MTV has given the world another teen show that attempts to be Juno and fails but does so endearingly. Hello, Awkward.
In last night’s premiere episode we’re introduced to Jenna. A quick run down on Jenna’s life thus far. She has two best (and apparently, only) friends; an artsy chick and a wild chick. With the summer before her sophomore year coming to a close she losses her virginity to the popular guy she had a crush on, only to have him tell her no one can know he likes her. Arriving home from this stinging rejection, Jenna receives a mysterious letter with a list of things she should do to improve her lame existence, the first being “stop being such a pussy.” Now even more hurt she goes to the bathroom to pop some advil, chokes a little, spills the bottle, and cracks her arm on the edge of the bathtub which her hairdryer falls into. When she wakes up she finds eveyone thinks she tried to commit suicide, her arm’s in a cast, her neck’s in a brace, and now everyone at school is staring for all the wrong reasons.
Then at a school pep rally she agrees to volunteer for some kind of demonstration of pep, and she and her partner are pitted against the hunky jerk who stole her virginity and a bitchy, chunky cheerleader. The game is to switch cloths with your partner, and despite her plaster get-up she and her partner finish first because chunky cheerleader can’t fit into hunky jerks cloths. Maybe because everyone hates the cheerleader, maybe because competitive dressing is a big deal at her school, but this event provides a social turn around for Jenna, and suddenly she’s got an inbox full of friend requests, a decidedly un-chunky cheerleader’s boyfriend crushing on her, and the confidence to change her blog name from Invisible Girl to That Girl. But who exactly is “That Girl”?
Girl Without Glasses or Overalls
One of the main conceits of the show is that the awkward narrator high school sophomore Jenna is a complete nobody. She has 11 Facebook friends, and most people’s dogs have more than 11 Facebook friends. Here’s the thing though-she’s completely adorable. She’s thin, fairly stylishly dressed, has ridiculously nice skin, and as far the audience knows, isn’t into D&D or playing the tuba. As Not Another Teen Movie teaches us, if you want us to believe the pretty girl is seen as a complete loser, you at least need to slap her in some glasses and overalls.
Girl Who Lacks Curiosity
Another plot point is a mysterious nasty letter Jenna receives advising her to stop being such a pussy. This girl with 11 friends has managed to make an enemy – the type of enemy who would take the time to write her a letter? I assume that the identity of whoever sent the letter will be the major mystery of the season, but so far Jenna doesn’t seem too curious about who cares enough for cruelty. I swear to god if it’s herself from the future I will lose it. You’ve already got your werewolf lacrosse player MTV, that’s all the sci-fi you’re allotted this year.
That Deflowered Girl
This is possibly the best “first time” I have ever seen on TV. No flower petals or orgies or declarations of love. Just a quickie in a closet with a horny guy and a lovestruck girl with pretty low expectations. “It’s just allergies” is also the best code for “I think you’ve just broken my vagina.”
Girl with the World’s Best Guidance Counselor
Another minor plot hole is how Jenna’s “attempted suicide” is handled. True, she didn’t really try to off herself, but if her wealthy parents think she did shouldn’t she be in a swanky shrink’s office instead of getting well-intentioned texts from a manic guidance counselor? “You’re going to kill this year……Just not yourself!”
Girl With an Overprotective School System
Who holds an orientation for sophomores?
Overall, I have big hopes for Awkward. Even if Paulie Bleeker never shows up.