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MTV’s “Awkward.” aka The High School Misadventures of Jenna Hamilton resumes right where it left off. Instead of beginning with a new school year, we cover the entire winter holiday season in one episode. Events over Christmas are mentioned and the backdrop of all the action in the episode is a New Year’s Eve party.
We join our heroine as we usually do, in the midst of an inner monologue, consciousness streaming to her keyboard. Oh how lovely it was to hear Ashley Rickards’ self-deprecating voice once more!
This episode did a lot of “in case you missed it” exposition and set up conflicts for the season.
In Case You Missed Last Season:
Jenna spent an entire season pining over dopey high school heartthrob Matty, who had this whole Jake Ryanesque “more to me than just my looks and I dig average girls I barely know” thing going on. It seemed like Jenna was getting the runaround from Matty until it seemed like she wasn’t getting the runaround. She FINALLY had the opportunity to lockdown her crush, but she ultimately opts for the nice guy Jake (who is also Matty’s best bro).
Sadie is an insecure bee-yatch who makes it her personal mission to continuously slash the tires on the car that is Jenna’s life. I would hate her but Sadie is so unbelievable that it makes her likable. Molly Tarlov totally sells the keyed up, lingo-loaded one-liners that consistently astound me. Seriously, I feel like I spend half the episode thinking “Did they really write that?” and the other half thinking “Is that what teenagers really sound like to adults?”
Lissa is Jake’s ex-gf and Sadie’s ex-friend. Jake ‘fessed up to her about kissing Jenna last season which resulted in “the slap heard ‘round the world” and Jenna earning a skank trophy for her reputation mantle.
Tamara, Jenna’s bff, is in an undefined relationship with some dude named Ricky. She mentioned him pretty much every episode at every opportunity last season.
The frenemy letter that ignited the premise of the show was written by Jenna’s mother, who could give any high school plastic a run for her trust fund.
Set-Up for this Season:
Jenna is given the opportunity to redo but she chooses Jake again. Which prompts relationship drama and the potential to deal with issues (Matty included) that could break them up.
Sadie’s fragile self-esteem was rattled as a long-awaited chance to hook-up with Matty went south (figuratively, not literally) and left her questioning whether or not she was overrated. True to form, she concludes that Matty is overrated. It looks like the writers closed the door on that pairing. Probably so that Matty could focus on Jenna.
I have a soft spot for Lissa. It seems to be turning into an ensemble show and I am looking forward to whatever storyline they give her this season and I hope she becomes more regular. The scene she had with Sadie was by far my favorite riff of dialogue from this episode.
I’m still undecided as to whether or not Ricky is entirely fabricated in Tamara’s head but we can throw Tamara a B-story bone for being Jenna’s best friend.
It’s semi-obnoxious to me how much work they’re doing to setup Matty and Jenna as endgame. Even after all that work, I’m still not rooting for them to be together. Not that I’m rooting for Jenna and Jake either but it’s nice to see Jake getting rewarded for being good to Jenna. I want to start a counter for how many times Jenna is faced with the whole “Jake or Matty” decision and goes with Jake during this story arc (right now we’re at two).
I am increasingly a fan of how the show treats teenage premarital sex: It happens. True, there are some details that are used for farce but I think the way the subject gets treated as a whole is pretty spot-on.
OH ALSO I really, truly, sincerely hope that Ming gets a storyline this season. She’s only ever there to be a deadpan foil for Tamara’s whacked out, cracked out prattle but I want more Ming! She intrigues me. There’s so much comedic potential there.