Before we begin, I did check to see that unawkward was in fact a word. Not doing so would have been, well, awkward. Dictionary.com says it is and you can trust things on the internet, right?
As MTV’s Tuesday triple threat of Awkward, Faking It, and Happyland solidified a new era in quality scripted programming for the network that aired music videos during the Clinton presidency, we learn that the trio will not be together for much longer. MTV renewed Awkward for a fifth a final season. While the episode count is unclear, we do know that we won’t be following the story of Jenna Hamilton to her college years.
College is rather unsurprisingly the number one cause of death for many high school shows. Dawson’s Creek, The O.C., and Gossip Girl lost much of their spark when characters were separated and uninspiring themes like time management and long distance relationship took the forefront of the melodrama. One Tree Hill skipped college altogether. Beverly Hills, 90210 was the only one that saw the survived its time at an institution of questionable higher learning.
Awkward would have had an awkward time of it since Jenna is the show’s distinct point of view character. It’s hard to imagine more than one or two of the show’s cast making the jump. Awkward without Sadie, Tamara, or Matty just wouldn’t work.
Beyond that, the show has struggled since creator Lauren Iungerich left after season three. The show has improved since Oliver Trask/Georgina Sparks knockoff Eva Mansfield bid adieu, but it’s probably for the best that the show is starting to make its way toward a clear end goal. The show benefited immensely from an often ambiguous academic timeline, but high school doesn’t last forver.
Awkward will depart having left a positive mark on both MTV’s scripted programming department and on high school works as a whole. The show’s often absurdist tone helped convey real life issues in a way that hadn’t been done before. It carved a niche in a well-trodden field that should put it in the same league as the aforementioned teen classics as time goes on. It’s made an impact already with Faking It, which is set in a similarly surreal high school.
We’ve got at least fifteen episodes left depending on what they choose to do with season five, which could give it either a Spring or Fall 2015 end date. That’s more than enough time to enjoy Sadie’s insults, Tamara’s rapid fire pop jargon, and Valerie’s obliviousness. It’s unclear whether Ming will return to give the Asian mafia the proper send off it deserves. Hopefully Jenna doesn’t break her arm again.