Awkward. S0201: "Resolutions"
Someone tell MTV that teen comedies aren't supposed to be this good! Awkward. (don't forget the period) returned for Season 2 tonight just like its central character, Jenna Hamilton: with the nervous cobwebs shaken off, its head held high, and its boobs pushed out a bit. Confidence is at an all-time high. We spent Season 1 watching the non-popular, non-geeky, just sorta there Jenna Hamilton go from mutual Facebook friend to belle of the ball, and in the process she listened to her head and chose Jake instead of following her broken heart and choosing a repentant Matty.
But there's a reason the show isn't called Comfortably Content, and "Resolutions" initiated stage two of Jenna's conundrums. Last we saw, she chose Jake over Matty, pretty much because Jake hadn't made a mistake and Matty had. But the tug-of-war between Jenna's head and Jenna's heart is far from over, and the Season 2 premiere took a closer look at this battle that looks like it's going to last all season. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Jenna's relationship with her mom is fractured after the heartbreaking reveal in the Season 1 finale that Lacey (Mrs. Hamilton) wrote the note that skewered her daughter for not being popular. This show, I tell ya. So good.
Things picked up, by my guess, a few weeks after the Season 1 finale, with Jenna and Jake together but not internet-public together due to Jenna's apprehension in the wake of the Matty disaster. Things are far from peachy; the stink from the awkwardness of the dance is still lingering, Jake still doesn't know about Matty and Jake, and let's be honest here, the dude Jenna really wants to be with (at the moment) is not the vanilla wafer known as Jake.
This all unfolded during New Year's Eve, of course, at a party at (surprise!) Casa de Matty. I don't know if the people who make Awkward. majored in Teen Party Moments in college, but it sure seems like they did because this scene was pure cinematic perfection. There was chaos, jealousy, the drunk girl, couch macking, lies, confusion, escape routes, and cursing. But most of all, and this is where Awkward. exceeds expectations, there was a ridiculous amount of tension normally reserved for Hitchcock films. Jenna arrived with Jake (still oblivious), was welcomed by Matty (still uncomfortable), and was filled with confusion. The screws turned even harder when Matty begged her for another chance, admitting his wrongs and asking for a secret midnight rendezvous in the garage for that first kiss of 2012 or 2013 or whatever year the show is in.
What's a girl to do? That was the question on our minds, and it was teased literally right until the last second as the countdown counted down, all in slow motion because slow motion makes things like this better. "10-9-8!" There's Matty waiting in the garage. "7-6-5!" There's Jake standing in the middle of the party checking his watch. "4-3!" A door behind Matty cracks open! "2-1!" Jake, still alone. A tap on Jake's shoulder, it's Jenna, cue fireworks and confetti shower. "Happy New Year!" There's no denying that Jenna made the right decision given the situation. You don't come to a party with one person and make out with his friend later unless you have an Unpopular Wish. The easy way out would've been for Jenna to waver between the two with nothing happening and then leave things completely up in the air, that's why I thank the show for pushing her in one direction. The in-between moments need to be used sparingly, and ending the episode pro-Jake just means that Matty will have to work harder to win her (and us) over.
But Jenna, who last year couldn't so much as get a second glance unless people thought she killed herself, has now seen the power of popularity shift her way so far that her actions at the party caused a chain reaction of events. By her kissing Jake, she didn't kiss Matty, which led Matty to kiss Sadie, which led to Sadie being disappointed, which led to Sadie kissing Ricky, which will come back to start some sh*t between Tamara and Sadie, mark my words. This would never have happened with the old Jenna, and this new social influence that she can't really control means she'll likely catch a lot of grief from others on the edge of her sphere of influence. Jenna's going to need that speech from Spider-Man's uncle: "With great power comes great responsibility." Watch yourself, girl.
Some might complain that Awkward. doesn't give its other characters enough story, but I'm all aboard the series being The Jenna Hamilton Show, and I love seeing how the other characters float in and out of her world. Everyone will get their time in time, but for now, I'm more into seeing high school life through the eyes of Jenna Hamilton than high school life from a top-down perspective. We only have 30 minutes an episode, so keeping things focused on Jenna is a good thing.
But the episode wasn't done slapping us in the face with big moments. Another big part of the season will be Jenna's relationship with her mom, and J handing her mom the stationery with the words "THIS IS WHO YOU ARE" is about as big of a "F*CK YOU" as one can deliver under such circumstances. Sure, Lacey deserved it. No mother should tell her daughter how to live her life through bullet points of criticism, even if the advice was taken and it did help her out. Watching how their relationship moves from here is going to provide the dramatic backbone that will keep Season 2 afloat. That is, when we're not screaming "OMG MATTY OMG JAKE!" Now who's ready for some wine coolers and Gatorade?
1. What was the biggest moment for you in "Resolutions"?
... a) The tension built up during the New Year's Eve countdown
... b) The Matty-Sadie lip lock
... c) Jenna giving her mom the letter
... d) Mr. Hamilton giving Jenna a Costco-sized pack of rubbers
2. What did you think of Valerie crashing the party?
... a) Ugh! You're a school counselor, Val! Get a grip!
... b) Totally annoying. She's annoying.
... c) Awesome. Valerie is hilarious. More more more!
... d) If thirtysomethings hanging out with teens is wrong, I don't want to be right (or go to jail).
3. Jake's upset reaction to Jenna telling him she had sex before was...
... a) Ridiculous. Double standards!
... b) Perfectly normal, that's how guys act, dude! In fact it was so real, it was perfect.
... c) A sign of the poop-storm to come when Jake finds out it was Matty who planted his flag in J's v-jay.
... d) Cute. Everything Jake does is soooooo cute. [not for members of Team Matty]
4. Who do you want Jenna to choose?
... a) Matty, duh!
... b) Jake, duh!
... c) Both of them, move to Utah!
... d) Neither, she'll go to college and meet someone much hotter when she's 27. Some liberal arts major, probably.
THE JAKE VS. MATTY-o-METER
The needle bounced around a bit tonight, but it ended up...
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom