I've Never Seen "The Secret Life Of The American Teenager," So I Watched The Pilot And Finale And Nothing In Between

    Welcome back to First Episode/Last Episode — this week we're diving into The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

    first episode last episode header

    Here's everything I know about the show: It stars Shailene Woodley of Divergent and Big Little Lies fame. She accidentally gets pregnant! And honestly, that's all I know regarding the plot — other than that TikTok has pointed out some pretty cringey writing or acting from certain scenes in the show.

    promo still the secret life of the american teenager

    Without further ado, I am thrilled to jump into this one. Let's do this.

    the pilot

    First, we open up with Shailene getting home from band practice. There's some really choice instrumental music in the background here. Very '90s feel-good family show vibes.

    amy: "like let's be real is pot roast anyone's favorite?"

    As her mom yammers on about dinner, her daughter ~sneaks~ into the bathroom.

    amy's mom in kitchen making poor taste joke about kim jong II

    And lo and behold, she has a pregnancy test! A lot is happening in the first 60 seconds of this show.

    amy: "god mom shut up about he pot roast i am dealing with a situation over here"

    Then we cut to school the next day. I just need to note that "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne is playing in the background as Shailene walks through the halls of her high school, which is an upgrade from the cheesy '90s piano music.

    amy wandering school halls with overextended side part

    Now the attention is turned toward this blonde girl and her jock boyfriend. Is she the ~Queen B~ of this school? I get mean-girl vibes from her. And a little bit of Ashley Tisdale flair.

    grace and jack in hallway

    Meanwhile, Shailene (OMG, I haven't caught her character's name yet) blurts to her BFFs that she *whispers* HAD SEX.

    amy saying i had sex

    I don't know who this friend group is, but two-sweater boy over here has a thing for Grace Bowman the Blonde — who is a Christian and not a mean popular girl, as I assumed.

    ben wearing 2 sweaters in school hall

    Anyway, his friend is like, "My dude, you aren't getting with Grace," and he's like, "Okay, well, who WOULD get with me?" And then she points to Shailene.

    ben saying she's kinda cute who is that

    Meanwhile, Shailene tells her friends this guy lasted two seconds.

    shailene expressing sex was not that great

    Then we cut back to these clowns who MAKE A BET to see if sweater guy can get with Shailene. I MEAN!!! Have these children not SEEN 10 Things I Hate About You?

    ben wearing his ultimate drip

    Even though Shailene told her friends the guy didn't go to her school...IT'S ACTUALLY THIS DOUCHEBAG. Literally all the high school guys are terrible in this show.

    ricky being douchebag in hallway

    Meanwhile, this weasel is trying to figure out a way to sleep with his girlfriend (aka Christian Grace) after she told him she committed to a promise ring!!! I'm trying to figure out names and I think his name is Jack.

    jack convincing grace to have sex because god created loopholes

    Sweater boy, who I think is called Ben, ends up going to the guidance counselor's office to try to switch into band to get closer to Shailene (aka Amy). He's very desperate.

    ben in office asking to join band

    After school, we meet Amy's sister at the dinner table, who's being slut-shamed by her entire family for wearing a crop top!!!!

    amy's sister: "showing my bellybutton means i wanna have sex?"

    We cut to the boy Amy slept with (Ricky), who was acting kind of like a dick at first. We see he's in therapy. The writers have humanized him a bit with a really awful backstory about his abusive dad.

    ricky's counselor/therapist

    To cope, he enjoys getting with as many girls as he can. He also sort of blows off his therapist, who's only trying to help!!

    ricky in therapy

    Now it's time for the football game!!! Which...never gets shown! Except there's a very awkward pep talk in the locker room by Jack, who tells us how tempting women are and asks God not to lead him astray???? Cool.

    jack leading pep talk before football game

    It seemed like Grace was going to have a hard time getting people to her Christian party, but apparently THE WHOLE SCHOOL WENT AFTER THE GAME?? Also, I guess Grace is a cheerleader and Jack is a football player, and the whole team came. Anyway, Ben asked Amy on a date to this Christian party. Which is...essentially just a school dance.

    ben and amy at school dance/church event thing

    It's kind of rude that Ricky's friends are literally spying on his date????

    ben's friends spying on him with weird piece of spy equipment that looks like a suction cup

    Anyway, Ben leaves and Amy's friends are like, "WE HAVE A GREAT IDEA! Just start dating Ben and tell him the baby is his after you have sex with him!" NO FLAWS IN THIS PLAN.

    amy's friends telling her to have sex with ben and tell him it's his baby not rickys

    Points are made.

    amy's friend telling her he's an only child and his family has money

    Even better points are made.

    amy's friends telling her she doesn't want to have bad sex for the rest of her life

    The clueless Ricky appears and talks to Amy. Only, it's one-sided because Amy SAYS NOTHING AND ONLY NODS. Then he's like, "Hey, help me get with Grace."

    ricky talking to amy at dance

    Ben — after realizing that he doesn't want to have sex with Amy as much as he wants to fall in love with her — swoops in and tells Ricky to kindly fuck off. Then Ben asks Amy to dance. It's a little sweet.

    ben and amy being awkward

    Grace and Ricky dance together, and he *knows* he is trouble.

    grace dancing with ricky

    Then!!! THEN! We jump to Jack and another girl, named Adrian, who is supposedly ~seductive~, and we learn that Jack had sex with her last night?!

    jack with adrian outside school dance

    But Adrian knows what she wants and was like, "It wasn't a mistake for me. Sorry you regret it because you have a girlfriend!"

    adrian telling jack you're not gonna get all christian on me are you

    And then Jack invites the Holy Spirit into the conversation.

    jack asks her to pray with him

    And gently loses his mind.

    jack says god loves you even if you're not a christian

    But *GASP* they end up kissing again!!!!! In the hallway!!! Outside of the dance where THE ENTIRE STUDENT BODY CURRENTLY RESIDES.

    jack and adrian kissing

    Grace's brother sees them and starts screaming for her, so naturally the entire student body (and the guidance counselor lol) comes out to find them standing there together. He didn't even yell that they were kissing! So it's a little dramatic.

    entire school looking at jack and adrian

    Meanwhile, Ben and Amy are literally the only two people left at the dance. Lol, the end!

    ben and amy dancing

    We open up with Shailene looking older and sleeker! She's also wearing black and looks sad, so...was there a funeral?

    amy dressed in all black

    HOLD ON. Amy and RICKY are getting married?!?!? Did they not just graduate from high school? Are they still in high school??

    amy thinking on marrying ricky

    OH MY GOD. No! The writers absolutely phoned this finale in, didn't they? We're just going to cut together clips from the ENTIRE SERIES AND CALL IT A FINALE?? I'm screaming. But I guess it's filling me in, so.

    ben with ring box proposing

    Listen, I'm in for a ride right now. First Ben proposes to Amy??? Then ADRIAN is pregnant with HIS CHILD??? What in the soap opera heckin' heck?

    ben saying adrian's pregnant and it's my baby

    Amy moved to New York??? Did she graduate from high school? I'm so lost.

    ricky arriving to new york

    But now she's with...Ricky??? And that's her son? And they live in New York?

    amy, her baby, and ricky having dinner

    And the flashbacks just keep coming!!! I'm sorry, Amy's dad LEFT MOLLY RINGWALD for GRACE'S MOM????? What!!!!

    grace's mom and amy's dad hugging

    I'm assuming Grace and Jack got back together after the whole Adrian scandal???

    grace upset


    grace saying if i hadn't had sex then he would still be alive

    Anyway, I guess Amy had her baby because here it is in yet another flashback!

    amy's baby

    I have whiplash from all these flashback scenes, but we're now in the present. The gang has just graduated from high school, and we get another locker scene where Ben is still pining for Amy.

    ben post graduation in hallway

    This is such an awkward goodbye scene. It's like...do they all hate each other? Are they just stiff? Or maybe they aren't as close friends with Amy as they used to be??? Because Amy mentions the wedding tomorrow and it *feels* like they are not invited?

    amy's old friends watching her and ricky in hallway after graduation

    LOL Jack is alive. Grace's dad is dead. What a roller coaster for me. Adrian and Grace are on good terms. Truly a ride.

    jack watching adrian and grace hug

    Grace and Jack walk off, so I guess they're on good terms too? Meanwhile, Amy and Ricky take their sweet time just...standing around in the hall after graduation.

    jack and grace walking away

    Ben comes up to them and is like, "Listen, she's not married until she says 'I do'!!!" Then Amy basically tells him to fuck off, so he does. WTF. Why are they so mean to Ben!!

    ben confronting ricky and amy

    Guess what? MORE FLASHBACKS!!! Apparently, Grace did not wait until marriage to have sex with Jack. And having sex with her did not, in fact, kill him.

    grace in bed with jack

    HOLD THE FUCK ON!!!! BEN AND ADRIAN GOT MARRIED?!?! LMAO why is this high school full of kids having babies and getting married!!!

    ben and adrian getting married

    We see that Adrian did get pregnant, but she somehow lost the baby. Which is very sad! This seems to have caused a rift between her and Ben. Are they still married??

    ben yelling she was my daughter too

    You guys, this finale is absolutely bonkers. After a very long flashback scene, we cut STRAIGHT INTO A RICKY-AMY fight??? Like, no buildup to this. Just...BAM. They're fighting! For what!

    amy and ricky abruptly mid-fight

    Ricky is still giving me "terrible person" vibes!!!!

    ricky yelling at amy

    Do we think this beats the Dawson–from–Dawson's Creek crying face?

    ricky ugly crying face

    For reference:

    dawson ugly crying face

    More flashbacks of Amy and Ricky's tumultuous relationship. But here we see that baby John is born! Aww.

    amy in hospital after birthing john

    Honestly, what a plot twist it would be if Amy just straight-up murdered Ricky, took baby John, and went on the run. Nobody would see that coming!!!! A truly unpredictable ending!!!

    amy asking ricky to be friends

    Anyway, the series ends with Amy deciding to go to New York. She'll leave John with Ricky for the summer (Why??), but before she leaves with her parents, she keeps changing her mind?! After a back-and-forth, she decides to go to New York. And we end with Ricky and John together. The end.

    ricky and john on couch
    final thoughts

    On behalf of the Secret Life fandom...I was honestly disappointed in that finale for you all!!!! It really felt as if no effort was put into it. Did you feel that way? I don't think I have any desire to watch it, considering that I just sat through a highlight reel during the finale! It was also just as cheesy as TikTok promised me it would be. The only questions I have: Did Ricky and Adrian actually get married and then divorced? How did Grace's dad die? Why did Molly Ringwald and Amy's father divorce, and how the heck did he get with Grace's MOM? Let me know in the comments below — and also let me know what show you'd like to see next!