Sometimes, “Awkward” makes such an effort to be cynical and snarky that it forgets to have a heart. In particular, that has been the case in many episodes since creator Lauren Iungerich first departed; luckily, some of that came back for Monday night’s lead-up-to-prom episode that was mostly all about people trying to handle the fact that the dance was coming, and that they all wanted dates for it.
By the time we made it to the end of the episode, though, almost no one had prom dates you would have expected. We’re still frustrated over Jenna’s decision to almost completely freeze-out Matty, mostly out of fear that he would give up a good future to go and be with her on the other side of the country. As a result of that, he fought with her, pushed her away himself, and eventually asked Sadie to the dance after Sergio broke up with her. The Sadie scenes tonight were especially sweet, mostly because it is so rare that she is called out on her character flaws to the point where they actually stick.
Meanwhile, Tamara and Jenna are going together after one point staging a “do not ask” list to try to keep themselves separate from the dance. The reality is that they both wanted to go, and Jenna creating a prom-posal for her best friend proved to be a sweet, satisfying moment that showed that the writers are not always thinking here that romance is the most important thing for these characters. Friendship is also right up there on the top of the list.
As for Jake, all was going well for him and Gabby until he decided to announce that he was taking a gap year. This led to her trying to come up with a laundry list of things he could do in his spare time, which in turn made him feel like she was embarrassed. Now, there’s seemingly no prom plan.
Yes, high-school prom stories are cliche and over-done, but at least “Awkward” took a look at some characters’ inner monologue this week while delivering a few good laughs thanks to Lissa along the way. One of the better episodes we’ve had in a while. Grade: B+.
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