Entertainment Television

TV review: Nothing 'Awkward' about this MTV gem

For years I've avoided MTV as the wasteland of "Jersey Shore," "Teen Mom" and "The Real World," so I never expected to find a gem of a show there. Now I've discovered two.

I was a quick convert to "Teen Wolf" when it debuted last season, but I failed to tune in to MTV's new comedy, "Awkward" (9:30 p.m. June 28, MTV; 3 stars out of 4). Thanks to a recent Season 1 marathon and a look at two episodes of the new season, I've learned my lesson: MTV isn't all bad, and "Awkward" is whip-smart and hilarious.

With the right amount of exaggerated realism, creator Lauren Iungerich turns all the yearning, pain and, well, awkwardness of high school into a frothy, funny satire that should make anyone feel better about their own fumbling ways.

When the series began last year, our heroine Jenna (Ashley Rickards) accidentally broke her arm and everyone in school thought she had tried to kill herself. She'd lost her virginity at camp to jock Matty (Beau Mirchoff), who was only interested in sex until he later realized Jenna—who isn't popular, a star athlete or a brainiac—was actually just a pretty cool girl.

Matty eventually became smitten with Jenna, although he seemed nervous about going public with their relationship. Matt's buddy, Jake (Brett Davern), also had the hots for Jenna, but neither guy knew they liked the same girl. And Jenna simply didn't know what to do.

As Season 2 begins, Jenna is trying to decide between sweet, not-worried-about-what-others-think Jake and hot Matty. To complicate things, a secret security camera may have captured some potentially incriminating footage that could affect Jenna's decision. She enlists one of her friends, Ming Huang (Jessica Lu), to butter up the school's brainy Asian group to get the tape before anything is leaked.

As if navigating the nightmare of high school cliques isn't enough, Jenna's also dealing with her meddling mother, Lacey (Nikki DeLoach), and her wacky guidance counselor, Valerie (Desdi Lydic), both of whom seem more "high school" than Jenna at times.

High school comedies are hit-or-miss. For every "Mean Girls" or "Juno" or "The In-Betweeners" there are 10 others that suck. But high school horrors are pretty universal—even for people well past that age like me—and "Awkward's" writing is sharp enough to keep even those viewers who refuse to go to their reunions laughing.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    The Lolla schedule is sort of like the NCAA tournament: there are millions of possible combinations, and it’s anyone’s guess what the winning picks will be. With that in mind, we make some bold predictions about how this year’s fest (returning to Grant Park Fri.-Sun.) will turn out. Breakout artist...

  • 2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    The man on trial in the killing of Chicago police Officer Thor Soderberg hated police and surprised the officer as he changed out of his uniform at shift end and placed his duty belt down, a Cook County prosecutor alleged Monday.

  • Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Chicago aldermen on Monday called on police officials to provide information on how quickly rape kits are being tested by the state crime lab, part of a largely symbolic effort to determine whether a large backlog is hampering work to apprehend rapists.

  • Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    A South Side alderman's effort to tweak filmmaker Spike Lee for using "Chi-raq" as the title for a movie about Chicago violence fell flat Monday with his colleagues.

  • ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    Commonwealth Edison will hold energy fairs at satellite locations across the region Monday in order to get money to thousands of people struggling to pay their electricity bills in northern Illinois.

  • PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    These adorable pups are on the loose looking for a place to call home. They have a warrant out for their arrest. Their crime? Being irresistibly cute and cuddly. If you're interested in adopting any of these dogs, please visit for more information.