We’re still not sure about this season. We’re always unsure when we’re watching something we review whether we’re being fair enough. We worry that the act of taking notes and writing down quotes affects the flow of the episode so much that we don’t like it because of us, not it. With Awkward., for the first time ever, we actually hope that that’s what’s wrong. That it’s our human error, for want of a better phrase. This season just isn’t drawing us in the way that the other two did. In all honesty, we never loved the second season as much as we did the first. Awkward. had lost some of its magic through its success – a fairly common occurrence. Our real problem now is trying to decide if Season 3 is worse than the second one. We think the answer has to be, ‘yes and no’.
A cop-out, maybe, but the truth, too. Some of this season is simply not as good as either of the first two. Jenna’s dad (the first time we’ve seen him this season) was ridiculous in “Let’s Talk About Sex”. We find it hard to imagine that any parent’s first reaction on hearing that his daughter is having sex would be to call the parents of her ‘partner in crime’. Valerie is increasingly becoming a parody of herself, Jack Sparrowing in the worst possible way. Tamara is becoming more and more of an annoyance to us – her voice seems to become shriller with each passing week, and her energetic flights of fancy more exuberant. She’s a teenage girl, so we can’t call her out on her over-reactions (we’re in our mid-20s and we’re still prone to them), but we do sometimes wish she’d scale back all that… ‘Tamara-ness’.
And yet there are many aspects of the show that we love this season. Foremost among them is Jenna’s new writing teacher, who we spoke about in the early reviews. Like Joe in early episodes of The Following, Mr Hart has been uniquely positioned as a pseudo-narrator for the series. But, more than that, he’s set to be the driving force behind many of Jenna’s choices. He constantly pushes her, insisting that she delve deeper. We’re interested to see where that will take her. Plus, he’s our kind of asshole. These writing classes also offer another potential storyline as the season progresses. Collin. We’re still 100 per cent Team Matty, but we see Collin becoming a spanner in the works. This week saw Jenna raging against him, bitter about his success in the absence of hers. But the manner of that rage reminded us of that bitter railing that so often comes out of attraction. We said it before, but we’ll say it again. Collin represents temptation. The question is, will Jenna give in?
The writers also aren’t scared to take risks this year, and that makes the show interesting to watch. The introduction of the ‘Matty leaves home’ storyline shows colossal balls, as does that of the ‘Sadie loses everything’ strand. This is a different kind of Awkward. Mr Hart made this season about confronting truth and becoming who you want to be. It’s about growing up and not shying away from the tougher parts of life. This season certainly isn’t doing that. The arcs this season are more serious than anything Awkward. has addressed before. Where previous seasons, by and large, embraced the more frivolous storylines – Team Jake or Team Matty? being the driving force behind Season 2 – this season is addressing teen emancipation, falls from power, (potentially teen bullying), and the quest for raw, emotional honesty.
We like the new, more serious direction. But we still miss some of the old lighthearted humor that seems to be harder to come by these days. We’re hoping that the writers find the middle ground, sooner rather than later. – K
Quoteworthy: “The reason you’re a terrible writer is because you belong to ‘Generation Whatever’. You only know how to express yourself with abbreviations, misspellings. You have turned punctuation into picture books. Miss Hamilton. It’s time you make me feel something. You have to dig deeper. Tell me something that’s not easy. With words, not emoticons.” – Mr Hart