Awkward
Genre
Created byLauren Iungerich
Starring
Narrated byAshley Rickards
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes89 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducerRobert West
Production locationsLos Angeles, California
Cinematography
Running time20–60 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkMTV
ReleaseJuly 19, 2011 (2011-07-19) –
May 24, 2016 (2016-05-24)

Awkward is an American teen comedy-drama television series created by Lauren Iungerich for MTV. The show's central character is Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards), a Palos Verdes, California, teenager who struggles with her identity, especially after an accident is misconstrued as a suicide attempt.

The series premiered on July 19, 2011, and was renewed for a second season in August 2011. In June 2013, it was announced that creator Iungerich would be exiting the series after production of the third season concluded in June 2013. MTV renewed the series for a fourth season in August 2013 with new showrunners Chris Alberghini and Mike Chessler replacing Iungerich.

Awkward's first season was generally well received, with television critics praising the show's realism and writing as well as its central character, and it was included in various critics' top ten lists. The show also earned several award nominations, winning one Teen Choice Award and one People's Choice Award.

In October 2014, Awkward was renewed for a fifth and final season, which premiered in August 2015. The second half of the fifth season did not begin to air until March 2016. Alberghini indicated that there could possibly be a sixth season. While most cast members agreed that they would happily return in that event, telling fans to let MTV know if they wanted more seasons, no further episodes of the series were produced. The series finale aired on May 24, 2016. During the course of the series, 89 episodes of Awkward aired over five seasons.

Premise

Social outcast Jenna Hamilton has a freak accident but it is mistaken for a suicide attempt because she had received a harsh "care-frontation" letter suggesting ways on how she could be less unpopular. She begins a blog that helps her deal with various teen issues such as boy troubles, peer pressure, and maintaining friendships. By making changes and embracing her misfortune, she grows up and becomes well known among her peers, for better or worse.

Episodes

Main article: List of Awkward episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
112July 19, 2011 (2011-07-19)September 27, 2011 (2011-09-27)
212June 28, 2012 (2012-06-28)September 20, 2012 (2012-09-20)
32010April 16, 2013 (2013-04-16)June 11, 2013 (2013-06-11)
10October 22, 2013 (2013-10-22)December 17, 2013 (2013-12-17)
42111April 15, 2014 (2014-04-15)June 17, 2014 (2014-06-17)
10September 23, 2014 (2014-09-23)November 25, 2014 (2014-11-25)
52412August 31, 2015 (2015-08-31)November 9, 2015 (2015-11-09)
12March 15, 2016 (2016-03-15)May 24, 2016 (2016-05-24)

Cast and characters

See also: List of Awkward characters

Broadcast

The series premiered on July 19, 2011. MTV renewed the series for a second season on August 24, 2011.[1] The second season premiered on June 28, 2012, at 10:30 pm.[2] Awkward was officially renewed for a third season with an order of 20 episodes on July 25, 2012, which began airing on April 16, 2013, at 10:00 pm.[3] On June 26, 2013, it was announced that the show's creator Lauren Iungerich would be exiting the show after production of season three concluded on June 27, 2013. The rest of the show's third season began airing on October 22, 2013.[4]

MTV renewed the series for a fourth season on August 5, 2013, that premiered on April 15, 2014, with new showrunners, Chris Alberghini and Mike Chessler, to replace creator and former showrunner, Lauren Iungerich.[5]

Awkward's first season was generally well-received with television critics praising the show's realism and writing as well as its central character, and was included in various critics' top ten lists. The show also earned several award nominations, winning one Teen Choice Award and one People's Choice Award.

On October 8, 2014, Awkward was renewed for a fifth and final season, which premiered on August 31, 2015. The mid-season finale aired on November 9, 2015; when the show returned in 2016, the story picked up during the summer after the characters' freshman year of college.[6][7] The second half of season 5 premiered on March 15, 2016.[8] Producer Chris Alberghini said that there could possibly be a season 6 if MTV decides and that there are more stories to tell.[9] While most cast members agreed that they would happily return if there was a season 6, suggesting that fans should tell MTV if they want more seasons,[10][11] no further episodes of the series were produced.

Conception

Series creator Lauren Iungerich spent time with actual high school students to elaborate the teen dialogue of the show.[12][13] She also met them to talk about their lives and to make sure the show reflects the reality.[14] Speaking to the first three seasons' themes, Iungerich said:

The first season is really about identity and an exploration of "Who am I?" through the eyes of Jenna as she's exploring who she is. This season [season 2] the driving theme is, "Who do I want to be with?" and that doesn't just pertain to romantic entanglements but also to friendships and family for everyone. The driving force of Season 3 will be "Who do I want to be?" and making a choice in the decision of identity.[14]

Citing her writing influences, Iungerich said she likes Friday Night Lights: "What Jason Katims did in five seasons was utterly beautiful. The story and who the people truly were came first. That's what I sort of took away from it; to be so bold as to graduate people, and wrap up story lines or allow them to come back in organic ways and to fall in love with the new characters. I want to take a lesson from that. Moving forward, I'm going to take a note from the brave things that he did in that show."[14]

Reception

Critical response

Awkward mostly received positive reviews for its first season.[15] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the TV series received an average score of 74, based on 13 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[15] The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz explained Awkward is a "series about a high-school girl that's neither maudlin nor alarming nor conceived with intent to preach or to shock. It's further distinguished by its focus on entirely recognizable teenage pains, as endured by an entirely recognizable teenager, Jenna (Ashley Rickards). Its other distinction: strong echoes of an older kind of storytelling, the sort whose characters grow and acquire depth. This is a lot to expect these days from TV writing of any kind, much less a series about teenagers—it's relief enough when it's not about vampires."[16] Hank Stuever of The Washington Post found that series "funny", which was "a pleasant surprise from MTV, the maker of so many lame teen comedies that I've lost count".[17] The New York Times called Awkward as "a wry show about longing—for love, certainly, but also for consistency, that great intangible in the ever-morphing world of high school life".[18] John Kubicek of BuddyTV website wrote "Just like Easy A, Mean Girls or other strong, female-centric teen comedies, Awkward has a quick wit and a very distinct vision of the world. It's the perfect blend of comedy and painful teenage awkwardness, and in the end, the title says it all." He concluded "The result is one of the most enjoyable and earnest teen comedies TV has produced".[19] Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, David Wiegand described the show as "a very smart mix of realism and satirical exaggeration" and praised the writing for being sharp.[20] Curt Wagner of RedEye stated Awkward is "whip-smart and hilarious" while lauding the sharpness of the writing, stating: "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."[21]

The New York Post writer Linda Stasi gave the show a three stars rating out of four commenting "aside from the gratuitous sexual stuff, Awkward is a really good, funny, fun show". However, Stasi mentioned "this just isn't the kind of thing you'd want to watch with your kids—nor want your kids to watch".[22] According to The Philadelphia Daily News, "Awkward, like Glee, deals gently and semicomically with issues of sexuality and bullying but never really draws blood".[23] HitFix's Daniel Fienberg gave the show a B rating commenting "Not only are high school horrors pretty universal, even if the specifics change, but I can find a way to fit Awkward into a tradition of hyper-literal high school comedies like Pretty in Pink or Heathers or Mean Girls or Juno. It's not as good as any of those, but it's not as bad as Jawbreaker, which is in the same tradition."[24] Variety's Brian Lowry was less enthusiastic about the show: "While the premise is refreshingly gimmick-free compared with RJ Berger or Teen Wolf, the situations aren't compelling enough to make this much more than a latter-day Doogie Howser, M.D. with a gender switch."[25]

The character of Jenna Hamilton has received positive feedback. Entertainment Weekly wrote Jenna "navigates the sharky waters of high school, friends, mean cheerleaders, and cute boys with a snarky voice-over that makes her—and Awkward.—easy to fall in love with".[26] The Huffington Post deemed Jenna's voice-overs "witty" as "[they] make this high-school dark comedy stand out from a crowd of stereotypical high school prime-time soaps".[27] David Hinckley of the Daily News gave the show a four stars rating out of five and wrote "Awkward is very good". He explained "For all the times we've seen the high school outcast who feels alternately ignored and humiliated by her peer group, she has rarely been played better than Ashley Rickards plays Jenna Hamilton." and went on "If the dramas are exaggerated, Jenna makes the trauma feel legitimate, and her narration gives everything a knowing undertone of humor and self-awareness that keeps the most uncomfortable moments from being painful."[28] Stasi compared Ashley Rickards to Juno actor Elliot Page: "Rickards is a great teen actress of the [Elliot] Page variety—the kind of kid whose pretty face and adorable bearing is swamped by [their] ability to look awkward and offbeat."[22] The Washington Post wrote of Rickards: "Following the well-trod path of Molly Ringwald's Sixteen Candles and Claire Danes's My So-Called Life, she effortlessly manages to elevate the unfresh premise of MTV's new Tuesday night comedy series, Awkward, to something that is tawdry yet honest.[17]

Other characters' performances were also well received by critics. Kubicek appreciated that the show's villain, Sadie Saxton, is not "the typical perfect skinny girl" but "an overweight cheerleader who is popular only thanks to her parents".[19]

Critics' top ten lists

Following its first season, Awkward was included in various critics' top ten lists.

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Comedy Actress Ashley Rickards Nominated [34]
Teen Choice Awards Summer TV Star: Female Ashley Rickards Nominated [35]
TV Breakout Star: Male Beau Mirchoff Won
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actress Jillian Rose Reed Nominated [36]
2013 People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Comedy Awkward Won [37]
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series – Guest Starring Young Actor 11–13 Robbie Tucker Nominated [38]
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Comedy Awkward Nominated [39]
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Dramedy Awkward Nominated [40]

Home media

Name Episodes Release dates Additional information
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 12 November 15, 2011[41] October 4, 2012[42] October 17, 2012[43] Releases include special features including webisodes, behind-the-scenes tours of the set, wardrobe trailers and cast interviews.
Season 2 12 October 16, 2012 TBA TBA
Season 3, Part 1 10 August 3, 2013 TBA TBA
Seasons 1 and 2 24 October 1, 2013 TBA TBA
Season 3, Part 2 10 June 3, 2014 TBA TBA
Season 3 20 August 5, 2014 TBA TBA
Season 4 21 July 30, 2015[44] TBA TBA
Season 5 24 November 15, 2016 TBA TBA

Notes

  1. ^ In season 5, Nikki DeLoach is only credited in the episodes in which she appears.
  2. ^ In season 5, Desi Lydic is only credited in the episodes which she appears in.
  3. ^ In seasons 3 through 5, Greer Grammer is only credited in the episodes which she appears in.
  4. ^ In season 3, Jessica Lu is only credited in the episodes which she appears in.

References

  1. ^ Abrams, Natalie (August 15, 2011). "MTV Renews Freshman Comedy Awkward for Season 2". TV Guide. Archived from the original on October 10, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  2. ^ "Breaking News – MTV Announces Sizzling Summer Lineup at 2012 Upfront". TheFutonCritic.com. April 26, 2012. Archived from the original on August 3, 2023. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  3. ^ MacKenzie, Carina Adly (March 18, 2013). "Awkward Season 3 premiere date announced, new trailer offers spoilers galore". Zap2it. Archived from the original on March 21, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  4. ^ "Awkward Creator Lauren Iungerich Exits". The Hollywood Reporter. June 26, 2013. Archived from the original on March 12, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "Good News, Awkward. Fans: The Palos Hills High School Gang Is Coming Back For Season 4!". MTV.com. August 5, 2013. Archived from the original on August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  6. ^ "MTV's Awkward to End After Season 5". TVLine. October 8, 2014. Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Petski, Denise (April 21, 2015). "MTV Upfronts: Faking It Renewed, New Late-Night Show Gets Green Light - Deadline". Deadline. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  8. ^ Swift, Andy (January 12, 2016). "MTV Sets Premiere Date for Awkward's 'Final' Run and Faking It Season 3". TVLine. Archived from the original on February 13, 2016. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  9. ^ Swift, Andy (May 24, 2016). "Awkward EPs on Life Beyond Season 5: 'Most of the Cast Is Interested'". Archived from the original on May 25, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  10. ^ "Brett Davern on Twitter". May 25, 2016. Archived from the original on August 3, 2023. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  11. ^ "Jillian Rose Reed on Twitter". May 24, 2016. Archived from the original on August 3, 2023. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  12. ^ Eggersten, Chris (August 9, 2011). "Interview with "Awkward" Star Ashley Rickards: "Michele Bachmann... I'm Terrified of Her"". AfterElton.com. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
  13. ^ Radish, Christina (August 23, 2011). "Creator Lauren Iungerich Exclusive Interview AWKWARD". Collider. Archived from the original on August 24, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Goldberg, Lesley (June 28, 2012). "Awkward Showrunner on Love Triangles and Lessons From Friday Night Lights". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
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  21. ^ Wagner, Curt (June 27, 2012). "TV review: Nothing Awkward about this MTV gem". RedEye. Tribune Company. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  22. ^ a b Stasi, Linda (July 19, 2011). "Outcast". New York Post. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  23. ^ Gray, Ellen (July 19, 2011). "Ellen Gray: Teen parents' daughter is focus of MTV's Awkward". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
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  30. ^ Ryan, Maureen (December 15, 2011). "Best TV Shows of 2011: Community, Homeland & More". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on January 1, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
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