Awkward Season 4 Review “After Hours”

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As endlessly compelling as I’ve found the Matty/Jenna relationship across Awkward’s four seasons it can, as with any couple television writers have to separate and reunite again and again to maintain romantic tension, sometimes feel like the characters have a selective memory. Likewise, to have Jenna be both our heroine and our narrator, it’s important that she not be completely unlikeable, and that has led to some parts of her story being conveniently forgotten for weeks or seasons at a time.

It’s incredibly satisfying in ‘After Hours’, then, to see the unfair power dynamic between Jenna and Matty pointed out so brazenly. Jenna has always been a little oblivious to the effects of her actions, and indulges this side of herself again when attempting to set Matty up with Eva. She knows deep down that she’ll always have feelings for Matty and that she doesn’t want him to move on, and at least some of those feelings stem from her satisfaction with having moved on herself, and her desperation to remain in that comfortable position.

Somehow, Awkward has managed to touch on some real truths that come from complicated relationships, from Matty and Jenna’s respective downward spirals to their willingness but inability to craft a friendship from the rubble of their love affair, and this is always going to be the part of the show that elevates it from being just another teen sitcom. Compare it to Jake and Tamara, for example, and you can see what the same storyline could be if it weren’t given that extra level of emotional depth.

Another storyline completely turned around in the space of a single scene this week was Sadie and Austin’s breakup. We haven’t really seen a lot of Austin up until now – to the point where I struggled to remember who he was at the beginning of this season – but the effect that rejection could have on Sadie has the potential to change her character completely. Like Matty, Sadie is such an interesting character mainly because of the mask she wears as one of the popular kids, and to watch that shatter so suddenly and unexpectedly was a real gut-wrenching moment.

What did you think of the episode? Did Jenna deserve Matty’s disdain over her ‘blessing’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.