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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - December, 2010

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"The Secret Life of the American Teenager Vol. 5" (DVD) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

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Synopsis

Amy (Shailene Woodley) and Ben (Ken Bauman) try to rekindle their romance, but things get complicated when Ben discovers Adrian (Francia Raisa) is pregnant with his child. As Adrian agonizes over whether to keep the baby, Ben struggles to tell Amy the truth. Relationships are pushed to the limit and life-changing decisions are made in this modern-day teen drama set in Southern California among students at Ulysses S. Grant High.

Specifications

  • ABC Family
  • 2008, Color, Rated TV-14, 602 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (DVD)
  • Codec: MPEG-2
  • 480i/p
  • English Dolby Digital
  • Starring:Molly Ringwall, Shailene Woodley
  • Directed by Anson Williams
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

This is essentially a soap opera for teens.  The big teen secret is revealed straight away and the secret is sex. The main story arcs are virtually all about teen sex, birth control, unwed pregnancy, abortion and the interplay among the various principals. Lots of emotional dialog plays out among the characters. The series does not have an MPAA rating, but the TV rating of 14 is about right. I suggest that parents pay close attention to the subject matter before letting their little ones watch this series.  Don't be fooled by the fact that this series originally aired on ABC Family. The writing is generally decent but with variable acting from the ensemble cast. The series leaves you wishing for more variety in the subject matter. For example, the story could have given more attention to Amy's experience at band camp in New York.

Technical

The episodes are presented anamorphically in a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio on this DVD boxed set. The colors are lifelike and stable. The picture has reasonably good resolution for a DVD. The whites are generally blown out in much of the daylight scenes. The menus are colorful. On the audio side, voices are clean and clear. Music is sparsely presented and is limited in its response at the frequency extremes. There are virtually no audio special effects that would test your sub or surrounds.

Extras

On set with Director Anson Willams (a/k/a "Potsy" from Happy Days), On Set Fist Bumps with Joey and Matthew, On Set with Shailene and On Set with Luke.  All extras are non-anamorphic.