Will the real Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) please stand up…and put out the joint? Awkward.‘s protagonist has gone into full-on despicable territory in a realistic, albeit non-entertaining fashion.
Let’s bitch it out…I’m still not done harping on Jenna Hamilton. Season three has seen our once great protagonist cheat on her boyfriend for a bobble-headed Abercrombie boyfriend who appears to be a fairly regular pot smoker. As far as bad boys go, Collin (Nolan Funk) isn’t the worst guy – he’s maybe a 4/10 on the “James Dean Rebel Without A Cause” index – but the way that he encourages Jenna’s bad behaviour is a definite issue. Considering that at this point Jenna has completely burned all of her bridges, including her relationship with her parents Kevin (Mike Faiola) and Lacey (Nikki Deloach), Collin is all that she has. Or at least that’s how she feels, which is such a significant self-destructive concern that Jenna’s willing to have sex with Collin even though she isn’t ready to.
It’s that moment that ‘The Bad Seed’ works for me. As I discussed last week, watching Jenna self-destruct may be realistic arc, but it certainly hasn’t proven enjoyable to watch. Unlike the more emotionally deep dramas on cable, Jenna’s dabbles in bad girl behaviour are shallow and petulant (again: appropriate), but that doesn’t mean that it’s fun to watch the protagonist of the show act like a hellish bitch to all of her close friends. And yet seeing (and hearing) Jenna worry that the only way to keep the remaining person in her life is to sleep with him, it’s – for me – a rock bottom moment. There’s a suggestion that this is when things will turn around for Jenna when she returns home afterwards, crying, but it appears that we’ll have to wait to see what the outcome is. I can only hope that the bitch is dead and the Jenna we know and love is on her way back, because this skank has been seriously nasty to watch these last few episodes.
Aside from the terrible aforementioned scene, the one thing that this episode confirms for me is that at this point I’d not-so-secretly rather watch Sadie’s (Molly Tarlov) story rather than Jenna’s. Sadie has always been a unique character on the series: the “fat girl”, the comic relief, the secretly wounded mean girl, the rejected lover, and lately the isolated, misunderstood girl. The depth that Tarlov brings to each of these sides of Sadie is startling because on the surface we’ve become accustomed to the mean girl’s barbed wit. I never expected more to her story, even after it’s revealed she’s in love with Matty (Beau Mirchoff), or when her parents slit up, or when her family loses all of their money. Somehow, quietly and in the background, Sadie has developed into a three dimensional character and she’s become so much more interesting than Jenna. Episodes like this, when Tarlov gets to play several of those sides in just a few short scenes, make me wish that it was Sadie that was our main character, and not the increasingly woh-woh whininess of Jenna Hamilton.
- Aunt Ally (Barret Swatek) is back and she’s desperate for a child. Naturally, given Sadie’s situation – and with Valerie’s (Desi Lydic) help – Ally ends up taking in her step-niece but not before demonstrating several very questionable parenting decisions involving nicotine and anti-anxiety meds. (Side Note: Swatek looks alarmingly skinny. She’s also alarmingly tanned, though that may be less cause for concern)
- I love that “exhaustion camp” is a thing
- Weekly dose of Greer Grammer: the clueless girl’s neck brace is off, though that may not be for the best considering the new crooked angle of her head. In terms of over/under use of the character, I would deem this under – a little more wacky would have been appreciated
- Major diss of the week has to go to Matty when he tells Jenna that he was “slumming it with you”. Zing!
- A close second is the “we don’t need to lie anymore” confessional conversation between former friends Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Ming (Jessica Lu) and Jenna. When the three girls speak their truth, it is painfully realistic and more than a little devastating. I hope that when the show inevitably repairs these friendships, it doesn’t undersell how scarring these confessions are
- Finally, there’s virtually no Brett Davern again this week. Nolan Funk’s increased presence appears directly to be inversely proportional to Davern’s. I think we all know how I feel about this
- Sadie (surveying the lunch Ally has made her): “Nitrates and nicotines?”
- Lissa (when Sadie asks which is worse: living with a bitch or on a budget): “I’d say a budget because you live with yourself everyday”
- Ally (discussing why she wants a baby): “I only want a kid I can screw up from the start”
- Jenna (when Sadie suggests karma’s a bitch): “Is that why you’re broke and homeless?”
You’re up: how’s your Jenna tolerability index ranking this week? Are you wishing, like me, that this was Sadie’s show? Are the writers finding a balance depicting Collin as the sensitive, pot-smoking boyfriend who still manages to pressure his girlfriend into sex? Add your comments below
Awkward. airs Tuesdays at 10:30pm EST on MTV