Awkward. A Review

Forget Team Jacob and Team Edward. Team Jake vs Team Matty is where its at — in the television universe that is. All this is taking place in the life of 15 year old Jenna Hamilton, whose accidental slip in the bathroom was mistaken for a failed suicide attempt, thus earning her the monicker “that girl” in her high school.

Awkward gives a whole new meaning to the word as it focuses on that awkward phase when teens are testing their wings and exploring new relationships — overcoming problems about peer pressure and bullying and basically handling the situations more maturely than their so called mentors in the fictional halls of Palos Hills High.

For Jenna (Ashley Rickards), though, who once considered herself invisible, her newfound notoriety brings her more trouble than much coveted popularity. So much so when she figures in a secret relationship with popular jock Matty Mckibben (Beau Mirchoff) and catches the interest of class president Jake Rosati (Brett Davern), who happens to be Matty’s best friend. Add to the mix overweight bully Sadie Saxton (Molly Tarlov), who wields the power in school because of her dad’s money, Jenna’s BFFs Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) and underachieving Asian Ming (Jessica Lu) and the result is one episode after another of any teenage girl’s worst nightmare.

AWKWARD. Jenna tries to shake off the feeling that Matty is trying to seduce her by tagging along in all of her dates. Third wheel much?

I caught a few  episodes of Awkward on MTV several months back and I didn’t like it very much initially. I thought that Ashley Rickards looked too old and too skinny to be playing a 15 year old girl and that the episodes were too mature and liberated for its intended audience. However, after catching several more episodes from the latter parts of the season, I developed a huge liking to the show. I liked that Jenna was constantly faced with embarrassing situations that would make any ordinary girl want to hide under a rock but she stuck it out despite the pressure. I liked how her character developed from a girl who was so desperate for crumbs of affection  into a person who recognized her self worth and fought for what she deserved. I will not spoil you about what went down in the last episode of Season 1 but it was monumental.

Season 2 picks up right where Season 1 left off but here, we see Jenna looking healthier with more flesh in her bones. I think that putting on more weight was a good idea because she looked tons better than she did in the first season. Team Jake vs Team Matty is the main theme of this season and here, Jenna unravels her confusion about her feelings for the two hot guys who are overtly/covertly fighting for her affections. Season 2 also delves into the aftermath of the carefrontation letter after it was revealed who sent it. I finished watching the entire season in one night and I loved it. Not quite a big fan of the season ender but there’s still a third season coming up and this leaves more room for Jenna to grow up. I would like the show to move past the Matty/Jake angle and go forward to the development of the characters who were underutilized in the first two seasons.

I loved Jake from the first moment that he showed up on screen. He is adorable and his character is just so transparent and kind and dorky that viewers just want to rain kisses on his face and hug him all the time. He is just so sweet. Matty is super hot but his character is a work in progress and his flaws are actually what makes him interesting. I must admit that a major part of what got me hooked on the show were these two guys. They’re just so different. They have different appeals so I have yet to choose until now which team I’m batting for. Lucky Jenna right?

AWKWARD-ER. One thing a teenager never wishes to witness is her parents running around half naked at home. Welcome to Jenna’s world.

I also liked the supporting cast, especially Jenna’s parents played by Nikki Deloach (Lacey) and Mike Faiola (Kevin) who got married when they were barely out of their teens when Lacey got pregnant with Jenna. At first, one would question their parenting skills with Lacey constantly pressuring Jenna to exert more effort to be popular (mainly because she wants to be accepted by the in crowd for the adult set), but with the progression of the story, the characters get more layers and their flaws are unveiled actually as strengths. I would appreciate it if the writers tone down Tamara’s perkiness a wee bit because she’s getting too loud and in your face for my tastes, but I liked the gay character Clark Stevenson (Joseph Haro), who only appeared in several episodes but gave Jenna excellent advice every time. Oh, have I failed to mention the hilarious acronyms or Tamaraisms peppered throughout this show? Classic.

Awkward takes a harsh look at teens of today, true, but it also takes us back to the time when we were teenagers ourselves plagued by the same drama, faced with the same decisions, struggling to make light of our embarrassing goofs.  I believe the reason this show is so popular is because people can relate to Jenna’s dillemma. She doesn’t always make the wise decision but she’s a teenager and it’s part of her journey to stumble once in a while so people forgive her when she makes mistakes. She is flawed and she is damaged and this is what endears people to her.

All in all, I think the show is an awesome watch for teens and adults alike because it actually has depth despite looking like a shallow teen drama on the surface. Its like a teen movie delivered in small doses. And these doses just gets viewers wanting more.

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