'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' goes to band camp

Shailenewoodley_secretlife_ Ah, the flashback episode. When a flashback episode appears near the end of a season I always get the impression that the writers simply needed a way to keep the current plot in a holding pattern for an extra week. Tonight's " The Secret Life of the American Teenager" did nothing to change my opinion.

The show went back in time eight and a half months tonight, we got to see Amy meet Ricky at band camp, Ben get his braces off, the early portion of Jack and Grace's relationship, and Adrian working out that her mom was having an affair. Interesting stuff? Sure. Relevant to the characters' lives? Certainly. Well placed in the course of the season? I'm thinking not. To me it definitely felt like a stall tactic. I'm happy to have seen what happened before the show started, but at this point in the season I'd rather see more of the present.

Fortunately, the entire episode wasn't a flashback, only bits of it. We did get to see Amy in the beginnings of her labor tonight. Ben however missed it. Or, he saw it right up until he passed out from seeing Amy in pain, and boy was she in pain. She complained and whined and moaned about her pain and complained and whine and moaned about everything else too. She wanted a Dairy Shack burger (not the Kobe beef burger Ben got her). She wanted a frip (that's an apple fritter without the gooey bit). She wanted her mommy (who was in the waiting room). She wanted help naming the baby (apparently eight and a half months wasn't enough time to think about a name).

Whine. Complain. Moan. Don't get me wrong, I understand why she was unhappy, labor has to be painful, but I'm not sure why we had to listen to it to such a degree. The doctor explained that Amy letting her anger out could help progress her labor, but it certainly didn't progress it tonight, tonight we just got the anger.

Maybe you can shed some light on this next bit, because I certainly didn't get it. One of Amy's earliest complaints this evening was the need for a Dairy Shack burger. Ricky promised to get her one, and later Ben showed up with the previously mentioned Kobe beef burger. Ben explained that Ricky had said Amy wanted a burger and so he, Ben, got her the Kobe one. Ricky returned to the hospital later but absolutely no mention of why he passed the burger order to Ben was given. Did Ben just try to go above and beyond while Ricky was getting the right burger or did Ricky foist the burger getting task to Ben and simply disappear?

See, I don't think that's a small question. Ricky claimed tonight to want to be a dad, part of which, at that moment in time, was being there for the mother of his child. If Ricky simply passed the order to Ben without making Amy's specific burger desires known, it wouldn't speak well of Ricky. If Ben just went and got the Kobe beef one on his own while Ricky was getting the right one, it might change the way I see Ricky. It was a crucial bit of information that I desperately wanted an answer to and didn't get.

There was also some other stuff that I found really interesting tonight, but it too tended to be stuff that didn't actually get fully explored. Tell me you didn't want to know more about how Grace's dad helped setup her first date with Jack and then realized that the relationship was progressing too quickly? That was a great scene and one of the few flashback bits where I thought the show should have dug deeper.

Slightly more time was spent tonight on Henry and Alice's relationship, their instant messaging each other rather than talking even when they're in the same room. That relationship seems to currently be on the right track. I really do enjoy those two goofballs, even if all we really see of them is their staring at their respective laptop screens and smiling as the other types something. It's cute and awkward and I think it really shows those two care about each other more than they might like to admit.

Tell me though - out of all the flashback stories which was your favorite? Did you like seeing the Amy-Ricky hookup?

The TV and Film Guy's Reviews - we've got the hookup, but of a totally different variety.