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'Awkward.' fan react: Where are we going, where have we been

Season 5 | Episode 14 | “WTF Happened Last Year?” | Aired Mar 22, 2016

One year removed from their first year post high school, the kids of Palos Hills are thriving—or barely surviving.

Awkward. left us dangling from the cliff that is Jenna and Matty’s constant on-again, off-again status (honestly, they’re giving Ross and Rachel a run for their money), and the events that transpired in that formative year that brought unlikely pairs together. Thankfully, Awkward. didn’t leave us hanging long, as “WTF Happened Last Year?” told us exactly what the f— happened last year.

Jenna and Matty’s relationship, a long-standing roller coaster of uncertainty, ended because one party reached a summit while the other sunk into a valley. Matty didn’t fit in with Jenna’s new crowd of postmodern-fiction lovers (a similar battle fought in past seasons), and Jenna grew tired of Matty’s instinct to chase haste and ease.

When Matty first proposed the idea of transferring to Jenna’s school in Maine, she wore her heart on her sleeve. She was shocked, and she was honest about her shock. Instead of being the same old Jenna who reserved her thoughts for voiceover, she told Matty that running away because he quit his flailing collegiate soccer career wasn’t healthy. She’s right. Following the one thing that makes you happy rather than looking for more things that could make you happy doesn’t solve your problems in one clean sweep.

But did Jenna react harshly? Sure. Losing her filter and admitting that she doesn’t want him around to sleep all day and eat calzones while she’s talking Poe with her new besties did more damage than damage-control. Matty was broken from his college experience not turning out how he imagined. Maine could have been his saving grace, or he and Jenna could have grown apart even more in such close quarters.

The takeaway is that Jenna and Matty are different. They always have been, since the day they first hooked up in the janitor’s closet at camp. Even knowing this, they powered through (sometimes) their fundamental dissimilarities. But there was no powering through this. Jenna wants to learn, do things, and have intelligent conversations. Matty still defines “party” by the presence of a keg.

Matty might be unwilling to grow, but Tamara is not. In her first year in New York, she initially found herself unable to fit in with the “trustafarians” with colorless wardrobes and unlimited spending limits. She quickly trades her fuzzy orange sweater for $500 worth of black shirts with a little help from Sadie’s AmEx. Over drinks, Tamara and Sadie bond over breaking into the scene that originally denied them.

All over the place, we’re watching the kids of Awkward. stand at the same crossroads most college freshman face: What if where you’re going is in the opposite direction from where you’ve been?

Lissa found the rigor of higher education stifling to her dreams of being a Palos Hills mom. So, she dropped out and kicked her feet up on a country club chaise with Jake. Tamara rejected being viewed as less than, leading her to the loving arms of her former bully, a move that alienates her best friend. Jenna felt held back by Matty and like she, too, was holding him back from realizing his potential.

Choosing whether to stay where you’ve been or to make the hard choices that take you to where you want to be is never simple or without casualties. Are these choices the right ones? Does growing beyond who you were make you who you want to be? Not right away. Growth is a gradual process, something the Awkward. kids can’t yet see. They want their lives to pan out right now, but they will be asking “WTF happened last year?” every single year for the rest of their lives.

Awkward. airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on MTV.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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