ABC Family’s syrupy, sex-fixated, rather awfully written ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’ that features Christian girls and boys deciding to have sex and later regretting it, not to mention teens having babies, had its third season premiere last night. And tonight, ABC Family features the series premiere of ‘Pretty Little Liars’ which is about as junky and raunchy as ‘Gossip Girl.’
So what happened to the “Family” in ABC Family anyway–not to mention it’s (disturbing) early fundamentalist Christian roots?
New York Times reporter Ginia Bellafonte asks this very question in her article, “A Teenage Wasteland With an All-Seeing Eye” that reviews the new show:
“”Secret Life” takes place in a small town whose welcome sign might read: “You are officially entering the scariest place in America to have sex!” Early in the second season, for instance, a Christian girl who decides to sleep with her boyfriend learns that her father has been killed only moments after she loses her virginity. The show makes its Eros-Thanatos connections as if cribbing from both Flaubert and “General Hospital.” ABC Family has its earliest beginnings in Pat Robertson’s television ministry, and despite turnover, it hasn’t entirely wiped away the history. “Pretty Little Liars” appears to want to brush off any of the residual dust.”
Gone is any pretense about so-called “family values” with ‘Pretty Little Liars’ since the series ushers in the gossip and soap with gusto.
“At any rate, where money lives, sin descends,” writes Bellafonte. “If “Secret Life” attributes the corruption of the adolescent soul to a kind of metabolic (and parental) haplessness, “Pretty Little Liars” makes the implicit counterclaim that what is really causing the trouble is all that wealth and all those skinny jeans.”
Bellafonte wonders whether ABC Family isn’t simply renamed as ABC Teen. An apt idea. Though, I fully admit: I set my DVR to tape this newest soapy, sandal-filled teen show. I’ve learned by now that I get bored quickly–I lasted with ‘Gossip Girl’ only a season and a half and the new ‘90210’ for barely more than four episodes–but the pilots at the very least are always fun! Bellafonte seems to think so.