Monday, September 17, 2012

Teen TV: Awkward

I've recently become obsessed with Awkward, a teen show on MTV. I'm way out of MTV's demographic, but I kept seeing gifs from this show reblogged on Tumblr and the gifs made me laugh, so I figured I should check it out. Since then, I haven't been able to get enough of it. This Thursday is the season 2 finale, and it's a perfect time for you to jump on board if you want to catch one of the most awesome teen shows out there right now.

Here's the low-down.

Jenna is our heroine, and her quiet, boring life is turned upside down after a supply closet tryst with the hot and popular Matty McKibben at camp. She comes home from camp confused about Matty only to find she has received a "carefrontation" letter signed by "A friend" telling her what a loser she is and all the ways she can make her life better. Upset about her day, she ends up accidentally falling in her bathroom into a scene that makes it look a lot like a suicide attempt and has to go to the first day of school looking like this:

That's just the pilot episode, and what I love about this show is that every time things seem like they couldn't get any worse for Jenna, they do. Something worse always happens to her. And when the show starts off with her going back to school in that cast, you know things are going to get rough for her as the episodes go by.

Jenna is a bit of an insecure, quiet girl, but she's not a complete social outcast. She's an awesome everygirl, she has a blog, and she does her best to get through the school day in once piece. I think almost everyone can relate to Jenna in some way or another.

Her two best friends are Tamara and Ming, who are the perfect sidekicks for Jenna.

At first I was afraid that Ming was going to be the typical Asian best friend with the strict parents, but she's a lot more like Lane from Gilmore Girls (and there is a really funny storyline with the stereotypical Asians at the school that is pretty hilarious). Then there's Tamara, who is funny and witty and full of awesome slang and Tamara-isms. (My favorite is "bat-shizat")

Then there are Jenna's boys. Warning: If you're not a fan of love triangles, this might not be for you. Because Jenna is torn between two really different, really awesome guys.

There's the hot bad boy Matty...

And there's the sweet nice guy Jake...

Then there's Sadie Saxton, who is pretty much the best mean girl character ever. She's really terrible to Jenna and her friends, but unlike most flat mean girl characters, we really get a glimpse into the insecurities she has that make her so horrible. Not that her insecurities justify her behavior, but it's nice to see a mean girl being given a back story.

Sadie's signature line is "You're welcome," delivered after a particularly painful piece of advice.

And Valerie? Valerie is totally my spirit animal.
She's the school guidance counselor who tries to be best friends with the students and says and does pretty inappropriate things during any interaction with students. She obviously had no friends when she was younger (or now, really) and she's trying to re-live her youth by being back in high school as an authority figure. I think I'm a little more like her than I want to admit.

So, yes, it's tv, and it's on MTV, so it's obviously way hyperbolic. But it does deal with a ton of real teen issues like sex and parents and friends and everything in between. But despite the hyperbole, it's the most realistic teen show I've seen in a long time. It's extremely well-written and ridiculously funny, and it's one that I know real teens are responding to. My current middle school students love it, and my former high school kids are reblogging Awkward gifs all day long, (Where do you think I got all the gifs for this post? Thanks, former students!) and I know many YA writers who are just as in love as I am.

Do you watch Awkward? What do you think about it? What other teen shows out there are worth watching?


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