Awkward., Season 2, Episode 7: “Another one Bites The Dust”
Written by Lauren Iungerich
Directed by Lauren Iungerich
Airs Thursdays at 10:30 PM on MTV
Weddings have been used as a way to examine relationships, both past and present, in television and movies for a long time. This isn’t without merit; after all, weddings are a major milestone in a couple’s relationship, and it stands to reason that one pair of individuals choosing to take this step would lead to other pairs examining where they stand in comparison. This is the most troublesome for people who are newly single, and people who are newly in relationships, both of which are represented currently on Awkward, and this week the show used Ally’s wedding as a launchpad to explore how the respective individuals were actually feeling in their current positions.
Jenna’s blossoming relationship with Jake, having survived the sex and love conundrum of last week unexpectedly well, took a step away from the spotlight this week to allow the focus to fall on Ally’s impending marriage to the as-yet-unseen rich older man currently courting her. In the process, this allows for Jenna’s formation as an independent character, rather than letting her be defined by whom she’s currently dating, a pitfall that a lot of shows fall into, but one that Awkward. has been able to slip past. The presence of a female character defined by her own traits, rather than by her beau du jour, is refreshing, and this episode shows why once again, as it gives just the right dosage of Jake and Matty to progress Jenna’s romantic life without overwhelming the episode, and allowing the focus to shift elsewhere.
That elsewhere, of course, falls on Jenna’s mother, still scrambling following her unexpected singledom. Lacey’s unexpectedly tender motherly moment last week was nowhere to be found this time around, as she reverted back to, essentially, everything Jenna has been avoiding trying to become in her current romantic state. It’s an interesting parallel to watch Jenna and Lacey, and by and large the contrasts have been subtle in nature (one notable exception, of course, coming at Jenna’s observation that Lacey considers high school the best time of her life, which felt, as a contrast, a little too spelled out, and didn’t provide any additional insight into either the mother or the daughter). The differences in how both deal with their conflicting feelings between men is very telling; Jenna possesses a self-assured nature that is very notably missing from Lacey, who needs the external validation that being in a relationship provides, and will go to all necessary lengths to get it. The fact that Jenna seems the more mature of the two women–and effectively plays the role of the mother throughout the wedding in ensuring Lacey doesn’t end up doing something she’ll regret–is a wonderfully understated aspect of their relationship that speaks volumes about Jenna and her ability to care, without any of it being spelled out.
Overall, this was another enjoyable, breezy episode that nonetheless managed to move several storylines forward. It was nice to see that the writers haven’t let Sadie lose her mean streak due to her recent fling with Ricky, and Tamara’s discomfort at seeing the two together is effectively reined in. Jake and Jenna’s attempts to placate Tamara and Sadie was a nice symmetrical touch that showed the similarities in their characters, and the post-breakup relationship between Jenna and Matty continues to be nicely developed. It will be interesting to see how the episode-ending reveal plays out next week; if the love bombshell’s aftermath is any indication, we should be in for something that manages to effectively walk the line between saccharine and cynical, and how the writers pull that off should be worth tuning in for.
– Deepayan Sengupta