Week two of Awkward. finds everyone in a panic as news that a tape of the Sanctuary, the “petri dish” hang-out for drugs and fornication at the school, is about to go public. And now everyone’s secrets are about to be revealed.
Let’s bitch it out…Awkward. is at its best when the show is fast, funny and filled with outlandish, yet relatable situations. The idea of having something you’re less than proud of being caught on tape is a very reasonable concern for teens in this day and age, as cell phone cams and web broadcasts become more prominent. Which is why it seems a little retro-90s that the kids would be so concerned about a security camera at school being leaked – can you honestly tell me that the pink eye incident from Matty’s hot tub party wouldn’t have a stronger chance of being captured on film (and garner far more attention)?
But that’s neither here, nor there. The fact is that the tape is coming out and people are in a panic, including the “in the closet” principal and a host of new victims for Sadie (Molly Tarlov) to call sluts. Thrown into the mix (and panic), of course, are Jenna (Ashley Rickards) and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) whose sex flings from mid-first season may also be exposed.
This produces two parallel lines of action: 1) Jenna waffles back and forth between telling Jake (Brett Davern) about her past with Matty and 2) Ming (Jessica Lu) must rely on the help of the Asian Mafia, and ringleader Becca (Jessika Van), to procure the tape.
Of the two storylines, I definitely enjoyed the latter, if only because we finally get a sense of who Ming is as a person. The inclusion of traditional stereotypes of Asian characters (Cool Asian or School Asian) is both reaffirmed and gently mocked, but eventually set aside by having Ming fall into neither group (according to Becca, Ming is “white”). This also opens the door for future stories for Ming and a general broadening of the student population at the school, which – until this point – has more or less focused on the same small group of people.
As for Jenna and Jake…it’s clear that we’ll be navigating the reveal that she slept with Matty for the forseeable future. Details of the affair will apparently come out a few at a time each episode, which is fine so long as the show maintains a balance with other non-”love triangle” storylines. Jake/Jenna/Matty all the time would definitely not make the show more enjoyable.
- I’m firmly Team Jake (even when he is acting like a spaz), and this is strongly reinforced when Matty proclaims his love for Jenna. Matty’s declaration is inappropriate, selfish and more than a little desperate; it’s proof that he’s still not ready for a real relationship
- I’m not sure I’m allowed to enjoy the Asian Mafia storyline as much as I do, but memorable character tics like Becca’s laugh-serious face-laugh feel right at home for the larger than life personalities on this show. Also, can we please see a Becca and Sadie showdown? Because that would be epic!
- There’s some forward momentum on the letter front: Lacey (Nikki Deloach), after bribing Jenna into silence with pie, eventually comes clear to husband Kevin (Mike Faiola) that she sent the letter. We won’t see Kevin’s reaction until next week but the look on his face suggests his reaction will not be pretty
- Creator Lauren Iungerich’s love for mysteries is on full display this week with references to Murder, She Wrote (Desi Lydic’s Valerie’s glasses) and the mini-mystery reveal that Becca has ulterior motives for helping to leak the tape. These flourishes take up only a fraction of the episode’s run time, but help the show stand out from the other traditional “teen” shows. It’s a fun little gimmick that makes Awkward. that much more memorable
What did you think of Awkward.‘s second episode? Do you want Jenna to come clean about Matty to Jake? Are you psyched to see what Valerie will do in her new role as vice-principal? Do you want to see more of the Asian Mafia and their carefully organized lockers? Hit up the comments and let me know.
Awkward. airs Thursdays at 10:30pm EST on MTV