The Wife:

Once again SLOTAT teetered into total ridiculata, as evidenced by the whole “musical houses” plot, the second joke about dreamcatchers to make it into this drama and all of the following exchanges:

David: A night in the garage does not a lifetime make.
George: What is that? Iambic pentameter or Pig Latin?
. . . or it’s neither of those things . . .

Ricky: How do you even know [Ben] had sex?
Amy: Because he’s acting all grown up and reasonable!
. . . because that’s exactly how every other character on this show who’s had sex acts . . .

Anne: I like that building block weenie!

Adrian: Cribbage? Wait – what is that?
Ricky: Adrian, you don’t care and I don’t care.
. . . he’s right; nobody cares about cribbage . . .

Jack: It’s nothing. We just had a few meetings of the Dead Parent’s Club.
. . . a weak defense for spending the summer with Renee Olstead . . .

Jack: Wait a minute – you, Dr. Grace Bowman, are jealous? I kind of like that. It makes you less doctor. And more woman.
. . . because being a doctor absolutely removes your gender identity . . .

But even with all that craziness, I have to say that this episode was actually one of the best in terms of dramatic tension and performance level in a long, long time. Although I find Adrian’s quest to move in to George’s house kind of silly, the resolution of the Anne-George-David love triangle and Adrian’s confrontation with Ricky about living next door to his baby mama actually gave Francia Rasia some levels to play. By the time Anne has broken up with David, but also chosen not to go running back to her ex-husband/baby daddy, Adrian has decided it’s not worth spying on Ricky anymore and has a wonderful, if unnaturally pop psychology-sounding, conversation with her mother about the nature of her relationship with Ricky. This leads Adrian to go talk to Ricky during his night with John in which she earnestly asks him if they could ever stop cheating on one another and just be together, or if being mistrustful cheaters is all they’ll ever be. Nothing really got resolved out of that conversation, but I enjoyed Rasia’s performance in that scene and I think that we can take the following moments of her interacting with John as an indicator of Ricky’s trust in her (he previously wouldn’t let her near his son). The show isn’t known for subtlety, but I’m going to pretend that scene was intended to include some.

Dont worry; no ones going to start calling her mama Adrian.

Don't worry; no one's going to start calling her mama Adrian.

I thought there was a similar level of adult awareness in Ben’s scene with Amy on their date night during their frank discussion of Ben’s jealousy about Ricky’s presence in Amy’s life, whether or not either of them has cheated, etc. Unfortunately, this launched into a screed from Amy about how much she hates Ricky and, consequently, Adrian, which prompts her to demand that date night end and she pick up her son from Ricky’s house. Upon seeing her son in Adrian’s arms, she turns into Psycho Amy once again and starts lashing out at the woman who once drove her to an abortion clinic as Ben and Ricky try to act like civilized people, apologizing for interrupting one another’s evenings while the girls hiss catspit insults at one another and Amy demands that the “slut” not be allowed anywhere near her son. I mean, I get that sometimes we don’t want other people to hold our babies and whatnot, but let’s not forget that the “slut” was the one who tried to give you the option to not have said baby. She’s only trying to help you, Amy! God!

All of that stuff? That stuff is good crazy. It’s soapy as hell, but at least it felt well crafted and somewhat real – which is to say that I believe people do and say insane things when they’re jealous. I am down for this Amy-Ben-Ricky-Adrian hate trapezoid. Give me more of this. It makes way more sense than Grace’s reaction to Jack hanging out with Madison all summer, which is jealousy for no good reason, as Madison, though pretty, is so annoying that no one can even stand being around her for an extended period of time.

In other news, I somehow missed in the last episode that new kid Griffin was teh ghey. I guess I was too busy laughing at his “Are you planning to get pregnant this year, too?” line to notice he announced his sexuality for no apparent reason. I do, however, adore him. I would watch an entire show about his relationship with Ashley, because sometimes they come off like a Beckett play. It’s as though they should both be wearing bowlers, he should be crawling around like a dog and both will get into lengthy discussions about the insanity of the world around them and the proper way to put on boots.

As for his gayness, it so far seems pretty incidental to his character, and I do sometimes find it refreshing that a character can just be gay without having to make a big deal about it or force their existence within a work to be strictly issue-based. (A great example of gay characters who simply are: two of Nick’s friends in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.) In some ways, I think you can argue that not making an issue out of someone’s difference is the best way to demonstrate acceptance, and that’s an attitude that’s always been displayed in Secret Life land, a place where the only missing minority has been the LBGT community . . . until now.

The Husband:

The restaurant scene between Ben and Amy was the first this season to get me to put down my iPhone (and my intense Flickchart.com clicking), and for a show that I watch from a distance to achieve the maximum amount of amusement, that’s 100% a compliment. It was almost smarter than this show has deserved in recent weeks, and adult enough to completely renew my interest in the Amy-Ben dynamic, which had completely fallen apart this season.

And yes, we will go with Hate Trapezoid over Hate Square as a term from now on. Spread the word. It’s both unnecessarily bizarre and confusing enough for dumb people.

The Wife:

Hey, remember how, at the end of last week’s episode, everyone was about to embark on their summer fun? Well, apparently, we don’t get to witness even one episode worth of seeing these characters grow, change and have personal discoveries apart from the insular gossip mill in which they live. I guess that would have taken too much thought and would have required writing above the caliber this show is capable of because, instead, we returned this week to find that three whole months had passed and that everyone’s ready to return to school. Here’s about where they all stand on that:

  • Amy is still a fucking bitch and summer school was, apparently, entirely uneventful.
  • Ricky and Adrian, despite having asked one another to be in a committed hate-sex relationship with one another, both are fucking other people and lying to each other about it. What happened to the Ricky I thought was turning over a new leaf?
  • Ben is back from Italy and he’s not sure what to do about his relationship with Amy because, well, she’s a fucking bitch.
  • Grace is back from Doctor Camp with a head full of knowledge and it seems that neither her boyfriend nor her brother really like her all that much now that she knows things about things. I get that the extra-touchy “confidence inspiring” practice is a little odd, but what’s so wrong with her being a smart girl? Is it the blazer they don’t like? I like the blazer. It reads “Ivy League.” Frankly, if I were them, I’d be more concerned about the seeds of an inevitable eating disorder. You all saw the way she chastised Tom about his 2,000 calorie sundae and then surreptitiously took a bite out of the container when he wasn’t looking.
  • Lauren’s brother broke up with Madison. Yet more casualties of Doctor Camp.
  • Ashley is all ready to start her first day of high school . . . in pajamas. (Don’t worry. The pajamas eventually are shed for a way-too-sexy Gothic Lolita dress that, for some reason, no one has a problem with her wearing.)
  • Henry and Alice have discovered both oral sex and sexting. I’m impressed that they can multitask and he can answer texts while he’s going down on her. That man is a keeper.
This touching thing confuses and infuriates me.

This touching thing confuses and infuriates me.


Is it just me or is it indeed extremely odd that summer just didn’t happen here in the SLOTAT universe? And what’s weirdest is that summer just didn’t happen IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON. It’s not uncommon for television shows to operate on their own time scale, but I make a general assumption with shows set in high school that they indeed follow the timeline of high school. When we go back to school in the real world, so, too, do the students of Constance and St. Jude’s, of WestBev, of Neptune High and of Sunnydale High. There are a couple of very simple reasons for this: the traditional September through May television season is the exact length of a school year and because that structure, that 9 month structure, is a reasonable timeframe in which to tell a story about high school students. This is because their lives revolve around going to school. It’s the place of action in a high school-based series, so it only makes sense that the story should be told in accordance with the structure of that setting. So we never see summertime on these series (and the summer-based episodes like the GG forays into the Hamptons kind of suck), and we accept that, because we’ve been off enjoying our summers along with Blair, Chuck, Annie, Naomi, Veronica, Logan, Buffy, Willow and Xander. We reconvene in the fall to go back to school along with them.

I recognize that SLOTAT started in July of 2008, yet we still had to pretend it was September on the show and their summer had just ended. The first season aired in summer 2008, with the second airing in spring 2009 (or the second half of the first season, however you want to look at it) and the third season airing now, in summer 2009. If the show had paced itself better, this season would have started not at the end of the last school year, but at the beginning of this one, this avoiding this whole summer situation. But it didn’t. And since this show hasn’t followed the traditional structure of a high school show in any way, I kind of expected to see at least an episode or two of summer, to see who these characters are away from each other. It was an opportunity both for great writing and great acting, but this show . . . is just not for those things.

I can’t even explain most of what went on in this episode because the conversations were just so bizarre, but two of them did make sense and actually contributed to the masterplot of the show.

1. After not talking to Amy for weeks, Ben accidentally gets them both detention by speaking his thoughts out loud in class (everyone else was wondering about sex, especially Alice, who loves oral). As they sit alone copying chapters in their notebooks, they talk about their relationship and how even though things are bad right now, they still love each other. Ben suggests they find things they can do that include John, as a family. All I can say is that I hope this makes Amy happier, because if I were Ben and I’d just done a lot of learning, thinking and growing in Italy for a summer, I’d return by saying, “Amy, I love you, but you need to stop taking out your bullshit on me. I am nothing but nice to you, and I need you to treat me like a person. In fact, just be a person. Stop being what you are and just be a person.”

2. George tells Anne that he’s probably her baby daddy, and she’s like, “I know. And so does David. But I’m probably going to marry him anyway.” They have lots of adult things to work out here, but their plot always gets shoved into the last five minutes of the episode like some frantic after thought.

As for the rest of the show, well, let me give you a sampling of the kind of ridiculousness that abounded:

David: ‘Morning, Amy.
Amy: It’s not a good morning.
. . . um! that’s not even what he said! . . .

David: I loved school.
Amy: I used to love school, and then I got pregnant at 15, had a baby and now it’s not as fun as it used to be.
. . . but it will be much more fun when her soon-to-be-stepdad bribes her with an SUV, that safest of cars . . .

Adrian: I’m not having sex with Ben!
Ricky: You’re talking to Ben!
Adrian: So?!
Ricky: Talking leads to sex!
Adrian: Everyone talks!
Ricky: Everyone has sex!
. . . truly, the logic here is airtight . . .

“This is the year we get boyfriends.” – Lauren, who asserts that her brother was just a practice boyfriend for Madison

Coach: Future medical students? How many of those students do you think actually make it to medical school?
Jack: I don’t know . . .
Coach: Me neither, but what I do know is that every year I lose a player to fear!
. . . that’s quite a transition . . .

No girls allowed!

No girls allowed!

“Oh, jeez. The old pistil and stamen. Could we just get to the nitty gritty? Or could you point me in the direction of a niiiiiice pistil?” – Lauren’s thoughts, being way more forward than I am comfortable with her being

Griffin: Nice attitude. Griffin.
Ashley: Ashley. The teen mother’s sister. Well, I know that’s why everyone’s staring at me. ‘Cause of my sister.
Griffin: I-I’m new here. I don’t know anything about that.
Ashley: Well, uh, my sister’s in the 10th grade and she had a baby last year.
Griffin: Uh . . . wow. Well, you know, stuff happens.
Ashley: Yeah.
Griffin: Well, uh, maybe you can point her out to me.
Ashley: Well, she’s pretty easy to spot. She’s the really pretty one with the French horn who’s unusually tired.
Griffin: Is she tired from dragging around the horn, or the baby?
Ashley: The baby. And just from being . . . Amy.
Griffin: So, are you planning to get pregnant your first year here?
. . . basically the best conversation ever uttered on this show, which includes absolutely the best icebreaker I’ve ever heard . . .

Coach: I don’t want you to see or talk to Jack Pappas for the rest of the football season. It’s not good for the team. It’s not good for Jack.
Grace: But . . . why?
Coach: I don’t want him distracted.
Grace: The other players have girlfriends.
Coach: Not girlfriends who wanna be doctors. I don’t like those kind of girlfriends.
. . . clearly, they’re smarter than women should be, candidly talking about groin injuries and the like . . .

That’s only a sample of the ridiculata. Truly, I think I laughed more that this episode than most other episodes of this show I’ve ever seen. What the fuck was happening? And why were so many ridiculous things being said in rapid succession? I like this new Griffin guy, by the way. It’s going to be interesting watching him adjust to this world. He’s already said my favorite line ever uttered in this history of this show, so I’m sure he’ll start to fit right in very soon.

The Husband:

This is without a doubt the best episode of SLOTAT this season and probably the best in a very long time. Unlike the past few episodes whose major flaw was focusing entire episodes on only one or two subjects and then hammering it into the ground like a stake, this was a massive overflow of information, with ridiculous conversations colliding in the hallways with other ridiculous conversations, until it almost seemed like Abbott & Costello mixed with one of those Monty Python sketches where everybody but one person in the skit is absolutely out of their minds. (That one pseudo-normal person? Ashley, as usual.) I am often flabbergasted by how open and bizarre these characters are, and it was in full force this week.

As for the sudden shift in time, it threw me off just as much as it did my wife, but I think I’m more forgiving. Why? Because I don’t think it’s a problem with the writers so much as the budget that they didn’t feel the need to open up the show to any new locations, because as we can all very clearly tell, nothing in a long time has taken place outside of a soundstage or the studio’s backlot, with verrrrry few exceptions. Hell, it probably wasn’t even in the budget to give us a montage at the end of last week’s episode showing all of our little teenagers off doing their own thing, even for mere seconds, which I think would have done away with that initial shock at the beginning of this episode (e.g. Grace in a full classroom of soon-to-be-pre-med students, Ricky caring for John, Ben walking past the check-in desk at an airport, stopping and turning around to see that only his father and Betty came to see him off).

Oh, and by the way, nobody in the world knows where the hell Brenda Hampton got that information about Bologna and its infamy in regards to oral sex. We are all baffled. I think someone told her that as a joke, and she took that one little bit of perhaps-false information and just ran with it, much like the weird confidence-building arm-touching doctor trick Grace and Lauren’s brother used all episode.

The Wife:

Now that Baby John has entered this world, I think SLOTAT has gone a little bit off the deep end. The last two seasons have had tension and drama and elicited a modicum of emotional investment from myself and other viewers, but this season? This season is totally and completely bananas. For instance, this episode was about one thing and one thing only:

No one is having sex with anyone on this show . . . unless they’re going to Bologna.

Ben and Amy: Because Amy’s experience of young motherhood has made her a complete and total bitch (i.e. flat out refusing to have sex with or even kiss Ben, whining, complaining, begging other people to do things for her, being critical and nagging of everything and everyone to the point there I kind of hope she kills herself at the end of this season because she’s become a terrible, terrible human being), Ben’s father suggests that it might be good for Ben to have a summer abroad, working for his uncle’s company in Bologna. (This is a suggestion that comes out of Ben’s apology for being a dick to his dad last week and quitting the butcher shop.) He’s given the choice to go on his own, or he can bring Amy and John with him. So, naturally, when Ben brings this up to Amy, she immediately wants to ditch her son and pass him off to family, friends or Ricky for a week, two weeks or a month so she can go gallivanting around Italy with Ben.

Wait, what?

This coming from a girl who earlier in the episode said she didn’t want to go out to dinner at a restaurant because she wasn’t going to expose John to germs from the outside world until he’s three months old? (Furthermore, how does she know about that little piece of advice floating around the parenting world and yet she doesn’t know how to breastfeed?) A girl who two episodes ago didn’t want Ben babysitting her son, but now is totally willing to just up and leave the little baby for a month or so? No! Amy, you are officially the most frustrating character on television. I know you feel trapped by your choices and whatever, whatever, but you made those choices and now you have to live with them. P.S. It’s not like you can’t put a baby on a plane and take him to Europe with you. You said he’s ten weeks old now, which means he’ll be 12 weeks (or 3 months!) old in two more weeks . . . and summer’s a month away . . . so it’s not like you’re breaking your stupid three month germ rule by taking him to Europe when he’s more than three months old. I just don’t understand her logic here, and that’s because there isn’t any.

Please notice whos missing from this picture . . .

Please notice who's missing from this picture . . .

Grace and Jack: Grace returns to school, only to find it’s harder than she expected it would be to face her sex scandal and father’s death on the faces of other students. An impromptu conversation with Mr. Jurgens, however, helps her feel better about what’s happened in her life (esp. because he might actually be the father of his pregnant soon-to-be-ex-wife’s baby), so she decides to go back to school, forgive lots of people, apologize for being mean to people while she was grieving, reclaim her virginity and get back together with Jack, only this time, they’re not going to have sex again until their married. And so the Grace Bowman character arc comes full circle.

Ricky and Adrian: She doesn’t want him to sleep with other girls, but also doesn’t exactly accept his plea for commitment, even though she later calls Grace to gush about it.

What’s going on in Ricky and Adrian’s relationship in this episode doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that Adrian apparently knows something about Bologna that I don’t know. It’s known for only three things, apparently:

1. The oldest university in the world.

2. Really good food. (Specifically, per Ben’s earlier answer to the “Do you know what Bologna is known for?” question, bolognese sauce.)

3. Oral sex.

Wait, what? This can’t be real, but rather some totally weird thing made up for the show because I have never, ever heard this and one of my grandfathers was from Bologna. In the context of the SLOTAT universe, though, it seems like something hookers know about, as Ricky pointedly asks Betty the Escort if she’s ever been to Bologna and she replies that she’s been many, many, many times and that they have lots of spaghetti there. (Well, obviously. They have lots of spaghetti all the fuck over Italy.) Am I to assume that all Italian sex acts are named after pasta shapes? Adrian seems to follow that line of logic when she spills the Bologna beans to Amy by calling out rigatoni and other such shapes (in a beautiful and perfect accent, for which I give my compliments to Francia Rasia). What fucking looney toons universe was I dropped into where this entire episode became about using pasta names as euphemisms for sex acts? If any of that’s true, I’m pretty sure anything called “fusilli” would be the equivalent of the tongue tornado from American Pie. And I’m pretty sure we can all figure out what rigatoni is. Penne is also obvious. Spaghetti, though? What the fuck would that be? Any creative people, please chime in with your ideas for sex acts named after pasta shapes in the comments.

Anne/George/David: Inspired by his conversation with Grace, George decides to come clean with Anne about the vasectomy he didn’t actually have, but he chickens out when he eavesdrops on Anne and David having dinner, at which David admits that he thought he was infertile so his fathering a child would be something of a miracle, thus he suspected, perhaps, that Anne was faking a pregnancy in order to get her divorcee hands on David’s family’s millions. (Wow, that’s a very complicated revelation that came OUT OF NOWHERE). When Anne assures him she didn’t even know about the money and wouldn’t care either way, David proposes to her, which keeps George from making his admission, making this the second nicest thing he’s done for Anne this season. First he leaves her the house, and then he doesn’t ruin her chances to marry a rich guy? Wow, George is really turning over a new leaf these days, no?

Some lines I liked:

  • “He just cries. He’s a baby, okay?” – Amy, getting really, really defensive about her parenting skills.
  • “After I get home from work, we’re going to cook dinner?” – Amy, incredulous and angry at Ben’s suggestion that they make dinner together instead of going out, as though this isn’t something that thousands of men and women do EVERY SINGLE DAY when they get home from work.
  • “We got family there.” – The Sausage King on Bologna, harking back to his Sopranos roots.
  • “I know just how you feel. I lost my cat last year. And my virginity.” – Random-ass girl, to Grace.
  • “Hey, here’s a good idea. Why don’t you just put John in a kennel while you’re gone?” – Ashley, always coming up with solutions to point out her sister’s completely idiocy.

The Husband:

Yes, it has gone pretty far off the deep end, but if this episode is any indication, I think it’s much more enjoyable than much of the “second season” (i.e. the second half of the first season in TV land but not in DVD land). The major problem is that each episode so far in this short season was given a task, one to simply talk about one damn thing, and beat it into the ground. All of these plots would work just fine for me if they made up a third or half of an episode, but when dragged out to full-length, it can get tedious. But at least I feel like I’m back to what matters for these characters as far as their interconnected lives are concerned, and we don’t have to have, say, the white guilt of when Jack went to the “inner city” to tutor “the less fortunate.” That ended up going virtually nowhere, and there were far easier ways to make Grace jealous of Jack eyeballin’ other women (e.g. the worst Buffy slayer ever.)

And while I appreciate that Ben is really trying to stand his ground with both Amy and Ricky, his shift away from schoolyard politics and issues, mainly among his two now rarely seen Asian-American friends, hasn’t given him very much to work with. Right now, he’s almost entirely reactionary, while the best parts of the first season was his quest to get Amy to love him. Babies make things complicated, and they definitely change people, but I don’t want my beloved Ben gone forever.

The Wife:

We missed out on SLOTAT while we were finding our dream home with a murder basement up in Seattle, and it appears we made the correct decision to not immediately watch the post “having sex will kill your dad in an airplane crash” episode until we had another one to pair it with. “What’s Done Is Done” had three basic plot lines:

1. Grace is mewed up to her heavens (Shakespeare!) and is, like, really fucking angry at everyone because she’s transferring her own self-hate onto others. This show is deep.

2. Every character in the SLOTAT universe has a discussion about whether or not they will/can/should attend Dr. Bowman’s funeral. Like I said, deep.

3. Amy is a tired new mom, coping with changes in her life, which she uses as an excuse to be a total fucking bitch to everyone else.

This is another way of saying that nothing actually happened that moved the story forward. Sometimes SLOTAT gets into these writing ruts where different sets of characters will have the same conversation numerous times, such as the discussion of funeral attendance. Adrian tries to convince Grace that she’s not responsible for her dad’s death (which she fails at doing, even though I think she said Grace’s name about 23 times during this scene, which is how she demonstrated how serious and caring she was being) and asks her to attend her father’s funeral, George helps ex-wife Mrs. Bowman execute Dr. Bowman’s funeral plan, Amy realizes she’s the only one not going to the funeral and acts like a total fucking bitch about it, Madison and Lauren appear for all of two minutes to participate in a totally pointless and frustratingly circular conversation about going to the funeral versus babysitting John versus doing Amy’s job for her so she can go to the funeral, Ben and Ricky fight over which one of them has to cover at the butcher shop so the other can go to the funeral . . . bah! This just kept happening and happening and happening and I don’t understand why! Did we run out of actual plotlines and character development? Is this all we’re left with? Redundant discussions about funeral attendance and debates over the correct terminology for the monstrous catered trays of cheeses and meats available at fine retailers such as Costco and Sam’s Club? I do not care if it’s a cheese tray or a party platter! I just want you to tell me a fucking story!

It takes a lot of makeup to make Megan Park look this un-pretty. (And even then, shes still really cute.)

It takes a lot of makeup to make Megan Park look this un-pretty. (And even then, she's still really cute.)

The following episode, which ended with Dr. Bowman’s delightfully quirky golf course funeral (because doctors LOVE GOLF!!!!) and a Kathy Kinney-led chorus singing “When the Saints Go Marching In” while actually riding on golf carts, was basically just a continuation of Grace’s continued struggle with her intense guilt (and some transference of that guilt onto Adrian, who clearly made sex look so tantalizing that she’s actually the one responsible for Dr. Bowman’s plane crash . . . yes . . . that’s it) and yet more whining and bitching from Amy about how she really wants to go to the funeral and is mad she can’t go because she has to work. Boo! Responsibility and childcare are hard! So hard, in fact, that Amy, very darkly, delivered my favorite line ever uttered on SLOTAT:

“I don’t have time to dream.”

Did she trade identities with Ashley? Christ. That’s almost as heavy as my favorite from Grace in “What’s Done Is Done”:

“He had a horrible death because I had incredible sex.”

SLOTAT suddenly became very, very dark.

“Par for the Course,” which is a golf pun in case you were wondering, concerned whether or not Grace would show her face at her father’s funeral. Some confusing arguments were made, the most perplexing of which came from Jack’s dad, who claimed that while he doesn’t necessarily frown upon premarital sex, he believes sex should occur only within the confines of marriage for the protection of the female partner, so they’re not violated or devalued. That makes no sense to me for two reasons: 1.) There are many places in the world where religious law requires women to be virgins when they are married, which sometimes lead to men marrying very young girls to ensure their virginity. 2.) There are also many marriages in which the female partners are sexually abused by the husbands such an argument claims will protect them. I also raise an eyebrow at that kind of rhetoric that continually frames women as things to be protected.

Taking a minute away from being a douchebag to comfort Kathleen.

Taking a minute away from being a douchebag to comfort Kathleen.

As Ann finds herself in the position Amy was in at the start of the show (although actually pregnant Molly Ringwald is obviously way too pregnant to match her character’s level of pregnant and the production folks at SLOTAT are not nearly as good at masking her as other shows might be), she and George discuss the terms for finalizing their divorce, and she and David maybe, possibly proceed towards marriage, providing George goes through with that whole divorce thing. George actually had a couple of soft moments in this pair of episodes, comforting his ex-wife as she mourned the loss of her husband and telling Ann that, when they divorced, he wouldn’t try to take her house from her as, after 14 years of marriage and two children, “I figured I owed you the house.” That sentiment was probably the nicest thing I’ve ever heard come out of George’s mouth, but even that didn’t last long as about 30 seconds later the two were bickering again.

Almost as much as superbitchmom Amy, who really, really, really does not want to have sex with Ben anytime in the near future, even though he kind of really wants to now. The writers achieved some semblance of character development with this plot, as Ben’s father goes to work with him so Ricky and Kathy Kinney can attend the funeral. Ben perceives this as yet another person who doesn’t think he can do anything (coming on the heels of Amy’s complete belligerence toward his desire to babysit and subsequent perceived failure when he leaves the baby with his father and soon-to-be-stepmom Betty the Escort for five whole minutes), and tells his father as much, storming out of the butcher shop in a fit of anger, echoing the fight Grace and her father had only episodes before. Luckily for Ben, Betty the Escort picked him up and drove him to the funeral, along the way dishing out some unsolicited advice about how he shouldn’t be upset with his father because if he loses his family, he’ll probably end up becoming a male prostitute somewhere along the line. I don’t really know what happened in that scene, but, at the very least, I learned some more about Betty, so that’s a plus.

I truly believe these two episodes would have been stronger as one entity, although on the other hand, I appreciate the realism of drawing out the aftermath of Dr. Bowman’s death a little longer. SLOTAT just doesn’t have the actual dramatic content to bridge that gap anymore. What’s up with this season and why don’t I care?

Quotes that amused me:

  • “We’re not married. I don’t have to tell you what my plans are.” – Ricky, with a sneer.
  • “Does this look like a baby store? Are we selling babies here?” – Kathy Kinney, to which Ben correctly retorts that they do sell veal.
  • “Don’t glamorize teen pregnancy, okay?” – Mama Ringwald, in the show’s most self-aware moment.
  • “Don’t try distracting me with a whole bunch of questions no one can answer!” – Bitchface Amy, about a bunch of questions that someone actually could answer. I mean, it’s not like Ben asked her about the meaning of life; he just wanted to know if her mom was going to marry her boyfriend!
  • “Even if you killed him, he’s with Jesus now. Mom isn’t.” – Tom, softening the blow a little bit. I think.
  • “Obviously you’re okay with you son having sex because you’re still alive!” – Grace, to Jack’s dad.

The Husband:

While the quote “I don’t have time to dream” is definitely the darkest line the show has ever possessed – it’s something I should say to homeless people begging for money in order to creep them out – the funniest line in SLOTAT’s history was the aforementioned (and re-mentioned here) piece of genius, due to its mixture of sheer inanity and illogical rage:


“Don’t try distracting me with a whole bunch of questions no one can answer!”


And while I agree that this two-episode intense focus on the drama surrounding Grace’s father’s death (didn’t this motherfucker die hard enough on Smallville several seasons back?) went on far too long, I’ve been greatly enjoying something my wife passed over – Adrian’s extremely frank sex talks with her father, which walk the line between earth-shatteringly inappropriate and kind of sweet in a Kevin Smith sort of way.

And I hate to be this guy, but the developmentally delayed actor who plays Tom, Luke Zimmerman, usually portrays a very sweet guy who just has trouble getting words out but is really struggling with some of the more serious dialogue thrown his way, and I try my hardest to stifle a giggle whenever he tries to scream at Grace. I like the kid, but Chris Burke he is not. (Shit, did you know that Corky from Life Goes On is 42 now?)

The Wife:

So Secret Life of the American Teenager has returned for its third season, which is baffling in its own right. I reread my blog about last season’s finale in preparation for getting back in the groove of writing this thing, and I think my husband was definitely right in his observation that the show has sacrificed some of its realism in the interest of soapy baby daddy drama, which has never been more apparent now that formerly non-jealous and understanding Ben is doing silly things like ordering Amy to keep Ricky out of her room, even when he’s there spending time with his son. The Ben I know and love wouldn’t do that, but I guess having a girlfriend with hot, lactating milk jugs changes the minds of adolescent boys.

What an odd conversation to have with your friends about the increased size of your girlfriend/wife’s breasts, Ben! Almost as inappropriate as, say, telling your wife’s lover that she’s fat and/or pregnant, George! Never before has an episode of this show been filled with such awkward discussion of women’s bodies by men. I don’t exactly know what was meant by it, other than to show that both being possessive of your girlfriend’s milk jugs and embarrassing your ex-wife by exposing her pregnancy are both kind of shitty things to do. Oh, but this is a great rebuttal, no?:


“I’d rather be pregnant than be fat and eat soup every night!” –Mama Ringwald

Hey! I love soup, lady! You watch your mouth!

At least Ricky seems to have come into his own in the new season, being a responsible father to his son with regular visiting hours and a steady job, and appropriately using his mouth to tell Adrian’s dad that he’s a douchebag that walked out on Adrian years ago and therefore has no business telling her what to do with her life now that she’s almost an adult. It feels weird to me that I’m suddenly liking Ricky, but fatherhood has clearly changed something in him, and we can only be thankful for that.

At least Ricky is fully aware that Bens request is really, really weird.

At least Ricky is fully aware that Ben's request is really, really weird.

It’s changed Amy, too. As a tired new mom, I feel like her brattiness has purpose, and it was really interesting (and actually kind of funny) to see her play the mothering role to her own mother, who now finds herself in a situation comparable to the one her daughter just went through. Clearly, Amy still has a lot of growing to do, though, as it’s evident she relies too much on the help of her family and others to raise her child. I mean, it may take a village and all that, but if she’d had this kid at 25, its not like she could call grandpa in the middle of the night just to put the baby to sleep because he sleeps better when a male figure puts him to bed.

But for all that discussion of baby weight, milk jugs and how having a child changes a person, there are two much more important things that this episode dealt with:

1. The Sausage King is fucking Betty the Escort and seems to have no idea that she’s an escort. Oh, wait. So is this the message we were supposed to get about not getting married young? Is it because when you’re later widowed, you won’t be able to recognize the difference between a regular date and a date with a hooker? (I should note that George also has no idea that she’s a hooker, and he also married Anne pretty young.) Or maybe I’m selling Jennifer Coolidge’s Betty a bit short here. Maybe she wants to go straight with a nice rich man who likes sausage just as much as she does.

2. If you’re a Christian and you have sex before marriage, your father will die in a plane crash ON THE SAME NIGHT YOU LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY. Man, if Grace’s highly contrived and totally unemotional drama here doesn’t scare kids into abstinence, I don’t know what will. (I’m certainly not shortchanging Josie Bisset and Megan Park’s acting here, I’m merely shortchanging the writing. Bisset and Park were great at crying.)

The Husband:

I had asked my wife to jot down a particularly funny quote from this episode, but I guess it didn’t make it onto the page. Thanks to IMDB’s devolving silly message boards, however, I did get another gem. I love how you’re never really sure how intentional this show’s humor is. It definitely keeps viewers on their toes.


Grace’s Mom: “He’s dead!”
Grace: “No! Nobody is dead! We just had sex!”
Tom: “YOU KILLED HIM!”

Glorious.

The Wife:

I had to write about the final two episodes of SLOTAT together, because it was impossible to write more than a couple of paragraphs about either of them. The flashback episode, “One Night at Band Camp,” was one of the strangest things I’d ever seen. I thought it was just going to be Amy flashbackin’ on how she got into such a pregnant pickle, but, no, apparently, she was flashbackin’ for everybody, as not only did we learn how she met Ricky and apparently got pregnant from making out with him in the band camp cafeteria (what? they cut straight away from the promise of making out! that’s not even showing us the make-out and top-taking-off that leads to implied sex!), but also about how Adrian got her red convertible, how Jack first asked out Grace, Ben getting his braces off before high school started and Lauren and Madison scoping out the prospect of high school altogether. None of those things, outside of the actual band camp flashbacks, added to the episode at all and, in fact, just made things really weird. Just about as weird as the strange voiceover whisper of Amy’s thoughts as Ricky laid his signature moves on her. By the way, these moves are:

  • “You wanna move over to that couch? This bench is getting a little uncomfortable.”
  • “I could listen to you talk all night, or we could do this . . .” [Proceeds to make out with her.]

Smoove!

The only thing that was really well-achieved by adding all that stuff in was to stretch Amy’s labor and delivery process over two episodes, thus making it seem a little more realistic, as on practically every other show, the baby is always born in the very episode in which its mother goes into labor, making it seem as though the process took less than five hours. (Possible, but generally not for one’s first birth.)

God, I hope bitchface isn't genetic . . .

God, I hope bitchface isn't genetic . . .

Amy was also a total bitch in that episode, her brain addled by flashbacks and her body riddled with contractions, all the poor girl wanted was a greasy-ass hamburger from the Dairy Shack and no one would get it for her! While Ben’s offer of Kobe beef prepared by his chef was lovely, if a pregnant lady asks for a Dairy Shack burger, you fucking get her a Dairy Shack burger. This is exactly what Ricky ends up doing after she invites him to wait for his son to be born. My husband felt kind of bad for Ricky, being yelled at and shit, but I think that if he knocked the poor girl up and fucked with her life throughout her entire pregnancy, the least he can do is buy the girl the correct kind of burger.


“Would you two shut up? I can’t enjoy my Dairy Shack burger when you guys are talking about cows in Japan and stuff.” — Amy

I was also rather surprised at Amy’s complete ignorance of her situation. She asked her mother pre-epidural if she actually had a birth canal, which is a truly dumb question for someone with a vagina to ask. What surprised me most, though, is that Amy apparently hasn’t thought at all about what to name her son. Um, what? What girl doesn’t have secret baby names? We’re cultured to desire motherhood from birth (especially girls who are taught to call their dolls their “babies”), and I do not know a single girl who doesn’t have secret baby names for their future children. We start thinking about that shit when we’re like eight. Hasn’t Amy ever heard someone’s name and said to herself, “I really like that name. That’s a pretty name.” Or looked up the meaning of someone’s name and thought, “I like that.” Or even seen a movie or read a book or seen a play and admired the character in it so much that their name held special meaning to her? No? Apparently not.

In “And Unto Us a Child Is Born,” Amy’s baby finally makes his debut, at about the 30-minute mark, leaving a good 5 minute sequence of everyone oohing and aahing over the little guy and another 25 minutes of show thereafter. Prior to his arrival, however, all the waiting friends leave to go get coffee, Ben and Ricky try to figure out how to deal with being dueling daddies and Ashley and George reminisce about how much easier it would have been to deal with teen pregnancy back in the 1950s. (For example, Amy would go to “music school” in the Midwest for a year and Anne would fake a pregnancy during that time and then suddenly give birth while the family took a vacay to visit their prodigal daughter at music school. Hooray! Problem solved via a complicated lie. I immediately though about how horrible it was for Bobby Darin to find out that the woman whom he thought was his sister was actually his mother. Complicated lies are complicated.)

Ricky realizes that he doesn’t even deserve to have this child with Amy, but Ben talks him off the vasectomy ledge and convinces him that, between the two of them, the baby will be very well cared for. This is basically the weirdest teenage boy to teenage boy conversation I’ve ever heard, as Ricky assumes that its going to be difficult to split up holidays and birthdays and custody of the baby . . . as though thousands of adults don’t currently function that way without any major incident. It’s like he’s never watched a TV show featuring a divorced couple, or, for that matter, ever met one. Adrian buys Ricky coffee and tells him she cares about him and will be there for him for anything, and Grace tells Ricky she’s getting back together with Jack and reminds Ricky just how in love with him Adrian is.

The baby is born and Amy decides to name him John, because she didn’t think of any baby names and decides on about the most fucking boring name ever, which she and Ashley defend as “classic,” citing a list of famous people named John and launching into a stirring rendition of “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.” John Jurgens. Ugh. That is some unfavorable alliteration right there. Couldn’t she have gone for the slightly more modern Jonathan? He could still be a John, he’d just have the option of not sounding like he was born in 1952, as well as the comforting cushion of two extra syllables between those harsh initial affricates. The fake baby who plays John in non-close-up shots is incredibly creepy, by the way. Like, terrifying creepy. No one likes animatronic babies. No one.

That baby is so fake, this looks like an ad for a little girl's toy rather than a scene of a young mother not breastfeeding her baby. EVEN ANIMATRONIC BABIES NEED THE BREAST!

That baby is so fake, this looks like an ad for a little girl's toy rather than a scene of a young mother not breastfeeding her baby. EVEN ANIMATRONIC BABIES NEED THE BREAST!

Once Amy brings little John home, life goes on around the Jurgens home, but changes considerably. Ashley and George move into the house next door — close enough to stick around, but far enough away to remain separated. Amy finally gets some of that new-mom tiredness that I expected her to have after giving birth, stumbling around the kitchen in her robe heating up formula. That girl’s hair was far too perfect when she gave birth, so I’m glad to see a tiny bit of realism eke through in her messy head of hair in this scene. It distracted me from my outrage that she wasn’t breastfeeding for a few seconds. Apparently, Anne plans to take her to breastfeeding classes, but she better do that shit soon because I don’t know why “and my boobs are sore” wasn’t on Amy’s list of complaints about being a new mom. Girl, you got milk tits, and if you are not feeding your son or using a breast pump, those suckers are going to ache. Do the people who write this show have children? Have they ever met anyone with children? Do they have breasts? I don’t have children, but I fucking know that you start lactating after you give birth and that it hurts when your milk is stuck or when your breasts are heavy swollen with it. Clearly, I don’t know nearly as much as my friend the certified lactation counselor does, but I’m fucking appalled that Amy’s not breastfeeding and equally appalled that no one at the hospital bothered to take five minutes to give her a quick run-through. That girl should be breastfeeding that child, for its sake and the sake of her breasts.

And that’s it, folks! Ashley and George have their new home and are continuing their teenage-and-midlife rebellions, Anne continues to date her boss the architect and Amy’s already really tired of having a child. I hope someone buys her some books on mommyhood before next season, and preferably that she enrolls in a lactation class very soon. I’m worried for the future of that animatronic baby.

The Husband:

I’m currently sick at home with what may be whooping cough, so I’m sad that I cannot muster up enough brainpower to wrap up this season of SLOTAT. I will say, though, that while I think the show lost a bit of its realistic edge from season one — you know, that teenagers make ridiculous impulsive decisions and don’t talk like anybody of any age anywhere else — and instead focused on a lot of soapy Baby Daddy drama, I felt that it regained a lot of its momentum as Ricky became a better drawn character, Lauren and Madison disappeared for episodes on end, and Grace began to talk like a real human being with actual human urges. Even Ben learned to stand up for himself better, and I was glad to see that he learned one of those great lessons we geeks learn by the end of high school or midway through college — being an intelligent, well-spoken individual raises you above the class of smooth-talking meatheads who have nothing to add to our society, and our confidence in knowing that is the biggest step toward adult-hood.

But Ashley has now become my favorite character, and maybe one of my favorite characters on TV — a wise-beyond-her-years bit of rambunctious snark, the one sane person in a family of lunatics who distances herself from everything as long as she can. I can’t wait for her to start high school. It gon’ be hilarious.

The Wife:

I realize that most of the episode titles for SLOTAT are the names of pop songs or plays on pop songs, but by far the strangest and funniest one is “Whoomp! (There It Is).” I mean, yeah, Amy does go into labor in that episode, but I sure hope that no one, ever, has ever used that phrase to describe birthing a child. But before we get to that, there other preparations before the baby arrives.

The Sausage King makes good on his threat to teach Ben responsibility by getting him a job at the butcher shop, an offer he also extends to Ricky so that both unprepared teenage boys have a chance to provide for Amy’s child. Part of me thinks this is kind of douchey to do to your son, but its also largely magnanimous, because if the baby’s biological father and his adoptive father are both providing for him, that just increases that kid’s chances of having the kind of life he deserves to have. Ricky is all about taking the work and, as it turns out, for all the things he sucks at and his sociopathic tendencies, he has a real aptitude for following instructions and doing a job well. He’s also very fast at his work, which pleases butcher shop manager Kathy Kinney, whom I am not used to seeing without her Mimi makeup from The Drew Carey Show. Ben, the spoiled rich kid, is less quick about filling his orders and doesn’t really understand the whole process. But at least he’s learning that he can’t spend his whole life living off his Sausage King trust fund.

Better to work with sausages than with tools. (I dont even know what thats supposed to mean.)

Better to work with sausages than with tools. (I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.)

Speaking of work, Anne goes off to interview with that cute architect, but George tries to sabotage her by telling her that he’s not only gay, but deaf in one ear. Anne spends her interview talking about how much she loves the gays, especially when she sees his ice skates hung on the wall (which just fills in the picture that George painted when he told her that the architect went deaf during a salchow accident). Anne also says everything very, very loudly throughout this entire interview. AWKWARD! She later goes back to apologize for being weird in the interview, and explains to the architect what she thought about him that caused her to act so strangely. He then tells her the truth, especially that he was indeed flirting with her at the hot dog stand, and Anne decides to walk out and start the interview over again. The architect then takes it to even higher levels of awkwardness by proceeding to kiss her and ask her on a date. Rather than hire her, he tells her she should start her own green consulting business and start her own life away from George. That’s a great way to avoid a sexual harassment suit.

As for Amy, she’s starting to feel really lonely, especially because her dad forgets to pick her up from school. She assures herself that he’s coming, though, and she turns down invitations to hang out with Grace and Adrian, as well as her former best friends Lauren and Madison. Instead, she takes a long, lonely walk home, stopping in at a baby clothing store where the store owner instantly starts chatting her up about her due date and impending birth. I really loved this scene, actually, in which Amy pretends that she has a different life where she’s 21, married and can keep her baby and probably still finish college. It hit this nice mix of sadness and hopefulness. The storekeeper gifts Amy a pair of overalls for her son, and tells her to be sure to bring the baby in when he’s born so that she can see. Filled with her fake hopeful future and a shopping bag full of gifted overalls, Amy heads home, where she catches her dad and Ashley watching the “why I’m giving you up” video she made for her son. She’s furious, and Ashley launches into a weird, weird speech about raising a baby that doesn’t make any sense.

Then, freaking everyone in the SLOTAT universe shows up at her house with news. Ben and Ricky tell her they both got jobs to support her and the baby, while Adrian, Grace and Jack arrive with the most ideal news of all: they talked to Rev. Stone and got Amy a job in the daycare center at the church, where she can leave her son during school hours and come to work in the afternoons as a music teacher. That job? It also comes with insurance. Adrian and Grace also offer to throw Amy a baby shower, beating Lauren and Madison to the punch. After all of this, Amy decides to keep the baby. And here’s where I teared up a little bit:

“I know that I can be a good mom because I’ve got the best mom in the world.”


Then it’s on to the baby shower preparations! Adrian forgot to send out the invitations, so she tries to invite girls from school by phone, but it turns out no one likes her because she’s a dirty sloot. Grace tries her hand at it, but is too caught up kissing her ex boyfriend Jack to do it, so she enlists the help of Joe the Fake ID Guy. The bigger issue, of course, is kissing Jack, as Jack got into some hot water with his mentee in the last episode when he called him on his stupid pranks and forced him to sell candy. Shauna, apparently, can smell a cheater from a mile away and suspects Jack when he calls her to tell her not to come to the baby shower (which he mistakenly thought he’d be invited to, thus there’d be a link between his older girlfriend and the attendees). So she goes to the baby shower to investigate.

Adrian, meanwhile, has been moping around waiting for her step-brother to call, but he hasn’t. He shows up at the shower and says he wants to have sex with her. She insists on a 30-min love session before the guests arrive, insisting:


“You risked military school to come over here. I don’t want you to go off to war without something to remember me by.”


So they head off to her bedroom and end up missing the entire party because all the guests arrive early and then Amy doesn’t make it there at all because she goes into labor while walking up the steps to Adrian’s condo complex. Thus, when Adrian’s dad arrives to bust in on her and Max, she sees that the whole party has passed her by. Her dad tells them that this is exactly why he didn’t want them dating, but Max insists that going to military school was worth one afternoon with his sister because he’s falling in love with her. Adrian is surprised to hear that, and does not reciprocate those feelings but instead tells Max that their father was cheating on his mother with her mother. Man, the dude just wanted to hear that you loved him! Way to break a man’s heart!

Ricky’s mom, meanwhile, has an awful lot of faith in her son’s parenting skills, and we later find out that he’s been practicing diapering so he can care for his son. He and Jack have a diapering race, which is the weirdest thing ever. George moves out of Anne’s garage, and Ashley plans to move in with him. Shauna decides to break up with Jack because he’s 16, especially after meeting all of his teenage friends.

At the hospital, Ben shows up to greet Amy, and she tells him he can’t be in the delivery room. He agrees to this condition and urges Amy to call Ricky and let him know that his son will soon be born. Ricky’s face on the other end of this phone call? That’s acting, my friends. That’s acting.

ACTING!

ACTING!

I like that this show straddles the line between being ridiculous and being very thoughtful, and both of these episodes balanced those to things out very well. I have a feeling I’ll tear up a little bit when the baby’s born, and when Amy speaks his name for the first time. That’s just how I roll.

Some other assorted points:

  • George’s weenie stand song is so amazing they should sing it on American Idol. It can’t be any worse than forcing someone to sing “Rockin’ Robin.”
  • I need Amy’s cat maternity sweater. I’m not pregnant. I just really want a cat sweater.
  • I swear Grace said someone on one of her phones about a mixed dog breed called a sasquatch. What the hell is that and where can I acquire one?
  • I like that Lauren is such a bitch about everything that she thanked Grace for inviting her to the baby shower by insulting her mini-quiches.
  • “This is the slut’s condo – I’m just answering the door.” – Grace

The Wife:

With the gay adoption off the table, the Jurgens-Boykevich-Whatever the Fuck Ricky’s Last Name Is Clan are trying to find other solutions. Mama Ringwald is back on her daughter to get a job, but Amy just keeps complaining that she’s too tired to work because carrying a baby is hard work. Granted, hauling around a rapidly growing hooman inside your body is indeed tiring, but I fully side with Mama Ringwald on this one. Most of us women folk work while we’re pregnant because that’s just how you function in society. Amy got into the whole earning-your-keep thing a little late, but two months of work before heading on maternity leave from the Hot Dog Hut is better than nothing. That buys you at least a few changes of diapers and a Beeba Baby Cook so you can steam your own baby foods. (I definitely want that when we decide to expand our TV-watching family, and mostly because I really like saying “Beeba Baby Cook.”) But despite Amy’s protestations, Mama Ringwald drags Amy off with her to go work in the food service industry, a job she garnered simply because the twentysomething manager thought she was MILFy goodness and decided to help her out, gleefully proclaiming:

“It’s minimum wage for the both of yas!”


Mama Ringwald is pretty happy to work in the food service industry, even if her daughter isn’t. And true to her theory that it’s easier to find a job if you already have a job, she gets a job offer from a cute architect at the end of her first shift.

Harumph!

Harumph!

Meanwhile, Ben and Ricky have a showdown about who is better suited to play daddy to Amy’s baby. Ben buys Amy four $5 chocolate bars, which is just one of his ways of showing unemployed Ricky how much more he, with his Sausage King money, can give Amy’s son. Ben further extends the candy bar analogy by suggesting that those $5 candy bars are like child support, which Ricky will have to pay every month until their son turns 18 should he decide to stick around and play daddy. The ultimate burn, as Ben snatches stolen candy bar from Ricky’s hand:

“Don’t take things you can’t pay for, Ricky.”


And where did those overpriced candy bars come from? Jack, who has taken up selling the sugar-laden treats on behalf of his mentee, Duncan, who is trying to raise money for disadvantaged youth, which is fitting as he himself is disadvantaged. With Grace’s help, Jack sells his share of the candy and heads back to Duncan’s house to give him the money, only to have the money stolen from his hand, and then to have his phone and keys stolen while trying to call the cops to report the mugging. Jack chases his faceless assailant, only to come face to face with two dudes who are ready to steal his sneakers. They make him run around shoeless for a minute, before telling him that they’re just playing with him and they wonder who he’s running from. He explains his situation, and they tell him that Duncan’s been scamming him with the candy bar money to scare Jack away from Shauna. In fact, Duncan’s the one who robbed Jack, just to teach him a lesson.

Grace is also helping Adrian to reclaim her virginity, which, short of a hymenoplasty, can be achieved through the power of prayer and God’s almighty forgiveness. Asking guys at her school who wants to buy chocolate from a virgin is, amazingly, how she sells all of Jack’s candy. Adrian tries to impress her brother with her new good girl act, especially because she enjoyed him courting her so much, but she’s a little dismayed when he reveals that a third date to him usually means fooling around, even if its a third date that begins with the gift of a teddy bear. However, I think he’s super cool because he is all about sexual responsibility. He tells Adrian that if they decide to have sex with each other, they should sit down and talk about their sexual history, like responsible sexual citizens.

Is there anything sweeter than a tender hug between two people who are technically brother and sister, but still want to bone each other?

Is there anything sweeter than a tender hug between two people who are technically brother and sister, but still want to bone each other?

I am, however, strangely concerned about this whole notion of men wanting to have sex with a virgin. My husband tried to explain to me why that concept is so appealing to men, that it’s a question on deep-rooted biological imperatives about being the first to lay claim to something, but I find the idea to be extremely troubling. In certain cultures, I understand the value of virginity, and I understand it in context with Grace’s religious beliefs, but outside of religious and cultural morays, the idea of wanting to deflower someone is just so . . . unsettling. Like Adrian’s brother, one’s sexuality should be something mutually shared, and I can’t help but think that the notion of intentionally deflowering a woman comes a little too close to rape for my comfort.

Anyway, his battle with Ricky won, Ben comes to visit Amy at work where he promises to help her give her baby a good life, a notion that angers the Sausage King, who reminds Ben that while they have money, they only have money because the Sausage King worked hard for everything he had, and Ben doesn’t get anything until he turns 18. To teach his son the value of an honest days work, he suggests that Ben work at the butcher shop like he did as a boy to earn money to support Amy and her son. I like a Sausage King who values a hard day’s work, and I think it’s a good lesson for teenagers who aren’t pregnant. If you want something, you should work for it. Seriously.

In a final note, sullen Ashley is still hanging out with bus stop Thomas, and using the chaos over jobs and her pregnant sister to stay under the radar so she can hang out with him alone in her home. She heeds her father’s warning to not get pregnant (“unless you want a job you don’t want”) and spends her time with Thomas being more domestic and grown up than her parents are by cooking him dinner and sitting around the table to read the paper and trade conspiracy theories, as well as numerous mentions about her feelings on shelter animals. If anything breaks up this incredibly droll but incredibly perfect couple, it will totally be the fact that Thomas doesn’t believe in shelling out money for pets from a no-kill shelter, which he thinks cost $250. I’ve never seen a shelter dog cost that much, and someone needs to tell him that there are adoption fees at shelters to pay for the cost of that animal living in a no-kill shelter. You just can’t put a price on saving a life, man.

The Husband:

This is the best episode of SLOTAT in a while. I was starting to feel really bummed for Ben, how he had reverted back into a completely weak pussy after having spent the first season really finding his inner confidence. How Ricky could just walk all over him even when the words Ricky said made very little sense? I guess Ricky’s sneer really is that powerful.

But now, now Ben is willing to fight tooth and nail for the woman that he loves, the woman he protects and the woman he sort-of-kind-of married, and no sneer can take him down. He’s finally thinking logically, and trying to make Ricky understand that his douchebaggery will only result in everybody being unhappy, the baby uncared for or gone completely, and probably through some means or another Ricky will end up in jail. (I think we can all assume he’d end up stealing something or selling something illicit just to support Amy and their son.)

In addition, Jack – the show’s most worthless character – finally has a story, and while it’s not the best story in the world, it’s definitely the funniest this season. Watching this meathead white boy walk around this show’s lame version of “The Ghetto” and be basically humiliated each and every step of the way is just nutty and absurd enough that this show had to be on cable. I don’t know one major network honcho who wouldn’t have noticed that Jack’s “muggings” were screwball basic cable comedy at its finest, and it’s even better that Brenda Hampton doesn’t even seem to notice.

And Ashley is still hilarious. Do people still think she’s a shitty character played by a shitty actress? Do these people know any actual teenagers?

The Wife:

Oh, Ricky, you are such a total douchebag. Finally, Ricky decides to pay a visit to his therapist Ernie Hudson where he announces that he thinks he’s in love with Amy, the mother of his child, and that he intends to go along with the adoption and change his mind at the last minute so that Amy has to keep the baby and they can raise it together. Yay! Because that’s totally not what a sociopath would do at all. Worse, perhaps, than his “make Amy love me” plan is the confusing statement, “Maybe I tried to get her pregnant because I love her.” Wait, what? What? How does that even make sense?

Even without Ricky’s plan of action, Amy starts to think that maybe she should be with Ricky, or at least give it a shot, since Ben, her once and future husband, isn’t returning her phone calls. And for once, George is being the sane and rational person in the episode, although he is being kind of a dick about it, when he tells his daughter that she can’t solve her problems with Ben and her baby-daddy problems by marrying the wrong guy. With that in mind, Amy and Ricky meet with Donovan and Leon, wherein Ricky proceeds to sabotage the adoption by telling the prospective daddies all about how awful it was being a grown boy in foster care and how everyone wants babies (knowing from his foster mother that Donovan and Leon were once foster parents) and how foster care was so awesome, though, because it was way better than being with his drunk drug-dealing father and his addict mother. Hearing Ricky’s tale of woe (or whatever the fuck that was), the gays start to reconsider. They miss their foster kids, taken away from them by the state of California just because they’re gay, and hearing about Ricky makes them want to fight to get their foster kids back, knowing that Amy’s baby will still be cared for by the whole Jurgens family if they don’t adopt it. (Dear ABC Family: Californians may have narrowly voted in favor of banning same-sex marriages. However, California is one of the few states in the U.S. that has a law specifically permitting gay couples to adopt and foster children. It’s nice that you want your gays to have their foster babies, because I want them to have them too, but their foster babies would have never been taken away from them in the first place in this state.)

(Husband Note: I believe it was the family of the baby that took it back when they found out that it was to be raised by a gay couple, not the state of California. I could be wrong, though.)

Why would you even want a baby? Wanting a baby is so last season!

Why would you even want a baby? Wanting a baby is so last season!

Meanwhile, over in every-other-character-on-this-show land, Adrian is learning about dating from her brother, who doesn’t just want to have sex with her but actually does things that no one has ever done for her before like buying her flowers and taking her to movies and things. You know, actually respecting her. I love that Adrian does take charge of her sex life and fucks whomever she wants whenever she wants on her own terms, but I hope she realizes how nice it can be to actually be in a relationship where you can still fuck that person whenever you want and on your own terms, but you also get a free meal out of it and some attention paid to you, rather than to your best friend who your hate-fuck not-so-secretly wants to bone, her ex (who you boned) and your hate-fuck’s baby mama. Also, Adrian’s brother is way cuter than Ricky. This is a win-win situation.

Jack gets a warning from his mentee to treat his big sister right, because Jack’s role on this show can always be reduced to one sentence.

And then there’s Grace, who actually ended up being my favorite part of this episode. After Josie Bisset’s freak out last week about Tom and Tammy having sex, she decides to get Grace birth control pills, which Grace thinks are the most exciting things in world. And she’s right. They are. Grace is so excited about this, however, that she announces it loudly at school, which makes a lot of dudes think that she’s looking to be a slooty mcslooterface, leading to her receiving several calls from people she hardly knows asking her on make-out dates. Hearing about this, her mother tells Grace that maybe she made a mistake in offering her daughter birth control pills. Grace assures her mom that she’s not having sex and that she doesn’t plan to until she’s married, but having birth control pills is something much more tangible to her than the abstract concept of a promise ring could ever be.

“These are real. These aren’t ‘don’t have sex’ vitamins.” – Grace

Per the above quote, Grace waxes on about what the pills mean to her and how they assure her that sex is something that should be very special, that involves your whole body, mind and soul. I wish I’d written more of that speech down, because it was actually quite good. The message to take from it, though, is to actually talk to your children about the science of sexuality, give them all the information available and ask them to make their own choices based on that. A promise ring doesn’t mean anything because it’s abstract. And not talking to your kids about sex is equally problematic. Birth control pills are real, and giving your kid the option to be on them doesn’t mean their going to take it as an opportunity to have sex recklessly. And, hey, at the very least, her periods will suck less and her skin will be totally awesome. Those are both good things.

Finally, after that disastrous adoption screening, Ben shows up to apologize to Amy and to tell her that he loves her and her son and that he’s totally and completely willing to take care of her and her child for the rest of his life. I love Ben, so much. And I am completely confident that Ricky’s insane scheming can’t tear Amy away from the only man she’s let touch her belly. I leave you with this truly great line from Ben:

“I want to be with you on your 16th birthday, and on your 60th. And I want [our son] to be with us.”

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

The Wife:

The potential adoption saga over on SLOTAT continues. Amy, Ben and Ricky meet to hash out the details of a potential adoption, while Ann meets with the Rev. Stone to discuss potential couples to adopt Amy’s baby and George gets sweet-talked into circumventing both of these plans by his store manager Donovan and his lover Leon, who would like to adopt the baby.

Ann’s conversation with Rev. Stone turns up bust when he reveals that he had promised Ashley he would try to talk to her about not getting a divorce and therefore allowing Amy to keep the baby. Amy and Ben’s conversation with Ricky doesn’t go so well, either. Ricky remains dead set against adoption, promising to be a part of his son’s life, while Ben wonders how having Ricky around will impact his relationship with Amy. Feeling as though no one will let her make her own decision, Amy gets all passive aggressive and scary and lets Ricky and Ben decide for her. Ricky urges Ben to think through his commitment to Amy, and by the end of “Chocolate Cake,” the two are on the rocks.

George’s adoption conversation has the most success, largely because he didn’t know going into it that it would be anything more than dinner with his gay employee and his partner, whom George conveniently keeps forgetting the name of. For someone so incredibly repulsive, boorish, misogynistic and dumb, I expected him to be homophobic, too. But no, George is totally okay with gay men. What’s more: he really likes the idea that Leon and Donovan want to adopt Amy’s baby in an open adoption, allowing the Jurgens to see the baby anytime they want. How much more perfect could Donovan and Leon be, anyway? They cook! They keep house! They have an expendable income! They like boxing! To quote my favorite oddly insensitive George line of the night,

“You queens live like kings!”

In non-adoption news, Adrian, Grace and Ricky are having a major relationship clusterfuck. Ricky’s mean to Adrian, so she starts flirting with Jack, who’s not interested because he’s actually returned to the ghetto and is hooking up with his mentee’s hot older sister. So without Jack, Adrian needs to find someone new to have sex with and lo! enter her step-brother, who drops by to do some recon for his mother, who suspects that their mutual father might be leaving them to get back together with Adrian’s mom. She’s all like, “You’re hot.” And he’s all like, “Ew! I’m your brother!” And she’s all like, “Only by law.” And then they make out. Adrian’s dad later catches the two of them together, which has got to be unsettling, so Adrian goes back to sleeping with Ricky. When Jack’s new girlfriend jilts him, he decides to do something really mean and tells Grace that he knows Ricky is sleeping with her bestie Adrian. She ambushes them by cleverly calling them at the same time from two different phones and catches them together, declaring that she doesn’t want to talk to Ricky again and that Adrian is a really terrible friend.

After all of this, George tells Amy about Donovan and Leon and she decides that she’s totally on board with an open adoption. She calls Ricky and tells him that he’s a giant douchebag and that he needs to let her give the baby up. Finally, he agrees, leaving Amy to only need to patch things up with Ben . . . which doesn’t prove to be so easy when everyone at school is buzzing about how Amy and Ben broke up.

Grace and Adrian continue their bad friend tiff in the hallways of Ulysses S. Grant High School, and their minced words end in a totally awesome hair-pulling girlfight. The best part of this fight is that, during the middle of it, Adrian and Grace both realize that fighting this way over Ricky is really dumb, Adrian owns her bitchiness, and they both laugh about it and go off to confront Ricky together, only to arrive at the exact moment Amy breaks down about her fight with Ben and finds solace in Ricky’s arms, a moment Ben also happens upon, deepening the rift between the two. Witnessing this drives Ben to solitude in the fortress of the Sausage King, and Adrian and Grace to go do things girlfriends do like eating ice cream together and talking about how boys suck. It also drives Amy into deeper despair about not being with the love of her life, and Ricky into total fuckmeat mode as he decides that, with Ben out of the picture, the girl he should be with is the mother of his child.

This is exactly how I got you to have sex with me in the first place!

This is exactly how I got you to have sex with me in the first place!

Meanwhile, Jack makes amends with Shauna and is back tutoring Duncan. He tries really hard to keep his relationships with the two of them separate, but then Duncan reveals that he accepts tutoring in math solely for the purpose of having Jack over so Shauna can hang out with him. He then warns his sister about dating a dude in high school at her ripe old age of 20 with the most amazing statutory rape math breakdown I’ve ever heard. It went a little something like this:

“You know, I’m really good at math. 16 is 18 minus two, and 20 is 18 plus two. Two, that rhymes with you, as in don’t do anything that’s going to land you in jail because here’s another number: four – that’s how many years I’ll be in foster care because I’m too old to be adopted, and you’re too pretty for jail.”

Something like that. I thought this was fucking awesome, and my husband thought it was the funniest thing he’s ever heard.

George continues in his usual douchery by intercepting and scaring off potential adoptive parents before they can talk to Ann, and then the two of them have a hear to heart about their marriage where George actually stops being a dickmeat for five whole minutes and apologizes for cheating before finally talking to Ann about having Donovan and Leon adopt the baby.

Similarly, over at the Bowman house, Marshall is still mad at his wife for lying to him about being the person who cheated in her previous marriage. He comes home for some lunch-time lovin’ and Mrs. Bowman jokes that she gets drunk in the afternoon and takes care of herself, which is why she and Marshall haven’t been having much sex lately. I’m so happy that this show can openly discuss masturbation and gay adoption without any tinge of negativity. Both of those things are great, especially the praise of masturbation, which would have only been sweeter if Kathleen weren’t joking. She apologizes to Marshall for lying, and they make a sex date for after work, after which he tries to suss out whether or not she’d be keen to adopt Amy’s baby, which she accepts as a nice idea, but shoots down because she’s done raising children and having a new baby in the house ultimately means less time for sexy fun time – which is already in danger when she goes downstairs to get her favorite post-coital snack and finds Tom and Tammy hanging out in the kitchen in bathrobes. They’ve only been swimming, but Kathleen thinks they’ve been having sex, giving her the scare of her life. Tammy triumphantly declares that she wants to have a wedding first before she has sex with Tom. Given how hell-bent these two are about getting married, I expect to see their wedding the minute they both turn 18.

Ashley, who was scolded for being a little shit to her mother in “Chocolate Cake,” walks in on Ann and George’s discussion of adoption and gets all huffy, declaring that she doesn’t want her nephew adopted at all, growing so enraged with the prospect that she throws an egg on the floor. I expected this to be some kind of foreshadowing toward Ashley’s eventual destruction of her nephew, possibly by throwing her pregnant sister down the stairs because if her nephew couldn’t be with her, she wouldn’t want him to be with anyone at all. Or something. I don’t know. I thought Ashley was the sane one in this family, but despite the fact that she’s quickly become the most fashionable character on the show (her dress at the wedding was très cute, and I was super into the ruffled plaid shirt with big wide belt that she was rocking in the intro to “Unforgiven”), she’s also become the most irrational member of the Jurgens’ family, putting her selfish and childish desires to help her sister raise the baby above what’s actually good for that fucking baby. I hope she doesn’t go “throw Amy down some stairs” crazy. Giving the kitchen floor salmonella is just the right level of crazy.

Donovan and Leon talk to Amy to make sure that having her baby adopted is what she wants to do. She assures them at it is, and she breaks down about how she treated Ben. Donovan and Leon tell her that they want to adopt her baby for sure, but they want to meet with Ricky to make sure that he’s on board as well. She believes he will be, but I have my suspicions that now that Ricky’s spending time in his basement room reading about childbirth and being grossed out by the table of contents that he’s back on track with the “raising the baby myself” plan. Donovan and Leon agree to drive Amy over to the Sausage King’s so that she can talk to Ben and close the gap between them, but the Sausage King apology-blocks her and tells her that Ben has to make the decision to be with her on his own.

Babies come out of where?!

Babies come out of where?!

I’m sad, because Amy and Ben are totally why I watch this show and I will be really upset if Ben decides not to be with Amy. Until that’s resolved, here’s a list of oddly funny dialogue I’ve collected from these episodes:

  • “I’m married to, er, whatshername? – You!” – George
  • Alice’s cat claw noises. I’m glad she got a paycheck for that.
  • Best icebreaker ever: “I’m thinking about having sex with my brother.” – Adrian
  • “God help Adrian, because she’s a bitch!” – Grace
  • “I’ve always wanted to see where the Sausage King lives!” – Leon

The Husband:

My wife pretty much broke down all the important/relevant info regarding the last two episodes of The Secret Life Of The American Teenager quite well, so I just wanted to point out that she also happened to have written the best sentence of the month:

“Witnessing this drives Ben to solitude in the fortress of the Sausage King, and Adrian and Grace to go do things girlfriends do like eating ice cream together and talking about how boys suck.”

I think that’s how I should explain the show to people, just to see how they would react.