By April Daley
March 27, 2012 at 01:37 PM EDT

The Secret Life of The American Teenager returned last night after a lengthy absence from the TV schedule, delivering all the angsty glory we’ve been missing. Ben’s new girl, Dylan, introduced him to marijuana, Grace drove another guy away by sucking face with Jack, and Adrian didn’t break up anyone’s relationship. Just kidding about the latter. We all know the spicy teen bride couldn’t resist throwing her sexual energy around, but at least she felt bad about it this time. Baby steps, ladies and gents, baby steps.

As for Amy Juergens, she’s come a long way from the goody-two-shoes, band geek of yesteryear. The self-assured, recently-engaged mother we saw last night is definitely a welcome change. (I’m choosing to ignore those snippy digs at her little sister.) It’s hard to believe the soon-to-be Mrs. Underwood could be heading off to college in just a year. Too bad Amy appears to be the only one concerned about her plans to graduate high school, eventually get a Masters degree and start a teaching career. While Amy’s not in a hurry to tie the knot, others seem to only want to talk about bouquets and veils.

This show has definitely had its share of bad childcare, but last night had a few nominees for the worst parenting award. Between Papa Juergens’s insistence that his teen daughter rush down the aisle and The Sausage King not ripping Ben away from Dylan’s troublemaking-claws, these so-called adults seem to be giving misguidance. (Don’t even get me started on the fact that Dylan’s parents would let her date a soon-to-be-divorced teenager.) In a statement I find myself saying too often about ABC Family shows: those ‘rents are cray cray.

“What, are you crazy?” Grace frantically yelled at her mom, after her actions from a late night came back to bite her. “I’m 17. I should not be allowed to go to all-night parties.” I couldn’t agree more, but the fact that Grace was out late in the first place and then yelling at her mother is behavior that bible-thumping Grace Bowman from season 1 would never have exhibited. If my eyes hadn’t been scarred by Dylan’s friend’s platinum blonde and pink hair, I probably would have teared up right then and there.

Thankfully, all that maturation hasn’t interfered with the clan’s ability to be as completely misguided, rebellious, and self-absorbed as they were when we left them last fall. Case in point: Madison trying to convince Henry they should bond over their two-timing ways in summer school, or Adrian’s failed — and borderline creepy — attempt to romance two college-aged brothers.

If last night’s episode was any indication, the second half of season 4 is about to serve up some seriously bad decision-making, and I will be watching for every pregnancy scare and after-school-special message gone wrong. It’s cheap. It’s shallow. It’s wrong, and I’m all in.

Your turn. What did you think of last night’s premiere? Do you think Amy’s hesitation to set a specific date means she won’t make it down the aisle? Are you rooting for Ben and Dylan? Concerned as I am about everyone’s sudden desire to head to summer school for all the wrong reasons?

Read more:

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