Tag Archives: sex

The Secret Life of the American Teenager, a Minimalist Review

Brenda Hampton’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager is a TV show, in that it has characters with their own personalities, desires, coming into conflict with each other within a plot of sorts. However, it is hardly more than that.

TheSecretLifeoftheAmericanTeenagerWhile the overall storyline plays out like an immature daytime soap, characters and conversations give the impression that the show is being written by a sheltered 14 year old virgin guessing at how adults and teenagers must act in the “real” world, with limited understanding about relationships and the facts of life. The end result is a weird demonization of sex that confuses hormones, love and lust in ways that are inaccurate, misleading and downright harmful. If teenagers are using this show as a guide to navigating their teen years, they will be in for a considerable shock.

Episode plots are absurdly repetitive, so skipping 1 or 5 episodes results in landing on the exact same issues you left on. Most of the show’s screen time is spent pounding outdated morals and values over the heads of their teenage characters.

Despite being set in Los Angeles–one of the most multi-cultural cities in the US–the cast is almost entirely white, with one representative couple for each other ethnicity. But even those groups are played as “white” for all intents and purposes.

Character arcs rarely surprise as they take on predictable lines. The principals tend to fall back into the same issues repeatedly. The main female lead proves herself the most heinous of the bunch, acting selfish, petty, demanding and spoiled to the point where she ends up as a sort of villain to her supporting cast. If you want to a watch a show where nearly every character ranges from unlikable to downright loathsome, you’ve come to the right place.

While the characters themselves are rather well-formed, their dialogue seems to be written by someone who has never heard of subtext…or a thesaurus. The collective ensemble ends up wielding a combined vocabulary equivalent to that of a single 10 year old.

To sum up…

The Secret Life is one of the worst television shows to survive more than one season on the air, let alone a mind-boggling five. It is a show that exists for reasons beyond reason. If any script from this show came across my desk for analysis, it would have been an easy PASS/PASS.

Rating: 1.5/5

Exterminating Angels (Les anges exterminateurs), a “Quickie” review of the film by Jean-Claude Brisseau

by James Gilmore

Movie poster for Exterminating Angels (Les anges exterminateurs), a film by Jean-Claude Brisseau, on Minimalist Reviews.

Exterminating Angels (Les anges exterminateurs) by Jean-Claude Brisseau should have been a short film. Bloated with too many shenanigans and not enough story, the film contains all the elements of a deep story but fails to take the necessary steps required to achieve its goal or to adequately explore its thematic material. In short, it doesn’t provide a qualitative, coherent examination of the subject matter.

Not to downplay the surrealism of E.A., but many of the film’s elements are completely superfluous while the plot is not as solid as it needs to be. Instead, it seems to act as a vehicle to justify extended scenes of sexual indulgence.

Brisseau makes an attempt at unraveling the ambiguity of sexuality and sexual love, but the result is shallow despite its proposed depth and, if anything, comes across as simply old-fashioned. One can’t help but feel like the filmmaker thought he was being clever while sending a personal message of defiance directed toward his critics. However, the result is incoherent and superficial.

Rating: 2 / 5