Awkward., Ep 2.11: “Once Upon a Blog” explores alternate realities of the show

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Awkward., Season 2, Episode 11: “Once Upon a Blog”

Written by Erin Ehrlich

Directed by Michael Blieden

Airs Thursdays at 10:30 PM on MTV

“Hindsight is 20/20” is one of the most common phrases today. People often find themselves, in times of turmoil, looking back at the decisions they have made, and wondering how things would turn out had they gone with another option instead. Many movies and television shows have explored this idea as well, providing an interesting glimpse into how things would have looked had writers decided to alter characters even a little bit. Awkward. goes down this route in this week’s episode, and while the hypothetical scenarios are fun to watch, the end result leaves this episode feeling like a filler to tide over audiences, an unexpected disappointment from the show.

The episode took an interesting approach towards revisiting Jenna’s life, by going down an exaggerated comedic route, rather than a genuine exploration of potential differences. While this may, on initial thought, seem odd, it fit right in with the overall nature of the show, as well as managing to keep the exploration of the tale of Jenna Hamilton so far light-hearted, rather than dramatically heavy.  Which is not to say they veered away from truth; rather, taking this approach highlights the fact that these decisions are moot, and that what happened happened. It also helps highlight Jenna’s insecurities, not only with regards to Matty and Jake, but also with her friendships and social standing in the school. Displaying the issues that come with popularity was a strong move for the show, as weaker writing may have gone the easy route of showing a friendship with Sadie and an overload of self-importance masked as confidence to be the magic potion to cure what ails Jenna, rather than indicating the problems inherent with that, as this episode chose to display.

The main issue with the episode, however, is that it ultimately did not carry any weight. While the exploration of alternate avenues was fun to watch, the overall narrative did not progress much in the episode outside of the last minute. This was jarring for a show that has seen forward movement in atleast one storyline in each episode throughout the whole season, and felt like the show was stalling for time as it winds to the conclusion of the season. The alternate fantasies did not reveal anything about characters other than Jenna, and due to their very nature, most of what happened in this episode will not have a lasting impact. It would have been nice if some time had been allocated to the secondary characters in the show as well, rather than dedicating the episode to Jenna and her thoughts.

Overall, however, despite the lack of forward movement, this was an enjoyable episode to watch. The riff on Twilight, while somewhat predictable in who inhabited what role, was smart in not using it as a way to criticise the series. Effectively playing three different versions of Jenna Hamilton, Ashley Rickards displayed remarkable versatility, and played a large part in making this a fun episode. It will be interesting to see if making the blog private has any ramifications in future episodes, and hopefully the filler-like nature of this week means that the show will pack a wallop in the season finale next week.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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