15 Things MTV’s ‘Awkward.’ Gets Right

Awkward: Season 3, Part 1
Awkward: Season 3, Part 1

1. It’s actually important to DTR.

It’s common knowledge that dating is full of neuroses and over analysis of potential mixed signals. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t some actual truth to neuroses. If anything, neuroses illustrate the need for clarity. So even if the conversation might be “difficult”, it would be best for a person to casually bring up where the relationship is going with their potential “significant other”. Heartache is a certainty of relationships. But if the DTR (Defining The Relationship) is done early enough it can minimize the damage. Therefore, even if DTR seems childish, it still matters. The teenagers on Awkward actually know something as seen through their constant need to DTR.

2. Neuroses have two sides that cut deeper than a sword.

As much as it might be understandable why a person would become neurotic about dating, neuroses are still dangerous (and this is coming from someone who is a 1000 on the 1 to 10 scale of neuroses). In a recent episode of Awkward, the main character (Jenna) became worried that her on again off again boyfriend Matty wasn’t hot for her after they slept together because they went a day without talking. Jenna drove herself crazy by overanalyzing her relationship with Matty. So even if neuroses could be an intuitive instinct, one should tread carefully.

3. Communication really is key.

This point builds off the last point. Jenna should have been more direct with Matty after she slept with him in Season 4 Episode 1. It would have saved her a lot of neuroses. The most ironic thing is people can intellectualize the need for honest communication. However, that does not mean a person is always communicating when needed.

4. Novelties make you do dangerous things.

In season 3, Jenna broke off her relationship with Matty to explore her new found feelings with another classmate (Collin). The novelty of the relationship was what pulled Jenna in. She downward spiraled with Collin. For example, she almost got arrested with him for smoking a joint and alienated all of her friends/other people in her life. So just because a novelty feels good does not mean that it is a good thing.

5. Assholes are everywhere.

Collin really was an asshole. Jenna sacrificed everything to be with him. Collin left her high and dry though since he never stopped sleeping with his ex-girlfriend. Therefore, even if it sounds simplistic, if a person looks like an asshole they are an asshole.

6. Space really is important with relationships.

In season 3, Jenna’s best friend (Tamara) smothered her boyfriend Jake. That caused friction in their relationship which eventually caused them to break up in season 4. So even if you love spending every minute of every day with your potential “significant other”, you really shouldn’t. Don’t be afraid to take a breather and focus on yourself (if only for a little while).

7. Space can also be dangerous.

As with everything else in life, issues are never black and white. It might be dangerous to spend too much time with your boyfriend/girlfriend, but if you don’t spend enough time with them, that could be just as dangerous. Matty wanting space from Jenna after they slept together in the season 4 premiere was not a wise decision. He knew they had issues in the past about her treating her as a girlfriend and not a sex buddy but risked it anyway. Space is a balancing act. My best advice? Give a person enough space so they don’t feel strangled but not enough so they fly away.

8. Masochistic behavior really does feel good.

It doesn’t matter if self-destructive behavior has the potential to ruin lives. A person can still feel a rush from doing something bad. Jenna’s relationship with Collin illustrates that.

9. On again off again patterns actually do exist.

It might seem childish to constantly be on and off with someone. That type of pattern really does happen. As a result, it doesn’t matter if fans are annoyed by Jenna and Matty’s on again off again relationship. That just shows how art mirrors real life. It doesn’t even have to be in a romantic context. There are people that I have had on again off again patterns with. But if you have an on again off again pattern with someone, and it is starting to drive you crazy, you might want to think about flipping the switch permanently (one way or the other).

10. You run into weird people every day.

On Awkward, the guidance counselor (Ms. Marks) is beyond weird since she is unprofessional and treats Jenna as a friend. She also constantly says the most bizarre things (even if one cannot help but laugh). Things like that really do happen in real life. How else would people have cocktail party anecdotes?

11. Ambiguity is everywhere and nowhere.

People encounter unclear scenarios every day. In the last couple of episodes of season 3 of Awkward, there was ambiguity with Jenna and Matty. Matty hinted at wanting to reconcile. Matty ended up having a fling with someone else though. That made Jenna feel stupid since she got her hopes up. If something like that happened in real life a person might doubt themselves. It could feel like the ambiguity didn’t exist. It did exist though. After all, there is really truth in subtext.

12. You really should gravitate towards nice people.

Nice people really do have depth. They just seem boring because they feel the need to rise above childish behavior. If Jenna had realized that then she wouldn’t have wrecked her relationship with Matty for Collin. I guess it just comes down to a person’s gut instinct…

13. People can still downward spiral even when someone close to them just downward spiraled.

Jenna had her downward spiral in season 3. And now it is Matty’s turn in Season 4. You’d think he wouldn’t downward spiral after seeing what his ex-girlfriend went through. But no! The saddest thing? Matty’s downward spiral clearly could have been avoided.

14. Personal pain is not an excuse to treat someone like shit.

Problems cloud people’s judgment. It is even understandable why a person would lash out. That doesn’t make it a smart thing to do. On season 4 of Awkward, Matty acts cold towards Jenna after finding out he was adopted. So please people! Your problems might be unique to you. But that doesn’t give you an unlimited license to do what you want.

15. Enjoy what you have while you have it and DON’T WRECK IT!

It all goes back to the Jenna, Matty, and Collin situation in season 3 of Awkward. Jenna should have just enjoyed her relationship with Matty and avoided Collin. So if you have learned nothing else from this article, do not do something you are going to regret just because it might seem as tasty as a piece of candy. Actions have consequences, and as a result you could be paying dividends for a mistake long after you wised up. TC Mark

Chris Bedell’s previous publishing credits include essays on Thought Catalog, short stories on Crab Fat Literary Magazine, Short-story.me, Quail Bell Magazine, Pidgeonholes Magazine, Abbreviate Journal, creative nonfiction personal essays on Inklette Magazine, Sprout Magazine, and Entropy Magazine.

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