I think about it sometimes.

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Moderator        And if you could write Ben’s future, what would it be?

K. Baumann    Well I think in keeping with my five-year long theme of making up ridiculous stuff when asked this question I’ll continue with that.  I think that the character Ben will become an oil tycoon and create the world’s first peanut butter museum and then go on to marry Cindy Crawford.  I think she’s married, but obviously that doesn’t matter.  So I think that’s Ben’s future.  I feel it.  I feel it really strongly.

Moderator    What kind of projects do you have lined up now that the series is over?

K. Baumann    Right now I am gainfully unemployed and I’m writing a lot.  I think there’s an unsung narrative to the actors’ lives that in between jobs you’re looking for work.  You’re meeting people and going on auditions and that’s where I am right now, which is fine.

I think that is a time that not only helps you get other side projects done, but like I said, it’s allowed me to focus on my book that just came out and write a lot and sort of own up and try to work hard enough to be able to call myself a writer without feeling like a liar.

But it’s also allowed me to sort of have a little down time and think about what I want to do next, what kind of project and where I want to end up or whom I want to work with.  So there’s nothing in the pipeline at the moment beyond writing projects, but it’s not at all a problem lately.  I’m looking forward to stumbling into the next piece of work.

Moderator    Would you rather go into another sitcom or are you looking to break into movies?  What kind of acting are you looking to go into?

K. Baumann    That’s hard.  I don’t find myself thinking in terms of what kind of thing I want to do.  Generally I think about what kind of people I want to work with.  Although I will say I do love the idea of sort of the six months schedule of the feature film where you just do it for a little while and then you’re free again.

But at the same time I had a great experience on TV and the idea of working with people for years and years and getting to know them and really working deeply on a project, that sounds pretty good too.  But for the most part I just focus on people, the people I want to work with, actors, writers, directors, producers, and companies.  But again, I’m pretty open right now.  I’m looking forward to meeting a new group of folks.

Moderator        How was being on Secret Life changed your life?

K. Baumann    In every way possible I’d say.  Just at sort of the very basic level of giving me someplace to go every day, well not every day but close to every weekday for eight months at a time.  It gave me a job.  It paid for the roof over my head and my food.  It allowed me to buy a house and live in the neighborhood that I want to live in.

It gave me a huge list of people to fill my wedding with.  It introduced me to hundreds of people that I now call my friends and some of them are practically family.  It allowed me to pay for the health insurance that paid for my hospital bills when I got sick.

It’s endless.  It radically changed my life.  Both with time and money it let me start my publishing company, Sator Press.  So yes, I think that it changed my life in every way.

Moderator    About your publishing company, are you working on any new books right now or just the one that just came out?    

K. Baumann    With my publishing company, the last one I published was called “Confessions from a Dark Wood.”  That came out late last year.  “Solip,” the novel I wrote, I didn’t publish.  I got published by another company called Tyrant Books.  Right now for my press, Sator Press, I am looking at submissions.  I’m in the reading process now.

Moderator    Are you writing anything right now to get published?

K. Baumann    I am.  I’m working on edits for a second novel that’s coming out late this year called “Say, Cut, Map.”  That’s coming out from a small publishing company called Blue Square Press.  And then I’m working on like a mystery book project that I can’t talk about yet but I will be able to talk about soon and I’m very excited about it.

Moderator    I’m a big fan of the show and as a fan I wanted to know if you could share your favorite behind-the-scene moment with us?

K. Baumann    Honestly, I would say that it all sort of boils down to a bunch of people sitting on cast chairs, not working, waiting to work and just kind of chewing the cud.  That’s a Texas expression, just sort of talking.  I think that that was it.

We had tons of times that were fun or sort of exotic like me and Shai and Daren and Greg and Francia and Megan all went to New York for Press.  That was a blast.  And me and Greg and Daren, of course, had I think one too many drinks at the bar, which is a big surprise there.

The exotic stuff was great but ultimately the stuff that I think I’ll remember the most will be just hanging out, waiting to work and all just talking.  Talking and making each other laugh, cracking jokes, showing each other the stupid YouTube video of the day.  That was great.

Moderator    Do you remember what it was about the character at the beginning that made you want to play him?

K. Baumann    I remember when I read the sides for the first audition I remember being attracted by sort of the Ferris Bueller vibe that I was picking up of this kid who’s just too smart for his own good and fast and witty and kind of like a wheeler-dealer.  So that was what initially attracted me.

I just thought like, okay, anything even close to Ferris Bueller and a young kid that’s sort of scheming in school; that was immediately attractive to me.  I think Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a masterpiece and one of my favorite movies, if not my favorite movie.  Yes, so I think that that was what attracted me at first.

Moderator    On the last day of set did you guys get to pick your favorite prop or something that was your favorite memory or something like that?

K. Baumann    I think that a few things were stolen off the books but I don’t remember stealing anything.  However, all the cast was given the option to go through their wardrobe and basically like buy everything at half off, which was pretty rad.  I ended up buying a few sweaters and a few shirts that I thought were great and very comfortable.

But no, for the most part now when most shows wrap up the prop department and everybody likes to keep all their goods because most of the stuff is rented anyway from other studios.  It’s hard to steal too much, but I do have some clothes that are hanging in my closet that will always remind me of work.

The final episode of “The Secret Life of an American Teenager” will air on ABC Family on June 3rd, 8/7c.

Q&A Session with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” actor Daren Kagasoff (2013) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

March 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

DAREN KAGASOFF

Images are courtesy of ©ABC Family. All Rights Reserved.

Back in 2008, the critically acclaimed ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” received a lot of attention as it focused on a normal American family and a shy daughter, a musician who went off to band camp and had a one night stand, to later find out she was pregnant.

The character Amy Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley) struggled with abortion, adoption and in the first season, she decided to keep the baby. As for the baby’s father, Ricky Underwood (played by Daren Kagasoff), he was the bad boy who lived life dangerously and had some personal issues which led him to seek out sex and never took any responsibility.

Since then, viewers have watched these characters grow older, take responsibility and make mature decisions.  We had the opportunity to see both Amy and Ricky grow up together, as parents, as friends and now possibly now as a couple?

Overtime, Amy learned how difficult it was to be a teenager, a student but also a single mother, while Ricky started to learn more about himself and also becoming more mature and knowing his responsibilities as a father, but most importantly, to learn how to lose his bad boy image and sex addiction.  And in the process, eventually getting closer with Amy once again.

Here we are in 2013 and with the final season and the spring premiere of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” set to air on March 18th on ABC Family.  As audiences wonder if Rick and Amy will be together, one will have to watch these final episodes to find out.

Recently, a media Q&A with actor Daren Kagasoff, to promote the final episodes of ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” was held.  Daren talks about working on the final episodes but also what is in store for him now that taping for the series is over.

Here is a transcript from the media Q&A session.

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Moderator   What is the hardest challenge you faced from your time on the show?

D. Kagasoff        We would get the episodes probably the night before we would have to shoot and it would take seven days, so I guess getting the dialogue down was one of the most challenging things.  But the writers were so good at doing their job and writing good scripts, so it actually got easier as the seasons progress.  But I think that was the most challenging.

 

Moderator    There are lots of questions left up in the air.  Is there anything you can tease us about the series finale and if many of our questions will get answered?

D. Kagasoff          Many questions will get answered, that’s all pretty much I can say.  I know everybody wants Amy and Ricky to end up together, and I guess you guys will see if that happens.

 

Moderator         We all know that next is Delirium, so if Ricky were dropped into the world of Delirium, would he get the cure?

D. Kagasoff       Definitely not.  He would definitely not get the cure.

 

Moderator     Would Ricky be friends with Alex or Julian?

D. Kagasoff      Definitely Alex, because I think their personalities are very similar.  Yes, definitely Alex, I’d say.

 

Moderator     What is your fondest memory from the show?

D. Kagasoff     Probably the last day of shooting.  We shot a lot of intense scenes, and to wrap up the show the way we did –  I’ll never forget it.  And all of the people that were there that day, you just don’t forget those types of moments, and thankfully I’m going to have that for the rest of my life, so probably the last day of shooting.

 

Moderator     Are you happy with the way the series ended for you and for what the outcome for Ricky is?

D. Kagasoff      Very happy, very happy.   I think the fans will be happy too.

 

Moderator       You’ve had some great guest stars so far in the show.  Can we expect any new faces this season?

D. Kagasoff       A couple.  They’re definitely coming in and out as far as new relationships that occur this next season.  I can’t really say who, but there’s definitely going to be some familiar faces that you’ve seen from other projects.

DAREN KAGASOFF, SHAILENE WOODLEY

 

Moderator    Is there anyone that you would love to work with some day?

D. Kagasoff   Yes, there’s several.  Probably Leonardo DiCaprio, I’d like to work with him.

 

Moderator     Do you respect the way that Ricky has turned out and are you happy with who he is?

D. Kagasoff         Most definitely.  In the beginning, when Secret Life first started Ricky was just a high school kid that didn’t really take any responsibility for his actions, and was just was kind of floating through life.  And ever since he had John with Amy things changed drastically, and I think he made the most positive decisions in his life to put his son first and his girlfriend first priority.  So I’m very pleased with what the writers did with my character from the beginning to the end.  I think he’s made a full circle and it was a pleasure to play and hopefully the fans will like to see that.

 

Moderator       Can you talk about what has been your favorite episode from the series that you’ve loved?

D. Kagasoff      Yes, I know I’ve been asked that question before and I said the day I won valedictorian of my class and I had to learn all these lines, it must have been a nine page monologue, and that was the most challenging because I had to talk to about 200 people that were sitting out in the audience.  And it was just daunting, and I got through it and I got through it well, and that was probably one of my most memorable scenes.

 

Moderator         With the series coming to an end, what do you think you’ll miss most about your time on the show?

D. Kagasoff         Probably everybody that I worked with, the crew, the cast, the producers, everybody, because we were doing it for so long, we shot around, I don’t even know the exact number, I want to say 120-something episodes, so when you’re around these people for so long you form relationships, you form friendships, I mean, that’s what I’m going to miss the most, is just missing my cast and being able to talk and be open with them, because these are your best friends.

 

Moderator     With the series coming to an end what’s next for you?

D. Kagasoff     I’m going to be working on this pilot, it’s called Delirium.  It’s for the FOX Network.  We don’t know if it’s picked up yet.  We haven’t even started shooting.  But we start very, very soon, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the cast, and that’s basically all I can say.

 

Moderator      Do you have a favorite moment or behind the scenes memory from the series you can share with our readers?

D. Kagasoff       Yes.  The boys on the show, Greg Finley and Ken Baumann, we all became really close and a lot of times interviewers would come on to the set and they’d go behind the scenes and show them the trailers or the sets. Kenny was most known for always screwing with me during all these interviews, because he’s way more intellectual than I and Greg are, so he would just screw with us in the interviews.  I couldn’t really tell you what it is, because they’re pretty terrible pranks, but I would be basically blushing throughout the entire interview because I was so embarrassed.

 

Moderator    The cast has gone through so many changes in their real lives, how has the show changed you since you started?

D. Kagasoff  Well, I never knew I wanted to be an actor until maybe six months before I got the job, so it just has taught me you’ve got to work so hard for the things that you want in life, and things don’t come easy.  And you can see it through the characters that were on Secret Life, whether certain things that happened in their lives they have to conquer and overcome.  And as people, as myself speaking about me, there’s a lot of obstacles in this business and in life in general, so from the show I just got keep your head up high, work hard, be respectful, polite, and good things will come.

 

Moderator    What’s the hardest part in balancing Ricky’s bad boy past and his role as a father on the show, and how does that affect you and influence your opinions of real life parenting?

D. Kagasoff     As far as Ricky, I think he completely changed.  He was a bad boy, he will always have that toughness about him, but he was sensitive guy that always wanted to do the right things and he really was looking out for Amy and her best interests and John’s best interest.  So looking at it from an outside perspective that’s what I think, say you do get pregnant at a young age, those are the kinds of things that I would expect from the father of the child.  Thank goodness I’m not a parent right now, let’s just say that.

 

Catch the final episodes of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” on ABC Family, Mondays 8/7 central.

ABC FAMILY ANNOUNCES THE PREMIERE OF THE FINAL SEASON OF “THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER,” PREMIERING, MONDAY, MARCH 18

January 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

AMY BUYS A WEDDING DRESS IN THE PREMIERE EPISODE 

Chaz Bono Guest Stars as Himself (“Dancing with the Stars”)

Burbank, CA (January 18, 2013) – Amy buys a thrift store wedding dress and is the only one who likes it, while Anne discovers that her ex, David, might be the biological father of Robie. An all-day marathon of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” will air on Monday, March 18 from 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM ET/PT, leading into the premiere of the final season, starting at 8:00 PM ET/PT.

In the all-new episode, “To Each Her Own,” Amy and Ricky continue planning their wedding, so Amy buys her dress – at a thrift store. The dress is a little worse for wear – but only Amy sees the potential to make it great. Meanwhile, Ricky is upset about the dress and Adrian thinks the dress reflects her feelings about getting married. Kathy is conflicted about going back home after having the baby, and Ethan begs his parents to let him fly to Texas with her to ask Kathy’s parents if she can stay. Jack is still recovering and is in love with Grace. George tells Anne about seeing David with biological children, which makes her question Robie’s paternity. And George and Kathleen run into guest star, Chaz Bono (playing himself), at a restaurant where they are discussing whether Robie is George or David’s child.

The series cast includes Shailene Woodley, Ken Baumann, Greg Finley, Daren Kagasoff, Megan Park, Francia Raisa, Michael Grant, Cierra Ramirez with Steve Schirripa. In “To Each Her Own,” the guest stars include Chaz Bono, Anne Ramsay, L. Scott Caldwell, De’Vaughn Nixon, Tricia O’Kelley, Marielle Jaffe, Ben Weber, Natalie Dreyfuss with Diane Farr; special guest stars include Mark Derwin, Josie Bissett and Molly Ringwald.

Part of the Disney/ABC Television Group, ABC Family is distributed in over 97 million homes. ABC Family features programming reflecting today’s families, entertaining and connecting with adults through relatable programming about today’s relationships – told with a mix of diversity, passion, humor and heart. ABC Family’s programming is a combination of network defining original series and original movies, quality acquired series and blockbuster theatricals. Emmy® Award-winning ABCFamily.com provides a variety of interactive entertainment and community features, from rich, fan-centric programming – including blogs, viewing parties, webisodes, full episodes of the network’s hit programming, along with sneak peek exclusive previews and behind-the-scenes clips. ABC Family is also the destination for annual Holiday events with “13 Nights of Halloween” and “25 Days of Christmas.” ABC Family. A New Kind of Family.

Q&A Session with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” actor Daren Kagasoff (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

June 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Images are courtesy of ©ABC Family. All Rights Reserved.

Back in 2008, the critically acclaimed ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” received a lot of attention as it focused on a normal American family and a shy daughter, a musician who went off to band camp and had a one night stand to later find out she was pregnant.

The character Amy Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley) struggled with abortion, adoption and in the first season, she decided to keep the baby. As for the baby’s father, Ricky Underwood (played by Daren Kagasoff), he was the bad boy who lived life dangerously and had some personal issues which led him to seek out sex and never took any responsibility.

In the second and third seasons, we had the opportunity to see both Amy and Ricky grow up together, as parents, as friends and now possibly now as lovers.

Amy has grow up to be a mother and learning how difficult it was to be a teenager, a student but also a mother, while Ricky started to learn more about himself and also becoming more mature and knowing his responsibilities as a father, but most importantly, to learn how to lose his bad boy image and sex addiction.

Here we are in 2012 and with the possibility that both Amy and Ricky have reunited and have taken a step forward in their relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend,  Ricky wants to take the next step in taking responsibility as father and boyfriend by wanting to marry Amy.  But the big question is with boy teenagers still in high school, will they get married?

Recently, a media Q&A with actor Daren Kagasoff to promote the all new episodes of ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”.

Here is a transcript from that Q&A session.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager cast (from L-R): Greg Finley, Megan Park, India Eisley, Daren Kagasoff, Shailene Woodley, Ken Baumann and Francia Raisa.

Moderator  Can you talk about how you got involved in the show?

D. Kagasoff   Like any actor, I auditioned and I actually was one of the last ones to get casted.  I never really knew what the show was going to become.  I don’t think anybody did and everybody just kind of has been on the ride and we’re just all so thankful that it’s been the success that it has been.

 

Moderator    What’s your favorite part about working on the show?

D. Kagasoff   It’s just such a great work environment.  Going to work every day—it doesn’t feel like a job to any of us.  We’re all such great friends and we just put as much input as we want in our characters with talking to writers and the producers.  So, it’s a very great work environment I can say.  So, we all have a blast doing it.

 

Moderator  What be in store as far as challenges that “Ricky” and “Amy” will be facing next season.

D. Kagasoff    Well, the next episode is kind of a big one.  I think the “Ricky” and “Amy” fans have kind of been waiting to see if we get married or if we don’t.  So, I think the next episode is kind of the lead into the next season.  So, you can expect a lot of drama of course, the big answer of are they getting married or are they not, and next season you kind of get to see my character develop with “Nora,” his real mom, a lot, which is actually pretty cool to see since he gets some advice from her rather than giving her advice.  So, you kind of see the tables turn in the next season.

 

Moderator    Have you been looking into starring into any other roles over the summer maybe in films?

D. Kagasoff   Yes, I have.  There’s a couple of things that I’m looking at.  I just need to work them out as far as schedule-wise or if I want to proceed and do them.  But yes, there’s a couple of things that I’m interested in doing after Secret Life.

 

Moderator   Could you describe for us in your own words “Ricky’s” current predicament going into Season 5?

D. Kagasoff     The last season kind of left off with “Ricky” proposing to “Amy” at the graduation.  So, this whole season he’s kind of been just wondering what is going on because “Amy” is kind of postponing the wedding and she hasn’t been as thoughtful or nice to me throughout this past season I don’t think as she has before.  So, it’s been a difficult road, I think, for “Ricky” from leaving off in the fourth season and hoping that coming back from summer break that he was going to get married and everything and just the whole wedding day postponed, I think, is really getting to him.  He’s really kind of wondering, “Hey, does she want to get married, or is this just a game, or what really is it?”  So, I think fans are going to be excited to see what’s going to go on in the Season, yes, I believe—I don’t know whether it’s 5 or 6 coming on next week.

 

Moderator   What would you say is “Ricky’s” motivation, or for regular people, what is it that “Ricky” wants?

D. Kagasoff     I think he just wants to be the best guy that he can be now that he’s a dad.  When the show first started, I think “Ricky” was just kind of irresponsible, just didn’t really care about anybody else but himself and to his credit, he did have a tough childhood.  So, I think just the whole turnaround of his character has been just so much fun to play as an actor and I look forward every time they get a new script to see what they have me doing.

 

Moderator      With the proposal weighing on everyone’s mind, what do you think is the best option for “Ricky?”

D. Kagasoff     It’s hard to say because at the end of the day we are still young kids. We do have a son.  So, I think for every family, every situation is different.  So, it’s hard to say.

I think everybody wants to see “Ricky” and “Amy” together raise “John” and just be their happy little family, but there are a lot of struggles with “Ricky” going off to college and “Amy” still in high school that they need to deal with.  Hopefully they get through that and are mature enough to really take that next step of marriage.

 

Moderator     Will things really be over between  Adrian and Ricky?

D. Kagasoff    That’s hard to say.  When the show first started, we were together, hooking up.  We never were very serious about each other I don’t think.  It was more about the sex, I think.  That’s what they were making it out to be.  And ever since he got “Amy” pregnant at band camp, I think his whole attitude has changed as far as what his values are, what he wants out of life.  So, hopefully he doesn’t go back to his ways.

 

Moderator     Your character’s past has been one of abuse.  Did that inspire you to get involved with the anti-bullying campaign or what did inspire you to get involved with the anti-bullying campaign?

D. Kagasoff  It kind of happened when I wasn’t shooting too much of Secret Life.  We were on hiatus and a lot of stories were popping of teen suicides and I just really wanted to, I don’t know, lend my voice to try and make it relevant, more relevant.  So, it’s tough to say.  My character’s past has been very bad and he was sexually abused, but I really got involved with that because of the young teens that were taking their lives because of being bullying or whether or not they were gay or not.

So, it was just a matter of just me wanting to do something positive.  I tried to do something with a song.  It was just fun.  It was a lot of fun to do and it was a great message.

 

Moderator    What advice would you give anyone that may be dealing with bullies right now?

D. Kagasoff  Just to keep your head up high.  When I was younger, there were bullies at my high school at well and you just got to keep your head up high, know that it’s just a phase, that it’s going to pass and the stronger you are, the more that they’ll probably stop doing it.  So, I feel like bullies like insecure people.  So, they go after the weak.  So, if you just stay strong and be proud of who you are and what you’re about, people won’t mess with you.

 

Moderator    Are there any fellow cast dates you wish you had some more screen time with or maybe that you’ve particularly enjoyed acting alongside as your time playing “Ricky?”

 

D. Kagasoff    Yes, of course.  Anne Ramsay, she plays “Nora” on my show, I absolutely adore her.  I love working with her so much and we do have some scenes together.  We haven’t been working as much together on this next season that we’re working on.  So, I’m hoping that we get some more meaty scenes.  I like doing more meaty stuff and it seems like our storylines always have that type of meat that we’re both looking for that.

So, I miss that and also probably Greg Finley who plays “Jack” on the show.  We don’t get to work together too much because our storylines really crisscross I guess.  So, when they do I mean it’s fun.  I love working with Greg.  He’s a great friend of mine.  So, we always have a lot of fun when we actually do have scenes together.

 

Moderator   How about any plot lines maybe you wish the show would explore or that you’d be curious to see play out on Secret Life.

 

D. Kagasoff     To be honest, I think the writers do a phenomenal job with the storylines.  Now, I don’t really know what else I could tell them to do.  I think we’ve covered pretty much everything in five seasons that a team could go through.  So, I think if I throw out any ideas, they probably have already done it.

 

Moderator   What’s next for “Ricky?”  Like will we be seeing “Ricky,” the college years?  Will he continue working at the butcher shop?

D. Kagasoff    “Ricky” has the butcher shop in store for him.  He’s got college in store for him.  I said it before, “Amy’s” still going to be in high school.  She’s going to be graduating, I believe, at the end of this season.  So, we’re going to see if “Ricky” and “Amy” can stay together while he goes away and she’s there and meeting new people in college.  Some new characters come up and some new characters come back in “Amy’s” life.

So, I think the audience is going to be excited about the next episode to see if they say yes, if they go through with the wedding and if we do, how are we going to cope with that – with my being in college and her still being in high school and still being so young.

 

Moderator     Did you ever see your character developing the way he has – becoming a great father and class valedictorian?

D. Kagasoff    No, I never saw that coming.  It came from about a mile away.  When the show started, I was kind of the jerk and didn’t take any responsibility for myself and just kind of wanted to sleep around and now my character it seems will be taking a full 360.  So, I remember getting that script when “Ben” had told me I’d be valedictorian.  I couldn’t believe it because there’s no way in hell when I was in school I was anywhere close to valedictorian.  So, it was pretty fun.  It was cool.

 

Moderator    Are there any guest stars that you’d really like to see on the show that you haven’t worked with?

D. Kagasoff    Wow.  It’s tough to say because I don’t think anybody that I would want to be on the show would come on the show because they’re probably too busy doing their movies and stuff.  James Franco, I’m a big fan of him, and you guys did General Hospital.  So, he might be able to come on Secret Life.

 

Moderator   How you most like and most different from your character?

D. Kagasoff     I think in order to get cast in roles, you got to be somewhat similar to the character.  I think “Ricky” and I have some similarities and a lot of differences.  I mean a similarity I can say is I’m a very vulnerable person.  I kind of hold my feelings on my chest and I don’t think “Ricky” ever used to do that.  He was always one to keep it inside and let it build up and then kind of just let it out.

And now, it seems like he’s up front.  He’s telling “Amy” how he feels about her, what he wants.  It’s a big change; it’s a big step for him.

 

Moderator    Do you think Amy and Ricky eloping might indicate a return a little bit of that bad boy “Ricky” that we used to know?

D. Kagasoff   It very well could.  I think the next episode is going to be the big tell all of “Ricky” and “Amy’s” future.  It’s either we’re getting married or we’re not and I think since day one when we knew that … was pregnant with my baby that everybody wanted us to stay together and be the family that we should be.  So, it’s just been—hopefully he stays the guy that he’s been the past two seasons where he’s trying to be a better person and grow up, mature.  So, we will see.  I think that next episode is going to be the big tell all like I said.

 

Moderator    Do you miss playing a little bit more of a bad boy or do you like the happy ending?

D. Kagasoff   To be honest, I do miss playing the bad boy because it was a lot fun, not that this isn’t fun because it still is.  It’s a lot of fun playing the jerk.  I mean it just is and there’s no way around it.

 

Moderator  Your character “Ricky” has become a good father to “John.”  Has the show influenced your ideas about parenting?

D. Kagasoff      One hundred percent.  I grew up in a family where my parents had been together for like 28 years.  I’m very lucky that my family has been so stable since I was a kid.  I’ve always wanted kids since I was younger.  I always did, but I guess working with “John,” not that he’s not—he’s amazing.  They’re amazing boys, but it makes me realize that, hey, one mistake can change your entire life.

So eventually, yes, I would love to have kids, but I don’t think right now, even at 24-years-old, am I ready to have a child.  So, thinking that “Ricky” at 18 and “Amy” at 17 or they had the baby at 15 and 16 having a baby, I mean I just couldn’t even imagine it.  It’s got to be absolutely just—my heart goes out to anybody that is going through a teen pregnancy or went through a teenage pregnancy.

 

Moderator   What kind of father, if you decide to have children, do you think you would be?

D. Kagasoff   I hope I’d be a great dad.  I mean I hope I’d be a great data.  That’s all I can ask for.  Luckily for me, I grew up with a great father.  He was amazing to me.  So, I guess follow in his footsteps and raise my kid the way he raised me.

 

Moderator    What would be your dream acting job?

D. Kagasoff   I haven’t done a movie yet, so I would love to do a film and somewhere probably outside of Los Angeles would be ideal and just something that is where you watch it you feel.  I’m not necessarily into the big budget movies or any of that stuff.  The next project I do I want it to be gritty, raw and real.  That’s all I can say.  Maybe an independent movie is in my future.

 

Moderator   Do you have like any favorite genre of movies?

D. Kagasoff    I like them all.  It depends on how I’m feeling that day I think.  I’m a movie buff.

 

Moderator                             Since working on the show, what have you learned about yourself that you’re surprised to find out?

D. Kagasoff    What I have learned about myself?  I guess a lot.  The business of being an actor is a very weird business.  When you’re working, everything is good.  When you’re not, it’s kind of like, “Wow, what do I need to do to get better?”  You’re always striving to do more and sometimes you’re on a show—we’re in our fifth season.  It’s kind of difficult to show up every day, not that any of us don’t because we all show up every day and do the best job that we can, but when you’re playing the same character after five years, it’s hard to find new things about him and keep it fresh.

So, I guess the thing that I found with myself with playing this character over the years is that you can’t give up on him regardless of how many times you’ve gone over the same storyline with other characters.  You just got to keep at it because at the end of the day, the fans are the only people that you have.  If you don’t have the fans then you don’t have the show.

So, I think it’s just always showing up ready to play and knowing your lines and just having good work ethic.  I mean that’s one thing that I really try to have every time I’m on that set – knowing my lines and not holding up anybody.  So, I guess just being a professional.

 

Moderator  Why is it important for you to be a part of Twitter and interact with your fans?

D. Kagasoff      I think it’s important to let fans know what you’re up to, what you’re doing.  I’m not saying on a daily basis, but I think it’s good.  I think people want to know not necessarily that I’m eating a turkey sandwich, but it’s just good.  If I have anything to promote, like, for example, about the bullying, anti-bullying; if there’s something that’s good that’s going to send out a good message, I’m all for it.  I’m one of those people that kind of Tweet dumb stuff and I really try not to, but to be honest, just because my actor doesn’t mean my life is crazy, crazy, exciting all the time.  I mean I’m just like everybody else.

So, it’s a lot of fun to be able to connect with your fans and know how they’re feeling, know what’s on their mind as far as storylines and what they want.  So, maybe you can kind of go back and brainstorm with the writers and say, “Hey, I’m getting a bunch of Tweets that “Amy” and “Ricky” should be getting married.  Can we kind of go towards that way?”  So, it’s good.  Social media is great.

 

Moderator   What would you like to say to everybody who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?

D. Kagasoff       What would I want to say?  Thank you so much.  I mean I got into working as an actor just to make people feel.  I don’t know.  So, I portray something that somebody’s been through and people, whether or not they’ve been through it, just I want people to be able to relate to me.  I want to be likable.  So, I’m just thankful that I have any fans and thankful to be on a show that’s going over 100 episodes now.  It’s been a dream come true.

 

Catch “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, Mondays 8/7 central.

ABC Family renews “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” for 5th Season, orders “Baby Daddy” and “Beverly Hills Nannies”

February 3, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

TO CONTINUE ITS MOMENTUM, NETWORK ORDERS THE COMEDY SERIES “BABY DADDY,”
THE REALITY SERIES “BEVERLY HILLS NANNIES”
AND GREENLIGHTS THE GROUND BREAKING ORIGINAL SERIES
“THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER” FOR A RECORD 5TH SEASON

TORI SPELLING AND TIA MOWRY TAPPED TO STAR IN THE 2012, 25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS MOVIE, “THE MISTLE-TONES,” WHICH BEGINS PRODUCTION IN FEBRUARY

BURBANK, CA (February 2, 2012) – ABC Family, the Millennial-skewing network, continues its record breaking momentum as it grows its line-up of groundbreaking original programming. Michael Riley, president ABC Family, announced the first portion of the network’s programming slate today. The network has given the greenlight to the new comedy series, “Baby Daddy,” which is the highest testing comedy pilot in the network’s history, and is jumping back into the reality space with “Beverly Hills Nannies.” Additionally, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” starring Golden Globe® nominee Shailene Woodley, was greenlit for a record breaking 5th season, taking it into over 100 episodes.

 

Tori Spelling and Tia Mowry have been tapped to star in “The Mistle-Tones,” the holiday movie which will anchor the network’s well known annual ‘25 Days of Christmas’ event. The movie begins production in Utah in February.

“We’re very proud of our deep bench of original content successfully built out over eight years of exceptional growth,” said Riley. “This Summer, we’re excited to continue to expand our content across key genres adding another season to our groundbreaking drama, ‘Secret Life,’ wonderful comedy and a return to reality programming as we continue to innovate with our ABC Family brand.”

Kate Juergens, executive vice president, Original Programming and Development, ABC Family added, “Our line-up continues to resonate with our audience and we believe that the new programming will become strong additions to our slate. This new crop of shows blends nicely with our current schedule and will continue to deliver on our promise to create shows that our fans find engaging, optimistic and relatable.”

ABC Family’s current crop of hit original series, “Pretty Little Liars” and “Switched at Birth” rank as the Top 2 scripted cable series of 2012 to date among the network’s core Millennial audience Females 12-34. Moreover, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which returns in March 2012, ranked as the #3 scripted basic cable series of Summer 2011 in Females 12-34, behind only “Pretty Little Liars” and “Switched at Birth.”

“Baby Daddy,” the network’s highest testing comedy pilot ever, stars Chelsea Kane (“Dancing with the Stars”), Tahj Mowry (“The Game”) and Derek Theler (“90210”). From executive producer Dan Berendsen (“The Nine Lives of Chloe King,” “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “Hannah Montana: The Movie”), the half-hour series is about a young man who becomes a surprise dad to a baby girl when she’s left on his doorstep by an ex-girlfriend. He decides to raise the baby with the help of his mother, his brother Danny (Theler), his best buddy Tucker (Mowry) and his close female friend, Riley (Kane), who is harboring a secret crush on him. “Baby Daddy,” a multi-camera comedy, will begin production in Spring and will shoot in front of a live audience in Los Angeles.

“Beverly Hills Nannies” is a docuseries following the lives of a group of nannies working for families in the most exclusive zip code in the country. Evolution Media, the production company known for “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “The Real Housewives of Orange County” will produce the series. The series will go into production in Spring.

Tori Spelling (“Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood”) and Tia Mowry (“The Game”) have been tapped to star in the new original Christmas movie “The Mistle-Tones” which will begin principal photography this month in Salt Lake City, Utah. The movie is set to premiere as part of the network’s annual “25 Days of Christmas” programming event. In “The Mistle-Tones,” Holly (Tia Mowry), blessed with an amazing singing voice, is all set to audition for the newly vacated spot in a legendary local Christmas group which was founded by her late mother years ago. Shocked and upset when the slot goes to the barely talented best friend of the group’s leader, Marci (Tori Spelling), Holly sets out to create her own musical group, The Mistle-Tones. After challenging their rivals to a sing-off on Christmas Eve, Holly finds herself on a journey to the real meaning of Christmas–with some new friends and a new love thrown in for good measure… “The Mistle-Tones” is executive produced by Maggie Malina (“Single Ladies”), from a script by Jed Elinoff & Scott Thomas (“My Super Psycho Sweet 16”), and directed by Paul Hoen (“Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”).

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” a heartfelt one-hour drama from creator Brenda Hampton (“7th Heaven”), focuses on the relationships between families and friends, including how they deal with an unexpected teen pregnancy. The series cast includes Golden Globe® nominee Shailene Woodley, Ken Baumann, Mark Derwin, India Eisley, Greg Finley, Daren Kagasoff, Megan Park, Francia Raisa, with Steve Schirripa and Molly Ringwald. The series is picked up for a record breaking 5th season, taking it into over 100 episodes – a first for the network. “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” will continue its fourth season with all-new episodes beginning Monday, March 26, 8:00PM–9:00PM ET/PT. Previously released key art featuring Shailene Woodley hints at a wedding – but ultimately, will Amy and Ricky make it down the aisle?

ABC FAMILY’S HIT ORIGINAL SERIES “THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER” AND “MAKE IT OR BREAK IT” RETURN WITH ALL NEW EPISODES THIS SPRING, PREMIERING MONDAY, MARCH 26

January 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Burbank, CA (January, 9, 2012) – ABC Family will continue its Monday nights of original programming with the Spring returns of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Make It or Break It,” both premiering on Monday, March 26, 2012, at 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM, respectively, one week after the season finales of “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Lying Game.”

Starring Golden Globe ® nominee Shailene Woodley, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” picks up right where it left off after a dramatic summer finale, with Amy accepting a marriage proposal from boyfriend, and father of her son, Ricky and Adrian and Ben moving on from their tragic past. This season the series continues to explore new and ever changing relationships with the introduction of several new characters. Despite the crazy relationships, there’s an undercurrent of discovery, honesty and growing up – even for the adults. The series cast includes Shailene Woodley, Ken Baumann, Mark Derwin, India Eisley, Greg Finley, Daren Kagasoff, Megan Park, Francia Raisa, with Steve Schirripa and Molly Ringwald. “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” will continue its fourth season with all-new episodes beginning Monday, March 26, 8:00PM–9:00PM ET/PT. Just released today is the beautiful new key art featuring Shailene Woodley which hints at a wedding – but ultimately, will Amy and Ricky make it down the aisle?

Having just clinched victory at the World Championships, the 2012 Olympic Games are the goal in the climactic third season of “Make It or Break It,” as the Rock girls head to the U.S. Training Center and vie to be on the team that heads to London. With a new coach and fierce competition – including the return of former rivals Kelly Parker and Jordan Randall – Payson, Kaylie and Lauren are pushed to their limits physically and emotionally. The girls are closer than ever and committed to making the Olympic team together, but secret betrayals, questionable alliances and the reality of competing to make the final cut will test their loyalties like never before. “Make It or Break It,” starring Ayla Kell, Josie Lauren, and Cassie Scerbo, will return with the third season premiere on Monday, March 26th (9:00PM– 10:00PM ET/PT).

“Secret Life” wrapped its most recent season as basic cable’s #1 scripted series of Summer ’11 across W18-34 and W18-49. The Spring ’11 run of “Make It or Break It” dominated its basic cable time period with F12-34, female teens and teens.

Source: Nielsen, Live+SD, US Ratings.

Part of the Disney/ABC Television Group, ABC Family is distributed in over 97 million homes. ABC Family features programming reflecting today’s families, entertaining and connecting with adults through relatable programming about today’s relationships – told with a mix of diversity, passion, humor and heart. ABC Family’s programming is a combination of network defining original series and original movies, quality acquired series and blockbuster theatricals. ABC Family is also the destination for annual Holiday events with “13 Nights of Halloween” and “25 Days of Christmas.” ABC Family. A New Kind of Family.

ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Francia Raisa & Ken Baumann of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

June 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Images courtesy of ABC Family

With the final episode of the third season of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (now available on DVD) surprising audiences with a tragic ending, there is no doubt that life will change for the characters of teenagers and husband and wife, Ben (played by Kenny Baumann) and Adrian (played by Francia Raisa).

For those not familiar with the characters, in the third season of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, to make things short without getting overly complicated, Ben was dating Amy.  Amy has a son with a guy named Ricky, who was once a playboy but is now starting to take responsibility and become a father.  Ricky also had a sexual relationship with Adrian.

As Ricky started to take responsibility as the father of his baby and getting closer with Amy, this created at atmosphere of jealousy between Ben towards Amy and Adrian towards Ricky.  So, being the mischievous teenager that she is, Adrian wanted to get some payback and get Ricky jealous, so she came up with a plan and end up sleeping with Ben as a form of revenge.

Unfortunately, Adrian’s plan didn’t quite work as she became pregnant.

But the repercussions from what Adrian and Ben did was that Ben lost Amy, Adrian lost Ricky and now Ricky and Amy became a couple.

As for Ben and Adrian, the unlikely couple, braced for the birth of their child and taking responsibility for their actions, they got married.

So, throughout the latter half of season three, we get to see how life has changed for Ben and Adrian through her pregnancy.  But on the season finale, something tragic happens one night to Ben and Adrian and their lives will never be the same.

Recently, ABC Family held a Q&A session for media with Francia Raisa and Ken Baumann to discuss the emotional episode and the their characters from “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”.

 

Moderator Can you talk about how the loss of Adrian’s baby affects your characters.

F. Raisa Sure.  Adrian was really just all about having this baby.  Her whole life revolved around it right now.  She’s had a baby shower, she is getting married, she is starting a new life, and then for all that to be just be crashing down and I mean, there’s no baby now, so, it really affects her. It affected me as well to shoot the episode.  It’s something that I’d hope never to witness again.

K. Baumann It was rough.  It’s a material that as actors we feel very lucky to take on because it is such a challenge, and represents an experience that you don’t often see on TV.  So you feel lucky to be able to portray that, and give those people, who had the unfortunate experience, give them some representation, make them feel like they’re thought of, too.  But at the same time, it takes an emotional toll on you.  You’ve been just living in that situation for a short amount of time, it’s rough, it’s terrible.  Nobody wants that to happen.  So, yes, it was both strenuous and really pretty incredible opportunity.  Ben was devastated as anyone would be, and he’s going to have to struggle for quite a long time to recover.

Moderator How does the loss of the baby affect the dynamic between Adrian and Ben, Amy and Ricky?

K. Baumann Well, regardless at the very beginning before this event, it’s a pretty tricky situation, but I would say that it both kind of settles any disputes or conflicts they have just temporarily because everyone kind of bonds together in grief, paradoxically enough.  But at the same time, once Adrian and Ben are trying to recover, it gets pretty nasty.  And naturally, you’re going to have two people who are stricken by grief, and they’re going to look to make themselves feel better, and that may involve trying to reach back into the past, and go back to how it was once was, and reignite old loves and all that stuff.  So, it gets even more convoluted, but temporarily, like I said, everybody comes together in this tragic event, which is very, very painful and bittersweet.

Moderator So in a sense, are they trying to bring others down into their misery with them?

K. Baumann Yes.  I don’t know if they are attempting to, but it certainly just happens.  I think they’re like little black holes for a while.  Like I said, however the course, it’s going to happen, but it certainly makes good television, I think.

Moderator If you could both go back to 2008 when Secret Life first began, and give us that one piece of advice with what you know now, what would you tell your other self?

K. Baumann That is a good question.  I would say, as a human being, I would tell myself to tell Daren Kagasoff to stop buying sneakers because he has a problem, and then as an actor performing on Secret Life, I don’t know.  I don’t know if I’d have anything to tell myself.  It’s been a really kind of a wonderful journey, and I’d really gotten to know and bond with all my castmates, and everybody is great and I love them all, and you know, just kind of a large one big happy family.  I don’t know.  I think I would stay mum, I’d keep quiet.  It’s been great.

F. Raisa Yes, I don’t think there’s anything I’d tell myself as an actor performing on Secret Life.  We’ve all worked very hard since day one to what it is today.  I’ve really no advice I’d give myself except prepare for all the emotional drama that’s coming.

Moderator Do each of you have a soapy, sort of guilty pleasure television show that you like to watch on a regular basis?

F. Raisa I’m obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy.  That’s my show.  I’m obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, and like most ABC shows and soapy, oh gosh, I watch a lot of Spanish soap operas, that’s my guilty pleasure.

K. Baumann You know, I watched the first two seasons of Jersey Shore and then I kind of got over it, but I’ve got to say, now, I am obsessed with Breaking Bad.  I think that show is incredible, and it’s really kind of sick how many, like I would sit down for eight to ten hours at a time and watch, you know, eight episodes.  So, it’s a bit scary how much I watch that show.

Moderator Francia, let me ask you, Adrian’s realization that she has very few friends has really fueled the last few episodes, and then we saw the end of the baby shower episode that more people than she realized are actually in her life, and I was wondering with everything that’s going on, does Adrian start to foster these friendships, or do they not really affect her, and she just goes back to be more of a loner?

F. Raisa Yes.  Adrian was carrying the baby for nine months and she really felt emotionally attached to it.  Like I said, her whole personality and her whole character changed into this welcoming person, and she felt blessed that everything was coming together in her life: her family; her friendships; educations; and then it all just came crashing down.  So she becomes very angry and bitter, and she just wants to be left alone, and handle her own sorrows.  Even if people try to come and try to be there for her, she just wants to be left alone.  She just becomes, I guess, some sort of a loner again, and doesn’t really want to accept anyone because all she wants to do is grieve about her baby.

Moderator Can you share anything you did special to prepare for such an emotional episode?

F. Raisa Yes, I didn’t know what to do.  I was trying to listen to some really depressing music, and the best thing that I could have done is I went on YouTube and I typed in stillbirth and there was a few videos that popped up, and there was one in particular, I think it’s the first one that comes up when you research it, and it’s about a couple who actually went through what my character goes through.  You see the woman pregnant and how happy they are and the whole process of waiting for her to be born, and then you see them hold their dead child and you see her in a coffin and you see pictures of her, and you just see the whole family just crying and grieving.  So, yes, that sold me, and that’s how I prepared for it, and the song that they added in the video I had on my iPod and I just listened to it over and over again.  The flashbacks of that baby just sticks and came back into my head every time they called action.

Moderator Adrian is a very interesting character.  On one hand she is resident bad girl, and on the other, she has high grades.  So how are you similar and different to Adrian?

F. Raisa It’s funny.  I always tell people that my character sometimes bleeds into my life.  I am very similar to her in the fact that I am very sassy and I can have my little attitude sometimes.  I’m a good student in school but I don’t ever consider myself this sort of bad girl.  I didn’t have the life that Adrian had growing up.  She kind of came from a broken home where she didn’t have a father at first and her mother didn’t really want anything to do with her in the beginning.  So she traveled, trying to forget that she was a mother and just wanted to live her own life.  She was sort of seeking love and the only way she could was through sex, but at the same time, she wanted to be smart and she did want a good future for herself, so she focused on school.

So, I think Adrian is a very smart character; she is just emotionally drained and sensitive, and she was just trying to find some sort of good support system.  I understand her because in this world and stuff in this industry, it’s hard to have a good support system.  I can be a little bit sensitive sometimes, and put myself in situations that I wish I hadn’t; and so in that sense, I can relate to her.

But at the same time, I feel like I have good common sense and I am smart in a fact where I’ve got to do something about my problems, and put forward in my future rather than just putting myself down and cry about it.

Moderator We hear you dad is the number one DJ in L.A.  What type of music did you grow up listening to and who are you listening to these days?

F. Raisa I grew up listening to every Spanish music you can think of because my dad played like, mariachi, cumbias, salsas, every Spanish music.  And then nowadays, I’m still attached to it because I did grow up listening to it.  So, I listen to a lot of Spanish R&B, and I’ve been listening to a lot of oldies lately, like Sam Cooke and the Righteous Brothers and stuff.  I’ve been obsessed.  And then I’ve listened to a lot of Adele, and I’m a hip hop dancer, so I do listen to hip hop like really mainly when I’m dancing.

Moderator On more of a lighter note, I know that you had to wear pregnancy padding throughout Adrian’s pregnancy.  What was that like and do you miss it at all?

F. Raisa Yes and no.  I had a lot of fun wearing it.  You know, every girls’ dream is to picture what she would look like pregnant.  You know, want to wear something like that every now and then.  So, I had fun.  It was just like a pillow.  It became hot sometimes, so that’s when I hated it, and sometimes it’d be a little too tight, but other than that, it really didn’t bother me.  I enjoyed speaking like I was a pregnant woman.  I’d be out in the streets and talking about how it was, “six weeks along”, “I’m six months pregnant”.  People looked at me like, you’re crazy, you’re not even pregnant. And I would start holding my belly like it was really scratchy, because I would see woman scratch it because it was itchy.  So I had fun with it.  I was just acting like I was really pregnant and having a little fantasy of my own

Moderator Who can we expect Adrian to turn to and lean on through this devastating event?

F. Raisa You would think she would lean on Kenny or Ben, and I think she does.  She takes a lot out on Ben and a lot of her emotions out on Ben.  But like I said, when things get tough, she just likes to be alone.  But Ben, you know how his character is, and he does everything he can to be there for her.

Moderator You are a few years older than your character and I was wondering if that helps you understand what you’re experiencing, not necessarily with the pregnancy and all the other issues that Adrian has specifically, but just being a few years wiser per se?

F. Raisa Yes.  I think being older definitely does help me because I’ve been in high school; I know what the other experiences that she goes through are, with sex and everything.  Like being pregnant, I’m around a lot of pregnant women right now, and so I’m educating myself a bit on what it’s like, and the journeys that they have to go through with their pregnancies.  I think my mind is a little more open now that I’m older rather than when I was in high school, and you know, that was my life, and I didn’t know any better.  Yes, I think it definitely helps a lot because I’ve been in the real world, and I’ve lived an adult life for enough time to like I said, have more of an open mind.

Moderator Before you lost the baby, what would you say was the most difficult part of playing Adrian up to this point, the most challenging storyline per se?

F. Raisa The most challenging storyline I think was when I looking for my father, and I found him and I went to meet him and he rejected me.  That was a bit difficult.  I had never been through that and I know that’s happened unfortunately in some people’s lives, and trying to put myself in that position and play that character was tough.  I mean, you know when the two people that are suppose to love you and be there for you when you’re first born, when you first come out of the womb, are your mom and dad.  So to be rejected from that and broken from that, it can be very difficult.

Moderator What was your reaction when you found out that they were making your character pregnant and then finding out that the baby wouldn’t survive?

F. Raisa When I first found out she was pregnant, I was shocked but I was so excited.  I was like, “Yay! I get to wear a belly!”  I could not wait to put on that stomach.  I kept asking when am I going to do it, when is it finally coming.  I was very excited, and then when I found out she lost it; I love kids and I was so excited to finally work with a baby and playing with the kids because I always play with Matthew and Joey who played John on the show.  I’m always with him when they’re on the set.  So I was a little upset and devastated when I found out that there was going to be no baby, but at the same time I was very excited to be able to play this role because it’s probably one of the toughest roles I’ve done since I started acting.  So, I appreciated the challenge that the writers gave me, and I can’t believe they trust me to take on such tough material.  So in that sense, I was very excited.

Moderator How did they tell you?

F. Raisa I found out when I read the script.  They were very good about not telling us.  You know, they kept hinting it.  They said, “I think she might lose it,” and I was like, “Really?”  She’s like, “I’m not sure yet.”  So she kept beating around the bush saying she wasn’t sure, she was sure, and then I read the script, and then I was, “Oh, my gosh.”  I just started crying when I read it because I had been carrying this, you know it’s fake, but I’ve been seeing myself with a pregnant belly for, I don’t know how many months, and then all of a  sudden it’s gone, and there’s no result coming from it.

Moderator I was wondering if Adrian would want to actually be friends with Amy still after losing the baby?

F. Raisa I think Adrian and Amy will always and forever be frienemies.  They’re each going to be jealous of something that the other has and I think after losing the baby, Adrian might be a little bitter about the fact that Amy actually received a baby after going through a pregnancy for nine months.  I know that Amy is going to do her best to be there for her and try to console her in the best way she can. But like I said, forever will be frienemies because at the end of the day, Adrian stole her man and Amy stole Adrian’s man.

Moderator I was wondering if you think that Ben would go back to try to win Amy back seeing the fact that he loved her first?

K. Baumann I think that desire is going to show up in these upcoming episodes.  Again, when I first read the script, the script for June 6th, I thought, I started to think what possibly would be Ben’s future, and I had guessed that that would occur.  It pops up in a really interesting ways.  In the following episodes, he is stuck in the situation and he is kind of brought down by grief, too, so there’s nothing; he doesn’t really have any sort of impetus to move away from Adrian.  He realizes, too, that, at least immediately after they lose baby that, he’s not going anywhere.  He’s got to be responsible, and he really doesn’t have the energy to do anything else.  But after that, once he starts to recover, yes, there’s certainly that draw, like I said, to go back and kind of relive the past or try to and fail.

Moderator Which Ben do you relate to the most?  The shy guy or the more confident, forward guy, and why?

K. Baumann Both.  It depends on what day of the week it is.  But I’d say mostly the confident Ben.  I don’t know, maybe Francia would actually be a better, you know, she could answer this probably more appropriately because she gets to see me and you won’t get my ego influencing this answer, but I would like to say that the confident side.  I’m a pretty confident guy.  Okay, really confident according to Francia.  So, there’s your answer.  It’s definitely the confident then.

Moderator Which artists are you listening to these days?

K. Baumann Well, I am listening to right now Buddy Miles, and I’m listening to Tyler, the Creator’s new album, Goblin, and oh boy, I’m like any white boy who listens to a lot of rap and classical musical.  I listen to a lot of rap, I listen to, like I said, Buddy Miles have been great recently.  I just discovered this guy today, really good kind of electronic music called Com Truise, like Tom Cruise but Com Truise, and that’s really good.  I’ve been listening to that all day.  But I’m all over the place music-wise.

Moderator Do you have any favorite songs?

K. Baumann Oh, man.  That’s a huge question.  So many.  I would say that anything that the composer Paganini has made.  He has composed some beautiful pieces for violin.  Favorite song, favorite songs, my Gosh, that is incredibly hard.  I’m literally going through my entire catalog of like, I’m trying to limit it down to just like rap music, but I can’t pick a favorite.  I can pick times in my life where I had certain songs that really represent experiences but that’s hard.  Favorite song is hard.  I almost can’t, I can’t answer it.  I’m paralyzed.

Moderator Do you have an official Twitter or Facebook fan page?

F. Raisa I have a Twitter handle.  It’s @therealfrancia, and as far as fan pages, I haven’t made one personally, but I know that some fans have made it.

K. Baumann I do.  I have an official Twitter, it’s just @kenbaumann, and I Tweet pretty compulsively.  Yes, you’ll find it.

Want to watch these emotional episodes of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, click on the following image below to purchase the DVD.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

May 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This volume is no doubt the most emotional, saddest “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” volume yet!  Break out the tissue box folks because by the end of this volume, you’ll be shedding some tears!  If you are a fan of the series, this volume is definitely worth watching!

Images courtesy of © ABC Family. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six

DURATION: 526 minutes (12 episodes)

DVD INFORMATION: NTSC, Region 1, Widescreen (1:78:1), NTSC, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

RATED: TV 14 DSLV (Parental Discretion Advised)

COMPANY: abc family

RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2011

Created by Brenda Hampton

Directed by Keith Truesdell, Anson Williams and Gail Bradley

Written by Brenda Hampton, Elaie Arata, Jeffrey Rodgers, Jeff Olsen, Chris Olsen

Executive Producer: Brenda Hampton

Producer: Hrag Gaboudian, Lindsley Parsons III

Consulting Producer: Paul Perlove, Chris Olsen, Jeff Olsen, Jeffrey Rodgers

Music by Dan Foliart

Cinematography by Ronald E. high

Edited by Janet Weinberg and Ellen Ring Jacobson

Casting by Peter Pappas, Ken Miller, Nikki Valko

Production Design by Michael DiMeo

Set Decoration by Joanne Baker

Costume Design by Sherry Thompson, Sharon Sampson

Starring:

Shailene Woodley as Amy Juergens

Kenny Baumann as Benjamin “Ben” Boykewich

Francia Raisa as Adrian Lee

Megan Park as Grace Kathleen Bowman

Darren Kagasoff as Ricky Underwood

Greg Finley II as Jack Pappas

Renee Olstead as Madison Cooperstein

Camille Winbush as Lauren Treacy

Steve Schirripa as Leo Boykewich

Mark Derwin as George Juergens

Molly Ringwald as Anne Juergens

India Eisley as Ashley Juergens

Josie Bissett as Kathleen Bowman

Luke Zimmerman as Tom Bowman

Amy Rider as Alice Balko

Allen Evangelista as Henry Miller

Phillip Anthony-Rodriguez as Ruben Enriquez

Paolo Turbay as Cindy Lee

Jennifer coolidge as Betty

Joseph/Matthew Levinson as John

Kathy Kinney as Bunny

Brando Eaton as Griffin

Grant Harvey as Grant

Andrew McFarlane as Jason

Austin Stowell as Jesse

Reid Scott as Dr. Jeff Zegay

Beverly Mitchell as Kaitlin O’Malley

Michele Krusiec as Emily

Get ready to experience all the excitement, passion and power of this acclaimed ABC Family series. Unlikely friendships are forged, longtime loyalties are tested and once-solid relationships tremble on shaky ground in the wake of jealousy, competition and raging hormones. With wedding bells about to chime for Ben and Adrian, Amy tries to pressure Ricky for a similar commitment. Meanwhile, Grace and Grant consider taking their romance to the next level, and an unexpected event turns lives and loves upside down. Anything can happen – and does – in this phenomenal, must-own Sixth Volume!
 

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager” returns with what may possibly be the most emotional, saddest volume for the series to date!  Break out the tissue box folks, because you’re going to be shedding some tears with volume 6!

Back in 2008, the critically acclaimed ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” received a lot of attention during its first season as the series took on the challenges of teenage pregnancy. Showing us the ramifications of being pregnant as a young teen but also the responsibilities and difficult choices one needs to make as a single mother and also showcasing the challenges of teenage sexuality and peer pressure.

By the second season, the series would focus on single mother Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley) having to attend high school but also raise a son. To make thing difficult, her parents have divorced and her own mother Anne (played by Molly Ringwald) became pregnant (one night stand with her ex-husband) and thus, mom became a mother as well. Needless to say, the Juergens family have had their ups and downs.

But the series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” is about the challenges of being a teenager and thus the series would focus on various teenagers such as Ben Boykewich (played by Kenny Baumann), the son of the sausage king Leo Boykewich (played by Steve Schirripa). Ben loves Amy Juergens and even though she has a child, he would do anything for her. The problem is that Amy is busy with her own child and maintaining a peaceful relationship with her son’s father Ricky Underwood (played by Daren Kagasoff). Meanwhile, she has a younger sister named Ashley (played by India Eisley) who acts very mature for her age but is now at the age where she is becoming more attracted to boys and curious about sex.

Other teenagers include the Christian student and cheerleader Grace Bowman (played by Megan Park) being pressured to have sex by her then boyfriend, jock Jack Pappas (played by Greg Finley). And as hard as she tried to stay a virgin, her first time was memorable but not in a good way as her father was killed in an airplane crash. Now, she and her mother Kathleen (played by Josie Bissett) and her mentally disabled brother Tom (played by Luke Zimmerman) try to continue on as a family.

For Adrian Lee (played by Francia Raisa), she has lived life having promiscuous sex. Primarily with Ricky Underwood, the father of Amy Juergens baby and a young man who has had problems having sex with other girls as a way to relieve his stress (suffered at a young age due to his irresponsible parents). While both have a strong sexual connection, they are not romantically connected. Adrian is always on the prowl and as for Ricky, he wants to become a better person but most of all, to take responsibility and share parenting duties for his son John and to be cool with Amy.

The second season began with Amy wanting to raise the child on her own but depending too much on her mother Anne to help her out. Anne (played by Molly Ringwald) is strict and wants Amy to learn that having a baby has major challenges and to make things complicated, Anne is pregnant herself and not knowing if the father is her ex-husband George (played by Mark Derwin) or her new boyfriend.

In volume four of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, we have seen Amy Juergens having an on and off relationship with Ben. Things weren’t going so well with them and with Adrian, she felt more lonely as Ricky was starting to become more of a father and spending more time with his son’s mother Amy. As Adrian became more jealous of Ricky and Amy spending more time with each other, the same feeling was shared by Ben and sure enough, to spite the people they love, the two had a sexual encounter. For Adrian, it was a form of revenge. For Ben, a one night stand that shouldn’t have happened.

But fortunately for Ben, he told the truth to Amy who forgave him for what he did. And the two looked as if they were on “Cloud 9″ again.

As for Grace, her mother has remarried a doctor nine months after the death of her father and she and Tom have resentment towards their mother for remarrying so quickly. She has had feelings for Ricky and now having some interest in Ben.

For Ricky, we began to see more of him becoming more mature and responsible for his child. And as for Jack, he started to become closer to Amy’s friend Madison Cooperstein (played by Renee Olstead).

As for Adrian, her father Ruben has remarried her mother Cindy. But she notices some changes within her and she realizes that she is now pregnant and the last boy she has been with is Ben.

For “The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Five” (the first half of season 3), the storyline now focuses on Adrian as she is pregnant but telling everyone around her that she had her period. Now she struggles to whether or not she will have a baby or have an adoption.

Meanwhile, Ben who has found out that Adrian is pregnant is worried that with his relationship going extremely well with Amy, she will hate him when she finds out that Adrian is pregnant with his baby. And he finds himself even more confused as he wants to be responsible as a father for Adrian’s baby, showing his love for Amy Juergens but also having this fling with Grace Bowman… Ben is in a weird position and he’s not dealing with it well. And it makes him even more jumpier and jealous when he sees Ricky becoming more interested towards Amy.

As for Amy, she has been accepted to a trip to New York City for her skill as a musician. With her dreams of trying to enter Juilliard, none of her family and friends want to tell her the bad news that Ben got Adrian pregnant. And because of this, can Amy ever become close with Ben again? But how will she deal with her emotions, especially when her son’s father, Ricky wants to get closer to her? Who will she choose?

And for Ricky, he has dedicated himself to being there for his son and not be anything like his birth parents. Because Amy is in New York City, he will be staying with the Juergens family temporarily but with Ashley now grown up and starting to take a liking towards Ricky, will his sexual impulses lead him towards getting close to Ashley, the sister of Amy, the mother of his child?

For Jack, his father is offered a job in Arizona, many hours away and if he takes the job, his father can only take his mother and so, they are hoping Jack can find someone to stay with for a year. Jack wants to stay back home and with his friends and hopes he can find a place to stay. But when he chooses to live with Tom Bowman without his family knowing, will it get him in trouble?

Now here we are with volume six of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”.

With Adrian now pregnant with Ben’s baby, Ben feels the best thing to do is get married.  Meanwhile, Amy and Ricky found themselves falling in love with each other and before the series started, a picture of Amy in a wedding dress and Ricky  right next to her was used to promote the second part of the third season.  Which made people wonder… Are Amy and Ricky getting married?

A lot of changes are in store with the teenagers in this latest season as both Ben and Adrian and Amy and Ricky are a couple but at the same time, both have doubts in their mind of their own relationships especially since Amy and Ben were once a couple and Adrian and Ricky were longtime sexual partners.

And sometimes these individuals act out of spite towards each other because of their current relationship as the reason Adrian is pregnant was because she slept with Ben to get back at Ricky.  As for Ben, it’s the realization that he is becoming a father and a husband at a young age that scares him, but also to learn that others don’t support his relationship or wedding as many are not friends with Adrian.  Actually, Adrian doesn’t have many friends at all.

And to make things even more crazier, what happens with Amy is responsible for throwing Adrian’s baby shower?

With the Juergen’s family, Amy’s younger sister Ashley is still reeling after being turned down by Ricky and now wants to be home schooled by her father.  Anne is trying to move forward with her life and date other men, meanwhile George finds himself feeling that he needs a woman right now.

As for Ricky, his mother returns but he finds out a surprise about her that he never knew about.  Also, before Amy will have sex with him, because of his promiscuous ways, she wants him to get tested and this frightens him because he has slept with so many women.  Meanwhile, the new school counselor Kaitlyn O’Malley (played by Beverley Mitchell) notices how good Ricky’s grades are and tries to push him towards applying for colleges.  College has never been a consideration for Ricky but seeing that he can make something of himself makes him think about it even more.

As for the others, Jack and Madison’s relationship is getting stronger and having to hesitate on having sex, what happens after they do it?  Will their relationship chance?  Meanwhile, for Lauren, seeing how her friend Amy and Madison are with sex, is starting to turn her off.

Grace is with Grant and both want to have sex but before they move forward.  Grant said he has had sex but with the person he was with, it was both of their first time and that they were wearing condoms but for Grace, the fact that she slept with Jack, who slept with Adrian who slept with Ricky (who slept with many young women), this causes concern.  But Grace insists that Jack only had oral sex and not real sex.  But when she finds out the truth, Grace becomes afraid of getting tested.

The latest episodes of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” deals with sexual tension, sexual promiscuity but also the importance of getting tested.  Meanwhile, these latter episodes of the third season also deals with pregnancy, being married at a young age and also being young parents and also what happens when the worst situation possible comes to expecting parents.

The main characters/teenagers of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” are:

Amy Juergens (Shailene Woodley) – A teenager who is a musician but is learning firsthand of the difficulties of being a single mother. She is trying to keep a parenting relationship with her son’s father Ricky while she has a relationship with Ben. But as a single mother, she realizes the difficulties of being a mother and how much responsibility that she must deal with. She is devastated by Ben’s actions with Adrian and begins a new relationship with Ricky.

Ashley Juergens (India Eisley) – The younger sister of Amy who is very mature for her age and is often the person who plays referee to her mother and father when they are bickering. When Ricky turns her down for sex, she is devastated and her anger towards her sister continues to grow, so much to the point that she no longer wants to go to school and wants to be homeschooled.

Benjamin “Ben” Boykewich (Kenny Baumann) – A teenager who is Amy’s boyfriend and will do anything for her. His father is “the sausage king” who has since remarried. He loves Amy Juergens but during a heat of passion with Adrian, accidentally got her pregnant and thus he loses Amy and must take responsibility for his actions and be with Adrian.

Ricky Underwood (Darren Kagasoff) – Ricky is the father of Amy’s baby. He has had a sexual relationship with Adrian but he has no connection with her, as opposed to Adrian who has an emotional connection with him. He has been seeing counseling for his anger issues (which he uses sex to make him feel better) after it was revealed that he was molested as a child.  He has since turned around thanks to the wise advice from Ben’s father and also Amy’s mother and finds himself falling for Amy.

Adrian Lee (Francia Raisa) – Very intelligent but somehow strayed in the wrong path and is a flirt who engages in sex with different guys. She has had a sexual relationship with Ricky but when she finds him spending more time with Amy and the baby, she gets jealous and has sex with Ben and gets pregnant.  Now, she must deal with the fact that she may be a young mother.

Grace Kathleen Bowman (Megan Park) – A devoted Christian and cheerleader who hit hard times after the death of her father. She tends to put herself in a position where she wants to help all her friends and get into their business which irritates others.  She is now dating Grant and has been waiting for the right moment to have sex with him.

Jack Pappas (Greg Finley II) - A football player who can’t get his mind off sex, once dated Grace and has had an off and on-relationship with her. He’s a son of the pastor and is now dating Madison Cooperstein.  He wants to have sex with her but he is not sure if he loves her.

Madison Cooperstein (Renee Olstead) and Lauren Treacy (Camille Winbush) are Amy’s best friends. They also can’t keep a secret and are often bickering with each other. Madison is dating Jack and is often jealous when he’s talking to other girls.  While Madison tries to figure out when she will have sex with Jack, she finds herself telling her father everything. Meanwhile, Lauren also dates a few guys but relationships are not going the way she would like.

Grant (Grant Harvey) - Grant is Grace’s boyfriend.  He loves Grace and also respects her but he doesn’t like her ex-boyfriend Jack getting close with them and tries to deal with Grace’s insecurities.

Henry Miller (Allen Evangelista) and Alice Valko (Amy Rider) are a romantic couple and friends of Ben. Alice is very smart and very analytical but she is very good when hearing Ben out and giving intelligent advice to him.

Other Characters

Anne Juergens (Molly Ringwald) and George Juergens (Mark Derwin) – Was once a happy wife until husband George Juergens cheated on her.  She has since moved forward with her life but in a one night stand with George, she was pregnant and now had another baby.  While Amy lives with Anne, George who wants to be close to Anne and Amy has moved next door with daughter Ashley.  George has also moved forward but now trying to balance life as a father but also as a bachelor who wants to date more women.

Kathleen Bowman – Once married with George Juergens and now widowed after the death of her first husband.  Kathleen Bowman has recently married a doctor but with him so busy and constantly traveling the world, can she deal with it?  Meanwhile, she tries to be the disciplinary mother to Grace (who she knows wants to have sex with her boyfriend Grant) and her mentally disabled son Tom.

Tom Bowman – Older brother to Grace, Tom is mentally disabled but he speaks his mind of how he feels about people, especially his sister’s boyfriends.  He was once in love with Adrian and is currently living in the backhouse with Jack.

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six” DVD comes with a total of 12 episodes on three DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 62 - Who Do You Trust? – Amy wants to take her relationship with Ben to the next level but only if he gets tested.
  • EPISODE 63 – Mirrors - When Jack and Madison’s relationship doesn’t go as planned, thanks to Madison’s father, she starts going for her 20-something boss who is a slacker.
  • EPISODE 64 – Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner - Ricky finds out that his mother is gay and Ben takes his relationship with Adrian to the next level.
  • EPISODE 65 – Another Proposal - When Amy and Ricky find out that Ben and Adrian are getting married, both have their own opinions about the situation.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 66 - Deeper and Deeper – When Ben and Adrian look into condos, part of him has a hard time moving out of the house. Meanwhile, Ashley has a new friend to study with.
  • EPISODE 67 – Moving In and Out - Amy considers moving in with Ricky, meanwhile Leo tries to encourage Ricky to going to college.
  • EPISODE 68 – Young at Heart - The Bowman’s meet Grant’s parents and Ricky is tempted to having sex with another woman and cheat on Amy but will he?
  • EPISODE 69 – Loose Lips- Friends become enemies when Adrian accuses Amy of trying to point out that no one is coming to her shower because she has no friends and Amy feels that Adrian is only trying to invite the girls who slept with Ricky to spite her.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 70 – Round II - As friends have become enemies, a few come to the realization that the situation better be fixed before its too late.
  • EPISODE 71 – It’s Not Over Till It’s Over – Adrian doesn’t realize that having a baby will change her life and that she won’t be able to go back to school so quickly, meanwhile Ricky tries to schmooze with Amy and try romance instead of pressuring her for sex.
  • EPISODE 72 – To Be… – The wedding of Ben and Adrian.
  • EPISODE 73 – Or Not To Be - Happily married, things seem to go well for Ben and Adrian until…

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six” is presented in widescreen (1:78:1) and for the most part, the picture quality is satisfactory for this drama series. Also, it helps that the series features various settings, including multiple outdoor shots which definitely makes the PQ for the DVD much better.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The series is front and center channel driven, dialogue is clear and understandable and music comes out quite clear from the front channels. The series is not the type of series that utilizes special effects or the use of the surround channels but if you have a modern home theater receiver and a 5.1 or 7.2 setup, definitely worth selecting audio on all channels on the receiver for a more immersive soundscape.

Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six” surprisingly comes with no special features at all.

EXTRAS:

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six” comes with a slip cover case plus “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” iPod skins featuring the image of Amy and Ricky (Amy with the wedding dress and Ricky in a suit).

I have been a big supporter of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and I have to admit that reviewing this series, its had its ups and downs and one of my biggest peeve towards the series was that because of the focus on the six teenagers, everyone was sleeping together and that with the concept of sex between these six teenagers was getting a bit old and stories were becoming more soap opera-like, it was literally destroying the integrity of the series.

By the end of last season, the writers rectified it by giving the supporting cast and integrating them to the storyline and also bringing in newer characters.  For me, that was a big plus.

So, season three has gotten off on a good start but here we are with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six” and the latest series is no doubt the most emotional, saddest volume thus far.  And I’ll get to this a little later in my review.

But first, I need to spotlight the bad…because there is a purveying storyline that I felt was a little lazy on the writers part and I’ll get to that right now.

With these latest episodes, I felt like the writers were going back to the basics of the first season and that is, everyone having sex in their mind.  Yes, teenagers think about sex but when the storyline starts to get so flooded with nothing else but sex, it can be a bit too much.  In fact, every episode was nearly about sex, having sex and not just with a few characters, every character and this was probably my biggest peeve with these episodes.

While you can understand the STD testing with Amy and Rickey but Jack’s main storyline this time is about having sex with Madison, Grace’s main storyline is having sex with Grant, George Juergens is a horny man who wants to have sex with other women, Ashley is peeved because she was rejected for sex but finds a studying partner who wants to have sex with her.  Writers, can’t you come up with anything else but sex?  Even “90210” and “Glee” to any other high school drama can come up with high school situations in which characters have other situations in their teen lives not just about sex.

What was even so ridiculous with this season was seeing them at school, in the middle of the walkways by their locker having intimate discussions about sex. No not in a private corner, no not at the benches or anywhere they can get privacy, they are talking loud amongst their peers about having sex.  Even women who slept with Ricky are being called out in the open about having sex with him.

What happened to the storylines in which each individual had important things going for them in their lives?  Only four individuals are focused on and if that was the point, then fine, but don’t have everyone focus on sex all the time.  It’s lazy writing.

The redeeming factor for this series was giving more to Amy, Ricky, Ben and Adrian.  These four are given the chance to really showcase their acting especially their emotions.  And this leads to the positive factors of this latest volume and episodes for this season.

The redeeming factor which I probably would have never predicted would be for Ricky.  I know he is a popular character but when he first started out, I felt he was the slimeball but now he is quickly becoming the most mature person of the bunch.  A young man learning from all the crap he has gone through in his life and now taking his job seriously, planning for college and even being respectful towards Amy.  This was a major positive for the writing in the series.

The Amy vs. Adrian storyline was also well-played and the confrontations between these two frienemy’s was well-written and it gave them a chance to show off more emotion, especially for Adrian.

But by the end of this volume, the person who surprised me the most was Ken Bauman”s Ben Boykewich.  He usually is a guy that doesn’t give much emotion but the writers not only gave him the most emotional scene, it also gave them a chance to do something with his character for the next season.

Giving Leo that line “Ben and Adrian will never the same…” was perfect because after a traumatic loss that took place in the final episode, for anyone who has experience that kind of tragedy, it’s difficult.  I’ve been in that situation before and you literally transform from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows and many years later, part of me still hasn’t recovered because I can easily feel that pain.

I’ve watched series that have made me cry but the final episode literally tore my heart out.  For anyone who has been in this position that Ben and Adrian has been in, you can easily relive those emotions and it’s hard.

And I will say that this was well-played by the writers to focus on this loss…

But the worst part about the finale for me was the final minute.  Instead of ending with the loss, they go back to their “we have to bring it back to sex” writing immediately, they should of ended it with the mourning which would be a better setup for the next season but instead on the series biggest tragedy thus far…the writers manage to sneak in a lovemaking scene which seemed so out of place and tacky.

Writers…we know sex is a big part of the teenage years but its not the only part of the teenager years to explore.  You have the characters in place, especially newer characters introduce.  Utilize them but not having every character focus on sex all the time.  It’s getting ridiculous!

Overall, the writers of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” did positive things for this season three.  As mentioned, season two literally left wanting to quit watching the series but the writers took the necessary step to salvage it by bringing in more characters and stopping the soap-operish storyline.  As I felt this latest volume featured episodes which were strong, the main focus was on Amy and Ricky, Ben and Adrian and while they talked and focused about life and sex, the only place where writers felt they should go with the other characters is having them all have sex, worry about sex and every word that comes out of their mouth will be about sex or not having sex and it was like listening to a song that you like but listening to it over and over, it grows old to the point that you just want to stop listening.

This is how I felt with this latest volume, it was like a rollercoaster of good and bad and leading to the final episode which was one of the best episodes by far but yet adding an unnecessary scene right at the last minute.  For me that was very frustrating!

And as for the DVD release, I was shocked to find no special features at all.  They could have done a Q&A with the newer characters or something but there were no special features added but you do get an extra of iPod skins and while it was good to see this extra included, you really have to be a hardcore Shailene Woodley or Daren Kagasoff fan to want to put them on your iPod.

Overall, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six” was the most emotional and saddest volume.   I enjoyed these episodes (and was equally frustrated by them) but I did enjoy the direction of Amy, Ricky, Ben and Adrian’s were going in writing-wise.  And now, with the tragic episode, you can only wonder where the writers will go.

If you are a fan and longtime viewer of the series, I can easily recommend “The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Six”.

Q&A Session with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” actress Shailene Woodley (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

March 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Images are courtesy of ©ABC Family.  All Rights Reserved.

Back in 2008, the critically acclaimed ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” received a lot of attention as it focused on a normal American family and a shy daughter, a musician who went off to band camp and had a one night stand to later find out she was pregnant.

The character Amy Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley) struggled with abortion, adoption and in the first season, she decided to keep the baby.  As for the baby’s father, Ricky Underwood (played by Daren Kagasoff), he was the bad boy who lived life dangerously and had some personal issues which led him to seek out sex and never took any responsibility.

But throughout the second season, we had the opportunity to see Amy grow up to be a mother and learning how difficult it was to be a teenager, a student but also a mother, while Ricky started to learn more about himself and also becoming more mature and knowing his responsibilities as a father.

This last season left everyone wondering if these young teenagers, who were brought together due to a one night stand would ever get back with each other.  Considering that Ricky is the father of her child.

Recently, a media Q&A with actress Shailene Woodley was held and Shailene talked about her character, playing a pregnant teenager, the series, her castmates and her upcoming film “The Descendants”.

Here is a transcript from that Q&A session.

Moderator Do you think that Ricky could make a committed husband?

S. Woodley I think that Ricky could make a committed boyfriend and a committed lover, but to be a husband is a big deal especially when you’re in high school.  So, I don’t know if Ricky’s ready and honestly I don’t if Amy’s ready, just because that is such a huge lifelong commitment.

Moderator Where do you see Amy the most happy in the future?

S. Woodley I see her the most happy with Ricky, with John, in an amazing comfortable job where she makes a good salary and she also still gets to play her French horn.

Moderator Are they married

S. Woodley Yes, they are married, absolutely.

Moderator Now can you talk about how confusing Amy’s living situation is these days and how that informs the way you play the character?

S. Woodley Absolutely.  I think that it’s super confusing for any teenager to have a boyfriend, especially a boyfriend in a relationship like Amy and Ricky’s.  Then to have to live together or not live together and all the pressures of other kids in high school and the pressure of wanting to feel grown-up , but not really being grown-up yet and wanting to prove to her parents that she can do it on her own, but she can’t really do it on her own yet.  So, I think that affects her life in a lot of different ways, because she’s always got that in the back of her mind, trying to prove that she’s older because she does have a two-year-old son, trying to prove that she can do it, when she might not really be in the space to be able to.

Moderator While speaking of wanting to be older, what’s it like for you as an actress to work with a small child at your age?

S. Woodley It’s amazing.  I love kids.  I live for kids.  To have those little boys on set all the time is so much fun.  We have dance parties in the trailers.  They laugh.  They call me Shai-Shai.  It’s great to have their young, youthful energy on the set.

Moderator It’s good practice for you too?

S. Woodley Absolutely.

Moderator I wanted to ask you about how Amy and Ashley’s relationship really is.

S. Woodley Amy and Ashley’s relationship, well, they are siblings and they are—I mean in a lot of ways polar opposites, but in a lot of ways, they’re kind of similar too.  Ashley definitely is an old soul, I would say.  She has a lot of knowledge that she was probably just born with, a lot of commonsense, street-smart knowledge.  Amy’s more book-smart.  So, I think they kind of rub each other wrong or they rub each other wrong with that department of their life, a lot in the sense that Ashley thinks she always knows and Amy thinks she always knows, but I think deep down, of course, they love each other.  Of course, they would do anything for each other.  We’ll see that coming up, I’m sure, just because as teenagers get older, they kind of become closer with their siblings.

But, I think there’s also a jealousy factor between Ashley and Amy, because Amy does have the boyfriend.  Amy does—even though she has a child, and we’re not glamorizing it -it’s really difficult to be a teenage mom, Amy has a lot of responsibility and Ashley doesn’t really have anything.  So, I think Ashley’s always trying to prove that she’s more mature.  She can do it on her own.  I think that kind of gets in the middle of them as well.

Moderator How did Amy feel about Ashley liking Ricky and wanting to be with him?

S. Woodley I think it would be hard for one of your friends to like the father of your child, I can’t even imagine a sibling liking the father of your child, but I think Amy reacted in a very fair way.  She wasn’t crazy, mean about it, but she also didn’t let Ashley walk over her.  She told her how she felt and I think that’s a big milestone to get over.  For Ashley to accept the fact that it might not be the best decision to like or fall in love with the father of her sister’s baby.  So, I think that was really difficult on Amy.  Even if she wasn’t as vocal about it, I think that emotionally it took a toll on her.

Moderator What message do you want to send to the fans of the show?

S. Woodley Personally, I would say it is so important to live from your heart and to let your heart kind of rule in your life versus your mind.  Because, I think a lot of times when you start letting your mind rule your life, your ego, your pride, your opinions, all of those things kind of get in the way and skew what you really are trying to do and steer your path.  But if you live from your heart, I truly believe that everything will always work out the way it’s supposed to.  I think your intuition always knows best.  Just live from a place of compassion.  I think that if everyone would live from a place of compassion and a place of patience and love that this world would be phenomenal.

Moderator What’s your best memory with your cast mates on the show?

S. Woodley Oh, my gosh, we have so many.  I guess one of my favorite one’s, when Willow Smith’s, Whip my Hair came out, all of the girls on the show went into one of the trailers, we blasted Willow Smith.  We whipped our hair for the two minutes or however long her song is.  Then we danced to Spice Girls and it was so much fun.  Then the next morning we all woke up and we couldn’t even bend down to brush our teeth because our necks were so sore from whipping our hair so much.

Moderator We’re really excited for the new episodes to start up again.  I was just hoping you could tell us a little bit about what to expect from some of the upcoming storylines.

S. Woodley Well, there’s a lot of drama, obviously.  There might possibly be a wedding; there might possibly not be a wedding.  Someone might move in with someone else.  Someone might fall in love with someone else.  Someone might move out of someone else.  Someone might fall out of love.  There’s a lot going on.

Moderator Will there be any more focus on the relationship or the friendship between Amy and Adrian?

S. Woodley Absolutely, I mean Adrian is kind of going through what Amy went through, so I think Amy is going to be there for Adrian to help her along and help her progress through this pregnancy.

Moderator I wanted to know what first attracted you to the role of Amy.

S. Woodley When I first read the script, I thought it was really great and spectacular how there was going to be a show on television that really depicted life of high school.  The role of Amy really drew me in just in the sense that she was 15 and pregnant and not in a stable relationship with the guy who got her pregnant.  Her parents were going through a divorce and she had the troublesome little sister, so I think that that—I’m not saying every girl in high school is pregnant, obviously, but there are those pregnant teenagers out there and I thought it was really important to give them a show.  This is before Teen Mom came out and before all of those.  I thought it was really important to give them a show where, we showed that it is hard.  It is really difficult to be pregnant at any stage in your life, let alone being 15 and financially not in the best position.  For … in America and all around the world, but they’re not alone, that this does happen.  That it’s okay and they’ll survive and they’re kids are going to be phenomenal human beings.

I also was just attracted to the trueness of the plot.  They dealt with so many issues.  They dealt with divorce.  They dealt with death.  They dealt with the drama of high school with boys and the friends.  I don’t know, I thought it was really creative and different.

Moderator Do you think that it’s an accurate portrayal of high school today?

S. Woodley Absolutely.  I mean in my high school alone, obviously it’s a television show, but I think the main themes are very on key.  In my high school, we had a pregnant girl at prom and a pregnant girl at graduation.  We had the girl whose parents were never around and who kind of were a little more promiscuous.  We also had the guy who had a really hard upbringing and who wasn’t really clear about if he could be stable and committed to one girl.  Then we had everyone from the choir girls or choir boys to band people.  I thought it was really important to give kids out there a reason to watch television and also learn as well as be entertained.

Moderator I had a question about your name.  It’s such an original, unique name.  Where did it come from?  Who named you?

S. Woodley My name came from a license plate, actually.  My mom was driving when she was 18, she was in traffic on the freeway, and the car in front of her the license plate said, Shai and then it had a bunch of numbers.  She doesn’t even know if it was supposed to be pronounced as Shai, but she created that in her mind.  Then, she … adding the second half to it … it would be a cute nickname, but I want something longer, so she had Shailynne or Shailene or Shaillyn, and she—I don’t know, I guess she went for Shailene and when she met my dad, my dad loved it and that’s how I got my name.

Moderator Were there ever any doubts that the show would return for its fourth season?

S. Woodley No, I don’t think so at all.  I think it was all just a matter of timing and scheduling.

Moderator We’d love to know who’s a better a kisser, Daren or Ken?

S. Woodley Oh, no, I can’t answer that question.  They’re both good kissers in their own way.

Moderator What made Amy propose to Ricky

S. Woodley I think there was a lot of pressure that she kind of put upon herself just because Adrian and Ben, their relationship is kind of progressing.  I think she wanted to prove to other people that her and Ricky were more committed.  I think she really proposed to him more to prove to others, than she did for herself.

Moderator How did you get started in acting?  Has it been something you’ve been doing since you were a child?

S. Woodley I was five and it was a complete accident.  Both my parents work in education and we thought it was a local theatre class because I wanted to be in a play, and apparently the agents came and sat in and called my mom and was like, “We want to represent Shai,” and my mom was like, “What’s an agent?”  We finally just learned as we progressed.  I had three rules growing up to stay in acting.  I had to stay kid they knew I was, stay good in school, and have fun.  As long as I met those three requirements, I could act.  So, instead of going to soccer practice, I went to auditions.

Moderator What direction would you like to see Amy go in?

S. Woodley I think that Amy has done a lot of growing over the past two years, especially over the past year.  I think that she’s kind of come into her own and become more of a woman, and accepted more responsibility and didn’t complain about it.  But, I think she has this need to prove to others that she’s happy and that Ricky and her are happy.  I would like to see Amy kind of be so secure with herself and so confident in her own personality and her beauty—I’m not talking about physical, I’m talking about emotional—beauty that she is able to live her life without feeling that she needs the approval from others.

Moderator You were talking before about cliques in high school, I’m wondering what you were like in high school and were you similar to Amy.

S. Woodley I was nothing like Amy.  I was kind of like the outgoing.  I was in leadership.  I was in charge pep rallies with some other friends.  I was really involved.  I was in choir.  I was in Key Club and Builder’s Club and all those clubs that you can imagine.  I loved school.  I loved the educational aspect of it, as well the social aspect of it.

I don’t know, I was never part of a clique.  I feel like I was the person—me and a few friends were kind of the people who liked bounced around between all the groups.  We were kind of like the mold.  I loved high school.  It was an amazing experience … there was progression.  As a freshman I was very insecure and not so set in stone about where I wanted to be in life and who I was.  Then, by senior year I feel like I totally did that transition into—I don’t want to say a woman because I don’t ever want to be a woman.  I want to be a kid forever, but—I made that transition into maturity, I guess.

Moderator Why should people tune into the season premiere of Secret Life?

S. Woodley There’s going to be a lot of surprises.  I know that we’ve been advertising the proposal, but there’s obviously the reaction from that.  We need to know what he says.  I think people will want to know why she proposes to him.  As well as, with the other characters there’s just a lot going on there.  Ben and Adrian’s relationship, they really kind of step it up notch, I think people will want to see that.  Then, there’s the relationship between the parents, so there’s a lot going on.

Moderator In what ways does Secret Life show the consequences of intimacy?

S. Woodley I think that Secret Life shows what can happen if you’re not careful and what can happen if you’re not prepared and not educated.  Obviously, there’s the pregnancy.  Obviously, there’s broken hearts.  There’s the pregnancy and there’s physical things that can happen.  It is dangerous to do things without being educated and without being so pressured just because you could invite things into your body that you don’t want to invite, but there’s also the emotional side of intimacy, which is connection and doing something and then not seeing that person.

With Amy obviously, she got pregnant from Ricky, but there’s an emotional connection of, “Oh my gosh, this guy thinks I’m attractive.  This guy’s interested in me and now he’s not.  What’s wrong with me?”  I think a lot of girls do that.  I think a lot of girls get into situations and do certain things and then afterwards when it doesn’t fulfill their expectations or it doesn’t turn out the way they expected it to have turned out, then emotionally their broken.  Emotionally they start questioning themselves and questioning what’s wrong with them.  I think it’s important to know that no matter how a situation happens or ends up, you are an incredible human being, regardless.  I think we kind of show that it’s smart to wait to be with somebody who you know you’re going to be comfortable around and you know who is going to treat you respectively.

Moderator How would you compare Secret Life to other shows about teen pregnancy like, Teen Mom?

S. Woodley I don’t think that there’s any way to compare them, just because their two completely different shows.  Teen Mom is obviously a reality show.  To be completely honest, I don’t own a television so I haven’t really watched ….  They’re totally different.  Secret Life is scripted.  I don’t know enough about Teen Mom to really compare them, but it is a reality show so they’re very different.

Moderator I wondered if Amy still has feelings for Ben and how she’s dealing with his engagement or planned engagement to Adrian.

S. Woodley I assume that Amy still has feelings for Ben just because he was there for her for so long and helped her out in so many ways.  However, I know that she loves Ricky and I know that she wants to be with Ricky.  I think it’s the same for most relationships.  Like even after you break up, you still have feelings for that person because you devoted so much of your life and your energy to that person.  Just because, Amy, I think still loves Ben and would do anything for him as a human being, I don’t think she necessarily wants to be with him again.  But, I’m sure on the same note, it’s probably hard for her to see him moving on because I think it’s hard for anyone to see an ex moving on.

Moderator How did the teen mom program in New York change Amy?

S. Woodley I think that being involved with so many other girls who were going through the same thing that she was going through really opened up her eyes to the fact that she’s not alone.  I think it really grew her up in a lot of ways because she didn’t have the right really to complain anymore because she wasn’t the only one going through and she actually has it pretty good.  She has parents who, even though it’s hard on them they support her and they help her out.  She has Ricky now, the father of her child who’s there for her, when so many girls don’t have either of those options.  I think it opened her eyes to realm of possibilities and let her know that this is how it might be a tribulation right now, but they’ll get through it and her life is ultimately going to be phenomenal.

Moderator When you first read the script for the show, what was it about Amy that appealed to you and about the character?

S. Woodley The character appealed to me because she was different from all of those glamorous— I love Gossip Girl.  I think it’s entertaining.  I think it’s awesome, but I don’t think a lot of people can relate to it because I don’t think a lot of people are able to live those lifestyles.  I think Amy’s character really appealed to me because not only was her life going through all of these difficulties, but she lives in a household where her parents were getting divorced and fighting and where her sister wasn’t the easiest person to get along with.

I thought it was kind of important to show girls across the U.S. as well as across the world that you’re not alone.  My parents got divorced and even though it was a very healthy, great divorce, it still is difficult as a young child.  I think that it’s important for kids to be able to tune into show where they can relate to the character.  I think Amy is very relatable for a lot of people.

Moderator Do you have other projects you’re working on or anything else coming up that you could talk about?

S. Woodley I’m not working on anything right now.  I worked on a movie last year and that is going to—actually, we just got … yesterday.  It’s going to premiere December 16th.

Moderator What’s that for?

S. Woodley It’s called The Descendants.

Moderator I was wondering what it’s like working with Secret’s Life newest cast member, Beverley Mitchell?

S. Woodley Oh, Beverley Mitchell’s awesome.  I don’t get to work with her too often just because we don’t have many scenes together, but she’s really great.  She’s super sweet and it’s cool to see her back on set just because she knows all the crew members because she worked with everyone on 7th Heaven.  She’s great.  She’s really professional and really nice and sweet.  It’s great to have her on.

Moderator We’ve been following a lot about your new movie that you were just talking about, The Descendants.  Can you tell us a little bit more about your character in the movie?

S. Woodley My character in the movie’s name is Alex and she’s a bit different from Amy.  She was kind of the trouble maker.  She did drugs and drank a lot in high school and was sent to a boarding school to kind of clean her up and get her act together.  Throughout the movie, she kind of progresses into this incredible person.  She’s kind of one of those girls—she’s comes off as rough around the edges, but deep down she has a heart of gold.  She helps her dad kind of become a dad and she helps grow up her little sister.  I don’t know, it’s really great to see that transition of a hard tough teenager to young adult, like soft kind of woman.

Moderator What are Amy’s plans for after high school?

S. Woodley After high school I know that Amy I think would love to go to college just because she loves to learn, she loves to be informed and she loves to know what’s going on in the world.  But, she does have a son and she’s dating Ricky so I think it might be possible for her to be a stay-at-home mom for a while, while Ricky goes to college.  But, ultimately I think Amy’s dream would be for both of them to be able to go to college and both of them embark in incredible career paths.

Moderator What’s stopping Amy from having sex with Ricky again, other than obviously the fact that they had a baby last time?

S. Woodley I think she’s being smart about it and intelligent this time.  I think that she’s taking the appropriate precautions because Ricky has been with a lot of girls.  I know that she wants to ask him to make sure that—maybe get tested to make sure that there’s no danger involved in it to her own body or there’s no risks.  I think that emotionally standing she wants to be sure that he wants to be with her for her and not just for the physical benefits.

Moderator So, Amy proposed to Ricky, I’m wondering what your perfect marriage proposal would be.  How would it play out?

S. Woodley It would definitely have to be outdoors, just because I live for the outdoors.  It would have to be outside.  I don’t know, I don’t really enjoy big things, so I think some kind of small amazing—like maybe on a beautiful hike near a waterfall or something like that.  Something that is very connected to nature would be the perfect proposal for me.

Moderator What do you do when Secret Life is on hiatus?

S. Woodley I try to never be in L.A.  I love to travel.  It’s one of my biggest passions.  Hawaii is kind of like a home to me.  I absolutely adore it there.  Whenever I have time off I’m either in Hawaii or backpacking somewhere in the world.  A few hiatus’s ago I moved to New York for a few months and lived out there.  Last August, we had a month off and my friend and I went backpacking through Europe and stayed in hostels and stuff, so I don’t know, anything that has to do with being active.

Moderator How do you think Secret Life is different than  other shows about kids in high school for instance, Gossip Girl and 90210?

S. Woodley I think it’s different because like I said earlier, Gossip Girl and 90210, they’re very entertaining.  They have a lot going on, but I don’t think they’re very relatable to a lot of girls or boys for that manner of that demographic … that age just in the sense that not everyone can throw a ball on every Friday night and wear fancy designer dresses and go dance.

I think those shows are really awesome and fun to kind of fantasize and watch, but I think Secret Life is more realistic.  Just in sense that it deals with issues that everyday high school students have to deal with.  Also, the clothes they wear and the school and the … I think are more general, general as far as realistic like what teens are actually going through.

Moderator Are you and George Clooney from The Descendants bff’s now?  What was it like working with him?

S. Woodley Well, we’re not bff’s, but he’s a really phenomenal human being.  He is so down to earth I cannot even tell you.  You would never think that he was the sexiest man alive twice, because he’s just so down to earth and so normal.  He’s super professional.  He shows up to work on time.  He knows his lines.  He is an incredible actor.  Every single take was just outstanding.  He’s super intelligent.  He knows everything about everything, whether it has to do with politics or movies or—he just knows everything.  He’s like an encyclopedia.  He’s hilarious.  He is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my entire life, if not the funniest.

Moderator What’s your favorite music?

S. Woodley Bands, I don’t know, I have a lot of favorites.  I like a lot of older music, I love Simon and Garfunkel.  I love The Beatles; they’re always on my iPod.  But, I also like newer bands like, Arcade Fire, Blue Foundation, Animal Collective and then E3.  I love like Aretha Franklin.  I don’t know, my musical range is so broad.

Moderator Will Amy’s parent’s separation be hard on her?

S. Woodley I think it’s going to be hard on any child whose parents are separating, but I think that Amy wants ultimately what’s best for her parents, so she’ll support them in that.  But, I think, yeah, I think it’s definitely going to be a little bit tricky for her even if she doesn’t express it.

Moderator Can Amy trust Ricky not to cheat?

S. Woodley I think that’s why she’s waiting to sleep with him.  Because, she wants to for sure know that he is committed to her and only her.  I think she does trust him right now.  I think she trusts him just because—I don’t know, they have a really special connection and I think she just feels like she can trust him.  So, yes, I think she does.

Moderator What do you think is the most difficult part of portraying a teenage mother?

S. Woodley I guess the most difficult part would be that I’m not a teenage mother.  Sometimes people will come up to me in my normal life and be like, “Oh, my gosh, I love Secret Life.  I just had a baby.  I’m 19.  Do you have advice?”  I’m like, “Well, actually I just read the lines.  I’m not really pregnant.  I don’t know what to tell you.”  So, that’s— I mean, that’s kind of a silly one.  There isn’t really anything hard about it now because I’ve kind of … myself in it, but in the beginning in Season 1, I did a lot of research as far as the physical aspects of being pregnant and how you hold yourself and how you carry yourself.  But, emotionally I just pretended like I was in that situation and how I would react as Shailene.

 

Moderator Let’s say you were Brenda Hampton and you wrote the script.  How would you change it and what direction would you go in?

S. Woodley I really love everything that’s Brenda’s done.  I think being so many seasons along there has been so many ups and downs and changes.  I think it’s been great.  Everyone has kind of come into their own and I really like what she’s done with the relationships.  I don’t think I would change anything.  I really love seeing what happens each week.  We get the scripts a week in advance, so we read them and it’s like we’re watching the show because it’s new to us.  It’s a surprise every week.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Five (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

December 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Five” (the first half of season three) features better writing and the much needed addition and utilization of more characters.  Thus breathing new life into the series.   Definitely give this third season of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” a try!

Images courtesy of © ABC Family. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Five

DURATION: 602 minutes (14 episodes)

DVD INFORMATION: NTSC, Region 1, Widescreen (1:78:1), NTSC, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

RATED: TV 14 DSLV (Parental Discretion Advised)

COMPANY: abc family

RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2010

Created by Brenda Hampton

Directed by Keith Truesdell, Anson Williams and Gail Bradley

Written by Brenda Hampton, Elaie Arata, Jeffrey Rodgers, Jeff Olsen, Chris Olsen

Executive Producer: Brenda Hampton

Producer: Hrag Gaboudian, Lindsley Parsons III

Consulting Producer: Paul Perlove, Chris Olsen, Jeff Olsen, Jeffrey Rodgers

Music by Dan Foliart

Cinematography by Ronald E. high

Edited by Janet Weinberg and Ellen Ring Jacobson

Casting by Peter Pappas, Ken Miller, Nikki Valko

Production Design by Michael DiMeo

Set Decoration by Joanne Baker

Costume Design by Sherry Thompson, Sharon Sampson

Starring:

Shailene Woodley as Amy Juergens

Kenny Baumann as Benjamin “Ben” Boykewich

Francia Raisa as Adrian Lee

Megan Park as Grace Kathleen Bowman

Darren Kagasoff as Rickey Underwood

Greg Finley II as Jack Pappas

Renee Olstead as Madison Cooperstein

Camille Winbush as Lauren Treacy

Steve Schirripa as Leo Boykewich

Mark Derwin as George Juergens

Molly Ringwald as Anne Juergens

India Eisley as Ashley Juergens

Josie Bissett as Kathleen Bowman

Luke Zimmerman as Tom Bowman

Amy Rider as Alice Balko

Allen Evangelista as Henry Miller

Phillip Anthony-Rodriguez as Ruben Enriquez

Paolo Turbay as Cindy Lee

Jennifer coolidge as Betty

Joseph/Matthew Levinson as John

Kathy Kinney as Bunny

Brando Eaton as Griffin

Grant Harvey as Grant

Andrew McFarlane as Jason

Austin Stowell as Jesse

Reid Scott as Dr. Jeff Zegay

Mayim Bialik as Dr. Wilameena Bink

Michele Krusiec as Emily

Teen mom Amy Juergens (Shailene Woodley) juggles the dueling demands of her baby boy and high school in the hit ABC Family original drama, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Facing crumbling family ties, life‐defining decisions and shifting relationships, Amy and her friends confront the intensity and insecurities of adolescence with spirit and humor in a poignant portrait of modern life. Parents and teens alike will find heartening insights and hours of entertainment in this groundbreaking television series.Adolescence is tough enough without having to worry about being a single parent.

Adolescence is tough enough without having to worry about being a single parent. Teen mom Amy Juergens (Shailene Woodley) juggles the dueling demands of her baby boy and high school in the hit ABC Family original drama, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Facing crumbling family ties,life‐defining decisions and shifting relationships, Amy and her friends confront the intensity and insecurities of adolescence with spirit and humor in a poignant portrait of modern life. Parents and teens alike will find heartening insights and hours of entertainment in this groundbreaking television series.

Back in 2008, the critically acclaimed ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” received a lot of attention during its first season as the series took on the challenges of teenage pregnancy. Showing us the ramifications of being pregnant as a young teen but also the responsibilities and difficult choices one needs to make as a single mother and also showcasing the challenges of teenage sexuality and peer pressure.

By the second season, the series would focus on single mother Juergens (played by Shailene Woodley) having to attend high school but also raise a son.  To make thing difficult, her parents have divorced and her own mother Anne (played by Molly Ringwald) became pregnant (one night stand with her ex-husband) and thus, mom became a mother as well.  Needless to say, the Juergens family have had their ups and downs.

But the series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” is about the challenges of being a teenager and thus the series would focus on various teenagers such as Ben Boykewich (played by Kenny Baumann), the son of the sausage king Leo Boykewich (played by Steve Schirripa).  Ben loves Amy Juergens and even though she has a child, he would do anything for her.  The problem is that Amy is busy with her own child and maintaining a peaceful relationship with her son’s father Ricky Underwood (played by Daren Kagasoff).  Meanwhile, she has a younger sister named Ashley (played by India Eisley) who acts very mature for her age but is now at the age where she is becoming more attracted to boys and curious about sex.

Other teenagers include the Christian student and cheerleader Grace Bowman (played by Megan Park) being pressured to have sex by her then boyfriend, jock Jack Pappas (played by Greg Finley).  And as hard as she tried to stay a virgin, her first time was memorable but not in a good way as her father was killed in an airplane crash.  Now, she and her mother Kathleen (played by Josie Bissett) and her mentally disabled brother Tom (played by Luke Zimmerman) try to continue on as a family.

For Adrian Lee (played by Francia Raisa), she has lived life having promiscuous sex.  Primarily with Ricky Underwood, the father of Amy Juergens baby and a young man who has had problems having sex with other girls as a way to relieve his stress (suffered at a young age due to his irresponsible parents).  While both have a strong sexual connection, they are not romantically connected.  Adrian is always on the prowl and as for Ricky, he wants to become a better person but most of all, to take responsibility and share parenting duties for his son John and to be cool with Amy.

The second season began with Amy wanting to raise the child on her own but depending too much on her mother Anne to help her out.  Anne (played by Molly Ringwald) is strict and wants Amy to learn that having a baby has major challenges and to make things complicated, Anne is pregnant herself and not knowing if the father is her ex-husband George (played by Mark Derwin) or her new boyfriend.

In volume four of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, we have seen Amy Juergens having an on and off relationship with Ben.  Things weren’t going so well with them and with Adrian, she felt more lonely as Ricky was starting to become more of a father and spending more time with his son’s mother Amy.  As Adrian became more jealous of Ricky and Amy spending more time with each other, the same feeling was shared by Ben and sure enough, to spite the people they love, the two had a sexual encounter.  For Adrian, it was a form of revenge.  For Ben, a one night stand that shouldn’t have happened.

But fortunately for Ben, he told the truth to Amy who forgave him for what he did.  And the two looked as if they were on “Cloud 9″ again.

As for Grace, her mother has remarried a doctor nine months after the death of her father and she and Tom have resentment towards their mother for remarrying so quickly.  She has had feelings for Ricky and now having some interest in Ben.

For Ricky, we began to see more of him becoming more mature and responsible for his child.  And as for Jack, he started to become closer to Amy’s friend Madison Cooperstein (played by Renee Olstead).

As for Adrian, her father Ruben has remarried her mother Cindy.  But she notices some changes within her and she realizes that she is now pregnant and the last boy she has been with is Ben.

For “The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Five” (the first half of season 3), the storyline now focuses on Adrian as she is pregnant but telling everyone around her that she had her period.  Now she struggles to whether or not she will have a baby or have an adoption.

Meanwhile, Ben who has found out that Adrian is pregnant is worried that with his relationship going extremely well with Amy, she will hate him when she finds out that Adrian is pregnant with his baby.  And he finds himself even more confused as he wants to be responsible as a father for Adrian’s baby, showing his love for Amy Juergens but also having this fling with Grace Bowman… Ben is in a weird position and he’s not dealing with it well.  And it makes him even more jumpier and jealous when he sees Ricky becoming more interested towards Amy.

As for Amy, she has been accepted to a trip to New York City for her skill as a musician.  With her dreams of trying to enter Juilliard, none of her family and friends want to tell her the bad news that Ben got Adrian pregnant.  And because of this, can Amy ever become close with Ben again?  But how will she deal with her emotions, especially when her son’s father, Ricky wants to get closer to her?  Who will she choose?

And for Ricky, he has dedicated himself to being there for his son and not be anything like his birth parents.  Because Amy is in New York City, he will be staying with the Juergens family temporarily but with Ashley now grown up and starting to take a liking towards Ricky, will his sexual impulses lead him towards getting close to Ashley, the sister of Amy, the mother of his child?

For Jack, his father is offered a job in Arizona, many hours away and if he takes the job, his father can only take his mother and so, they are hoping Jack can find someone to stay with for a year.  Jack wants to stay back home and with his friends and hopes he can find a place to stay.  But when he chooses to live with Tom Bowman without his family knowing, will it get him in trouble?

The main characters/teenagers of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” are:

Amy Juergens (Shailene Woodley) – A teenager who is a musician but is learning firsthand of the difficulties of being a single mother.  She is trying to keep a parenting relationship with her son’s father Ricky while she has a relationship with Ben.  But as a single mother, she realizes the difficulties of being a mother and how much responsibility that she must deal with.  She hopes to enter Juilliard as a musician.

Ashley Juergens (India Eisley) – The younger sister of Amy who is very mature for her age and is often the person who plays referee to her mother and father when they are bickering.  But as she gets older, she becomes more curious about sex and with Ricky coming over often, she starts to become interested in him.  And also getting closer to a guy named Grant, the cousin of her gay best friend Griffin.

Benjamin “Ben” Boykewich (Kenny Baumann) – A teenager who is Amy’s boyfriend and will do anything for her. His father is “the sausage king” and his mother died several years ago. He loves Amy Juergens and will do all he can for her.  But sometimes he makes irresponsible decisions which are sure to get him in trouble.

Rickey Underwood (Darren Kagasoff) – Rickey is the father of Amy’s baby. He has had a sexual relationship with Adrian but he has no connection with her, as opposed to Adrian who has an emotional connection with him.  He has been seeing counseling for his anger issues (which he uses sex to make him feel better) after it was revealed that he was molested as a child.

Adrian Lee (Francia Raisa) – Very intelligent but somehow strayed in the wrong path and is a flirt who engages in sex with different guys. She is a majorette and always wonders who her real father is. She sleeps with Rickey and believes that a bad girl deserves a bad boy like him. She has slept with Grace Bowman’s boyfriend Jack and had revenge sex with Ben because she was upset at Ricky spending too much time with Amy.

Grace Kathleen Bowman (Megan Park) – A devoted Christian and cheerleader who hit hard times after the death of her father.  She tends to put herself in a position where she wants to help all her friends and get into their business which irritates others.

Jack Pappas (Greg Finley II) - A football player who can’t get his mind off sex, once dated Grace and has had an off and on-relationship with her. He’s a son of the pastor and is now dating Madison Cooperstein.

Madison Cooperstein (Renee Olstead) and Lauren Treacy (Camille Winbush) are Amy’s best friends. They also can’t keep a secret and are often bickering with each other.  Madison is dating Jack and is often jealous when he’s talking to other girls.    Lauren is dating Jack’s friend.

Henry Miller (Allen Evangelista) and Alice Valko (Amy Rider) are a romantic couple and friends of Ben. Alice is very smart and very analytical but she is very good when hearing Ben out and giving intelligent advice to him.

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Five” DVD comes with a total of 14 episodes on three DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 48 – Do Over – Adrian tells Ben that she isn’t pregnant and Ben is relieved since his relationship with Amy is going perfect.  Meanwhile, Jack’s parents are moving to Arizona only if Jack can find a place to stay.
  • EPISODE 49 – Accentuate the Positive – Adrian starts to have morning sickness, meanwhile Amy is offered a once in a lifetime trip to New York City.  Meanwhile, Ashley finds out that Adrian is pregnant.
  • EPISODE 50 – Get Out of Town – Ben tells his father that Adrian is pregnant and Amy finds out that the trip to New York actually takes place the following day and that she must decide if she’s going to leave or not.
  • EPISODE 51 – Goodbye, Amy Juergens – Adrian’s parents find out that she is pregnant but Adrian’s mother supports abortion while her father doesn’t and puts a strain on her parent’s marriage.  Tom looks for a job and needs to take a drug test but when Jack finds brownies in the fridge, he doesn’t know that the brownies have marijuana in them and Tom is worried that he may fail the drug test.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 52 - Which Way Did She Go? – With Amy in New York, rumors circulate throughout the school that Amy is gone because she’s pregnant again.  Meanwhile, Amy is a bit scared about being in New York and Jack stays with Tom at the guest house without his mother and Grace knowing. (Special guest: Bristol Palin)
  • EPISODE 53 – She Went That A’way - Adrian meets Ricky’s mother at the clinic and decides that she will not abort the child.  Meanwhile, Ashley tells Anne and George about Adrian’s pregnancy and the family struggles whether or not to tell Amy.
  • EPISODE 54 – New York, New York - Anne and George are worried that Ashley is falling for Ricky.  Meanwhile, Ben and his father fly to New York as Ben knows he needs to tell Amy the truth about Adrian’s pregnancy.  Also, Ricky’s birth mother pays him a visit.
  • EPISODE 55 – The Sound of Silence - Ben is becoming moody since Amy doesn’t talk to him.  Meanwhile, Ricky asks Ruben for a favor that deals with his mother and Ruben asks Ricky a favor that involves his daughter Adrian.
  • EPISODE 56 – Chicken Little - Grace tries to play matchmaker and set her friend Peter with Griffin and has a date with Griffin’s cousin Grant.  Meanwhile, Ricky and Adrian try to become friends again.  Ashley is becoming heartbroken that Ricky is not noticing her.

DISC 3:

  • EPISODE 57 – My Girlfriend’s Back - It’s the last day of school and Ben worries that Amy doesn’t care about him anymore.  Meanwhile, Ricky wants to get closer with Amy and discuss a possibility of becoming a couple.
  • EPISODE 58 – Lady Liberty – After Ben finds out from Ashley that Ricky is trying to be together with Amy, an altercation between both Ben and Ricky gets Ben fired from his job.  Anne and George announce big news in regards to their rekindling of their relationship.  Ben and Adrian scheme again to hurt Ricky and Amy.
  • EPISODE 59 – Sweet and Sour – Friends and family realize they forgot about Amy’s birthday.  Meanwhile, Ben wants to make things right with Adrian.
  • EPISODE 60 – Up All night – Amy questions Ricky about him wanting to have a relationship with her.  Meanwhile, Ben spends a night at Adrian’s home.
  • EPISODE 61 – Rules of Engagement – Jealous of her sister, Ashley wants Ricky to have sex with her.  Anne and George’s relationship takes another turn, as with Amy and Ricky’s friendship.

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume 5″ is presented in widescreen (1:78:1) and for the most part, the picture quality is satisfactory for this drama series. Also, it helps that the series features various settings, including multiple outdoor shots which definitely makes the PQ for the DVD much better.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The series is front and center channel driven, dialogue is clear and understandable and music comes out quite clear from the front channels. The series is not the type of series that utilizes special effects or the use of the surround channels but if you have a modern home theater receiver and a 5.1 or 7.2 setup, definitely worth selecting audio on all channels on the receiver for a more immersive soundscape.

Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Five” comes with a few special features on disc three. Included are:

  • On Set with Director Anson Williams - (4:56) Mikaela interviews director Anson Williams.  Discussing working on “Happy Days” and working on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”.
  • On Set Fist Bumps with Joey and Matthew - (2:12) Shailene Woodley and Ken Baumann introduce Joseph and Matthew Levinson who play Amy and Ricky’s son John and their mother.
  • On Set with Shailene – (3:08) Mikaela interviews Shailene Woodley and how she was doing a dual role of working on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and doing the film “The Descendants” (with George Clooney).  Also, how Shailene worked at retail when she moved to New York City.
  • On Set with Luke – (1:17) Mikaela interviewing Luke Zimmerman about being on the show and the various sports he takes part in and working with Megan Park (who plays Grace Bowman).

EXTRAS:

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager – Volume Five” comes with a slip cover case.

I have been a big supporter of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and I have to admit that the latter half of the second season, I felt the writers let people down.

One of the biggest problems the series faced  was that it is becoming to mundane as sex is the storyline that seems to have consumed each episode.  Which was not the problem, the problem was that for the six main characters, each of these characters were focused on so much that because sex is the main storyline, everyone was having or trying to have sex with each other.  Ricky had a one night stand with Amy and because of that, they are parents.  Ricky has had a long sexual relationship with the promiscuous Adrian, then Ricky has went on to target Grace Bowman and now Amy’s sister Ashley wants to have sex with Ricky.

As for Adrian?  She’s had sex with Ricky, she’s had sex with Jack, she’s had sex with Ben.  Although Grace is more of the disciplined Christian girl, she had sex with Jack, she had a fling with Ricky and now she’s interested in Ben.

Part of the problem the series faced was that by focusing too much on the six characters and not bringing in any others, the latter half of the second season became too ridiculous, frustrating and the only way they were gong to get out of it was by utilizing the other characters that have been on the show since day 1 (Amy’s two best friends) and by introducing new characters to the show.

So, the good news was that for season three, the writers did start to incorporate more characters into the show.  First off, there is more utilization of Renee Olstead (Madison Cooperstein) and Camille Winbush (Lauren Treacy).  I have to admit that at first, I felt it was odd that Jack and his jock buddy were dating Madison and Lauren (because these characters were typically used as gossiping best friends of Amy) and also, I felt the chemistry was off between these new couples.  Although, I’m still waiting to see more of Allen Evangelist who plays the character Henry and Amy Rider who plays the character Alice, both are Ben’s friends and were used more in season one, in season three…we see them just a few times and I enjoyed how they were utilized in the first season more.  But I do like how the newer characters Griffin, Grant and Peter are being utilized.  And there are more newer characters that have been featured this season thus far and that is a positive.

It’s interesting to note that Shailene Woodley has less of a role in this first half of season three as she was in New York filming a movie with George Clooney (titled “The Descendants”) but we do see the character of Amy Juergens appear in most of the episodes.  Possibly the most shocking character change was with Ken Baumann’s character of Ben Boykewich.

In the beginning, we rooted for him because he was the sarcastic underdog.  But now, the writers really made him to be confused and almost a jerk.   It’s going to be interesting to see how writers deal with Ben.   Continue the same path or make him even darker or depressed because he’s losing Amy.   Personally, I have no idea where the character of Ben is going but there is potential in his storyline to really make things darker or return to the much happier yet sarcastic character like he was in the first season and part of the second season.

If anything, shows such as “Beverly Hills 90210″ had their main core characters but were always good at utilizing other newer characters once or several times and building upon that.  Last season, writers seemed as if they were force to having the main six characters become too close with each other (actually characters having too much fun with each other sexually) that the storyline was beginning to suffer and becoming too kitschy.  I was so close to giving up on the series.  But fortunately, the first half of season three was much more entertaining and changes that the show needed, were done.  More storyline involving the older characters but having them interact with newer characters and characters who have been there since the beginning.

I also enjoyed the series utilizing more of Luke Zimmerman (Tom Bowman) who is actually becoming one of the characters that I look forward to seeing more because he is well-utilized in the series.  Mentally disabled but yet giving the opportunity to act more lines and using the character in a more.   The character of Tom and the exchange between he and Jack are pretty fun and hilarious.  So, it’s great to see the writers utilizing more of Tom and hope they continue with that.

Also, when it comes to the parents of the show, I’m glad the storylines have been interesting and not dull.   I definitely enjoyed the storyline with Anne and George, Ruben and Cindy, Kathleen and Jeff, Leo and Betty.  As well as the other adults they have brought into the series (from Ben and Ricky’s boss to having Ricky’s troublesome mother return).

So far, season 3 is starting off well and its good to see the writers exploring Ricky and Amy, Ben and Adrian but most of all, the unknown right now is the character of Ashley.  We have seen Ashley as mature and good at controlling her emotions but as she starts to have feelings for Ricky, especially becoming more and more jealous, it’s going to be interesting to see how writers take advantage of this.  If there is one thing I do not want to see is any other character getting pregnant.  If anything, these friends should have learned from Amy and now Adrian of the challenges of being a single teen mother, the difficult choices that need to be made, etc.

I also believe in tragedy or something bad coming up.   Right now, the bad tings that are happening is primarily hurt feelings.  Ashley’s character or Adrian and Ben reacting to Ricky and Amy getting closer.  But I do believe that the writers will need to tackle more of the darker aspects of teenage life.   In season 2, it was about Grace Bowman’s father dying in an accident and that was a shock.  But its about time something happens to one of the teens… something is bound to happen, may the writers touch upon bullying, rape, drunk driving, abuse or something not so happy, I do believe that the writers need to touch upon that aspect of the teenage storyline and not focus too much on teenage pregnancy.  It worked for season one and it works for season three (considering how promiscuous Adrian’s character is, it was an easy path for writers to gravitate to).

Overall, the writers of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” were smart and stepped outside of the box by bringing in new characters, utilizing other characters more and showing us the potential of other storylines that can develop with the core six and the friends and family around them.  So, I’m happy to say that after getting frustrated with the latter half of season two, the writers have pulled me in and I am enjoying the third season thus far.  Let’s hope that writers have something surprising or shocking for the second half of the season.

if you enjoyed previous seasons of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”,  volume 5 is recommended!

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