'Awkward' Review: Episode 'Taking Sides'
The fallout continues. Jenna Hamilton, the once likeable protagonist of Awkward, carries on with her transformation into a complete monster. The show is all too happy to portray Jenna as the villain of her own story. As if cheating on her almost perfect boyfriend with no regard to his feelings wasn’t bad enough, her character has begun to take on new negative attributes as if they were accessories on her new look.
It’s been 3 weeks since the break up and Jenna has comfortably moved on with Collin. Her friends and family, however, can’t bring themselves to make that step so quickly. Jenna’s mom still holds on hope that she and Matty with reunite and even continues her own friendship with him. Tamara and Ming can’t bring themselves to be interested in Collin at all. Jake, of course, sides with his best friend. The episode may be about Jenna worrying that people will take sides, but it’s clear to everybody that nobody is on Team Jenna and won’t be for a while.
I have to give it to the writers. Jenna’s transformation doesn’t seem too out of character. While I wasn’t a fan of her being an unrepentant cheater, the other changes don’t seem too off base. In the first half of the season, Jenna strived to be the sort of sophisticated, mature person she saw in Collin. It makes sense that she would start dressing differently in order to fit into that mold she desires. It makes sense that she would expect her friends to go to a barbeque to meet Collin, since she sees them as her friends, not friends of a couple. It wasn’t unreasonable of her to get upset when her friends had the audacity to not show up without even a text message. (Tamara may have lost her phone, but Ming had hers in hand all night.)
Even though I felt, after Jenna’s phone meltdown, that I should have been siding with her friends, I just couldn’t. Jenna’s right. Ming and Tamara are her friends and should support her, even if her decisions are massively stupid and selfish. There was no reason they couldn’t shoot her a quick text message saying they’d be late or that there was drama with Tamara and Jake. Instead, they left her waiting and hoping that her friends hadn’t abandoned her.
And was Jenna really wrong about what she said? Tamara did date her ex-boyfriend very quickly after they broke up. If that isn’t a girl code violation right there then nothing is. Jenna felt hurt by that, surely, but stuck by her friend regardless. Is Ming a follower, as Jenna claims? Who knows, she’d have to have more screen time for us to actually figure that out. While she shouldn’t have lashed out, it makes complete sense why should would.
As for Jake, really who could ever take this guy’s side? If he were genuinely upset about his friend getting hurt, I’d be cheering him on. Instead, he makes Jenna’s deceit about him. In front of his girlfriend, he whines about how Jenna hurt him just like she hurt Matty. Not only is it complete revisionist history on Jake’s part (remember when he cheated on Lissa? when he dumped Jenna without talking to her first?) but it’s devastating to Tamara to hear that he still thinks of that moment as a betrayal.
Basically everybody is completely in the wrong in this episode. Except maybe for Matty. He’s a bit on the pathetic side. He comes over to Jenna’s house to beg to be taken back and when he’s rejected he comes back to hang out with her mom. It’s sad, for sure. But the hurt that’s constantly on his face throughout the episode sells it. If there’s one person who is allowed to be upset, it’s him. Everyone else just needs to shut up.
- Tamara: “I punch the guy one time and you Chris Brown-ify me.”
- Austin is obsessed with Sadie for some reason. He’s very weird in a very creepy unattractive way. Or as Sadie puts it: “He’s some bitch’s Boo Radley brother”
- Weird things Austin says: “I’m exactly the right weight for my height.” “Carrots are the most attractive vegetable.” “If you ever kill me, I can only hope you’d keep our murder baby.”
- Matty must be depressed because he’s not wearing product in his hair.
- Fred Wu is the only friend who shows up to Jenna’s party. To thank him, Jenna promptly hides out in her room with Collin to moan, leaving Fred with all the over 40 crowd.
- Matty and Sadie have an argument over who has a worst life. It’s typical annoying teenager shit.
- Sadie had as horse called Priscilla Queen of the Desert
- Matty: “That is one sexy dude.”
- Jenna text bombs Ming and Tamara, which is the perfect way to describe the scary amount of texts you get when somebody is pissed.
- Jenna deletes Matty, Jake, Ming, and Tamara off her friends list. Damn. Now it’s serious.