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Awkward. is an live action MTV Dramedy about the life of Jenna Hamilton, a social outcast who gains attention after a misconstrued suicide attempt.
Jenna is a normal, everyday Cool Loser. She has Amazingly Embarrassing Parents, who, due to having her in high school, never quite grew up themselves. She has a crush on popular jock Matty McKibbon. She hangs out with her two best friends, Tamara and Ming and tries to avoid the wrath of Sadie Saxton. Jenna's life changes on the last day of summer camp when she loses her virginity to Matty and then receives an anonymous letter that calls her out on her faults. Jenna's reaction to the back to back humiliation is mistaken for a suicide attempt. Jenna now faces sudden attention and infamy. Jenna decides to take the situation in her own hands and attempts to rework it for the positive. Throughout the first season she navigates being in a secret relationship with Matty while his best friend Jake develops a crush on her despite dating Sadie's friend Lissa. Meanwhile, she tries to figure out who wrote the anonymous letter.
The series premiered July 19, 2011. Despite initially appearing like a Cliché Storm, it quickly became a sleeper hit, developing a surprising Periphery Demographic and gaining critical praise, who agreed that it was better than it sounds. The show was renewed for a second season, to air in 2012.
This Live Action TV Show provides examples of:
- Adorkable: Jake, so much. Jenna lampshades it.
- Mr. Mitra, Valerie's boyfriend.
- Adults Are Useless: So very much. Especially guidance counselor Valerie, who usually ends up making things worse for Jenna by misunderstanding whatever it is Jenna's telling her about.
- Alliterative Name: Matty McKibbon, Sadie Saxton
- Alpha Bitch: Sadie
- Always Someone Better: Jenna's thoughts on Olivia aka Jenna Plus. Luckily, she has nothing to worry about.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Jenna's mother still reminisces about her high school popularity. Her implants apparently feel like the real thing, and she'll happily let guests feel for themselves. Her dad is better, but only slightly.
Lacey: You're embarrassing Jenna.
Jenna: You're both embarrassing Jenna!
- Ming's parents are pretty bad as well.
- Asian and Nerdy: Ming is a bit of a subversion. Apparently her grades are poor enough that her parents, "doubt that she's actually Chinese."
- Attention Whore: Tamara.
- Bad Bad Acting: Tamara, who is so bad that there's a conspiracy within the drama department to keep her out of shows.
- Beta Couple: Tamara and Ricky Schwartz.
- Betty and Veronica: Jake between Jenna (Betty) and Lissa (Veronica).
- On a gender-flipped example, Jenna between Jake (Betty) and Matty (Veronica).
- Big Beautiful Woman: Alpha Bitch Sadie is an inversion of the usual stick-thin blonde, being a full-figured brunette. However, she doesn't really apply to this trope as she is horribly self-conscious about her weight.
- Big Man on Campus: Jake and (somewhat) Matty.
- Blog: Jenna keeps a running journal of events in her life along with her private thoughts. It's a bit confusing how her specific journal works, as it would seem to be private (no repercussions from things she writes there), but she has people following or subscribing to her through it.
- The Brainless Beauty: Lacey Hamilton, Lissa
- Camp Gay: Clark Stevenson
- Catch Phrase: "You're welcome" is Sadie's tag after any of her brutal comments (which she claims are uncomfortable truths people need to hear). In one episode she becomes her own Phrase Catcher when Jenna blackmails her with personal information and ends the threat with a pitch perfect "You're welcome."
- Character Tics: Matty sniffing his armpits.
- The Cheerleader: Sadie and Lissa.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Val
- Tamara and Lissa all have their moments but, compared to Val, they are completely normal.
- Cool Loser: Jenna
- Driven to Suicide: What everyone thinks was the cause of Jenna's accident. It's all a misunderstanding but hardly anyone believes her.
- Dumb Blonde: Valerie, Lissa and Aunt Ally
- Extreme Doormat: Val, who is very easily swayed by her students. She starts to learn though as time goes on, especially in regards to Sadie.
- Friend Versus Lover: Subverted. Matty's dilemma isn't that Jake and Jenna are fighting over him, rather that Jake is also interested in Jenna and Matty doesn't want to betray his best friend. However, he goes about it the wrong way and ends up losing Jenna to Jake.
- Funny Background Event: In episode 3, you can briefly see Sadie throw the poop into the hot tub.
- Fun with Acronyms: "Crash'd": Counselors Raising Awareness for Students Who-w silent-Drink
- Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Exploited by Jenna and Tamara
- Hair of Gold: Jake
- High School Sweethearts: Jenna's parents, who got married after a Teen Pregnancy.
- Hippie Teacher: Val, although she is more of a Cloudcuckoolander than hippie, but fits the mold by being a horrible disciplinarian and treating the kids (especially Jenna) like they're her friends.
- Honorary Uncle: Aunt Ally
- Hot Dad/Hot Mom: Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton.
- Humiliation Conga: Jenna goes through several, repeatedly. The most notable is probably "My Super Bittersweet Sixteen" since it takes place on her birthday.
- Its Pronounced Tropay: It's Ta-mar-a, not Tam-er-a. Her mother is Tam-er-a.
- Jerk Jock: Averted. For the most part, both Jake and Matty are pretty nice guys.
- Lady Drunk: implied with Lissa's mom.
- Love Triangle: Jenna between Matty and Jake.
- Love Dodecahedron: Sadie has a crush on Matty, who was having a secret relationship with Jenna who ended up hooking up with Jake after Jake left Lissa for her.
- Mistaken for Gay: Ming, by her own parents.
- Name's the Same: Jenna and Matty
- One Head Taller: Matty and Jenna
- Parental Betrayal: The mysterious writer of the letter is revealed to be Jenna's mother. Or is she?
- Parents as People: Jenna's parents, who may be embarrassing but have a reasonable excuse for their behavior and are genuinely good parents (aside from getting stoned and writing mean anonymous letters that is).
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Sadie's preferred method of bullying. She may have gotten from her mother (who uses similar comments to get her daughter to lose weight).
- Pet the Dog: Lissa gets some nice moments in the later season 1 episodes, particularly in "Fateful" where she compliments Jenna and finally stands up to Sadie.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Jenna
- Red Herring: Tamara writing the "care-frontation" letter.
- Rich Bitch: Sadie
- School Play: Jenna gets the lead role of "Dead Stacy" in "CRASH'D".
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Played straight with both of Jenna's love interests.
- Shouldn't We Be In Class Right Now: Even though much of the action takes place in school, the characters are rarely actually shown to attend class or do school work.
- Snark Knight: Jenna. Her first reaction is usually sarcastic, but she does try to be nice to people, even to Sadie.
- Spoiled Sweet: Lissa has shades of this. She's not so much mean as dumb and easily manipulated by Sadie.
- Stalker with a Crush: Jenna gets one after her supposed suicide attempt. Except it was just a misunderstanding. Or is it?
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Matty
- Technical Virgin: Lissa has taken a vow of chastity but is perfectly willing to give Jake hand jobs and even go so far as to offer him anal sex.
- Teen Pregnancy: Jenna is the result of her mother's.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Tamara is convinced that the Drama Department has a conspiracy against her to keep her out of shows. Jenna rolls her eyes at this. Later in the episode, Jenna finds out from Val that this is exactly the case.
- Token Minority: Ming
- Mr. Mitra
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Ming and Tamara while Jenna falls firmly in the middle. She wears skirts and other girly clothes but doesn't put much effort into her appearance outside of a braid or Tomboyish Ponytail.
- Totally Radical: The dialogue occasionally steers into this.
Tamara: "I'm hitting shuffle on this conversation."
- Transparent Closet: Clark Stevenson
- Women Are Wiser: Inverted. Jenna's dad is much more wiser than her mother.