Awkward., Ep 3.15/3.16: “A Very Special Episode of Awkward” and “Less Than Hero”

Desi Lydic, Ashley Rickards

Desi Lydic, Ashley Rickards

Awkward., Season 3, Episode 15: “A Very Special Episode of Awkward”
Written by Erin Ehrlich
Directed by Joe Nussbaum
Airs Tuesdays at 10:30 PM on MTV

Awkward., Season 3, Episode 16: “Less Than Hero”
Written by Joe Nussbaum
Directed by Joe Nussbaum
Airs Tuesdays at 10:30 PM on MTV

Jenna’s recent life upheaval has not been without doubt; her lack of certainty about her relationship with Collin has manifested in decisions she herself has regretted, despite her insistence on keeping the public stance that continues to drive her friends away. This week further explores how her recent decisions affect both her and the people around her, in a strong pair of episodes that highlight the strain this is having on Jenna.

One of the most fascinating aspects of these two episodes, and the season as a whole, has been the transition of Jenna. While the first half hinted at a budding maturity that came with a growing attraction to Collin, the way she has acted since getting into the relationship has been a quick regression that has nonetheless felt believable, as she has allowed her anger and stubbornness to govern her decision-making. This regression has been particularly intriguing because it’s a new aspect of Jenna, whose previous lack of maturity manifested itself in completely different ways. Given Jenna’s increased insistence this week in not accepting any olive branches extended her way, it will be interesting to see how she reacts to her friends in upcoming episodes, and how her actions on Jenna, who has seemingly also lost the crutch of Collin that she could lean on before. How Jenna views herself in light of Collin’s dismissal of her this week, as well as what steps she takes to rebuild herself, and whether she ends up right where she was psychologically before she met Collin, or somewhere completely different, promises to be compelling.

In particular, it is Valerie’s reaction that will be worth keeping an eye on. Despite her clueless nature, the guidance counsellor has never attempted to be anything more than a true friend to the people around her. This is demonstrated even humorously this week, as she sends get well balloons to Lacey following Jenna’s excuse. Given her nature, nobody has ever been outright cruel to her, which changes with the publication of Jenna’s article. How Valerie reacts will likely be a defining moment for the character and her relationship with Jenna.

Jillian Rose Reed, Brett Davern

Jillian Rose Reed, Brett Davern

Tamara’s sudden decision to run for President is also intriguing. In many ways, the cracks in Tamara and Jake’s relationship have been visible throughout the season, with circumstances giving them a chance to focus on something else instead of their incompatibilities. With the increasing scale of their fights, however, a major confrontation seemed likely, and competing against each other in a public arena such as school politics provides a perfect platform. With Jenna no longer able to mediate, it will be interesting to see what roles Matty and Ming play in the ensuing blowout, if any, and how Tamara and Jake handle the oncoming conflict.

Overall, this is a strong hour for the show. The switch from comedy to drama that the show undergoes in the two instalments is not only deftly done, it also highlights the writer’s ability to effectively blend the two. Valerie’s interest in after school specials is amusingly fitting, and hopefully this is not the last we’ve seen of her interactions with Mr. Hart. Sadie’s dislike of Jenna is unfortunately becoming a one-note aspect of the character, with her obsession over the latter’s recent life choices this week overshadowing any meaningful character development. Hopefully future episodes either dial back Sadie’s hatred, or provide some justification for the high level of vitriol that Sadie aims in Jenna’s direction, vitriol which is too high to simply be a result of being Matty’s friend. How Jenna recovers from her trip to the rave, and what course of action her parents choose to take in light of her disregard for rules, are worth looking out for as the season continues.

– Deepayan Sengupta


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