Review | Awkward 2×03 ‘Three’s a Crowd’

Jenna’s in a bit of a pickle with her love life right now, and those around her aren’t helping any. After choosing Jake at the end of last week’s episode, you’d think things might have gotten a bit easier, but Matty’s hanging around like a bad smell, causing even the most basic of date nights to become awkward and embarrassing. On top of all that, her hot mother told her hot father about the letter she wrote way back in the Pilot, and he’s not taking it very well. This girl never catches a break.

Though the love triangle is more interesting than most, considering her chemistry with both guys, it’s still a love triangle, and nothing new seems to be happening here. I loved Awkward last year because it was so different and daring within the constraints of a teen dramedy (much like inspiration, Mean Girls), but now they’re going down a familiar past that’s been done to death. When I start theorising on plotlines using Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill as jumping off points, I know it’s time to have a rethink.

But the three central performances just about carry it through, as Jake and Matty both come off as viable choices for Jenna. If anything, she’s the bad guy here, as her only reasons for not telling one about the other is fear of losing them both. Hasn’t she learnt from her mother that coming clean is often the best option long-term? I can see things imploding on her by the end of the season, and I’m almost certain that she’ll be single. Nonetheless, we’re encouraged to feel sorry for Matty this week, as he’s becoming a clingy friend to Jake, but his final exchange with Sadie confirms that he was trying to sabotage their relationship all along.

The B-story concerns Tamara, as she’s starting to feel like the backburner friend (BBF – this show has such a way with language) to Jenna’s new relationship. Ricky’s still screwing her over, and it’s only a matter of time before this storyline takes a turn for the dramatic, rather than the comedy zone it’s languishing in right now. The joke seems to have been running forever, but we like Tamara and, at some point, her heart is going to break beyond repair. Ming wasn’t anywhere to be found this week, presumably hanging out with her new Asian Mafia friends instead.

Disregarding the drama with Jenna’s parents, who are revealed to be separating (though I’m sure it’s a temporary thing), Three’s a Crowd was mainly concerned with the comedy of being a third wheel. Now that the drama of being dumped and the humorous potential of your best friend dating you ex have been dealt with, however, I’d like to see a new focus for the remaining episodes. I’m aware that this is a teen drama, and I’ve probably seen far too much high school drama to be commenting, but there has to be a fresh way of doing the storyline while still courting the online shippers.

Caroline Preece

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