By Kimberly Potts
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) – In the grand tradition of teen angst classics like “Pretty in Pink,” “Juno” and “My So-Called Life,,” MTV’s dramedy “Awkward” is a sweet, funny, poignant show that you might have missed in its 11 p.m. timeslot.
And that’s a shame, because the show, which airs its first season finale tonight, didn’t rely on shock value to win over fans, like so many teen series have done.
Good storytelling, endearing characters and a smart, realistic portrayal of teen life drew viewers to the show, which began with wallflower Jenna (“One Tree Hill” alum Ashley Rickards) gaining sudden popularity when her parents, school officials and classmates thought she tried to commit suicide.
In a series of accidents that left her roaming the halls of her high school with her arm in an L-shaped cast, Jenna could convince no one, initially, that she really hadn’t tried to kill herself.
But her fellow teens’ harsh reactions — and the well-meaning advice of pushy guidance counselor Valerie, who tried to bond with Jenna by asking things like, “Have you been rockin’ the ganj, J?” — led Jenna to turn her sudden infamy into a confident approach to navigating the often humiliating waters of high school.
There’s also her tricky relationship with long-time crush Matty (“Desperate Housewives” alum Beau Mirchoff), a popular jock who sleeps with Jenna, but doesn’t want to be seen in public with her. Flash forward, and the “new,” but still sweet, snarky and adorable, Jenna has not only Matty vying for her attention, but also his best friend Jake, a popular, nice guy who, initially, at least, seems to be a better match.
But “Felicity” devotees will remember that you can never count out the aloof pretty boy, and Matty eventually began to show that he really did care for Jenna.
That leads to tonight’s season finale, in which we find out who Jenna chooses to take her to the big winter formal dance.
And don’t worry if there’s no cliffhanger leading into the show’s second season, which will premiere in 2012. We’re pretty sure that no matter which guy Jenna chooses, her new relationship will provide many more moments filled with angst and good humor.