AWKWARD. Catch-Up: What You Need to Know to Watch Season 2!
June 28, 2012 by Sarah Curtis
High school. Some of us are blocking out the memories, and for others of us, it is/was the best days of our lives. TV doesn’t always get it right when it comes to portraying those teenage years , but MTV’s AWKWARD. hits a lot of the right notes. It’s funny and doesn’t stray into preachy or ridiculous territory (looking at you, GLEE!), but most of all, the show’s characters are fairly well rounded.
So what do you need to know?
The Main Points:
Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards), a high school girl used to flying under the radar, accidentally trips and falls in the bathroom, knocking over a bottle of pills in the process. She becomes tagged with a “that girl” label — that girl who tried to kill herself
While most of her family and friends believe that she wasn’t trying to kill herself, the label still sticks around school and is perpetuated by Sadie (Molly Tarlov), her biggest rival
Jenna also receives an anonymous letter from “a friend,” letting her know that unless she changes her ways, she could disappear and no one would know or care. She spends season one trying to figure out who sent her the letter, while also trying to be more outgoing
- Jenna is supported by her two best friends, party girl Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) and studious Ming (Jessica Lu). Jenna’s personality is somewhere in the middle between theirs, and she feels conflict when she disappoints one of them.
- Jenna’s parents had her when they were sixteen, and her mother Lacey (Nikki Deloach) is often more concerned with popularity than Jenna is. Jenna’s dad Kevin (Mike Faiola) usually takes her side and is more rational.
- Season one begins with Jenna hooking up with sporty and popular Matty (Beau Mirchoff). But he quickly tells her that while he likes her a lot, he can’t publicly be her boyfriend. Jenna struggles with this at times, and comes to the decision to still be with him/hook up with him.
- Eventually, Jenna challenges Matty to not be ashamed of their relationship. As the season winds down , Matty realizes his mistake and starts trying to make an effort.
- Meanwhile Matty’s best friend Jake (Brett Davern) has developed a crush on Jenna and he actively (and sweetly) pursues her. Jake has no idea that Matty and Jenna have been together for almost the entire school year, and neither one tell him. When Matty doesn’t ask Jenna to the formal dance, she officially accepts Jake’s invitation, closing off her relationship with Matty.
Character Cheat Sheet:
Jenna: Smart and sensible, Jenna doesn’t care about popularity at school and ignores her mother’s attempt to make her more attractive (including a boob job for her birthday). Jenna is also loyal and loves her friends. She’s not the perfect friend, but when she makes mistakes, she apologizes for them. Torn between the attractive but quiet Matty, and the outgoing and kind Jake, she’s in a tough spot.
Matty: Athletic and popular, Matty could have any girl he wanted. He genuinely seems to like Jenna, but never quite goes public with it. It’s too generous to say he’s the misunderstood type, but there is a lot more to him than just the gorgeous jock. When Sadie posts a nudie pic of Jenna all over the school, Matty takes it on himself to take all of the pictures down.
Jake: Friendly and fun, Jake is Matty’s best friend. He shows kindness to Jenna after her accident, and when Jake’s girlfriend, Lissa, demands that Jake be mean to Jenna to prove his devotion to her, Jake breaks up with her. He falls for Jenna’s funny and smart personality and also has the guts to ask her out.
Tamara: Flighty and flirty, Tamara is mostly concerned with how popular she is. When she and a group of more popular people at a party end up with pinkeye, she is pumped to be part of that in crowd. She’s always good for a laugh and usually has some of the best dialogue.
Ming: Studious but stubborn, Ming stands up to Jenna when she feels like Jenna ignores her. Her parents don’t allow her to participate in many school events, forcing Ming to be creative in her attempts.
Sadie: Bitter and often cruel, Sadie is Jenna’s biggest rival. Even when Jenna tries to do something kind toward Sadie, it backfires, making Sadie even more vicious. Sadie’s mom puts a lot of pressure on her to lose weight, and we see that some of her antagonistic attitude stems from this. But she’s so nasty so often that it’s hard to feel any sympathy toward her.
Lacey: Pretty and popular, Lacey’s young age makes her popular with Jenna’s friends. She drives Jenna to parties and provides beer — reminding her of rules for successful drinking. Season one ends with Jenna figuring out it was Lacey who sent her the anonymously mean letter.
Kevin: Levelheaded and sympathetic, Jenna’s dad is almost always on Jenna’s side against Lacey’s antics. Jenna likes her dad, but he’s not always around.
Valerie: Supportive but completely over the top, Valerie (Desi Lydic) is Jenna’s guidance counselor at school. After the (non) suicide scare and other issues, Val takes a heavy approach with Jenna. Most of the time, it’s clear that Valerie wants to be perceived as cool and a few times, Sadie takes advantage of that.
What you should watch out for: There is some adult language and (with little-to-no consequence) underage drinking, smoking and sex. Jenna’s parents get high in the car one night while waiting for Jenna at a pep rally.
Why you should watch: It’s funny and well-written and the characters have a lot of heart, especially Jenna. It’s nice to see her internal conflict as she balances the feelings of acceptance and rejection among her family and friends.
We’ll be covering AWKWARD. this season with episode recaps and any other important news that comes along! The season two premiere airs Thursday, June 28th at 10:30 PM EST on MTV. (And if you need to catch up on a few episodes, they are available on Hulu!)
If you HAVE seen season one, take time to weigh in below on your favorite moments! Were you surprised that Lacey wrote the letter? Are you Team Matty or Team Jake? Let’s discuss!
Filed under Awkward.