Saturday, August 30, 2008

TSLOTAT: Episode 4: "Caught"

Greetings and salutations to you, extensive fanbase, and I thank you for joining me here at the Jawsome Olde Tyme Revue. Tonight's revue is the fourth episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager: "Caught," or as I like to call it, "Caught!" It was written by Brenda Hampton and directed by Keith Truesdell, the same team that brought you the not-very-good-even-by-this-show's-standards "You Are My Everything." "Caught!" first aired July 22, 2008.

Ricky and Adrian are snoozing after a particularly exhausting fuckathon one night when Ricky gets a phone call from Grace, who needs him to pick her up after her date with Jack (see previous ish! -- Ed.). But Adrian is wearing Ricky's shirt and won't give it back because she's a bitch (and a tease: she starts to take it off and then doesn't, but don't worry, we'll get to see the goods a little later). Anyway, like all women left alone for five minutes, Grace gets assaulted by some drunken fat guys who want to rape her. When praying doesn't work, she gets violent, smashing a beer bottle and waving it at them until they run away. Then a shirtless Ricky shows up and is like, "Thank God I saved you!"

You know, while it may be true that 90% of all bird species are monogamous, I have to say I'm skeptical of the theme song's assertion that they can fall in love. Prove me wrong, birds!

Anyway, the next morning, Grace's little adventure is all over the news. Apparently it was captured on some security camera, and for some reason the local morning news show finds this attempted rape hilarious enough that they show the clip no fewer than three times while injecting their own witty commentary. It even made the front page of the papers, with two full-color photos! It must be a pretty slow news day.

Amy Jergens wakes up to find her father leering at her, inches away from her face. He, too, was so amused by this video that he had to wake Amy up (by staring at her) and share it with her. The only person who doesn't find it hilarious is Grace's dad, who's quite angry at her for defending herself like that.

Ashley is all dressed up and won't tell her parents why, so they assume that she's having sex because they heard some people in the furniture store talking about it (don't ask me). She responds, "How would they know I'm having sex? The only person who knows is me... [lets her hair down dramatically] and my lover."

At school, Ben is being all clingy and annoying with Amy. Amy claims that she never had a thing for Ricky-Ticky-Rump-a-Pum-Pum (Ben's words), Ben says, "Well, I think you did at one time!" and that weird paper-writing nerd walks up and says, "ohhh SNAP!", creating an awkward moment. Amy storms off and Ben panics to the Asians.

Grace is in danger of getting kicked off the cheerleading squad, and apparently she told her parents about the pretending to date Ricky to actually date Jack scheme. So she uses this combination of events to her advantage and volunteers to give up cheerleading as her punishment for having lied to her parents. Oh, and she's breaking up with Jack (again), and Ricky is still trying to squirm his way into her panties. And to top it all off, even Madison is making fun of her. That's when you know you can't sink any lower. I guess she would have been better off just letting those guys rape her.

In this series's best scene so far, Adrian, still wearing Ricky's shirt, sees Ricky and Grace talking, walks up to them, and rips the shirt off, saying, "This is his shirt! This is where he left it!" Then she storms off and just spends the rest of the school day topless, I guess. Here, I'll give you all three camera angles from the scene.

And hey, there's even a little somethin' for the ladies.

This is what a real man looks like: pink and hairless.

After school, Ben asks Amy if she'd like to get something to eat. Amy is like, "You could have asked me if I wanted to get something to eat!" Ben is like, "I tried to ask you. I called your cell, I called your house phone, I left a note in your locker, I emailed you, I sent you a text..." Amy says that nobody emails anymore and she didn't get his text. So that just leaves three forms of communication that she ignored. Also, nobody emails anymore? I'm so out of touch with the youth of today. I guess they send MySpace messages. Anyway, basically Amy is sick of Ben already, and totally shoots down his attempts to "take that next step" and get to first or second base. (I thought they already got to first base last episode, but I guess the bases have been revised and I'm out of touch with the youth of today.)

Grace's parents both know about Amy's pregnancy, for what that's worth. Grace's dad knows because he's Amy's mom's husband's ex-wife's husband and Dr. Hightower's new business partner (as mentioned last episode), and he told his wife in a flagrant breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. You know, I don't think I made the connection last episode that this douchebag was the new partner that Amy's parents hate. It would have explained a lot about why they hate him so much (i.e. he's a smug a-hole).

Next, Adrian comes home to find her mom having an affair with Amy's dad! OMG! Then she gets a booty call from Jack (Adrian, not her mom). Meanwhile, Molly Ringwald is at home wondering where her husband is. He claimed that he was "shooting some pool." Molly Ringwald thinks that Ashley wants her to think that she's having sex to distract her from finding out about her husband's affair, but Amy doesn't want to hear about it. Then, apropos of nothing, Molly Ringwald says that she heard that Grace's parents made her quit the cheerleading squad. For some reason this makes Amy roll her eyes and make a noise. We'll be right back.

And we're back. Jack shows up at Adrian's door and stares at her chest. Adrian says, "So what's up? Besides you," which I can only assume is an erection reference, although she's not looking at his crotch when she says it, so it's not conclusive. But it turns out that Jack is there to invite Adrian to church with him! Adrian recoils in horror, as well she might. "Every relationship needs a good foundation," he says, "and if our foundation was Christ, I think even you and I could make it." But also, he wants to make Grace jealous. Since it will also annoy Ricky, Adrian agrees.

Local TV station KZAB is still so into that Grace video that they're doing a followup story and interviewing her brother Tom. During the interview, Grace's mom comes out of the house and is like, "Turn off the camera! How dare you, you lowlifes [sic]!" If I were the producer I would probably have edited that part out, but I guess KZAB just has more journalistic integrity than that.

Ben has a little heart-to-heart chat with his dad, Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago, a.k.a. Bobby Baccalieri. This guy is pretty jawsome. After beating around the bush a bit, the Sausage King asks Ben if Amy is pregnant. Looks like the secret life of this American teenager isn't as secret as she'd like to think. Ben's like, "No! I just kissed her!" But the seed has been planted in his imagination...

Amy's dad is really angry about the deals in a competing furniture store. Amy starts with the stuttering again, and boy, she makes Tara from Buffy look convincing. Then she tells her dad that she had sex, but in the middle of this revelation Molly Ringwald comes in and kicks Amy out so she can accuse the dad of having an affair. Amy gets a call from Ben, who just doesn't get the hint that she doesn't want to talk to his sorry ass, but she changes her mind when he offers to cook wings with ranch on the side. This proves that the quickest way to a woman's heart is through her stomach (by way of her mouth).

In the culmination of a running joke of people not remembering how old Ashley is, Ashley herself forgets how old she is.

It's Sunday morning and Adrian is all dressed up in her sluttiest church clothes ("the only conservative outfit I own"). Jack is okay with this because he has an erection. Adrian tries to fuck him, but he's all like, "Before church?!" Pssh, he's lucky she's not trying to gobble his knob during church. Well, lucky depending on your perspective, I guess. Anyway, Adrian gets really pissed when he resists her advances, so he concedes that making out before church and fucking afterwards will be okay, but at the end of the scene the jury is still out about road head on the way there.

Ricky's social worker implores him not to try to fuck Grace, and then there's a really nauseating scene where Grace's dad post-coitally smugs it up while talking to his wife about church. (So sex before church is a sin, apparently, but skipping church in order to have sex is fine.) Then they turn on the TV and there's yet another news story about Grace. This time KZAB is at the church that her parents are playing hooky from. They're interviewing the minister, the dad from Even Stevens, who says that Grace is "our very own Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Because those drunk guys were vampires. Grace takes this opportunity to suck up to her parents on TV. The reporter, clearly realizing that the interview is going nowhere, is like, "Isn't that your friend over there?" Then she runs away as soon as Grace's back is turned, leaving a little cloud of dust in the shape of her silhouette.

At Amy's house, Amy's dad is bonding with Ben over their mutual hatred of the dad from Even Stevens, vegetarians, Earth Day, and Al Gore. Then Amy's dad leaves, supposedly to go to Vegas for a furniture thing, but really he's been kicked out of the house because he was having an affair and he got... Caught!

Final thoughts: This was by far the best episode yet. Two bizarre premises (Grace becoming a laughingstock for behaving pretty reasonably, and Adrian and Jack trying to make their exes jealous by going to church) supported by some odd, surreal moments ("me... and my lover," the "ohhh SNAP!" guy, everybody taking their shirts off, "nobody emails anymore," and the news devoting days' worth of coverage to this one non-event). It makes me wonder, could the people who make this show actually be aware of how ridiculous it is, and they just decided to roll with it? But then they have things like the dad's affair, where they're still trying to take it seriously. I think this was probably just intended to be a mostly light-hearted departure from the usual melodrama, but I wish all the episodes could be more like this. Especially by having Adrian walk around topless.

My only concern is that Adrian going to church and stuff marks the beginning of her becoming less awesome and no longer purely the villain and embodiment of evil on the show. It's my fond hope that she can't be redeemed and will always end up reverting to her slutty ways.

On the next TSLOTAT: Ben proposes to Amy, even though they've only known each other for a couple of weeks and they're not old enough to get married except maybe in Utah or something. Meanwhile, Amy contemplates an abortion, and hilarity ensues!

  • "Aww. Books are hard!" -- weird nerd, after Ben hits himself in the head with a stack of books
  • "Can we send some sausage over your way? Or a nice imported salami, perhaps." -- Ben to Amy's father
  • "Jeez! That thing is huge!" -- Amy, upon seeing Ben's big basket of meat
(I know, I know, the quotes are a little heavy on wang innuendo this time around. But this episode didn't take itself seriously enough to have much else to choose from.)

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