If I ran this show, the title would be changed from Awkward. to Anonymous. to celebrate the overarching theme that the writers so clearly favor. First Jenna receives the carefrontation letter in the mail with no return address, and this season an unnamed reader is sending her uplifting comments on her blog, which Jenna thought nobody was reading until now. This hat trick of insecurity is completed by Matty, who anonymises (it’s a word, I checked) Jenna by going to unreasonable lengths to keep their relationship a secret. Though I was shocked that the “friend” turned out to be Jenna’s mom, story-wise I understand the need for her to be betrayed by someone who should love her unconditionally. While all of this is so painful to watch, it adds rich texture to her ordinary life and makes her a heroine viewers want to cheer for.
I also find it endearing that although Jenna is angry that her mom wrote the letter, she doesn’t tell anyone that she knows. Is this because she’s truly protecting her mother or because she knows that it’s pointless to tell her friends, who alternate between their own selfish woes? Ming has eternally overprotective parents and spends most of the series temporally unavailable to Jenna, and Tamara is too consumed by her unbelievable love for the perpetual let-down (I chose this description over human scab) that is Ricky Schwartz to give Jenna solid advice. She does have Valerie, the overly optimistic counselor that makes herself far too available. Again, these flawed characters create the perfect storm for Jenna to weather alone.
Though she seems to have a good thing going, Jenna claims that her hesitance to publicize her relationship with Jake is due to her insecurity about the origin of the carefrontation, but we all know that she’s just not over Matty. I think it’s unrealistic that Matty would have his feet so far in both the romantic guy pool and the arrogant jerk pool. The writers need to just throw him in one or the other and let him drown, which is me putting it nicely because I’m actually #TeamMatty. He shows deep remorse in the season one finale when Jenna rejects him for Jake and is now willing to do anything to atone for hiding his feelings for Jenna, even ruining years of true bromance to steal her away from his best friend. Does he really understand what’s at risk though? I have to disagree with him when he tells Jenna “Jake will understand.” Even though Jake is the “nice guy” of the show, he’s fought way too hard for Jenna to just let her get away now. Then the douchebag comes out when Matty finishes his argument with “once he knows that I was with you first.”
Matty is used to getting his way and sees what he wants, so it’s understandable that he both underestimates Jake and doesn’t notice Sadie’s crush, because he knows he won’t ever reciprocate those feelings. I adore the irony that his streak of success would be broken by Jenna, a girl whose own mother thinks she’s a loser. Although Matty did perpetuate Jenna’s self-doubt, making her want him even more, she finally grows a backbone and chooses the guy who isn’t afraid to go public with their romance. Twice. Just because Jenna made the decision to stay with Jake doesn’t mean their problems are over. Jenna may have enjoyed her midnight kiss with the most adorable of “vanilla wafers”, but she doesn’t get the closure she asks of Matty, which will be one of her long-term goals this season, as well as forgiving her mother.
Though I fully expected the final scene of the night to be Jenna’s choice between Matty and Jake, I was pleasantly surprised that the episode closed with Jenna’s passive-aggressive confrontation of her mother’s carefrontation. And of course, what would a premiere be without some unanswered questions? First of all, who’s reading and commenting on Jenna’s blog?
One guess is that the unnamed commenter is her mom, trying to build her up with words of encouragement and cubic zirconia necklaces (come on, you know it wasn’t a real diamond), after Jenna spent an entire semester agonizing and whipping herself into shape per the carefrontation letter’s advice. Or it could be Jakes ex-girlfriend Lissa, repenting for slandering Jenna because offering to let someone slap you in front of a party crowd isn’t a good enough way to say “I’m sorry.” The obvious guess is Valerie, who doubles as Jenna’s needy stalker-friend, but why would she leave her name off of a post? If the comment was written by any of these three ladies, I’d like to know how they even found her blog.
Then there’s Tamara and Ricky’s relationship and the changing dynamic between Lissa and Sadie. I care so little about these story lines that they don’t even deserve their own questions, but what will happen there?
Why did the producers think it would be artsy to shoot Matty and Jenna from inside the freezer? If you ask me, TV can only get so creative before it comes off as weird.
Are teenagers actually this perverted?
And finally, do you think Jake will survive Jenna’s emotional baggage, or will she choose Matty in the end?
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