After sitting through some of the darkest episodes of the series, it’s comforting to see Awkward. take a more light hearted approach. Not that ‘The Campaign Fail’ isn’t still packed with significant moments.
Let’s bitch it out…
I was prepared to see the fall-out from Jenna’s (Ashley Rickards) article hit the fan this episode, but – in true Awkward. fashion – ‘The Campaign Fail’s is all about delayed gratification. Instead of having Jenna address her most egregious error right off the bat, we’ll have to wait a little while longer to see what happens.
As the opening voice over suggests, the aftermath of the party and the attempted threesome prompts Jenna’s belief that she’s hit rock bottom. You could argue that Jenna’s Ecstasy to recovery timeline is pretty condensed, but after spending so many weeks watching her play the bad girl, I’m happy to skip right to Jenna making amends. This is likely for the best since Jenna has a lot of apologizing to do. She begins with Kevin (Mike Faiola) and Lacey (Nikki Deloach), who seem open to having their daughter back before presenting her with her rent bill. It’s the first of many “words speak louder than action” moments in an episode filled with characters learning hard lessons about the impact of selfish behaviour, but it’s also appropriately on brand for a series that routinely presents serious situations with a dose of levity.
‘The Campaign Fail’ does a good job of reintroducing us to who Jenna used to be – warts and all. Her belief that she can simply act like everything is normal, particularly when interacting with Tamara (Jillian Rose-Reed) and Ming (Jessica Liu) is delusional, but oh so traditionally Jenna. The same goes for her refusal to talk to Val (Desi Lydic) before she finds out about the article and her attempt to blame her bad behaviour on Collin (Nolan Funk). As much as I dislike Collin, he does earn a bit of my respect for throwing Jenna’s accusations back in her face. She may want to believe that he brought about her downfall, but in truth she was the architect of her own destruction (Side Note: my teensy bit of support for Collin only applies to his refusal to let Jenna blame him for her actions; not his douchey “not exclusive, didn’t think you’d mind a threesome” excuses)
The flip argument can be made for Tamara, whose journey parallels Jenna as she challenges Jake (Brett Davern) in the presidential race. The outcome is completely obvious from the beginning (although surprisingly glossed over), as is the fall-out. After weeks of being on the rocks for some reason or another, Jake throws in the towel and breaks up with Tamara after correctly deducing that her presidential bid is nothing more than an effort to school him on his lethargic approach to campaigning. Is it fair of him to assume that Tamara should simply know how much the role means to him? No, but as far as we know their relationship has never been filled with deep conversation (unlike catch-phrases count). And so Jake and Tamara are no more…
- Failed relationships is the theme of the episode as Ming botches her responsibilities as leader of the Asian Mafia and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) catches hell from new girlfriend Devin for leaving her to pick up Jenna. There may be a chance for Jake and Tamara to reconcile, but the preview suggests Matty and Devin are doomed and I suspect the Asian Mafia rebellion will continue
- Sometimes it feels like Lacey is a single mother. At times Kevin is around (breakfast) but at other times he’s completely absent. I realize he’s likely working (do we even know what he does?), but his absences during key scenes makes him seem like a drop-in dad
- With the renewed focus on Jenna and Tamara, Sadie (Molly Tarlov) is once again reduced to the wisecracking comic-relief role. It still works, but it’s disappointing considering what we know Tarlov is capable of
- Finally: Initially I was really disappointed in the scene between Jenna and Tamara in the bathroom because I thought that the writers were glossing over the rift between them. Tamara’s refusal to hug Jenna back and her biting comment about needing a true friend stings, but feels necessary. This isn’t something that can be healed in a single episode. It also anticipates the final scene when Jenna realizes that she has yet to actually say “sorry” and gains back Lacey’s love as a result (though Lacey was always going to be the easiest to win over)
- Ming (to Tamara when she tells Jake “Game off”): “That’s not a thing”
- Sadie (after Tamara confesses she doesn’t have $500 to pay for Twitter promotion): “Well then I guess that I can’t help you, which works out because I didn’t want to”
You’re up: how did you feel this first round of reconciliatory talks went? Are you glad Tamara hasn’t forgiven Jenna? Did you applaud Collin’s refusal to accept blame, or is he still too much of a dbag to like? Were you disappointed that issues with Val weren’t addressed? And where is Kevin half of the time?! Sound off below
Awkward. airs Tuesdays at 10:30pm EST on MTV