It’s mid-season finale time so you know that Awkward. will break out some kind of major event. Unfortunately for us, the events are everything we anticipated – and dreaded – leading to a majorly disappointing episode going into the hiatus.
Let’s bitch it out…Well folks, that may have been the most obvious episode of Awkward. I’ve ever seen. You could see everything single storyline coming from a mile away, to the point that watching the episode feels pointless because you can anticipate everything that’s coming.
Let’s tackle the offenders (ordered from least offensive to most):
- Tamara (Jillian Rose-Reed) gets a chance to get-in with the Julies for the Thanksgiving
Black FridayAfter Mall Ball. As expected she immediately goes into crazy bitch mode, ordering around Jake (Brett Davern) to the extent that he considers breaking-up with her. As if. By episode’s end they’ve said their “I love yous” and they’re jumping in the bouncy castle
- Lyssa (Greer Grammer) thinks that she killed Ricky Schwartz because they kissed each other’s privates after she had Thai, thereby activating his peanut allergy. It’s as stupid as we predicted it would be, and although Grammer and Molly Tarlov try to sell the humour in it, this storyline has never been funny. The high point was the season opener when Tamara and the other girls realized how douchey Ricky was; it’s been downhill ever since
- Ming (Jessica Lu) is the new head of the Asian Mafia. The fact that it took her this long to figure out would be hilarious if it didn’t cast the character in such a dumb light
Which naturally leaves protagonist Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and her seduction by teenage Lothario Collin (Nolan Funk). In what has been the most heavily forecast and frustratingly obvious development of this abbreviated third season, Jenna finally succumbs to the creepy touching and weirdly flirtatious comments and goes into full-on make-out mode with him in the car. The problem from last week remains the same, though: Collin isn’t a character. He’s merely an alternative to Matty (Beau Mirchoff), and even if Jenna’s reasons for falling into his arms this week are more believable than last week, it simply doesn’t work.
In an episode packed with predictable filler, the sole redeeming moment is the scene between Matty and Jenna in his car. There’s a brutal teenage honesty as he confesses, using all the wrong words, that her “suicide attempt” embarassed him and her silence regarding his relationship with his parents hurt him. If this third season has done anything well, it’s been the development of Matty McKibben as a genuine human being. We spent the first two seasons seeing the soccer stud through Jenna’s lovestruck eyes, and as she’s become progressively more dissatisfied with him, Matty has emerged as an equally wounded partner.
The impact of this was clear at the end of the episode: I didn’t feel anything for Jenna. I didn’t care if she was discovered and I didn’t care if her reputation was ruined. The person who made me feel was Matty. I ached for him. He deserves better than Jenna.
- Caveat: I have a complicated relationship with cheaters, so this storyline has been filling me with dread for the better part of the season. I’ll freely admit that I judge Jenna for her inability to own up to her feelings of insecurity. This could have been an opportunity to talk to Matty and deepen their relationship, but instead she takes the easy “Choose You”/”You’re 16, be selfish” route advocated for by Collin
- There’s a grotesque symmetry at play in the framing of Jenna’s twin car conversations. The first, en route to Collin’s party, is the catalyst that encourages the second. What frustrates me is that the first car conversation holds so much power, but it’s diminished because it’s so obviously being used to justify Jenna’s decision to cheat
- Jenna’s not-so-casual aside to Collin that she’s tired of embarassing herself and others only reinforces how she internalizes Matty’s comment as a personal attack. I realize that Jenna is a teenage girl, but I wish that she had of grappled more with the fact that she’s taken something deeply personal that Matty said and made it all about her. This isn’t new behaviour (her blog and the show’s voice-over are narrative devices that structure the entire show around her), but after S2 when everything was about her and the boys in her life, this is a dangerous precipice to revisit
- Sadie (about Lyssa): “I don’t want her to beat herself up for the rest of her life. She’ll end up in porn” This is the only line I genuinely laughed at in the entire episode
So that’s my frustrated take. While this season has been a dramatic improvement over last season so far, these recent episodes have given us some of the most disappointing and predictable developments of the entire series. Am I alone in harbouring this resentment? Are you excited to see what happens when the show returns? Will Jenna be conflicted? Will she and Collin continue to secretly hook up? Do you judge her for this latest turn of events? And can she be redeemed now that she’s cheated on Matty? Comment away below
Awkward. has finished airing the first half of its third season. MTV has yet to schedule the second half