Saturday, January 17, 2009

TSLOTAT: Episode 12: "The Secret Wedding of the American Teenager"

Watch out, extensive fanbase, 'cause here we come. It's been a while, but we're back in style, so get set to have some fun. We'll bring you action... and satisfaction. Yeah, I know we didn't really fulfill our pledge to revue other strange and wonderful things aside from like half an episode of 90210, and even this revue is like two weeks late. But what do you want? It's not like we get paid for this.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager is back with a vengeance in, depending on whom you ask, either the first episode of the second season or the twelfth episode of the first season: "The Secret Wedding of the American Teenager." I don't mind telling you that I missed it terribly while it was away. There was a void... a deep, yawning chasm. Much like Adrian's vagina. Hey-oh! POOM! We're back!

As the episode opens, we find Amy Jergens trying to use her pregnancy to get out of washing cars and making breakfast, but Anne (Molly Ringwald) is having none of that. Amy gets really indignant when Anne suggests that Amy might actually have to take care of her own baby instead of foisting the responsibility off onto her. Apparently this is the first time Amy has considered the possibility that raising a child might require any effort on her part, and she doesn't respond well to that notion. As she storms off in a huff, George stops by to ridicule Anne for not finishing her bachelor's degree in philosophy, and Anne says she wants a divorce and kicks him out of the house.

After the opening titles, Amy meets up with Ben at a Waffle House or something to complain about her mom not wanting to take care of her bastard child. Ben can't believe it either. So Amy decides that they should elope and get married immediately. Somehow, this will solve the problem of who will take care of the baby. I guess she figures that once they're married she can just force Ben to take care of it, even though, as Ben helpfully points out, they're underage, so the marriage won't mean anything legally. But don't worry, Amy's got that covered too: they'll use fake IDs! So they decide to get some fake IDs and some witnesses and run off and get married that night, before anyone realizes that this plan doesn't make any sense.

Meanwhile, Tom is horny and wants Grace to set him up with Adrian. Grace's parents forbade him from dating internet prostitutes, so I guess he figures Adrian is the next best thing. Grace's hot mom tells Grace that she married George because she wanted to have sex with him (Grace is suitably grossed out by this), and she doesn't want Grace to make that same mistake. Logically you might think that would mean that she doesn't expect her to wait until marriage, but actually what she's saying is that Grace is allowed to date Ricky, but if she wants to have sex, she should talk to her instead. Don't worry, Ricky will understand that. He's a pretty sensible guy.

Next we see Adrian trying to convince her own hot mom to get back together with her dad, even though we just saw her in the "previously" thing saying she was sorry she'd ever looked him up. To be fair, I can't remember how that scene ended, so maybe she forgave him and I just blocked it out because I hate him so much. Or maybe it's another instance of the characters' motivations changing at the writers' every whim depending on what's most convenient for that episode's plot. You make the call.

That weird guy -- not the shapeshifter, but the "ohh SNAP" paper-writing guy who Adrian kissed that one time and whose name turns out to be Joe -- is making fake IDs. He does this using the classic TV fake-ID-making method of taking pictures of people standing behind a big cardboard cut-out of a driver's license. Why would anybody do this instead of just Photoshopping a regular picture onto a driver's license? Also, there are several jokes in the episode about the fake IDs having ridiculously inaccurate information printed on them which obviously doesn't match the person pictured, yet the cardboard cut-out doesn't have any information printed on it, so apparently Joe is just typing it all up -- so why couldn't he make it more appropriate to each client? It's unrealistic, I guess is my point. He also seems to have set up his fake ID shop in a room inside the school, which I have to admit is a pretty ballsy move. Anyway, Ricky is getting a fake ID made when Grace calls him, and he invites her to go with him to Amy and Ben's wedding, which he somehow knows about.

Having exhausted everyone else, Amy tries to complain to Ashley about their mom not wanting to keep her baby for her, but Ashley, the voice of reason, thinks it's ridiculous that Amy would have assumed she'd do that in the first place. When Amy starts to lose the argument, she's like, "ASHLEY! Let's not fight today. This is... my wedding day!" Ashley can barely contain her laughter (by which I mean she sort of half-smiles and says, "That's funny," but by her gothy standards that's pretty much the same thing), but in the end she relents and agrees to go along with Amy's hare-brained scheme by being a witness.

Amy and Ashley get their fake IDs made, but Amy freaks out when Joe knows about the wedding, even though he said a couple of scenes ago that either she or Ben called him to request his ID-making services for it. Whatever; for this show, you have to suspend disbelief (and logic). After they get the IDs, Anne shows up, followed by Ben and Henry, and awkwardness ensues after Ben refers to Henry as his best man, and then Henry asks Ashley out. I think maybe this is supposed to be a ruse for them to communicate information about the wedding under Anne's nose, but it's not really clear.

Ben, Henry, and Jack get fake IDs too, and Ben reveals that they're getting married at Albertson's. Then Madison, Lauren, and Lauren's brother all decide to go to the wedding, so they get fake IDs too. Do you really need to be eighteen just to attend a wedding? I'm pretty sure I've seen kids at them before. Ah well; again, I can only shrug my shoulders and accept this.

Some guy we've never seen before tries to ask Adrian out, to the wedding. She turns him down but is enraged to find out that Amy is getting married. Apparently she thinks that she might be marrying Ricky, so to get the scoop, she phones Grace, who looks ridiculous. Grace is afraid that Ricky might have asked her out on a date to his own wedding. Despite the fact that Amy and Ben have been talking about getting married since the first couple of episodes, nobody considers that a possibility, and Adrian decides to crash the wedding and find out, so she gets a fake ID too as a means of pumping Joe for information. Grace shows up and they find some flimsy reason for her to get a fake ID too.

In a wacky scene, the Jergenses find George living in their garage. He had a urinal installed. He can't afford to rent an apartment, but redoing the house's plumbing is no problem. Perhaps due to this, Anne assumes he has a bunch of money hidden somewhere, and she throws things at him.

Oh yeah. Grace's mom has set Tom up with a girl named Timmy (?) who also has some kind of unspecified mental disability because no normal girl could ever love him. Apparently it's going pretty well, so maybe she's onto something. Ricky shows up to pick up Grace, and Tom and Timmy invite themselves along to the wedding. But apparently they're the only ones who don't need fake IDs.

At Albertson's, Tom and Timmy make out, then get rowdy and make fun of Grace and Ricky. Madison adjusts her boobs. She and Lauren have decided to declare themselves co-maids of honor despite not having been invited and Amy not even knowing that they'll be there. Adrian shows up in her formal hoochy dress and tries to be all sultry to Ricky while a knock-off of "Sweet Home Alabama" plays in the background, then Alice arrives, wearing a towel, with Jack in tow. She starts to freak out about Henry going out with another girl instead of continuing to have terrible sex with her, so Jack kisses her to shut her up. She slaps him and gets really turned on and they totally make out.

Ashley and Henry show up with Ben and Amy and they all meet the vicar or whatever he is. I know I should probably have a picture of Ben and Amy here, but I'd rather show Alice's towel dress since I mentioned it earlier but didn't have space to put the picture there. Deal with it. Come on, that totally looks like a towel! Anyway, Amy and Ben have some boring sappy dialogue, then walk into the chapel and are surprised to find everyone they know there. Madison and Lauren sneak in behind them as they walk down the proverbial aisle.

The vicar mentions that "here at Albertson's, we have a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy." I don't know what he means by that. Is he implying that one of them is gay? It seems an odd thing to imply while you're officiating a heterosexual marriage. Anyway, to make a long story short (too late), they get married. You know the drill. Nothing unexpected happens. When it's over, Tom and Timmy stand up and say, "We're next!" The vicar chuckles politely, and the cycle of the secret wedding of the American teenager begins anew.

Elaborate flowchart:

Final thoughts: I'm a little overwhelmed because I'm just so glad the show is back. This was a pretty good episode with lots of ridiculous things, but mostly ridiculous in a fun way rather than infuriating, as is sometimes the case. Adrian's dad did not appear, which is always a plus, but we got a little bit of pretty much all the good characters (with the notable exception of Ben's dad). Joe was prominently featured and his name was finally confirmed. After all the hype, the "secret wedding" itself was fairly anticlimactic, but I suppose it's all about the journey, not the destination, right?

(Side note: We never did find out whether Amy and Ben got it on in the last episode. I'm going to assume that they didn't because if they had, they probably would have made a big deal of it. That said, it's now their wedding night, so they're going to be going at it like mad in the next episode, right?)

On the next TSLOTAT: Amy and Ben find out that since they're underage, the marriage means nothing and this entire episode was a waste of everyone's time!

Stray observations: Ricky's fake ID has an expiration date of 01-27-2009, mere weeks after the episode aired. It also has his zip code listed as 902533, which is too many digits for a zip code. I hope Joe didn't charge much for these. He certainly could have made it up in volume.

  • "Please don't drink. If you drink, you can't drive. I don't like guys who drink. It stinks." -- Madison
  • "Well obviously you didn't get your degree in [women's studies] either, or I still wouldn't be waiting for a cup of coffee!" -- George

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