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'Awkward.' fan react: Cracked out on bug juice and nostalgia

Season 5 | Episode 22 | “Home Again, Home Again” | Aired May 17, 2016

Nostalgia’s the name of the game as Awkward. winds down its fifth — and possibly final — season. Whether righting wrongs or rewriting sordid history, everyone must stop and take stock of where they are and where they should be. There’s a difference, however intently Sadie chooses to ignore growth of any kind.

Sadie’s mean streak is why we love her. She uses her snark and borderline bullying (okay, so maybe her bullying is dangerously forthright) as a defense mechanism for her own issues with family and self-worth. But her explicit negativity wears on her friends. Following her drag-out fight with Tamara last week, which led us to ask whether she had finally gone too far, Tamara’s not in a forgiving mood.

Lattes and smiles don’t an apology make, as much as Sadie would love them to. She lives in a dream world where she can call Tamara a “dumb asshole,” scare off Sergio’s investors, and belittle Lissa’s religious-exercise-empire dreams and expect all to be water under the bridge in an instant. Finally, Sadie’s being slapped in the face with her own selfishness. As funny as Sadie’s attitude has been, it’s an interesting concept to consider. Who is Sadie without her sass?

MTV/screengrab

MTV/screengrab

Tamara gets a blast from the past when she participates in a money-making scheme to repay her debt. No, she’s not an escort or the world’s chattiest cater waiter (as I had predicted last week). But she is working as a hooker of sorts — as a professional bridesmaid for some rando’s wedding. Apparently, some brides are in the market for a “nuptial ninja,” and Tamara Kaplan is just the ticket. (Throwback to T running the show at Ally’s wedding in season 2.)

Although I’m a smidge disappointed that Awkward. didn’t go there with Tamara’s storyline (of all the actors on the show, Jillian Rose Reed could go convincingly dark), Tamara’s turn as a wedding wizard is fitting. And in an episode marked by the themes of nostalgia and facing your past, running into her ex-fiancé, Adam, truly fit the bill.

Tamara briefly spirals when she learns that Adam is engaged to be married (boy commits fast, huh?), but is quick to broadcast her relationship with Patrick. She even slips in the little detail that she has fibbed about her monetary status, a quality Adam knows all too well. With Adam, she played eager to wed, and with Jake … well, who can forget her catfish persona Autumn San Diego? More so than her $12,000 debt, Tamara’s largest lesion is her insecurity. How can someone so confident not think she is enough?

MTV/screngrab

MTV/screengrab

Jenna’s article announcing her relationship with Luke to the world rubs their boss the wrong way. Although he’ll deny it until the very last minute, Lizzy’s got a thing for Luke and he feeds into it, so as to not poke the beast. Of course, Jenna’s jealousy (and, honestly, rational annoyance) gets the best of her.

She retreats to her parents’ home, the land of fresh linens, stocked freezers, and bubble baths. In a pile of her backed-up mail, she finds an invitation from Camp Pookah, also fondly remembered as the setting of Jenna and Matty’s first romp in the sheets … er, janitor’s closet. Coincidentally, she bumps into Matty in line for sign-ups and they chat about the past. Matty’s not into nostalgia, while Jenna welcomes the memories with open arms. Good or bad, the friendly-ish exes plan to grab fro-yo and whine about their woes.

Frozen yogurt turns into vodka and, shockingly, talking doesn’t turn into sexual tension. Instead, they get drunk and get real, shoveling old dirt into the present: Jenna’s side pony, Eva, Colin, their dismal timing. If this isn’t the final season, digging up the foibles in iconic stories of seasons past sure feels like the end. And bringing Jenna and Matty back to where it all began conjures nostalgia that Matty can’t handle.

Jenna calls him out for closing himself off to anything emotional, but where are the lies? Whenever the going got tough, especially with their latest breakup in college, Matty’s instinct was to run. Clean break. No discussion. There’s no running now that they’re being honest and fostering a friendship. She can play house with Luke and follow him to SCU all she wants, but Matty’s like home to Jenna. And who could deny the comfort of home?

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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