THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER “The Games We Play” Season 4 Episode 11 – This was an episode which featured a bunch of the same stuff as usual – a terrible main plot between Ricky and Amy, and if this one did have that taste of originality in its premise, it was a bitter one as the show goes out of its way to spit on every inkling of feminism ever to exist as Ricky snidely becomes aware that Amy is so desperate to “get a proposal” out of him and Amy is indeed so desperate that she’ll lavish milkshakes and Kurasawa and bubble baths on him just to see him on bended knee. It’s all terribly sexist, which is a pity since the episode started out pretty nice, with Ricky sharing his story with John, finally revealing the ring he bought for Amy.
There are a variety of other subplots which are the same mind numbing sort you have to expect from this show: Ricky’s mom and Amy’s mom bond while Amy’s dad is oh so hilariously put down by the two of them. Grace’s friend is dating a guy who looks exactly like Jack (I mean, seriously. What is with the lookalike casting? It took be a whole year to figure out the difference between Ben and Ricky) while Jack, realizing that he still loves Grace for the umpteenth time, asks Grace’s other friend out to the senior dance.
Then there’s Adrian, who’s shocked and saddened that the guy she hooked up with has not called her back, and as she goes about hunting him down, she runs into his brother. Oooh. Suspense!
You have to give props where props are due. The episode did feature one highlight: Alice and Hank broke up. It was a pretty excellent subplot which I would have much preferred as the mainplot. It’s terrible that these two actors have been relegated to expository mascots through which Ben can vent his feelings for four seasons, but they’ve rarely (if ever) been given a substantial plot, especially after seeing how well both actors handled this one. When Alice was crying to Leo about Hank breaking up with her, I actually forgot just how ridiculous it was that she’d be lying on Ben’s bed, sobbing, with the door wide open, on her own. Plus, because these two have an actual, built up relationship which, up until now has been a loving one, their break up was far more…powerful is too strong a word but impactful than it had any right to be.
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