I literally just left a comment on my Secret Life recap about how frustrated I am with the way Christians are portrayed on television, and this episode aired that night. I get it. Even Christians make mistakes and can repent, but do they all have to make the same mistakes? Of the shows I watch, Lissa from Awkward., April from Grey’s Anatomy, Quinn from Glee, and Grace from The Secret Life of the American Teenager have all made sexual slip-ups and jumped head first back into their Bible-thumping beliefs, which come off as judgmental and stuck-up.
Last season on Glee, Quinn met Joe Hart, a home-schooled Christian Rastafarian who was often mistaken for a girl. He stood up for his belief in sexual purity, which was cool, but I fully expect evil puppet master Ryan Murphy to force him into bed with another character next season. I’m not trying to turn this into a Glee review, but my point is that I waste too much energy hoping that someone will write a Christian character who doesn’t fall to sexual temptation (I know, it happens, but it’s totally overdone at this point) and actually goes to a church that’s clear on its doctrine without confusing everyone (i.e. the conversation in this episode about purgatory vs. limbo).
I understand that this episode was both comedic and realistic as it poked fun at Christian teenagers, but I think it could have been just as funny if it had focused more on Jenna and Lacey’s church faux pas. They redeem themselves slightly when Clark reaches out to Jenna without being fake, and Lissa stops talking in scriptural metaphors for two seconds to tell Jenna that she forgives her, but both characters are just too ridiculous to take seriously. I also think Jenna should have stood up for herself in the share circle and used the opportunity to set the story straight about the fake suicide attempt, as well as share her feelings about her parents’ split with Lissa or Clark.
I love that they perpetuated the theme of feeling judged with Jake unwittingly calling Jenna a b-word (Yes, I’m a Christian with a clean mouth) after hearing about what she put Matty through. I still think the truth will come out about Jenna and Matty’s former relationship, and Jake’s feelings about the mystery girl will make it that much harder to confess. Though I’m not happy that Jenna’s hatchet burial will force him into the arms of an oversexed freshman next week, I think some jealousy is exactly what this story line needs.
In other news, I pray that the realization that Jimmy Chance Jr. (Kyle) isn’t stalking Tamara knocks her down a peg and makes her less full of herself. The conflict that’s building between Lacey and Val with their new friendship and Val’s attraction to Kevin is also incredibly smart, though I don’t see Kevin going for Val. I think both he and Val are far too hurt to date other people during the separation.
I am really glad that Jenna’s blog-stalker is back and I hope that we find out who he or she is this season. I still think it could be an adult like Kevin or Val, or Lissa could be using the anonymity to be real with Jenna, which she struggles to do in person. After this week’s episode, I also want to throw Clark into the running.