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The Secret Life of the American Teenager

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Title: The Secret Life of the American Teenager  
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Subject: 2009 Teen Choice Awards, Megan Park, Brando Eaton, Daren Kagasoff, India Eisley
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The Secret Life of the American Teenager

The Secret Life of the American Teenager
Also known as Secret-Teen
Secret Life
Genre Teen drama
Created by Brenda Hampton
Written by Brenda Hampton
Jeffrey Rodgers
Caroline Kepnes
Jeff Olsen
Chris Olsen
Elaine Arata
Paul Perlove
Kelley Turk
Courtney Turk
Anne Ramsay
Directed by Ron Underwood
Anson Williams
Jason Priestley
John Schneider
Gail Bradley
Lindsley Parsons III
Keith Truesdell
Barry Watson
Starring Shailene Woodley
Kenny Baumann
Francia Raisa
Daren Kagasoff
Greg Finley II
Megan Park
India Eisley
Molly Ringwald
Mark Derwin
Anne Ramsay
Steve Schirripa
Michael Grant
Cierra Ramirez
Luke Zimmerman
Theme music composer Dan Foliart
Opening theme "Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love", performed by Molly Ringwald
Composer(s) Dan Foliart
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 121 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Brenda Hampton
Producer(s) Lindsley Parsons III
Hrag Gaboudian
Editor(s) Stephen Myers
Ellen Ring Jacobson
Marilyn McMahon Adams
Janet Weinberg
Janet Gratz
Location(s) Los Angeles, California
Cinematography Ronald E. High
William L. Asman
Camera setup Film; Single-camera
Running time Approx. 45 minutes
Production company(s) Brendavision!
ProdCo Original
American Teenager, Inc.
ABC Family Original Productions
Distributor Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Original channel ABC Family
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Original release July 1, 2008 – June 3, 2013
External links

The Secret Life of the American Teenager (often shortened to Secret Life) is an American teen drama television series created by Brenda Hampton. It first aired on ABC Family on July 1, 2008 and ran until June 3, 2013.[1] The show was renewed for a second season consisting of 24 episodes on February 9, 2009,[2] which began airing on June 22, 2009.[3] On January 12, 2010, ABC Family announced that Secret Life would return for its third season,[4] which premiered on June 7, 2010.[5] On January 9, 2011, ABC Family announced the show would return for its fourth season on March 26, 2011.[6] On February 2, 2012, ABC Family renewed the series for a fifth season.[7] On October 9, 2012, it was announced that the fifth season of The Secret Life of the American Teenager would be the final season. The series finale aired on June 3, 2013.[8]

The series received generally mixed reviews from mainstream critics when it began broadcasting, but was well received among female and teenage viewers. The pilot episode broke the record for the highest rated debut on ABC Family, which has been broken by the second season premiere, beating Kyle XY, with 2.82 million viewers. The season one finale brought in 4.50 million viewers, beating that night's episode of Gossip Girl, which had less than half its usual number of viewers. Premiering to mostly positive reviews from critics and being well received among viewers, the second season of Secret Life opened with the largest audience the series has seen so far, posting a series high in total viewers with 4.68 million viewers; in adults 18–34 it is the number one scripted original premiere of Summer 2009. Furthermore, the mid-season premiere became ABC Family's most watched telecast of all time with viewers ages 12–34 with more than three million viewers watching.[9]

The show has earned the Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer TV Show during its premiere season,[10][11] and spawned a book entitled The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens.[12]


  • Season synopses 1
    • Season 1 1.1
    • Season 2 1.2
    • Season 3 1.3
    • Season 4 1.4
    • Season 5 1.5
  • Cast and characters 2
  • Broadcasting 3
    • Reception 3.1
    • U.S. Nielsen ratings 3.2
    • Awards and accolades 3.3
  • DVD releases 4
  • Other media 5
    • Music 5.1
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Season synopses

Season 1

In season one, fifteen-year-old Amy Juergens finds out that she is pregnant after having sex at band camp with a handsome and popular boy, Ricky Underwood. Amy tells Ben (the guy she started dating after becoming pregnant) the truth, but he is surprisingly supportive and offers to marry her anyway, despite the protests of his friends Henry and Alice. When Ricky finds out he is the father, he is willing to be a part of his future child's life, causing Adrian Lee, Ricky's friend with benefits to become jealous, especially since Ricky already has his sights on the sweet and virginal Grace Bowman, who was going out with Jack Pappas until he cheated on her with Adrian. Much to Adrian's surprise, Grace is not angry at her, and the two girls become friends despite being romantic rivals. Ricky and Ben also compete with each other for Amy's attention and at the end of the season, Amy has her child, a boy whom her sister, Ashley, names John. Amy decides to keep John, after struggling with the decision over the course of the season. John's birth caused Ricky to be closer to Amy, causing frequent romantic sparks between the two.

Season 2

In season two, Amy's parents Anne and George are divorced and Anne even begins dating again, but when she becomes pregnant again, it is revealed that the baby is George's. At the same time, Ashley begins her freshman year at Grant High and resents the legacy Amy has accidentally created as a teenage mother so she befriends a gay classmate named Griffin and they both pledge to remain abstinent throughout high school. Meanwhile, Amy struggles to raise John and frequently argues with Ricky over custodial arrangements, especially since Ben is becoming jealous of Ricky's constant presence. Eventually, Ben and Amy break up while Ricky and Adrian have agreed to date officially but Ricky has issues being faithful. Grace loses her virginity to Jack on the same night her father dies in a plane crash and is irrationally wracked with guilt. She blamed Jack and herself for her fathers death which causes Jack to be so upset that he starts drinking. She and her brother Tom have trouble adjusting when their mother decides to remarry again. Adrian begins to reach out to Amy in order to make peace so Amy, John, and Ricky can be a family with less drama. The season's events culminate with Adrian cheating on Ricky with Ben on the night of the Mother/Daughter dance, in an attempt to get back at Ricky for kissing Amy. Ricky is angry at the both of them and breaks up with Adrian and refuses to forgive Ben, thus crushing their already fragile friendship.

Season 3

In season three, everyone finds out Adrian is pregnant with Ben's baby, except for Amy. So, Ben and Amy continue to date and start considering taking their relationship to the next level, while Ben struggles to tell Amy about Adrian. George and Anne Juergens have officially divorced and Anne lives closer to her mother while George stays at the house with Amy and Ashley. Ashley drops out of school and begins homeschooling herself. Kathleen Bowman's husband goes to Zimbabwe for a medical mission to bring aid to third world people and returns in the season finale with a proposal that he and Kathleen return to live and explore the world. Kathleen is hesitant to accept, not wanting to leave Grace and Tom behind by themselves. Towards the middle of the season, Amy and Ricky begin to date, and everyone is doubtful that Ricky will be faithful. Adrian and Ben decide to get married and the ceremony occurs near the end of the season. In the two-part season finale, Ben and Adrian are living together in their condo and Adrian begins to sense that something might be wrong with their baby. They decide to call the doctor, who has them meet her at the hospital as soon as possible. The baby is revealed to have died, which leaves everyone devastated. Amy is upset by this and decides to have sex with Ricky instead of going away for the weekend.

Season 4

In season four, Amy and Ricky begin to get closer while Amy and John begin to move in with Ricky in his apartment, which is above the butcher shop. Meanwhile, Ashley leaves to go on a road trip with her friend Toby. Grace goes to Zimbabwe and meets a new guy named Daniel who later becomes her boyfriend. Jack and Madison break up forcing Jack to do all the senior stuff with Grace who he is still in love with. Adrian is depressed as she lost her baby and Ben wants to leave, but doesn't have the heart to do so. Adrian figures out that he wants to leave, and tries to seduce him so she can get pregnant again. Later Adrian sets her goal towards Ricky. Ricky proposes to Amy and she accepts. Afterwards, Jesse has a graduation party and everyone is invited. Adrian goes with Omar, her new boyfriend. Daniel's ex-girlfriend shows up at the party and says she wants him back. Ricky kisses Adrian one last time as per her wish and she claims she is "free" from him, after which her new boyfriend Omar breaks up with her claiming that the kiss was "totally disrespectful". The next morning outside, Grace asks Jack about Adrian's theory, and then end up kissing which is caught on a picture sent to Daniel by Raven (his ex-girlfriend), causing him to break up with Grace. Madison also sleeps with Jesse ending with 2 broken friendships and 1 broken relationship. Ben also shuns Henry when he sleeps with Adrian at the party because he was disloyal. Ben meets the lake house neighbor,Dylan, and she and her friends turn out to be a bad influence on him. Kathleen goes to Africa to learn that Marshall was cheating with her and already had a girlfriend and a son there who comes back to live with their family. In the last episode, Anne comes out with the fact that she really is gay, but when Amy is told, she is very upset and believes she is saying that because George is trying to have a good excuse as of why he cheated and also got back with Kathleen.

Season 5

In season five, Amy and Ricky continue to live together and are thinking about getting married. They elope but at the last minute decide not to go through with it, but when they return home they tell everyone they are married. Eventually, they let everyone know the truth and plan for a real wedding. Ashley is living at home and is having a sexual relationship with her boyfriend Toby. Early in the season Ashley moves to Italy for culinary school. Ben is in a relationship with troublemaker Dylan but is still in love wtih Amy. Leo eventually forbids Ben to see Dylan. Adrian is living with her boyfriend Omar, who has proposed to her. Amy gets accepted to a college in New York and so does Ben, conveniently. George continues seeing Kathleen. The season ends with Amy breaking up with Ricky, saying that when they both get married it should be because they are in love, not just because they love each other and are comfortable. She leaves to go to school in New York and living in the apartment building where Ben lives, who is going to the same college to get Amy back and the apartments are provided by Leo. Amy leaves John with Ricky, so Ricky will take care of him throughout Amy's college career.

Cast and characters

  • French horn and wants to someday attend Juilliard. (But later decides to be a teacher.) At summer band camp, prior to starting her freshman year, Amy has a one night stand with Ricky Underwood and becomes pregnant. After returning to school, Amy meets Ben Boykewich and they begin dating. After much indecision and disagreement, Amy and Ricky mutually decide to keep the baby. Upon the beginning of summer, Ben leaves Amy to visit Italy for his summer vacation. Following his return, they eventually break up. Amy later begins dating Jimmy, the son of Amy's mother's old high school boyfriend. Amy soon goes back to Ben after he confesses his love for her, despite him having sex with Adrian; however, when she learns that Adrian is pregnant, she avoids Ben due to the fact that he lied to her for weeks. She realizes that her attraction to Ricky is growing, and begins to date him. She desperately desires to sleep with him but is cautious about beginning a sexual relationship with him. She loves Ricky but she knows that creating a strong bond and relationship is the best way to keep him around. Adrian then points out to Amy some of the girls that Ricky slept with in order to hurt Amy. Amy, hurt by the fact that Adrian would do such a thing, refuses to throw a baby shower for Adrian and becomes cold toward her. This is the same attitude that Adrian had when she threw Amy a shower (Grace actually threw the shower). Adrian was so cruel that she had sex with her stepbrother during Amy's baby shower. Distraught over the death of Adrian and Ben's baby, Amy and Ricky abandon plans for a weekend getaway and decide to re-establish a physical relationship. Ricky proposes to her on his graduation night, and while Amy is happy to be engaged, she is in no hurry to marry. After discovering that her mother is gay, Amy tells Ricky that they should elope, to which Ricky happily agrees. Amy and Ricky seemingly elope in the Season 5 premiere; however, they run out of the chapel laughing without actually having gotten married. In the season finale, Amy graduates and when she and Ricky get home, she tells him that she has to postpone the wedding and as they fight, she tells him she's postponing because he isn't in love with her, though he loves her. Amy then makes the decision to pursue a college education while Ricky takes custody of their son.
  • Daren Kagasoff portrays Richard "Ricky" Underwood, 20 years old with a troubled past and emotional issues, resulting in promiscuity and a reputation as the school's "bad boy". He is the son of Bob Underwood, a domestic abuser, child molester, and drug addict, and a drug addict mother, Nora (played by Anne Ramsay), who lived on the streets before being sent to jail for a short time before being released with help from Adrian's father. Ricky lived with his foster parents, Margaret and Dr. Shekhar, but moved out to an apartment above the butcher shop. Ricky later decided that he wants to have a more serious relationship with Adrian and tells her he does not want her sleeping with other guys. He, on the other hand, wants to sleep with other girls while still being in a relationship with Adrian. They break up after Adrian has sex with Ben, after finding out that Ricky and Amy kissed. Ashley kisses him, showing her feelings for him. Ricky does not seem to return these feelings, even though he flirts with her. Ashley tries to sleep with him, but Ricky has feelings for Amy so he refuses her. Ricky goes to New York to visit Amy and they kiss again. They have a long discussion and Amy tells Ricky that if he ever wants to be with her again he has to stop sleeping around. Ricky promises to try. Ricky and Amy begin to date after she returns from music camp. Their relationship becomes serious and they consider moving in together. Ricky has a constant battle with Amy over when she plans to have sex with him, and she insists that he be tested for STDs before considering having sex with him. Even while they are dating the custody agreement they have remains the same but, as they are often at each other's places, the rules bend a little. Amy has a lot of trouble reconciling his past promiscuity with his declarations of love. He is being encouraged to consider attending college by both Ben's father and the high school counselor, but is unsure how college fits into his life with Amy and John. He proposed to Amy on the night of his high school graduation, but is then confused when Amy doesn't seem to be in a hurry to get married. After many arguments and diagreements, Ricky and Amy elope in the season 5 premiere, although it is revealed 2 episodes later that they did not finish the wedding ceremony.In the season finale, they go to Amy's graduation and then go home, where Amy and Ricky fight because Amy wants to cancel the wedding. He gets angry but she says that he's not in love with her and he says he loves her and then admits that he's not in love with her. They both then agree that Ricky will keep John and they will see how it all goes. When Amy leaves, the last scene is Ricky telling John a story, saying, "And she lives happily ever after... And so will we."
  • Christian Serratos) and decides to leave. Raven hooks up with Jack during the party, but the next morning, Jack and Grace kiss and Grace realizes that she still has feelings for him. Raven takes a picture of the kiss and sends it to Daniel, who breaks up with Grace. Grace decides to skip med school camp for the coming summer because she is tired of it and wants to avoid Grant.
  • Francia Raisa portrays Adrian Lee, a now 20-year-old majorette with a reputation for being promiscuous because she enjoys casual sex. Adrian's mother is a flight attendant who is often away from home because of her job. Adrian's father was absent from Adrian's childhood, but is now making an effort to reconnect with her. Her broken background has made Adrian emotional, hidden under her tough exterior. She wants to feel loved, and so she continues her on-off casual relationship with Ricky, though he constantly pursues other girls. At first Adrian is extremely jealous of Amy and Grace. She is jealous of Amy because Amy had Ricky's baby and she knows that they will always be connected. Adrian is also jealous of Grace because Ricky wants to sleep with her but he later changes his mind. Adrian then angrily throws Amy a baby shower although Grace was the one who threw the shower while Adrian had sex with her stepbrother in the other room. Adrian later decides that she wants a more serious relationship with Ricky and tells him that she loves him. They decide that they will work at being in a relationship and although Adrian agrees to stop having sex with other boys, Ricky says he still wants to have sex with other girls. Amy and Adrian then get into an argument about Adrian holding John and Adrian realizes that Ricky has sided with Amy about her holding John. Adrian then decides to become friends with Amy and Amy finally lets Adrian hold John. Adrian later has sex with Ben in an attempt at revenge after finding out that Ricky and Amy kissed. Adrian later discovers that she's pregnant with Ben's baby. At first she decides to have an abortion, having even spoke with a counselor at an abortion clinic. Her dad was not supportive of her choice with terminating the pregnancy. Adrian soon decides not to go through with an abortion and plans on keeping the baby instead. Ben has given Adrian an expensive($50,000) "friendship ring", which they have agreed is just a friendship ring, unless they both agree later on that it means something else. As Adrian pregnancy goes along they both start to realize that they have feelings for each other that goes beyond just caring for each other because they are going to have a baby together. but both of them have falling in love with each other unaware of it while it was happening. Ben then decides to make the friendship ring an engagement ring and surprises Adrian with the proposal. They subsequently marry, and moved in together in a condo. Both she and Ben are devastated when their baby, whom they were planning to name Mercy, is born as a stillborn. Adrian tries to keep Ben in the marriage by having another baby. He was willing to do so, but Adrian decides she loves Ricky. The two are separated and are getting a divorce. Meanwhile, Adrian is introduced to a friend of Daniel's, Dante'. She feels as if they get along well, but he leaves the country for a semester abroad, and Adrian begins going out with Dante's brother, Omar. At the graduation party, Adrian wants one last kiss from Ricky to see if the spark is still there. With Amy's ok, Ricky kisses her, and Adrian is relieved to discover that she no longer is obsessed with Ricky. However, Omar is offended at her kissing Ricky and leaves the party without her. Adrian, upset, ends up sleeping with Henry that evening, and they are discovered the next morning by a shocked Alice. She then completes summer school and has shown signs of still being in love with Ricky
  • Ken Baumann portrays Benjamin "Ben" Boykewich 19-year old now. His father Leo was the first person to suspect Amy's pregnancy due to her throwing up on Ben while on a date. He initially dismissed the idea, but realizes that it may be a possibility. This causes him to propose to Amy so that way he can help financially support the baby, and because he genuinely loves her. Amy is flattered by his actions, but explains that she is unsure of what to do. When she considers getting an abortion, Ben convinces her not to because he knows that she has other options. He experiences a lot of hardship during Amy's pregnancy; particularly when he is brutally beaten up by a fellow student, but remains to be a loving and supportive boyfriend. In the season one episode "The Secret Wedding of the American Teenager", Ben and Amy get married using fake ID's after her mother says that Amy will have to get a job if she wants to keep the baby. Later on the series, Ben gets Adrian pregnant, after he lost his virginity with her in his car in front of Amy's house. The couple decide to keep the baby. He then tells Amy and they break up. By the third season's mid-season finale, it is shown that Ben and Adrian have some romantic feelings for one's another. In the autumn premiere, Ben and Adrian find out they're having a baby girl, which is what Ben was hoping for. His father bought a condo for the two of them, and they later get married. Their daughter, Mercy, was stillborn which left Adrian and Ben devastated. He later decides he wants out of the marriage due to Adrian's attitude. He admits it harshly to Adrian after she gave away their baby's things. After his outbursts to Adrian he then gets drunk and humiliates himself in front of his father. But he later begins to recant his decision after having time to vent his frustration. But, later Adrian decides she also does not want to remain married, and asks him to leave. He leaves brokenhearted and then later asks Adrian to remain his friend. He also allows Adrian to keep the condo with the approval of his father and continues to keep his word of being her friend to her after she is embarrassed at the graduation party. He also meets a new girl named Dylan, who seems be interested in him. Alice tells Ben that Henry slept with Adrian at the graduation party, which enrages him and prompts him to tell a stunned and contrite Henry that he is no longer welcome at his home. Dylan and her friends visit Ben and ask if he minds if they smoke some pot. Ben is taken aback, but doesn't want to appear judgmental, so he allows them to smoke in his room. They are discovered by Ben's and Dylan's parents, and Ben lies to protect Dylan and tells them that he was given the pot at the party the night before. Ben and Dylan convince their parents that they should go out together. In the school hallway, Ben tells Amy that he still loves her, but Dylan's friend Wendy over hears and tells Dylan. Dylan still wants to go out with Ben, but her parents don't want her to because they think he's a bad influence.Later when Ben is feeling vulnerable, Alice comes to his house and they both have sex. Henry finds out and starts dating Dylan, whose parents like Henry. Ben is upset but realizes that he's in love with Amy Juergens, always was and always will be.
  • Greg Finley II portrays Jack Pappas, an now 20 on the football team. Jack is the stepson of a minister. The summer before his sophomore year, Jack began a relationship with Grace, partially in an effort to keep her well-to-do family at his stepfather's church. He quickly falls for Grace and after their first date asks her for a closed, committed relationship. However, Jack is distraught when Grace informs him she wants to wait until after marriage and medical school for sex. Fretful, Jack has oral sex with Adrian for which Grace breaks up with him. Jack regrets the end of their relationship and projected serious efforts into trying to win Grace back. However, Grace began to date Ricky instead. Unsure of how he feels about sex and waiting until marriage, Jack tries to keep his mind off it by doing good deeds. He dates Madison, but makes the mistake of telling Madison's father that they are engaging in oral sex, which causes Madison's father to stop Jack and Madison from seeing each other all summer. Jack knows he is still not over Grace even though she is with Grant. He constantly attempts to stop Grace from having sex with Grant, despite the fact that he is with Madison. He and Madison have one sexual encounter, but afterwards decide that sex is not right for them at this time. They break up, and Jack turns his attention back to Grace. At graduation, Jack is chosen to give the invocation/prayer, which Grace helps him write. Even though he hooks up with Daniel's ex-girlfriend at the graduation party, he finds Grace the next morning, and they share a kiss, which confuses Grace. In the season 5 mid season finale Jack was beat up by a pimp and was in critical condition.
  • Steve Schirripa portrays Leo Boykewich, Ben's widowed father. Known locally as "The Sausage King", now he is wealthy and owns a now shop. He recently married a woman named Betty, a sweet but slightly ditzy former prostitute. He and Ben have always had a close relationship, but the relationship has been tested because he doesn't approve of Ben's latest choices with regards to Adrian. Distraught over the fact his son impregnated a girl and plans to marry her despite the fact they are not in love, he goes and sees a therapist. He figures out he is not over his first love, Ben's mom, and realizes that he needs to move on and give Betty the same opportunity to make a place in his life that Ben's mother had. He is saddened at the death of Ben and Adrian's baby, and takes it upon himself to tell Ben's friends about the death. Later, Betty realizes that Leo is not happy in their marriage. She wants to separate and finally attend college, and he agrees, much to his relief. With Ben's urging, he then realizes that he has been in love with his secretary of 20 years, and begins to court her.


The Secret Life of the American Teenager first aired on ABC Family on July 1, 2008.[1] Season 1 began with 11 episodes broadcast from July 1, 2008 to September 9, 2008. After a hiatus, 12 first-season episodes aired January 5, 2009 through March 23, 2009, despite being marketed as season 2, for a total of 23 episodes.[13] The first season was aired on Canadian broadcaster City starting on September 3, 2008.[14] In early 2009, City removed Secret Life from its schedule.[15] Therefore, MuchMusic started to air the first season in Canada on November 30, 2009, followed by the second season on December 7, 2009.[16]

Following the success of its first season, ABC Family announced on January 31, 2009, plans to renew Secret Life.[17] The official press release was released on February 9 and was added to ABC Family's line up on April 7, 2009.[18] The show was renewed for a 24-episode second season, which began airing on June 22, 2009.[2][19][20] Season 2 began with 12 episodes broadcast starting June 22, 2009 through September 7, 2009. After a four-month hiatus, the second half of the season returned on January 4, 2010,[21] and concluded on March 22, 2010.[22]

Following their record-breaking, mid-season returns, Make It or Break It, and Secret Life were both picked up for an additional season.[4] The third season premiere of Secret Life was aired on June 7, 2010, at 8 pm.[5] On January 10, 2011, it was reported that Secret Life was picked up for a fourth season to be shown in Summer 2011 and season three would resume on March 28, 2011 after an extended season break.[23] The second half of the fourth season is set to air on March 26, 2012.

On February 2, 2012, it was announced ABC Family renewed The Secret Life of the American Teenager for a fifth season.[24]


Secret Life received mixed reviews at the time of its debut. It currently has a score of 48 out of 100 from review aggregator Metacritic.[25] The New York Post praised the series for having a set of characters that are "... real and come from families of all stripes – from intact to single-parent households to one boy in foster care..."[26] However, most mainstream critics haven't embraced the show, indicating it as a TV-series version of an after school special, "filled with didactic messages and a lotta wooden acting," in the words of Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly.[27] The New York Times claimed that "Secret Life" must surely be the collective effort of an anti-pregnancy cabal. [...] ABC Family means well but could not have done worse. "Secret Life" doesn’t take the fun out of teenage pregnancy, it takes the fun out of television" and calls the show a "Prime-Time Cautionary Tale".[28] Variety Magazine reports that "ABC Family's latest original drama wants to be a slow-motion version of "Juno" but settles for being an obvious, stereotype-laden teen soap [...] based on first impressions, "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" should probably stay a secret."[29] ReporterMag's Andrew Rees says, "The show...might be the worst scripted drama on television. Suffering from gag-worthy dialog, horrific plot twists, terrible acting, and characters who not even the best of 3-D glasses could give depth to, it’s a wonder how this show stays on the air."[30]

Brenda Hampton does not mind the poor reviews, saying, "I'd rather get good ratings and bad reviews than bad ratings and good reviews.".[27] Despite its lackluster critical reviews,[31] Secret Life received the highest premiere viewership ratings ever for an ABC Family original program. The pilot episode brought in 2.82 million viewers and a 0.9/3 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic. Secret Life also scored high in the female demographic, registering a 6.5/24 among female teenagers and a 3.1/11 among 12- to 34-year-old females.[32]

Secret Life's mid-season finale episode of season one defeated the first hour of the much-publicized series premiere of 90210 on The CW in viewers 12–34 and females 12–34, beating 90210 in total viewers and all their key demographics, and bringing in some of the best ratings of the season for Secret Life.[33][34] The season one finale brought in 4.50 million viewers and was the highest rated telecast on March 23, 2009 in viewers aged 12–34 and the number one scripted telecast that night. The episode also beat 90210, which had 2.20 million viewers, more than half the usual number.[11]

On Monday, June 22, 2009, Secret Life opened its second season with the largest audience so far, posting a series high in total viewers with 4.68 million viewers, and second-best numbers ever in adults 18–34 with 1.4 million viewers, behind season one's mid-season finale, adults 18–49 with 2.1 million viewers and viewers 12–34 with 2.9 million viewers. In June 2009, Secret Life ranked as cable’s number one scripted telecast in females 12–34, and the number one scripted series telecast in viewers 12–34 and female teens. Additionally, Secret Life stood as ad-supported cable’s number one telecast this month in female teens. The season debut became cable’s number one scripted series premiere of the 2008/2009 season to date in women 18–34, women 18–49, and viewers 12–34, and the number one scripted original premiere of summer 2009 in adults 18–34.[35]

Secret Life’s second season debut stands as cable’s number one scripted original series season premiere of summer 2009 in adults ages 18–34 and across core female 18–34, 18–49 and 12–34 demos, ahead of such high profile series as USA’s Royal Pains and Burn Notice, and TNT’s The Closer.[36] Some critics praised the new developments of the show's second season, saying they could be "interesting material to build on." Jean Bently of EW Popwatch says that now that the whole "teen going through a pregnancy" plot has played out and the "frustrated young mother" thing is going on, we have room to explore some other topics. She remained hopeful that the writers will not just turn these new problems into issues of the week, instead allowing time for the characters to grieve Marshall's death, deal with Ann's accidental pregnancy, and explore the more emotionally complex aspects of teenage sex.[10]

With more than 4.55 million people watching the season two mid-season premiere, the episode became ABC Family’s most-watched telecast ever in the key 12–34 and teen demos.[37] The episode stands as the series’ second-most-watched episode in viewers and is TV’s number one telecast of the season in female teens, cable’s number one telecast in females 12–34, and cable’s number one scripted telecast in viewers 12–34. The season two mid-season premiere remains cable’s number one scripted premiere of the 2009/10 season. It improved nearly one million total viewers over its season two mid-season finale, and was number one in all target demos for the hour.[9]

On Monday, June 7, 2010, Secret Life opened its third season as the number one summer premiere for the 2010 summer season. It drew 1.3 million women 18–49 viewers, 2.3 million viewers 12–34, 1.8 million female 12–34 viewers, and 1.0 million teen viewers, topping high profiles premieres of Burn Notice, Royal Pains, and Pawn Stars. Additionally, Monday’s "Secret Life" ranks as summer’s number one scripted premiere on cable with 1.2 million viewers adults 18–34. It improved over its season 2 finale, growing by 20% in adults 18–34, by 21% in adults 18–49, and by 10% in viewers 12–34.[38]

Regarding The Secret Life's advertising, Laura Caraccioli-Davis, executive vice president of the media buyer Starcom, says, "Nielsen numbers will do the talking in the advertising community, which has a deep respect for success."

U.S. Nielsen ratings

The following is a table with the average estimated amount of viewers per episode, each season of The Secret Life of the American Teenager on ABC Family.

Season Timeslot (ET/PT) # Ep. Premiered Ended TV Season Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
Tuesday 8:00PM (2008)
Monday 8:00PM (2009)
July 1, 2008
March 23, 2009
4.50[40] 2008–2009 3.51
Monday 8:00PM
June 22, 2009
March 22, 2010
3.17 2009–2010 3.24
3 26
June 7, 2010
June 6, 2011
3.56 2010–2011 3.74
4 24
June 13, 2011
June 4, 2012
1.43[44] 2011–2012 2.14
5 24
June 11, 2012
June 3, 2013
1.50 [46] 2012–2013 1.22

Awards and accolades

Throughout its four seasons, Secret Life has been nominated for several Teen Choice Awards, and won a Gracie Allen Award.[47] It won a Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer TV Show during its premiere season.[48] In 2009, it was nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, including Choice TV Show Drama, Choice TV Breakout Show, and Choice Summer TV. Kenny Baumann was nominated for Choice TV Actor Drama and Choice Summer TV Star: Male, Shailene Woodley was nominated for Choice TV Actress Drama and Choice Summer TV Star: Female, Daren Kagasoff was nominated for Choice TV Breakout Star: Male and won Choice Summer TV Star Male,[49] and Molly Ringwald and Mark Derwin were nominated for Choice TV Parental Unit.[50] A Gracie Allen Award was awarded to the show for Outstanding Drama in 2009.[47] In 2010, the show was nominated as a Favorite TV Obsession at the 2010 People's Choice Awards; Shailene Woodley won a 2010 Gracie Award for Outstanding Female Rising Star in a Drama Series;[51][52] the show was nominated as the Choice Summer TV show at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards; Ken Baumann and Daren Kagasoff were nominated as the Choice Male Summer TV Star; and Shailene Woodley was also nominated as the Choice Female Summer TV Star.[53]

DVD releases

Each Secret Life season is released on DVD in separate volumes. Season one, confusingly, is sold as season one and season two.[54][55][56] Season two is sold as volume three and volume four,[57][58] and similarly for the later seasons. The DVD releases include commentary by cast and crew members on selected episodes, deleted scenes, interviews with the cast, and behind-the-scenes featurettes. The season two, volume two DVD includes a preview of Ashley Juergen's Secret Diary, a novella released on June 15, 2010.[58]

DVD release dates for The Secret Life of the American Teenager
Name Release dates Ep # Additional information
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Volume One December 30, 2008[54] TBA TBA 11 Incorrectly marketed as season one. Extras include deleted scenes, cast interviews, gag reel, episode commentaries, and 7 featurettes
Volume Two June 16, 2009[59] TBA TBA 12 Incorrectly marketed as season two. Extras include behind-the-Scenes featurettes with the cast, exclusive music video from The Strange Familiar
Volume Three December 22, 2009[60] TBA TBA 12 Extras include pilot episode "Make It or Break It", Hot Chat, exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the cast
Volume Four June 15, 2010[58] TBA TBA 12 Extras include behind the "Secret" scenes, Cast on Family, interviews with cast and composer
Volume Five December 21, 2010[61] TBA TBA 14 On Set with Director Anson Williams, On Set Fist Bumps with Joey and Matthew Levinson, On Set with Shailene Woodley, On Set with Luke Zimmerman
Volume Six June 7, 2011[62] TBA TBA 12
Volume Seven March 20, 2012 TBA TBA 13
Volume Eight TBA TBA TBA 11
Volume Nine TBA TBA TBA 12
Volume Ten TBA TBA TBA 12

Other media

On June 15, 2010, The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens was published.[12] Written by Kelly and Courtney Turk, whose previous credits include episodes of 7th Heaven and NCIS, it documents the thoughts of the character Ashley Juergens in the events chronicling the first and part of the second season.[63] It also includes new characters that were not shown on Secret Life.[63] "We watched the episodes together and then talked briefly about ideas we each had and what we thought Ashley would have to say about whatever the storyline was. Then we separated and exchanged our chapters," Courtney stated while talking about the difference between writing a book and writing for television.[63]


The series theme, sung by Molly Ringwald, is an upbeat version of Cole Porter's "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)." Other noteworthy music featured in the installments includes:

  • Both the first and last episodes of the first season feature the song "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne. It was also featured in the second season episode 22. A piano version of the song was played during mid-4th season finale.
  • In the fifteenth episode of the second season, Jack plays "She Don't Wanna Man" by Asher Roth while he and Madison dance.
  • At the Mother-Daughter Dance (Season 2, Episode 19), Love Story by Taylor Swift is played in the background while Amy, her mother, and Ashley sit on the bleachers.
  • In the fourth episode of the third season, when Adrian sits sadly on the stairs in front of her house, Tom plays "You Are So Beautiful" performed by Joe Cocker on his cell phone before they dance. (Season 3, episode 4).
  • The song "Kids" by MGMT appears in the fifth episode of the third season when a slide show of Amy lost in New York is played.
  • At a party in the Bowmans' guesthouse, the song "New Day" performed by Tamar Kaprelian is played.
  • Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" plays in the final moments of the first half of the third season finale, including during Ben and Adrian's wedding.
  • Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" plays after Ben and Adrian find out the baby is dead, and the montage is played to close the season.
  • "Daughters" by John Mayer was featured in the season's first episode during Amy's visit to the clinic.
  • In the fifth episode of the fourth season, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele is played in the beginning during Adrian's walk and at the end of the episode when she is sitting in the empty nursery after punching numerous holes in the wall.
  • In the thirteen episode of the fourth season "S&M" by Rihanna, "Memories" by David Guetta feat. Kid Cudi and "Til ya make it" by "Jamie Lynn Noon" are played at the end of the episode during the dance party.
  • At the beginning of first episode of fifth season, when Amy and Ricky went from chapel, is played Bruno Mars' song "Marry You".
  • In the last episode when Adrian recollects her school years and relationships is played "Try with Me" by Nicole Scherzinger.
  • In the last episode during Ricky's flashback, the song "Blurry" by Puddle of Mudd is played.


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  40. ^ Catlin, Roger. (2009-03-25) 'Secret Life' vs. 'Gossip Girl' - Roger Catlin | TV Eye. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  41. ^ Cable TV Show Nielsen TV Ratings Week Ending June 28, 2009; BET Awards 2009, Jon & Kate Plus 8, Royal Pains, The Closer, Burn Notice, Princess Protection Program, NASCAR Sprint Cup Loudon, WWE Raw, Cake Boss - Ratings. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  42. ^ Secret Life of the American Teenager ratings, Real Housewives of New Jersey ratings, American Pickers ratings, Pawn Stars ratings, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood ratings, Nurse Jackie ratings, United States of Tara ratings, Neighbors from Hell ratings, WWE Raw ratings, Cake Boss ratings, All Worked Up ratings, Operation Repo ratings, Saving Grace ratings - Ratings. (2010-06-08). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  43. ^ Monday Cable Ratings: ‘Pawn Stars’ Keeps Growing; Plus ‘WWE Raw,’ ‘Secret Life,’ ‘Real Housewives,’ ‘American Pickers’ & More - Ratings. (2011-06-14). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  44. ^ Monday Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs + ‘Pawn Stars’, ‘WWE Raw’, ‘American Pickers’, ‘Cajun Pawn Stars’, ‘Basketball Wives’ + More - Ratings. (2012-06-05). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  45. ^ Monday Cable Ratings: ‘WWE Raw’ Wins Night, ‘Single Ladies’, ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’, ‘Bunheads’, ‘Basketball Wives’, ‘Pawn Stars’ & More - Ratings. (2012-06-12). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  46. ^ Ratings - Monday's Cable Ratings: Pacers/Heat Finale Delivers Big Numbers for TNT. (2013-06-03). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
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Further reading

External links

  • Official Website
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager at the Internet Movie Database
  • Secret Life of the American Teenager: Episodes and Parent/Teen Episode Discussion Guides by NCPTUP
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager at
  • Episode List at MSN
  • Episode List at
  • ABC Spark Canada
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