We’ve been critical of “Awkward” so far through its fifth and final season to date, largely because we’ve felt a little bit like the show has been missing some of what made it originally great: Its edge. It has transformed from a satire almost to the very thing that it once was making fun of: A romance full of teenage angst and somewhat-predictable teenage drama.
Through Monday’s episode, there were at least a few instances of something deeper, and a nuance that reminded us of seasons gone by. Part of that was due to the fact that you had an insane engagement party from a person who, on the surface, was only holding it out of her love for attention (and parties) rather than true love itself. The tongue was planted firmly in cheek as Tamara celebrated this whole charade, and ignored much of the surrounding commentary on how fast her relationship with Adam was going. Our favorite moment may have been from Gabby the drunk spectator, who was well aware onf how bizarre it was for her to be at a party with not only the ex of the bride-to-be, but also the Maid of Honor in Jake. Suffice it to say, Gabby got hammered as a way to deal with all of this, and in the process, blurted out to Jenna how Matty felt about her.
In turn, Matty was preoccupied with a different sort of love: Bro love. He wants to get Jake to like him again, and one particularly awkward conversation at first made Jenna think that he was ready to admit feelings for her after she learned the truth. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and later out of frustration over having to keep another secret, she told her own military ex a.k.a. Adam’s Best Man that Tamara didn’t actually love her fiance … all while she was in earshot of the whole thing. The whole “she’s right behind you” trope strikes again!
Now, enter the twist we all saw coming: Tamara does actually love him, and was using her spectacle and love for the facade as a way to hide it. It was a mask within a mask, and one she probably should have thought about before forcing Jenna to keep up what she thought to be a lie.
As you can tell from the past two paragraphs, there were romantic comedy motifs and frustrating conveniences throughout the half-hour, but thanks to some funny Gabby moments, Sadie, and the Chester B. Arthur Award for Kickboxing, we found plenty of laughs to make the story worthwhile. This makes this particular “Awkward” episode one of the better ones of season 5. Grade: B.
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