In the second part of a two-parter episode, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl has said goodbye — maybe not forever, but definitely for now. In what has, recently, been a strange common move for most web series that see an actual end date, no one ever clearly defines that it’s the ending. Issa Rae-produced Roomieloverfriends did the same with its season one finale (dubbing it just simply as “finale” as has been done with ABG), but then promptly asked for people to donate money to fund a potential second season. Felicia Day’s The Guild had a final episode of this season that seemed to serve as a series finale, but no one has actually confirmed either way (save for a few “it was a fun ride”-esque tweets from the cast). Maybe the showrunners feel that this really isn’t a true goodbye, that there’s something else in store. At the end of “The Change,” Issa and Co. seem to suggest that they’re working on a feature film of Awkward Black Girl. Maybe it’s the idea that web series get to live on forever and ever until the end of time, and they never truly end. Or maybe it’s because everyone is holding out for something bigger and better. Or maybe it’s just that the series’ fate is up in the air.
Either way, I think Awkward Black Girl gave us a satisfying enough series finale… that could potentially work as a season finale if need be. And that’s all we could ask for. I won’t say that this is a complete standout episode of the series, as it didn’t make use of everyone in its cast (though maybe we should be thinking of both parts of the two-parter in that sense), but it is certainly a more grounded episode from the rest of the season. Season 2 as a whole expanded the sandbox with which these characters operate; we’ve had J go to different buildings for interviews, we’ve seen CeCe get a love interest, hell there was a sex toys shop! And somehow, by season’s (series’?) end, the show stopped dead in its tracks to stay inside the Gutbusters’ offices.
If we wanted to, we could look at Gutbusters as the physical prison that has manifested from J’s awkward mind — and tonight, she finally was able to claw her way to freedom (or at least sing/rap about it in an Aaliyah homage). The show has used it to reference that before. It brought that up during this episode, when Sister Mary talks about her jingle. In “The Jingle,” J froze up when she was put in a spotlight she would actually shine bright in. In the finale, she can rap circles around Mary — and she does, using it as her 2 weeks notice… well, more like 2 minutes notice?
Perhaps some of the resolution here was convenient. But it was nothing if not classic ABG. Sure, we could have asked to go out with a bang (though what’s better than a Patty/Amir/Jesus love triangle that we never saw onscreen?). Though I think that J finally finding confidence in herself by receiving proof that she’s better than this job was a great resolution, there was a sense of this could continue. Not every single story was tied up, J was getting flirtation eyes, and right before it ended, we realized that there was still so much more to tell about J, White J, and J’s new job. That said, it’s nice to be reminded of what made us connect to ABG in the first place.
Which brings me to, of course, my love letter… just in case this happens to be ABG’s final episode. I’d just like to thank all of those that made Awkward Black Girl possible. I am neither Black nor Girl, but I have Awkward in spades. And while I couldn’t always completely relate to every single beat of Awkward Black Girl, I could always connect with it. I think there’s this huge stigma against every artistic/entertainment endeavor that has manifested from audiences everywhere and reared its ugly beast-face as feeling the constant need to be one with characters onscreen. And that’s just never something I’ve been obsessive about. More and more it seems like an excuse for people to just not watch things outside of their own homophily — love of the same. I know a lot of people look at Awkward Black Girl and say, “Finally! A show that represents ME!” As a Hispanic male, I can’t really claim that. But I can look at Awkward Black Girl and claim, “Finally! A show where people aren’t afraid to go there.” I can appreciate the distinct voice and its special brand of humor and marvel in the wonder that is…well, the fact that it could never have existed without the so-called digital age.
Most web series make it or break it on that transparency. When you watch a web series, there’s the sense that someone very real and very human and very you is behind it all, and somehow you have an intimate relationship with them in that way. So the question isn’t, “Can I relate to it?” Though it IS that. But it’s also, “Do I want to see this person succeed?” And, “Is this entertaining?” In the case of Awkward Black Girl, the answer was an unequivocal yes! And the fact that it was telling stories about characters seen nowhere else, while maintaining itself, and being quite entertaining made it that much easier.
So thank you, Awkward Black Girl for showing us that it’s possible to tell these stories and be successful. You’ve inspired me. And you’ve caused me to roar in laughter. I’ll have to stop there, because I could go on and on.
BITCHES BE VERBOSE!