Written by Lauren Iungerich
Directed by Joe Nussbaum
Airs Thursdays at 10:30 PM on MTV
The explosion in reality television programming in North America over the last decade is something that ostensibly hasn’t gone unnoticed by anyone. There have been numerous theories that have attempted to explain the runaway success that such shows have garnered, the most popular of which seems to be the idea that people enjoy watching others go through the trials and tribulations of life, both as a vicarious form of entertainment, and as a potential learning tool. The adverse effects of opening up one’s life to the public, however, is a subject that is often left unexplored. With Jenna’s unmasking of her blog last week, however, this episode explores the fallout of her decision amongst all affected parties, leading to a strong episode that gives the audience a good look at numerous facets of Jenna’s personality.
The two major storylines this week revolve around the exposure of the intimate details of Jenna’s life to the entire school, but the stronger one focuses on Lacey, and how she deals with the fallout of being declared the author of the care-frontation letter in the first season. The episode does a great job in not letting Lacey off the hook, while simultaneously making her a sympathetic character, as the impact of what she did is never diminished, no matter how much she gets verbally beaten down. The writers give Nikki DeLoach a lot of heavy lifting this episode, and she delivers admirably. Valerie’s unexpectedly stern reprimanding of Lacey, as well as Lacey’s explanation to Jenna of her rationale behind writing the letter were both highlights of the episode, and of the season, and helps push all three characters forward. It will be very interesting to see how far the writers choose to pursue this storyline, and what direction it goes in.
The other key storyline, involving the love triangle that has become a staple of the season, provides a nice contrast to the emotional maturity Jenna displays with respect to Lacey’s hardships by re-establishing that, no matter what, she still is a teenager. The echoes of Twilight and general shipping fandom amongst the students at the school with respect to Matty and Jake is a nice touch, and makes a subtle point about how Jenna’s life has essentially become a spectator sport, although the impact is somewhat lessened by having Tamara spell it out. The use of Francois Truffaut’s wonderfully bleak Jules et Jim as a means of getting Matty and Jake to reconcile their friendship was also an interesting, unexpected choice, that fits perfectly.
Overall, this was a good episode, and once again demonstrated the show’s ability to effectively combine storylines with dramatic heft and lighter, comedic fare in the same episode. Sadie’s herpes scare provided a nice break from the Jenna-centric nature of both the primary storylines while giving the audience a better look into how her relationship with Ricky was going, and the resolution hints at further developments in that regard. It will be interesting to watch if Tamara’s newfound fame by way of Jenna continues beyond this episode, and how she reacts to it on a longer term basis. How long the school focuses on Jenna’s blog will also be fascinating to watch, as the insertion of this relatively heavy storyline so late in the season seems to indicate that the writers have something big planned with regards to it. With only two more episodes left in the season, some major plot threads have the potential to reach some very exciting conclusions, and watching how they play themselves out is reason enough to tune back in next week.
– Deepayan Sengupta