The Wife:

It was too late into season one of Secret Life (or SLOTAT) for us to start recapping it when we launched this blog, but we’re going to try to give this sweet little show the attention it deserves for the second season. This episode revolved around pregnant Amy needing to learn how to take care of herself and her child, a lesson taught to her by her mother, Anne (Molly Ringwald), as though it were coming straight out of an “Are You Ready to Have a Child?” pamphlet at a women’s clinic. Amy wants an omelette, but Mama Ringwald won’t make it for her because if Amy is going to be responsible for herself and her child, she can’t be waited on hand and foot. Mama Ringwald also drops the bomb that, because of her impending divorce from her douchebag husband, she won’t be home to take care of her grandchild while Amy’s at school. She has to work to support her children, and this is exactly what she suggests her daughter do, too. Up until this point, Amy hadn’t really given much thought to the full costs of raising a child, expecting she’d be able to go on living her life, having her mom watch the baby during the day. But, nay, Amy, never expect that anyone but you will raise your child.

Thinking her mom’s decisions are ludicrous, Amy runs away to meet Ben for breakfast at a diner to take him up on his marriage offer. If her mom won’t help her raise the baby, then, by-gum, she’s going to do the most adult thing she possibly can do and get married! (Have fun paying taxes, Amy!) That decision is the catalyst for events in this episode. As a minor, Amy and Ben devise a scheme to get fake IDs. And by fake IDs I mean the fakest fake IDs I’ve ever seen. I’ve been told this show takes place in Idaho, and we all know that an out-of-state fake ID is the best fake ID. But, dudes, you’ve got to get an out of state fake ID that actually LOOKS LIKE THE ID FROM THAT STATE! Nevada’s IDs for those above the age of majority are vertical, rather than horizontal, and have a lovely backdrop of the Sierras. They are not flat blue and horizontal. Anyone at a quickie wedding chapel would know that was not a Nevada ID. But, hey, it’s SLOTAT. Fifteen-year-old girls think getting married is the best way to prove (to whom? Molly Ringwald?) that they’re responsible. Ben hooks everyone up with a guy at school who produces these fakey fake IDs, getting a deal on four IDs for himself, his bride-to-be, Henry and Ashley – so they’d have two witnesses for their small, private, quiet, illegal quickie ceremony.

Man, I hate a wedding with tons of uninvited guests . . .

Man, I hate a wedding with tons of uninvited guests . . .

Unfortunately for Ben and Amy, Fake ID Kid can’t keep his mouth shut and passes information about their impending nuptials along to every other character on the show. Ricky finds out (apparently, he’s a regular fake ID customer and just knows when shop’s open) and asks Grace to go to the wedding with him. Alice founds out from Jack (who got highlights over the break and randomly showed up at fake ID-making session and offered to drive Amy and Ben to their ceremony) and drags him to the wedding with her, insulted that Henry didn’t tell her. When Tom, Grace’s little brother with Down Syndrome, finds out that she’s going as Ricky’s date to the wedding, he insists that he takes his new girlfriend (who is also mentally challenged in some way or another) to the wedding, too, as a double date. Lauren gets a call from Ricky and she and her brother head to the school carwash to tell Madison, who is upset that Amy wouldn’t want the two of them to be co-Maids of Honor, so they, along with Lauren’s brother/Madison’s boyfriend, head in to get fake IDs, too. And then Adrian finds out from a carwash attendant, who overheard everyone else talking about it, and immediately calls Grace and drags her out of her curlers to get a fake ID along with her.

So, after Amy and Ben trick Mama Ringwald into letting Henry and Ashley go on a double date with them, they head off to the quickie wedding chapel, only to be met by the faces of everyone they know, happy to share in their misguided notion that getting secret quickie married at fifteen will solve all of their problems. This is probably the most ridiculous of any SLOTAT episode so far, but despite it basically being a 15-minute fake ID sequence, I felt, as I always will, that Ben’s decision to marry this crazy, dead-eyed pregnant fifteen-year-old girl was the best decision his little band geek heart could ever make. I just wish the Sausage King had been there. He’d be very sad to have missed the nicest quickie wedding I’ve ever seen on TV.

I think the scarf was a bold choice for this wedding dress, non?

I think the scarf was a bold choice for this wedding dress, non?

Another very odd part of this episode was the return of George Jurgens the Complete and Total Douchebag. Upon learning that his wife wants him to move out, is planning on filing for divorce and looking for a job, George goes off on a tirade about how stupid his wife must be for not finishing her degree in philosophy, thus believing she won’t be able to get a job without her B.A. She then corrects him and says she majored in Women’s Studies, to which he responds on another diatribe about how that’s a really stupid major for women, because they should already know how to make their husband’s coffee and omelettes when asked and that understanding women should be a major only for men. Um, what? WHAT? Just . . . what? ABC Family, what the fuck? I realize this was meant to be a joke because George is such a colossal douchebag that he honestly thinks all a woman is supposed to do is care for her husband and children . . . and also that he’s a fucking idiot who never went to college . . . but what? This segment was just so fucking bizarre that it wasn’t funny at all. George is like a character out of another show entirely. And he might be a chauvinist robot. I just don’t understand the concept of him . . . at all. I’m glad Mrs. Bowman cheated on him when they were married. And that Molly Ringwald is giving him the boot. Those ladies are so much more enlightened than he will ever be.

The Husband:

Yes, George Jurgens is probably the most inappropriate man on television, more cruel than Michael Scott or Chuck Bass and more despicable than most of the villains on 24. (In my wrap-up on s1 of SLOTAT, I described him as “probably one of the vilest characters on television outside of something like The Shield,” and that still stands.) And yes, the guy they got to play the fake ID entrepreneur did one of the worst acting jobs of the year. (For those who think Eva Mendes or ScarJo are horrible actors – coughmysistercouch – need only to look at this episode to see what truly bad acting is.) Yes, Amy’s sister does, in fact, deliver each line like she just woke up. (Thanks for that one, TVGal.) And yes, since it’s my understanding that next week’s episode involves an authority figure on the show searching far and wide for how all the teens got fake IDs, the marriage will probably be annulled against Amy and Ben’s wishes very quickly.

But I am very glad this show is back, and despite its extreme amount of bizarre behavior and wildly inappropriate dialogue, I couldn’t help but tear up during the wedding sequence. This is a sweet show no matter how weird or seemingly unrealistic things get, because I get Amy and Ben and the confused mess that is their friend pool.

But then there’s the problem with where the show takes place. For some reason I can’t explain, I thought it was Michigan for a while, and then they mention Chicago and Indiana, and then the school setting is Grant High School in Los Angeles, and then Adrian gets pulled over in Arizona, and it’s just all confusing. After asking my wife where the heck she got Idaho, she realized she confused this show with NBC’s The Baby Borrowers from over the summer (at least it’s of similar subject matter). So I don’t know if this is just a general Midwest show, or just a bland Los Angeles Valley thing, or what. It doesn’t really matter in the overall scheme of things, but it takes up too much of my waking thoughts to be entirely ignored.

Right now, the characters are in a bit of a mess after the chaos that was last season – especially Adrian – strewn about randomly with different lovers, different friends, different crushes and in different parts of the school, so I hope that SLOTAT won’t suffer some kind of Heroes-like collapse of having too many stories. And more Ben, please.