Awkward. review – 2×09: ‘Homewrecker Hamilton’

Courtesy of MTV

The truth about all things love triangle is out for public consumption and the sh*t has more than definitely hit the fan. Unfortunately for Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) things have gone from bad to worse.

Let’s bitch it out…First, let me start off by saying that these last few episodes have been the most enjoyable of all of S2. I’m not sure if that means I’m kind of sadist, but the show definitely fires on all cylinders when Jenna is suffering (or at least under the social microscope called scrutiny).

Beyond that, ‘Homewrecker Hamilton’ has a lot of stuff packed into its 22 minutes, which makes it feel like the show is gaining momentum as it heads into its final episodes of season two. And that’s a plus because we’re not stuck with ‘indecisive-Jenna’, or ‘stupid-Jenna’. We’re back to ‘putting-out-fires-Jenna’.

Unfortunately for our protagonist, she’s trying to put out fires with a drama-blanket (to borrow a term from Jillian Rose-Reed’s Tamara). After the wedding fall-out, including a damning sext photo from Jake (Brett Davern), Jenna and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) go into damage control mode, desperately trying to get Jake to talk to them. Unfortunately for them – and thankfully for us – they do nearly everything wrong, thereby upping the drama around the school.

The big show stopper is, of course, the return of the Wheel of Pep (from back in the pilot – awwwe!). This is where things really began to turn around for Jenna: Sadie (Molly Tarlov) was humiliated, Jenna proved herself spunky despite the arm cast and her public reputation grew. Things…don’t go quite as well this time. As both Lissa (Greer Grammer) and Sadie observe, this is a new game with new rules and Jake is firmly in control. He essentially dares Matty and Jenna to come clean in front of everyone, and when he doesn’t like their silence or their answers, he and Matty get into a fistfight.

‘Homewrecker Hamilton’ ends up being filled with declarative statements. In addition to the new game/new rules comments, Jake finishes his punitive interview with Vice-Principal (and fashion victim) Valerie (Desi Lydic) with the words “We’re done” to Matty. It’s Jenna, though, who ends up being slut-shamed (shades of Kristen Stewart) – literally, as her car is defacement. The rumours spreading around the school and her despair leads to the biggest moment of the episode for me: her online conversation with ‘Anonymous’ and her decision to publicly spread the word about her blog.

Courtesy of MTV

The decision is interesting because it’s prompted by ‘Anonymous.’ Although Jenna asks whether he/she is a “friend or foe”, she’s essentially taking the word of a stranger. This is someone who literally won’t even write his/her own name or identify him/herself, and yet she takes Anonymous’ word as a friend. In this way, I’m reminded of her battle against the care-frontation letter in S1, which also claimed to be written by a friend. Overlooking the fact that we a) know it was written by her mom and b) have seemingly forgotten it apart from its impact on her parents marriage, the decision to listen to the advice of another unknown “friend” suggests that Jenna has not learned from her experiences in S1.

Widely distributing the blog is also an example of Jenna clearly misjudging the distinction between public and private. This is one of the ways in which Awkward. has always excelled: it highlights the extent to which life, especially teen’s lives, is publicly accessible. Between her blog, the ability to send incriminating sext photos, and the cameras at the Sanctuar, Jenna’s life is being lived in a negotiated sphere between public and private. The decision to make the details of her private life public by letting the entire school know about the blog is a disaster, primarily because Jenna has forgotten that there are others invested in her drama who can be hurt by her decisions. The blog puts everyone in her life in the crosshairs for public scrutiny, including Matty, Jake, Tamara, Ming (Jessica Lu) and even her parents.

Although she may have had good intentions, this is another case of Jenna selfishly looking for an easy way out of her problems and making the situation worse.

Other Observations:

  • In a fun little B-story, we check-in on Ming’s relationship with Fred Wu (Kelly Sry) that began in 2×05 ‘My Love Is A Black Heart’. They’ve reached a turning point because Becca (Jessika Van) – in her first episode since 2×02 ‘Sex, Lies And The Sanctuary‘-has learned about the relationship and she’s his ex. As a result Ming is on “the outs” with the Asian Mafia, which entails getting false cheat sheets and incorrect glasses prescriptions. Question: the idea of a White B*tch vs an Asian B*tch (derived from ninjas): funny or treading a thin racist line?
  • One of the stranger scenes of ‘Homewrecker Hamilton’ occurs when Lacey (Nikki Deloach) gets angry that Kevin (Mike Faiola) bought Jenna an old station wagon without involving her in the decision. A moment of hilarity (Lacey believes he bought the car with the word ‘slut’ already emblazoned on the side) turns into outright cruelty as Jenna coldly informs her mom that the car is a bribe from Kevin because he’s dating someone new – Hannah – and planning to get a divorce. I get that Jenna is a bit emotionally wrecked, but that’s just mean. One of these days Jenna is going to say something unforgivable to her and their relationship is going to be irreparably damaged
  • Despite my comments last week about forgiving Sadie, I have to admit that she was both fantastically entertaining in her time at the Wheel of Pep, and downright reasonable in her confrontation with Matty. The jock can’t believe she’d betray him after so many years of friendship and Sadie’s response – that they betrayed Jake and she did them a favour by removing the obstacle between him and Jenna – is frank, but completely honest. I think I may also just love Molly Tarlov’s delivery of every single line
  • Shout-out to Clark (Joseph Haro): not only for his support of Jenna when she goes on-stage for the Wheel of Pep, but also for his bitchy comeback to Sadie’s put-down. Sadie: “Not you Clark, we’re looking for a real man.” Clark: “How about you?”
  • Finally, who is ‘Anonymous': If we believe that he/she were maliciously hoping to hurt Jenna by encouraging her to reveal the blog, then it could be Sadie. If, however, he/she were truly are a friend, I have three guesses: 1) Valerie – who has always considered Jenna a friend, even when she steers her wayward 2) Lacey – her support of her daughter could be a misguided attempt to make up for the care-frontation letter or 3) Lissa – she’s been on a path to forgive Jenna all season and would be a random enough choice that it would be surprising. Although I’m not sure her writing would be that good…

With that we’re in the final quarter of the season. Who is ‘Anonymous’ and did he/she intentionally mean to harm Jenna? Is the depiction of the Asian Mafia offensive? Is Jenna being stupid for continually trying to take the easy way out to solve her problems? Do you think Jake’s reactions in this episode were justified or was he being overly dramatic? Sound off below!

Awkward. airs Thursdays at 10:30pm EST on MTV

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

3 thoughts on “Awkward. review – 2×09: ‘Homewrecker Hamilton’

  1. Lil’ bitch really outdone herself this time. Pulling that blog from private to public was clearly an over reaction. She could have just sent the link only to Jake, just as an evidence to back up what she’s saying and not for the whole school to see.

  2. You forgot the most unexpected part of all (at least to me) Matty dropping Jake, after one punch mind you, and yelling “I effed your girlfriend!” Plus Jake calling Jenny a slut and Matty defending her…which ended with Jenna totally blowing him off for Jake. If anyone was highly unlikeable this el its definitely Jenna…at least in my opinion.

    • I think that a lot of this season had been reminding us that as mature as Jenna is, she’s still a teenage girl who’s trying to figure things out. If she making a mess of things? Most definitely, because if she wasn’t the show would likely be far less interesting.

      I’m just still shocked that she hasn’t realized how much she’s hurting Lacey with these comments.

      As for the “I effed your girlfriend” and the other blow-ups…I think that those will be in full effect next week as Jenna goes into major damage control to address that and Sadie’s accusation that she tried to kill herself again!

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