Awkward, Ep 2.06: “What comes First: Sex or Love?” effectively explores relationship dynamics
Awkward, Season 2, Episode 6: “What comes First: Sex or Love?”
Written by Lauren Iungerich
Directed by Ryan Shiraki
Airs Thursdays at 10:30 PM on MTV
Relationship navigation can be a tricky thing at all ages. The concern and worries that accompany it, however, are only exacerbated in high school, where an air of “this is the most important thing in your life” permeates every decision. Throw in the question of sex, which is a weighty subject in itself, and love, and everything gets that much more complicated. Ultimately, though, their own feelings on the subject is something everyone has to confront and arrive at sooner or later, and following the three magic words Jake said to Jenna at the end of last week’s episode, her grappling with the issues at hand was inevitable. In dealing with a topic as tricky to navigate as love and sex, there’s always a fear that any given show will drop the ball, and lose themselves, as well as what makes the show work, in the importance of the issue. Fortunately, Awkward manages this week to avoid this pitfall, instead delivering a charmingly funny episode that nonetheless manages to give the audience a glimpse into how the characters feel about the subject.
In a way, all the storylines this week revolve around various characters dealing with this very issue. This is a very interesting way to approach the subject, as it allows for three completely different perspectives (although the term love is used very loosely in Ally’s context, but it’s nonetheless enlightening to contrast her fully formed views on relationships next to Jenna and Sadie’s still-developing ideas on the subject). Jenna’s grappling how she feels about Jake, especially in light of how she felt about Matty, has an air of authenticity to it that’s rarely found in television relationships. Similarly, the writers have wisely avoided painting Jake in the shades of a lovestruck puppy, while also not making him out to be inadvertently self-centered, and that pays off well in this episode as well. There’s a sense of genuine warmth in the scenes between Jenna and Jake that adds more weight to Jenna’s conundrum, and combined with the individuality both characters display, this allows the question of love and sex to become another building block in the story, rather than something that threatens to consume the show.
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