Monday, August 11, 2008

TSLOTAT: Episode 1: "Falling in Love"

Welcome back, extensive fanbase, to the triumphant return of the Jawsome Olde Tyme Revue. Tonight's offering is the first of what I hope will be many revues of episodes of the new hit show on ABC Family, The Secret Life of the American Teenager (known hereafter as TSLOTAT). You may be wondering why the Jawsome Olde Tyme Revue would revue something so clearly un-jawsome. Well, I revue what I want, so ram it.

As the episode begins, we are introduced to the titular American teenager -- Amy Jergens, French horn player extraordinaire and heiress to the Jergens moisturizer fortune -- and her mother, Molly Ringwald. After making fun of Korea and delivering some expository dialogue, Molly Ringwald starts microwaving a pot roast while Amy takes her French horn case into the bathroom with her. Molly Ringwald calls after her that since she's only young once, she should be having fun. Meanwhile, we the audience see evidence that Amy has been having a little too much fun, if you know what I mean: she's got a home pregnancy test concealed in her French horn case! In a sequence of masterful editing, the episode cuts back and forth between Amy taking the test and Molly Ringwald waiting for the pot roast to finish microwaving. When the timer reaches 0, we know -- Amy's up the duff!

Then there are some really lame opening titles. Here are the lyrics to the TSLOTAT theme song:
Falling in love is such an easy thing to do.
Birds can do it.
We can do it.
Let's stop talking.
Let's get to it.
Let's fall in love.
You might also notice that the series was created by Brenda Hampton, who is also responsible for 7th Heaven. Maybe you already know that, but I didn't until I saw the credits, because they promoted this as if it were a real show.

Next we're treated to several minutes of shots of people walking around the school and looking at each other in ways that might be meaningful except we don't know who any of these characters are yet. Finally, Amy's friends Fatty Girl and Token Black Friend come running up to her, all excited about how hot the school's new counselor Mark Molina is. Amy tells them that the reason she's unimpressed is that she had sex. The friends are intrigued.

Meanwhile, at a different locker, a couple of other kids are talking about sex. This will become a leitmotif of the series. It's pretty much the only topic that anyone in school ever talks about. I don't mean to say that the American teenager (with a secret life) isn't interested in sex, but come on, even the perviest of us occasionally takes a breath and discusses pop culture, food, or physics. It's a little bit unrealistic. But anyway, the dude in question is upset because he's been on two dates with the girl that he's talking to, but she hasn't let him fuck her yet. Given what we later learn about this girl, this seems somewhat uncharacteristic (spoilers: she's a pretty big slut), but on the other hand, the guy is pretty creepy and gross, so I guess it's understandable. Anyway, she finally relents and agrees to let him stick it in her, but before that can happen, an annoying girl named Grace interrupts them to invite them to her church, which, as she helpfully points out, has a gym. Slutty Girl replies, "We'd love to, but we can't. See, my mom's out of town, so we're going over to my house to drink beer and have... SEX!" Then she storms off. Clearly this girl is the devil, but Grace just laughs it off, and Creepy Guy hits on her, even though he just got a guarantee of sex from Slutty Girl. He doesn't know how to quit while he's ahead. Then there's a strange interlude wherein Creepy Guy tries to convince a stilted, lisping nerd to write a paper on Leonardo da Vinci for him, and fails.

Getting back to things that have something to do with anything else in the show, Slutty Girl meets the aforementioned new counselor, Mark Molina, in the hallway and immediately propositions him, even though he refuses to tell her his first name (but thanks to Amy's friends from earlier, we know what she doesn't: it's Mark!). It's also revealed that Mark Molina doesn't know much about the job that he's been hired for, as he claims that condoms are not available through his office and is corrected by some random woman who happens to be walking by.

Another new character watches the woman who happened to be walking by walk by, and remarks, "I hate that guy." Huh? It turns out he was actually not referring to that woman, but to Creepy Guy, who was apparently somewhere off in the same direction (you'll just have to take their word for it since they didn't show him). Anyway, this new character is basically a fake J.T. Yorke from Degrassi, and since I don't know his actual name, that's how I'll be referring to him. Fake J.T. elaborates that he hates Creepy Guy because now he's hitting on Grace. Fake J.T. also has two friends: a weird Asian girl with pigtails, and a somewhat nondescript Asian guy. I assumed that these two were siblings, but we later see them making out. Turns out they're actually a couple! As the only two Asian people in the school, they have no choice but to date each other. So anyway, this trio quickly launch into a conversation about (what else) sex. Asian Pigtail Girl is an expert on the subject, quoting all sorts of statistics about how many people of what age have sex with whom. She uses her vast knowledge to deduce that Fake J.T.'s best option for someone who might allow him to fuck her is... that girl!

Amy Jergens!

Back to her and her diverse friends. It turns out that the story of Amy getting laid is "one night at band camp." Unfortunately she's not Alyson Hannigan and she plays French horn, not flute. She also lets it slip to the friends that she's preggers, and it's revealed to us (but not to the friends) that the father is none other than... Creepy Guy! But then the bell rings, and on the way to class, Amy is approached by Fake J.T. and totally skanks him. She then observes Creepy Guy hitting on Grace and has some kind of reaction, but I couldn't tell you what it is. Creepy Guy acts creepy at her, and we'll be right back.

And we're back. Fatty Girl runs into the bathroom screaming, "Get out, I'm gonna puke! HURR, HURR!" But don't worry. This is just a cover because Amy and the friends are having a clandestine meeting in the handicapped stall. Fatty Girl went out in the middle of the school day and bought Amy several more pregnancy tests, just to be sure.

Meanwhile, outside, Grace and her nauseatingly Christian boyfy are having lunch and talking about sex. Grace's parents have just given her a "promise ring," which means she's forbidden to have sex until she's married, and God-boy is none too pleased with this development. He immediately tries to find out the soonest possible time that they can get married so he can take a crack at that sweet pussy, but Grace wants to go to medical school first, so it's going to be a while. In a panic, God-boy proceeds to ask for blow jobs in the most weasely way possible, then takes a big swig of milk in preparation for an hilarious spit take when Grace replies that she'll ask her mother. Ha ha ha! But seriously folks, he's not going to get any. But she does at least clasp his hand to her bosom, presumably causing him to ejaculate.

Slutty Girl (whose name is revealed as Adrian, by the way, in case it ever comes up) shows up and chases Grace away, but God-boy doesn't want to get up because of his throbbing erection (I'm not making that up; it's heavily implied). Slutty Girl thinks that God-boy's predicament is "interesting," and she seductively bites an apple -- because she's Satan, get it?

After another commercial, Fake J.T. is lobbying to get into the school band so he can more effectively stalk Amy Jergens. But counselor Mark Molina is onto him! Fake J.T. starts smarming it up, and once again, Mark Molina refuses to give out condoms for some reason.

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Amy Jergens is still pregnant, but fortunately she has the wise counsel of her two sidekicks. Token Black Friend offers some pretty decent advice (tell your parents, see a doctor, get an abortion), for which Fatty Girl bites her head off and gives Amy the false hope that maybe she really just has some kind of flesh-eating bacteria that's making her test positive for pregnancy. But she does at least agree to go to a "woman doctor" after school.

There's another boring montage to pad out the episode. It tells you that Amy is apprehensive about being pregnant, in case you didn't pick that up from every other scene that she's in.

After another commercial, we get a "family dinner" scene with Amy, Molly Ringwald, and two previously unseen Jergenses: Ashley, the pseudo-goth little sister, and... the dad, whose name I don't know. Ashley just got in trouble at school for wearing something that exposed her midriff, and the dad proceeds to scold her in a very repetitive, Aaron Sorkin-esque way:
Forget the school dress code; we have our own dress code! You didn't just break the school's rules; you broke our rules, the rules of good taste! What are you trying to prove, that you're not thirteen? You're thirteen! That you're sexy? You're not sexy! Do you even know what sexy means? It means you're ready to have sex, and you are not ready to have sex! Neither of my daughters are ready to have sex and you two will not be ready to have sex for a long time! Hoo! A long long time! Maybe after you've been married a couple years... you want to make sure it's going to work out first, heh heh heh!
Elsewhere, Grace's family are having dinner too. I'm not sure why we're supposed to care, but let me tell you, these guys are creepy. Her dad is John Schneider, who is supposed to be famous although I've never heard of him, but he's basically a smug asshole. And she's got a brother named Tom who seems to have some form of retardation or something which makes him invulnerable to being made fun of. She's got a mother too, but there's not really anything interesting about her. Anyway, they talk about how Grace isn't allowed to have sex.

Suddenly we see Winston Zeddmore asking someone why sexual conquests make him feel like a man, and it almost seems like you've accidentally (or intentionally) started watching a different show, except that everyone's still talking about sex. It turns out that Winston is Creepy Guy's shrink, but he says he's not the kind of shrink where you tell him how you feel. He's the kind that tells you how to feel. Anyway, Creepy Guy was sexually abused in some way as a kid, so that's his excuse for being a douchebag.

Slutty Girl gets a phone call and helps us learn another character's name: "Jack! Yeah, I know who you are: the guy that's not having sex with his girlfriend." Thanks, Slutty Girl! Thutty Girl. Jack is calling to get a second opinion on whether blow jobs count as sex. Then, in another quick vignette, Fake J.T. is hanging out with the Asians, who tell him he should try phoning Amy Jergens rather than just stalking her, and admonish him for using the word "dame." He does phone her, and just in time to stop her from telling her parents about the bun in her oven (womb).

After another commercial, it's the evening of the big game! Jack, who is a football player, by the way, leads his teammates in a pre-game prayer. Don't worry, all the non-Christians have already been kicked off the team, so everyone's totally cool with this (including the coach (separation of church and state? Nah.)). But Jack gets distracted by thinking about short skirts and tight sweaters and has another orgasm in the middle of the prayer.

They couldn't afford to show any footage of the actual football game, so you'll just have to take their word for it that it took place, and that Jack was great, as Grace now tells him at the post-game party in the gym at their church. Amy Jergens and Fake J.T. (real name: Ben) are there too, but Amy sees Ben grab a hot dog and gets uncomfortable. The Asians are spying on them with some sort of high-tech parabolic ear device, and Pigtail Girl does not like what she's hearing, which is that Ben is falling in love on a first date. Amy and Ben have an awkward conversation culminating in a callback to the "dame" joke (if you can call it that) from earlier in the episode.

When Ben abandons Amy to talk to counselor Mark Molina, Fatty Girl and Token Black Friend run up to Amy and reveal their cunning plan: Amy should fuck Ben, claim that he's the one who impregnated her, and force him to marry her. What could possibly go wrong? Then Amy stares at Creepy Guy, revealing to her friends that he's the real father. They disapprove. After seeing her staring at him, Creepy Guy wanders over to harass Amy some more while also trying to use her to get into Grace's pants, but Ben returns and scares him away, then invites Amy to dance.

Meanwhile, the Asians are dancing too, and they have yet another conversation about sex, except this one is sort of a meta-conversation about how much Pigtail Girl likes talking about sex. It seems that it's "kind of a hobby" for her -- not having it, just talking about it. We also learn that the Asians have known each other since, at latest, the third grade, which lent credence to my sibling theory. You might think be thinking that if they were siblings, it would be weird for them to be dancing together, but there's a precedent for that sort of thing within the episode, since Grace is dancing with her brother Tom, until Creepy Guy cuts in.

Somewhere else in the church, Jack and Adrian are having a secret liaison, though one not as dangerous as the one they had last night, when they apparently boned, or she at least blew him (it's not explicitly stated). But now Jack is feeling all guilty and religious. He tries to get her to pray with him, but instead they just make out some more. Little do they know that Tom has wandered in! Upon seeing them making out, he starts shrieking like a pod person, attracting the attention of everyone else, who come in and start making shocked noises, even though by the time they get into the room, Jack and Adrian have long since stopped making out and are just sort of milling around. I guess they just inferred that if a retarded kid is screaming at two people in a room, the only explanation must be that the two people were making out, and that is shocking.

(Side note: Why are Adrian and Creepy Guy at the gym? Weren't they supposed to be drinking beer and having sex?)

Amy and Ben don't care about Tom's well-being, so while everyone else investigates the shrieking/making out situation, they are left alone in the gym, dancing. That's the iconic image that closes the episode. They're Falling in Love.

So, this episode pretty much tells you what to expect from the series. It's not very good, and people talk about sex and God a lot. After it was over, I thought, "Wow, that really wasn't good at all. I don't think I can continue watching this crap, even ironically." But a few minutes later I started watching the next episode. Could it be... divine intervention?

The answer is no.

Thanks for joining me for this Jawsome Olde Tyme Revue. Stay tuned for the revue of the next episode! I don't remember what happens, but I do remember thinking it wasn't quite as bad as this one, so that's something.

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