THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER “Cute” Season 4 Episode 7 – Last week things started flying off the rails with regard to Ricky’s storyline surrounding his college admission and the skank who worked there. After absolutely shocking me and turning out storylines that were actually watchable, the show sunk back to scraping the bottom of the barrel, or so I thought.
Well, it kinda did, it kinda didn’t. I don’t-I can’t-view this show in the same way I view other shows. You cannot compare a show like this to something like Game of Thrones or The Good Wife, shows which are trying to push the envelope and tell really smart stories that trust the viewers are smart enough to keep up without repeating every single plot point twenty times an hour. You just have to sort of view it in its own little vacuum: are the writers pulling out the same stories they’ve used thirty times before? Are these people on my screen characters, or actors clearly reading lines above the camera? Needless to say, my expectations for this show aren’t exactly monumental, but the show has surprised me this season, really trying to step up its game and take some risks.
So the Ricky storyline was a risk which flopped last week, but actually rose up to not be terrible this week. Instead of delaying the inevitable blow out like this show typically does, stretching out a storyline like some fat kid with chewing gum on his fingers, Ricky instantly told Amy what had transpired with the administrator and instead of flying off the rails, Amy rose up to defend him, tracking down the wayward administrator and eventually getting her fired.
There were several other subplots happening as usual: Grace is very much feeling her youth as her mother sets a curfew as a precondition for going out with her college friend. She also wants to warn Ben not to sleep with Adrian, though she does not tell him that it is because the latter wants to get pregnant again. This causes Ben to think that Adrian has a boyfriend, and he agrees to have dinner with Ricky’s mother who, unbeknownst to him, as some sage advice about the perils of drinking.
At the dinner however Ricky’s mother, two years sober, falls off the rails and this was without a doubt the best moment of the show, when she finally wakes up from her drunken stupor, in Ben’s bed with Ben’s father standing over her. It was surprisingly well played, both writing and acting, a touching and tender reminded that alcoholism is a disease. Her reaction was akin to one who’d just found out they’d fallen into remission.
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