We left off last season of “Awkward” with two of Jenna’s (Ashley Rickards) big questions answered. We got a slightly awkward, quasi-end to the Jenna-Matty-Jake love triangle. She chose Jake (Brett Davern)! And the kicker: turns out Jenna’s mom, Lacey (Nikki Deloach), wrote the horribly hurtful, yet helpful how-to-climb-up-the-high-school-social-ladder letter! Now, this first episode back was all about going public with the news of her mother’s betrayal and Jenna’s new relationship, leaving us wondering: what would Jenna do (WWJD)?
We’ve seen their mother-daughter dynamic play out through season 1, and it’s safe to say that Lacey and Jenna are polar opposites. But Jenna has finally reached a position of popularity that her mother should be and is proud of. Jenna’s Christmas gift from Lacey, a diamond necklace with a card that reads, “Jenna, this is who you are,” says it all. But it doesn’t change the fact that Lacey betrayed her daughter. Though her letter did help change things around for Jenna in her high school setting (think of Jenna at the start of the show as the lonely, boyfriend-less girl of suicidal repute), it has actually pushed her away instead of bringing the two closer. What a shocker! I mean, seriously folks, if I found out my mother had written a letter like that to my high school self, there would have been some major door slamming and mood music for a really long time.
Cut to Matty’s (Beau Mirchoff) New Year’s Eve party, and cue the love triangle reunion. Jenna, standing next to her date and in front of her ex, shakes Matty’s fist bump, because, you know, that’s what you do in awkward situations. This pretty much sets the tone of the party, with Lissa (Greer Grammer) running around drunk and hoping for a slap from Jenna, Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) loudly chastising sleazy Ricky (Matthew Fahey), a search for an imaginary cat, and Sadie (Molly Tarlov) licking a potato chip in a corner, among other things.
In any case, Jake and Matty discuss Jake’s relationship and try to figure out their public status. Later, Matty and Jenna catch a moment alone in the garage, where Jenna asks for closure. Instead of granting her request, Matty tells her he wants another chance. He even offers to tell Jake as long as Jenna meets him by midnight, basing it on precedent: “… That I was with you first.” Jenna is confronted with the same choice from last season: Matty or Jake. Though we love Matty, particularly his masked vulnerability here, we can’t help but think that he should have stepped up sooner, not to mention that he’s stomping all over Jake to do it.
Jenna goes outside for some air after Matty’s declaration only to find that Valerie (Desi Lydic) has arrived on the scene. As the two discuss Val’s own relationship problems, Jenna gives Val some profound and self-applicable advice. “Don’t let your past disappointment cloud your judgement.” While Jenna thinks about what she’s just said, she makes the same decision for a second time: Jake wins out again! She appears just in time, poking Jake’s shoulder, standing ready for her midnight kiss. Talk about epic!
Meanwhile, Matty realizes he’s been dumped, again, and continues to get drunk alone on his couch. He’s met by Sadie, who confesses that she’s unrequitedly liked him for quite some time now. And how does Matty respond to this? With none other than a make out session. It doesn’t help that he later passes out on Sadie, who is left dealing with further insecurity. This is why we like Jake and Jenna, or J squared, together, but we ultimately want to see Jenna happy! Don’t you?
And so, to answer our question, WWJD… Jenna chooses Jake again, and accepts his “online official” request. She responds to her mom’s letter with a hand-delivered letter of her own, written on the same stationary as her mother’s that reads, “This is who you are.” Burn! Any guesses on what Lacey’s next step will be?
Most Awkward Moment: While Jenna got a diamond necklace from Lacey, she was gifted a box of condoms from Kevin (Mike Faiola). Though they might come in handy later and are the definition of a practical gift, we’d rather suffer the inconvenience of an embarrassing trip to the drug store.
Favorite Moment: This episode’s ode to “Sixteen Candles” was too good to go unmentioned, i.e. Lissa’s hair-stuck-in-the-door moment. Classic!
Things to Look Out For: Jenna’s blog is open to public discourse, but who’s Anonymous? We sense some trouble.