Tag Archives: Daren Kagasoff

New ‘Secret Life’ Season Biggest Yet for Good Kid Baumann

Ken Baumann ABC Family photo by Craig Sjodin

Three years into their series life, the “Secret Life of the American Teenager’s” young cast has bonded in a way they’ll never repeat.  That’s the considered opinion of Ken Baumann, who plays Ben, the nice boy among the high school crowd on the show.

“We’ve all grown up together and that’s not going to happen again. I would like to think that we’re all going to know each other and be friends for a long time,” says the 21-year-old actor, author and publisher.  They do socialize off the set, according to him. “It’s great hanging out with those guys and girls. They’re all excellent at having a good time.”

In fact, he notes that he and Greg Finley and Daren Kagasoff — a.k.a. the show’s jock type and sexy bad boy — “recently traveled to Cabo San Lucas and had some cast-friendly bonding time. The girls fawn over Daren, and I get to point and laugh. He’s the magnet. We carry him around and the girls come.”

The season that launches March 28th is Baumann’s heaviest, and “my most exciting and challenging season to play,” he says.  That’s saying an awful lot.   Since “Secret Life” fans first got to know Baumann’s character, Ben Boykewich, Ben has: 1) fallen in love with a pregnant girl; 2) married her; 3) found out the marriage was invalid on account of they used fake IDs; 4) been at her side when the baby arrived; 5) made friends with the father of her baby; 6) courted a friend of hers; 7) found out she’d kissed the father of her child and then had revenge sex with the father’s girlfriend; 8 discovered the revenge sex had resulted in a pregnancy; and 9) decided to take his relationship with his pregnant revenge sex partner to the next level.

And you thought chemistry was tough.

“No, I would never have thought this next season was going to pop up this way when I signed on to the show,” admits Baumann. “The social web can be manipulated in so many different ways….There are all kinds of unexpected twists and turns.”

Some viewers want Ben to be with his first love, Amy (Shailene Woodley). Some viewers think he ought to go ahead and marry bad-but-brainy baby mana Adrian (Francia Raisa). By Baumann’s unofficial count — that is, people who come up to him and give their opinions — “it’s shifted more recently to the point it’s about fifty/fifty.”

In the new season, “Ben’s relationship with Adrian grows and changes. His relationship with his dad gets even more stressed and interesting, with more conflict.  I would say that this season was, hands down, my favorite to shoot. It builds and builds and builds.”

When he’s not on camera or out enjoying himself with his buds, Baumann can often be found writing. He’s an aspiring novelist with one book already out to publishers, another in the works. “I’ll keep throwing things against the wall and see what sticks,” he says.

The self-admitted art and book nerd also has his own publishing entity, Sator Press.  Flying in the face of all current trends, he publishes books on paper, “but limited to small runs, a thousand copies or so. It’s a tough business, certainly, books. But it’s worth it. When I get an order on my e-mail account, well, I shouldn’t be that thrilled going to the post office — no one should be — but I am.”

He’s also done an internet literary journal of fiction and poetry, and “I may start the online endeavor again,” says Baumann, who is erudite enough to make phrases like “online endeavor” sound perfectly natural.

He looks forward to more writing, more acting, more “Secret Life,” with all its challenges and strangeness. For instance, the time, recently, when “I was at an old local Tex-Mex restaurant in Abiline with my family, and the waitress squats down next to the table and says, ‘My manager is hiding just around the corner there. She’s a big fan.’ She had the waitress come and do the dirty work for her,” he recalls good-naturedly. Being an amiable sort, Baumann, who grew up on his parents’ miniature horse ranch and animal rescue in Texas, went and coaxed the manager into saying hello. “We ended up talking a long time. It was pretty cool.”

As for his feelings about the infamous drinking game wherein “Secret Life” viewers take a draught of beer or booze at every mention of “Sex” on the show (one count for a single episode reached a whopping 70 instances of the S word), Baumann says, “Oh man. I pity the poor fools who play that game. They’re going to get alcohol poisoning in 15 minutes. Yeah, I think the sex drinking game is the quintessential ‘Secret Life’ spinoff. I think it’s funny.”

With all that sex, naturally, babies abound on “Secret Life.”

“At one point it was, like, four babies. It’s baby city on our set.” And how is that? “They’re great, so far, very professional babies.” Baumann laughs. ” I’m kind of a sucker for babies and young kids, so maybe I’m not the most objective one to ask. I just love kids.”

It’s a good thing.

Shailene Woodley Spills on ‘Secret Life’ and George Clooney

Daren Kagasoff, Shailene Woodley

First it was 15-year-old Amy Jeurgens (Shailene Woodley) getting pregnant by cool but troubled guy Ricky (Daren Kagasoff) in a rash moment at band camp two seasons ago.  Now it appears that when ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of The American Teenager” returns for its third season Monday (6/7), it’ll be bad girl Adrian (Francia Raisa) facing a very unplanned baby-on-the-way.

Will this season be a case of déjà vu all over again?  We asked show star Shailene.  “There are a lot of differences, but there’s always going to be the similarity between the shock of being a teenager who is pregnant and having to choose what to do, to give up the baby or keep it,” she notes.  “Amy was obviously more naïve than Adrian.  Adrian is accepting it quicker, but it’s still a struggle.  Adrian and Amy will kind of create a bond…. Amy is always going to be there for Adrian.”

Shailene points out, however, that there remains a huge issue standing in the way of their becoming BFFs.  The sticky point, as “Secret Life” viewers know all too well, is that sadly, the father of Adrian’s baby is none other than Amy’s true love, Ben (Kenny Baumann), while Adrian is in love with Ricky, a.k.a. Amy’s baby daddy.

It shouldn’t be a big surprise that there is another pregnancy on “Secret Life” considering the show’s obsession with sex – the act itself, and the constant talk of sex, including one installment where the S word was reported as being dropped a whopping 70 times.  A drinking game in which viewers tipple at every mention of sex grew in popularity across the land last season.

“As long as they’re doing it in a way that’s safe, I think it’s funny,” says Shailene.

America’s most famous unwed teenage mother, Bristol Palin, guests on the show this season.  “We worked together a few months ago.  It was a one-time thing.  She was nice. She seemed like a normal teenager,” Shailene reports.

As for how she likes working with all those babies – playing not only her son, but her brother — on the set, she says, “They’re fun.  They get distracted easy, pointing at microphones or lights on the ceiling.  You have to be patient.”

Life has been a whirlwind for Shailene in recent weeks.  She’s been in Hawaii making the feature “The Descendants” in the role of George Clooney’s daughter, between “Secret Life” camera calls.  She returned to the mainland the night before we caught up with the 18-year-old beauty, and she had already put in a full day on her series set.

“I’m going on adrenaline right now,” she says.

How was working with George Clooney?

“All I can say about George is he’s one of the most amazing guys I’ve ever met — so intelligent, so hysterically funny and so down to earth,” she replies.

Clooney has such a bachelor image, will people buy him as a dad?

“He did an amazing job.”

Kagasoff: Dad’s Rights Issue to Heat Up on ‘Secret Life’

Daren Kagasoff

Daren Kagasoff

“The Secret Life of The American Teenager” is poised to leap into another hot button issue – father’s rights.  Expect friction to escalate over unwed teen father Ricky’s visitation with his baby son on the ABC Family Channel’s very hot teen serial, which just launched its second season.  That’s the word from Daren Kagasoff, who plays the cool-but-troubled high school lothario, Ricky, who impregnated fellow band member Amy Juergens (Shailene Woodley) in a one night stand.

Now they’re shooting episode 12 of the whopping 24-episdoe order for this season — an order that will keep the series troupe busy ’til the end of November.

Kagasoff offers up a teaser for what lies ahead, saying that Ricky, who’s been stepping up in an uncharacteristically admirable way to be responsible for his infant offspring, “is getting into more of a debate over who gets to baby sit the kid” – and may even take legal action in the matter.  However, Ricky “doesn’t want the court to find out” about certain things in his shadowy past.

“It’s definitely another obstacle for Ricky.  His main focus is the baby, and being the best dad he can be in spite of all his baggage, his cheatin’ ways,” says the amiable 21-year-old actor, who is up for Choice TV Breakout Star in the Teen Choice Awards.

“Secret Life” up for several Teen Choice honors on the show airing Aug. 10.  (To vote, visit http://www.teenchoiceawards.com.)

Kagasoff says he had no idea Ricky would be going from bad boy to mensh this year.  “None of us know our characters’ destiny.  Once in a while we talk to the creator (Brenda Hampton), but usually, we don’t know our fate until we open the scripts,” he says.

As far as criticism over the series’ preoccupation with sex, Kagasoff says, “I think you have some episodes that touch on sex more than others, but I give credit to the writers for the way they handle it.  In this day and age, as much as we might want to turn away from it, that’s what interests the young audience – sex.  It may sound stupid to say, but that’s why we’ve become a hit with them.”