Maybe I’m still in a funk from the abandonment issues stemming from Jenna’s dad leaving us last week, but I doubt I am alone in thinking that with the lack of key character interactions we have come to expect, this episode of Awkward fell a little short on the whole compared to episodes past. Granted, there was some rather hilarious mocking of religion to lessen the pain, if you’re into that sort of thing.
With Jenna seriously blaming herself for ruining relationships, both her parent’s relationship and possibly Matty and Jake’s, Jenna decides to take the church going one step further by going to an Upbeat Retreat in search of forgiveness, faith, guidance, and all that jazz. As someone who is long past her Sunday school going days, I have to say that even though I was laughing at a lot of the jokes aimed at Christianity/religion, I was well aware at how one sided the show was being about crazy Christian bible huggers (or “bible thumpers” as VP Valerie likes to call them), which is why I was so surprised by who the most normal individual was made to be by the writers. That’s right, the one who seemed rational in their support of Christianity just so happened to belong to a group often targeted by conservative discrimination, so applause go to the writers for that choice seeing as Clark (who was outted by Sadie last year) could have easily joined in on the snarkiness, which would have been a rather lazy decision.
Valerie: “J, Do not be seduced by the donuts.”
Haloed Bros and Biblical Hoes
The retreat also provided some pretty great moments for the episode, from the uncontrollable amounts of hugging to the creative costumes at the Saints and Sinners gathering (Jenna as the snake was pretty clever and ridiculously adorable all at the same time), but the best part of all of it was the not-so-passive aggressive war raging between Sadie and Jenna. The whole reason the spawn of Satan even showed up to a church camp was more nefarious than faith based because she just wanted to pee all over Lissa and growl her warning at Jenna to stay away from her property (who she is actually more emotionally attached to than she would like to let on). Luckily her plan is actually backfiring into my hope that Jenna and Lissa will form some sort of bond. Sure, this may be awkward for Jake, but who cares.
Clark: “What are you, Saint or Sinner?”
Sadie: “I’m a pregnant woman who claimed she’s a virgin, so decide for yourself.”
Lissa: “Didn’t they get rid of purgatory? Or was that limbo?”
Kyle has returned to the school grounds this episode, but “Jenna Lives” didn’t come with him. Instead he is now toting a different black shirted slogan, “Take it outside.” I was so excited to finally see him again considering the paranoia he brought to Jenna during his first appearance, but this time around it just wasn’t the same. With Jenna gone Tamara is left with her own mind, a powerful weapon against rational thought when she lets her mind go crazy with the assumption that Kyle is now stalking her since she shouted “Take it outside” at Ricky during the assembly. Who knows, maybe he does actually drive a Prius… Long story short, the shirts were about getting kids addicted to the internet to go get some vitamin D, something the show couldn’t have known would be rather reflective of recent news’ headlines (An 18-year-old Taiwanese man recently died from gaming for 40 hours straight. More details here). A funny storyline, sure, but it was rather basic and not at all satisfying in comparison to last time.
Pretty much like the filler between Valerie and Jenna’s mom. With Jenna off at her retreat Jenna’s mom is now alone for the first time since her husband left her last week. The interactions between the two as Valerie mentors Mrs. Hamilton through solo dinning had it’s moments (especially when considering Val’s inability to hide her excitement at the possibility that Jenna’s dad may be back on the market), but like the Tamara subplot it was pretty much thin filler to get the show up to its full length, especially since it didn’t live up to their meeting last season when Valerie showed up at their house to talk about Dead Stacy.
So what did you guys think of this episode? Personally I felt like it was slightly above mediocre as Jenna seemed to be more self-reflective and in her head, and the religious festivities beat out the subplots easily even if I wasn’t really onboard for Jenna going to “find herself” there. Then again, it could just be because this episode seemed to miss the usual amounts of time allotted to certain relationships that it just seemed off in comparison to episodes past. Luckily things should go back to normal as everyone is back at school next week and Jenna is going to let her jealously roll free now that Matty is sniffing his armpits because of other girls.
Other than that we’ve got some other things to consider: Do you think Jenna’s voiceover face is a little too overactive? Is it possible that I am talking trash about the Valerie/Jenna’s mom time because I’m secretly just still upset/disappointed in this parents being separated thing? Answer: yes. And I know I asked this last time, but seriously: How does this anonymous commenter know the exact moment she’s done posting!? Let me know your thoughts!