“And Then What Happened” – Awkward.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 8.46.49 PMWe actually really enjoyed this week’s Awkward., mostly because of the relatively unusual format. Positioning the majority of the episode in flashback, with just the right balance of mystery and filling in of blanks, was a great approach. It kept us interested. The piecemeal unfolding of the story of the aftermath of Jenna’s party kept us on the hook until the very end, which was itself made more poignant by the relative levity of the rest of the episode.

And it was light. Humor was a big part of “And Then What Happened”, playing into it in the flashbacks and the interludes. The individual characters’ storytelling style – which could almost be seen as neat little vignettes of their personalities – brought a good few laughs, making us a little relieved. Perhaps this half of the season will not be so plagued by the problems we discussed last week.

But, as we said, that ending was a stark contrast to the rest of the episode. Allowing ourselves to believe that Jenna and Matty would be okay (even if we didn’t necessarily want them to be), and enjoying the sense of fun that “And Then What Happened” sported, made that ending feel like a slap in the face. It’s definitely not a conclusion we expected, and we were kind of gobsmacked.

After two and a half seasons of Jenna pining after Matty, of thinking she wasn’t good enough for him, of wanting nothing more than Continue reading

“Surprise!” – Awkward.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 9.09.31 PMA surprisingly decent return from MTV’s Awkward., and one which certainly surprised us. During the first half of the season – which wound up for the show’s mid-season break back in early June – we weren’t always its biggest fans. We had a lot of problems with it. Most of them were Jenna. Others were predictability, a lack of the show’s intrinsic humor, too much focus on Tamara as a creator of new words and not enough focus on her as a character (with the writers focusing a little too much on Matty and Jenna), and too much of the Asian Mafia.

This first episode back rectified a lot of those issues, though whether the fixes are temporary or permanent remains to be seen. We’ve seen reprieves before, but they’ve always been brief. Whether or not the writers can maintain this uptick in quality is something we’ll have to figure out as the season progresses. But, for now, we’re hopeful.

The episode showed some of its old humor, focusing as much on the laughs – Lacey trying to keep Jenna’s surprise birthday party a surprise, and the ever-horrible biting wit of our favorite teacher of all time, Mr Hart – as on Jenna’s status as an adulterer. The approach to the Mafia made a huge difference to the return of Awkward.’s humor. Initially a comedic element, the Mafia had, in the last half-season, devolved into a source of unnecessary mystery and intrigue, removing a lot of the laughs that came naturally from it. Under Ming’s rule, however, the Mafia has Continue reading

“Reality Check” – Awkward.

2And our brief reprieve is already past. This week saw an unwelcome return to the by now expected sub-par fare of Awkward.’s Season 3. After an episode during which we refound the faith, during which we once more believed in the magic of Jenna Hamilton et al., we’re back to the dubious ‘humor’ we’ve been presented with thus far this year.

Yes, “Reality Check” was a little bit more than we’ve come to expect recently. The laughs may have been few and far between, the Asian Mafia’s return may have been as un-amusing as usual, and Tamara’s obsession with Niall Horan may have profoundly given us the wiggins, but at least it courted controversy. Not in its content by any means – there’s nothing controversial about a teen dramedy confronting issues of lust and fantasy – but there was controversy in Jenna’s life. Conflict. Drama. And, while it was still predictable, it didn’t feel obvious. The episode was well written, to a point, and left the Collin issue wide open. It provided some tension that may sustain us through the rest of the season, and restored Sadie to her formerly villainous position.

The side issue of Ming’s new appointment as Head of the Asian Mafia was somewhat in the background, which was a blessing, but we’re now having nightmares about the alarming regularity with which the Mafia will no doubt feature. With any luck, Ming’s new position will soon see its disbanding, but we’ve never been that lucky. It’s far more likely that we will be forced to endure week after week of Ming’s unsolicited rise to the top, her transition from member of the Asian masses to all-knowing, all-controlling mob boss. The Black Donnellys of MTV shows, perhaps? Unlikely, but that’s a show we’d watch. As it stands, it’s not something we want to see on Awkward. – that storyline has never appealed.

We could say that we hope that this episode was the aberration, not last week’s, but, again, we’ve never been that lucky. – K

Quoteworthy: “The rumors have been swirling about yesterday’s fight, but I wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth. In detail. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a good bitch brawl.” – Val

“Rubbed Raw and Reeling” – Awkward.

627Finally, an episode that felt like a return to the Awkward. we’ve been missing. This was funny, unpredictable and true to life – all the hallmarks of the hit MTC show’s heyday and aspects of it that have all too often been difficult to find this season. Recent episodes have smacked of obviousness. Events have been predictable and without thought. Jenna (and the characters surrounding her) was beginning to feel like a typical teenager in the worst possible way – perhaps the most severe indictment we can give the show. But this was an occasionally majestic return to form.

The low point for us was, arguably, the main event: Jenna’s reading at the open mic night. Much was made of Jenna’s “pussy” status, something (when we look back) that is long established. But we found we weren’t much interested in her ‘taking the plunge’ and going public with her writing. The nod to Season 1, coming in the form of a reading of Jenna’s very first voiceover, was a nice touch, but the inserts made Jenna look neither witty nor charming. We would have liked to hear the entire story just to get a flavor of what the audience apparently saw in her but, alas, that was not to be.

Far more interesting to us were the events and characters surrounding Jenna, painting her almost as an uninvolved observer in her own story. Taking part in the open mic night solely because of threats from Mr Hart and derision from Val, her actions were reactive, not proactive. But it’s still always a pleasure to be privy to new aspects of Jenna’s character – it’s been far too long since we were – even if only in her new found awareness of existing character traits. It makes Jenna once more a 3D person. Not ‘That Girl’ or ‘Matty’s Girl’, but Continue reading

“Indecent Exposure” – Awkward.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 5.55.10 PMAwkward. saw slight improvement this week, but not enough to totally rid us of our fears about the MTV smash. There were a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments, some not-too-serious teen drama, more build up of whatever’s going on between Jenna and Collin, more Sadie and Tamara frenemy bonding… all in all, it gave us a lot of what we looked for and loved in the first and second season. But it’s still not working. We’re beginning to feel as though something has irretrievably changed and that it will never go back to being the show we liked. Maybe we just have to accept that and move on.

Going by that metric, however, this episode was a coup. For all of the above reasons, and for the fact that the story does advance every week (something that we cannot always say about the big hitters on the bigger networks), it deserves merit. We are still enjoying Mr Hart, Jenna and Matty’s developing relationship, and Sadie’s downfall. We were also intrigued by Lissa’s reaction to Tamara and Sadie contacting Ricky’s spirit and her confession to Jake. Is Lissa the one who killed Ricky?

The fact that the rest of the show is less than perfect Continue reading

“Let’s Talk About Sex” – Awkward.

Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 10.15.33 AMWe’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 Continue reading

Here’s What You Missed on ‘Glee’ – “Makeover”

    

Soooo many makeovers this week it’s kind of hard to know where to start!

Guess we’ll just jump right in:

In McKinley, Blaine is trying to make an identity for himself without Kurt. Last year, he says, was all about making the seniors shine. This year it’s his turn. He signs up for everything and anything (Superhero Sidekicks Appreciation Club anyone? We love that he’s Robin, one side of the most hotly debated ‘are they or aren’t they’ duos in caped crimefighting). But a desire to let his star shine isn’t the only reason Blaine has become a joiner – we learn that he’s at a bit of a loose end now that Kurt has left Lima for NY. They’re not connecting. They’re not in sync. Erp. Trouble in paradise?? His most monumental decision? Putting himself down as a candidate for Senior Class President. 

Over in New York, Kurt’s got an interview with Vogue Online editor Isabelle Wright (Sarah Jessica Parker), which he aces. He starts immediately and, for some reason we can’t quite fathom, instantaneously becomes Isabelle’s right arm, confidante and most trusted advisor. Whut?

Back in McKinley, Brittany asks Artie to be her running mate. When he tells her he can be the Dick Cheney to her Bush, Britt responds with “I’d rather be landing strip”… Bahahahaha! We love that Glee seems to be slowly returning to its slightly more risqué roots! This is more reminiscent of Season 1 and we just can’t handle the excitement that it might go back to that level of awesome. 

We learn that, because they won Nationals, the McKinley High Glee Club get to host the Annual Show Choir Rules Committee Meeting. That should be fun?

Mr Schu is 100 per cent out of ideas. He’s lost his imagination. We mean, seriously: “I can’t decide between classic TV theme songs and a salute to autumn…”

Sam is upset Britt didn’t ask him to be her Veep, so she suggests he be Blaine’s.

Over in New York, Kurt’s in the conference room during an utterly ridiculous concepts meeting. And this is where it gets weird, cos Isabelle calls a break, asks Kurt to go with her, and then asks his opinion on what was good and bad. Okay, they made it clear that she’s kind of lost her way and, after a disastrous line, doesn’t trust her instincts anymore. But are you seriously telling us that any editor is going to ignore the voices of experience and ask an 18 year old from Ohio what he thinks? Doubtful. It’d be one thing if he had been there for a few weeks, but this is his first day. Other than being a snappy dresser, what exactly has he done to prove to her that he’s more talented than the others? Though, in saying that, we don’t hate Isabelle. Quite the opposite in fact. SJP far surpassed our expectations this time around.

In McKinley, Blaine is worried that everyone will assume Sam is his way of courting the ‘straight vote’. Britt finds out that everyone thinks she’s an idiot. Cue a makeover! And a great song from Sam and Britt. 

At the Show Choir Rules Committee thing (other show choir directors: Dalton Rumba, the deaf guy from Season 1; Birdie Lawrence, who looks familiar but whom we can’t place in any specific episode/season; and Phineas Hayes, aka Kirk from Gilmore Girls),  Rumba raises the issue of cuts to funding in the arts. Will is disgusted and thinks something should be done about it. There’s going to be a Blue Ribbon commission to address the issue. When he hears that, his face lights up. An idea, Mr Schu?

Back to New York. Rachel’s fellow classmates are judging her wardrobe, so Kurt has an idea: makeover! They take a trip to Vogue’s couture vault. Security shows up with Isabelle but, when she hears makeover, she’s cool with the after-hours B&E. Our only issue here: are you telling us Rachel is sample size? Girl. Eat something. Killing two birds with one stone, Kurt decides to film the whole thing as a concept for Vogue online.

Kurt and Blaine Skype but all Kurt wants to talk about is Vogue and the shoot. He FORGOT Blaine was running for prez, and completely glosses over it in conversation. Aww! Poor Blaine…..

Mr Schu goes to Emma, asks her to enter Guidance Counsellor mode, and asks her about the Blue Ribbon commission. He’s not sure about doing it because it would mean leaving the kids. She seems a little taken aback, understandably – uh, Mr Schu? What about your FIANCÉE….. And yet somehow she still manages to be completely supportive. See, Kurt? That’s how you do it.

In the debate, Sam and Blaine kill it. And not just because White Chocolate made a reapperance (heyyyyyyy Sam). Artie is boring and Britt tries to cancel summer and weekends. Looks like Blam (thanks, Ryan Murphy, we’re stealing that) have it sewn up. 

Kurt gets a little (potential) makeover of his very own – Isabelle suggests he reconsider his NYADA dreams and go into fashion design. We may be pissed at Kurt for being a dick to Blaine, but this is actually a great idea. It’s a much better fit for him. Also, his video garnered a ‘Great’ from Anna Wintour! Woo! … ?

Back with Rachel, it’s clear her makeover was a success. She’s all newly confident and oh god… the sexual tension between her and Brody. (Shout out here to that oddly sensual icecream-eating scene and the super cute newspaper reading on the stoop. Aww.) Just do it already!

Blam won! Blaine is having a crisis though. He’s just realised that coming to McKinley and everything he’s done since was all for Kurt, and now Kurt isn’t even there. And when Blaine calls to tell him he won the election, Kurt screens his calls because he’s too busy celebrating with Isabelle. Booo Kurt. Baline seems to be reconsidering a lot. Like maybe a transfer back to the Warblers? That sounds about right, especially when you consider today’s casting announcement

Sugar and Artie are going on a date. Artie’s such a playa. 

And (cuteness) – Sam voted for Brittany. The sparks are flying between these two blonde bezzies. Do we sense impending romance? 

Finally, and most epically, Rachel makes dinner for Brody. Well, she burns dinner. Then makes a return to her oh so successful picnic date formula (first trotted out in Season 1 episode “Showmance”). She always gets her kiss. Oh, did we just slip that in there too casually? Rachel and Brody kiss! And it’s hot! And it’s steamy! And then Finn shows up! Erk. Awkward! Can. Not. Wait. For next week. — B + K

Note:

This week is a monumental one for the Pond Hopping Girls. For so long we have been divided on one Glee kid – Blaine. Blythe loves, Kirsty tolerates. But, this week, we’re finally on the same page and Kirsty is finally on his side. But she still doesn’t understand why he can’t wear socks. Why, Blaine? Why?!


Stand out Performances:

– Blaine’s rendition of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”

– Britt and Sam belting out Hole’s “Celebrity Skin”


Featured Songs:

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Blaine

“Celebrity Skin” – Sam and Brittany

“The Way You Look Tonight / You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” – Isabelle, Kurt, Rachel

“A Change Would Do You Good” – Rachel and Brody

 

Quoteworthy:

“We talk and Skype and text as much as possible, but the only time we’re really in sync is when we’re hate-watching Treme together.” – Blaine

 

“Rumour has it she gave Steve Jobs his first black turtleneck.” – Vogue employee, on Isabelle

 

“Please tell me you’re going to ask what ‘one-third vintage’ meant last year.”

“Yeah or like why some teams can sing six songs and others only do one…” – Tina, Sam

 

“You know them as the pimp and the gimp, Artie Abrams and Sam Evans!” – Sue

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, telling anyone what they can or cannot put to their hair is disgusting. It’s the first step towards tyranny my friends. Next thing you know, they’ll start burning books, and then they’ll probably start burning people, too.” – Blaine


Have a Preview:

Eeeeeeeee! Look at the title!!!! “The Break-Up”… Who’s breaking up? It it Brittana? Jake and Kitty?? Klaine?! Finnchel (fingers crossed)?!? Will and Emma?!?!All of the above?!?!! We can hardly wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!