“I just had afternoon sex with a sophomore whose last name I can’t remember and I’m oddly okay with it,” Jenna announces via voiceover. Thus begins this week’s episode of Awkward. Owen is deeply involved with his keyboard, composing a song called “First Time.” Jenna doesn’t make the connection right away, but is horrified when she realizes the implication.
Val, dressed as a lumberjack in honor of the senior bonfire, runs into Will (mascot guy) who is now coaching their scuba team. How many schools have scuba teams? Will made his way into Val’s school and is now shacking up with her in her office–there’s mold in the Scuba center! Since when does this school have a scuba center?
Matty asks Gabby if he can buy her an immunity boost smoothie. “I’m lovesick—it might be contagious!” he says. Before I roll my eyes at the horrible pick up line, Matty admits that it’s super lame and something that a middle school kid would say. He tries being honest with Gabby instead; she makes him nervous, but he’d like to take her out to prove that he truly likes her.
Now, the crux of the episode: the Phone Book. Pete calls Tamara “Allentown” when she and Jenna pass him in the hallway. At first she thinks it is a reference to her safety school, but Sadie and company are there to correct her. Being labeled with a town/city name means being coded on the jocks’ HOT OR NOT list (“The Phone Book”)—each town’s area code is a numeric rating. It’s a little clever and really disgusting.
The girls demand the location from Jake. “Dream on Aerosmith, I’d get my ass kicked,” he responds. They determine that the library is the best place to hide something you don’t want found. When Jenna asks where the reference section is, Tamara elaborates: “It’s like old people Google.” Do teenagers really say things like that at a library? The kids on Girl Meets World had a similar response to it and I’m hoping that it’s in no way true to life.
They locate the book quickly and crack it open. Jenna’s been rated, and the sophomore year picture and handwriting can only mean that Matty was the one to do it. Jenna immediately finds him and freaks out, but he doesn’t get it: “At least you got a good rating, right?” Jenna is disgusted—and so is Gabby. This is why she doesn’t date high school boys, she explains, axing her coffee date with Matty.
Tamara spreads the word of the Phone Book to the whole school, uniting the girls against the boys’ gross objectification. This gives Jenna the perfect excuse to keep her clandestine connection with Owen under wraps, appropriating the cause by telling him that their relationship should be secret so she can show female solidarity. After Owen takes his leave, our girl T comments on his new hottie-with-a-body status, lamenting his age. “Too bad hitting that would be a one-way ticket to Cougartown!” she says, increasing Jenna’s shame.
To further her crusade against the boys, Tamara sets up the Dude Database. The website allows girls to hate-rate guys with hashtags, a la the LuLu app. This, in my opinion, only exacerbates the problem. Jenna follows up with her own brand of digital fire, defriending Matty from their generic brand of social media. If he isn’t going to act like her friend, she’s not going to be one to him.
Bonfire time. Sadie, already jealous that Sergio commented on her friends’ attractiveness in passing, becomes disgusted when he rates them in her favor (her friends are a 6, whereas she is a 9). Bonus points to Sadie for being pissed on her friends’ behalf in the midst of being problematically complimented. When she snaps at him, he calls her out on her insecurities.”Okay, I’m deeply unhappy sometimes, why do you care?” Sadie asks him, convinced he was putting on a show so he could grope her and tell his friends. Sergio points out that this is a lot of work for a hook up to brag about; he actually cares about her.
Matty goes to Jake for some dudely support for the Phone Book, but Jake isn’t having it. He never participated in this twisted tradition; he has a little sister and would never want anyone writing about her in there, so he wouldn’t write about anyone else. Matty reasons that he wrote about Jenna back when they had first started their secret hook ups–she wasn’t a person to him yet! Oh wait, there’s the lightbulb above his head: that’s why Jenna is furious about her rating.
Matty grabs the Phone Book and apologizes to the greater senior class (specifically the girls he rated), labeling the Phone Book a stupid tradition before dropping it into the bonfire. Jenna refriends Matty in real life and Gabby presumably reinstates their date. Will apologizes to Val; he was getting in her way to get her attention. He’s backing off and becoming a mascot again, making himself alluring to Val once more.
Jenna officially breaks things off with Owen. He’s upset, but Jenna knows she did the right thing. She goes home with a renewed sense of calm, refriending Matty online. While she’s on social media she sees dozens of posts from girls about the Dude Database. It’s spreading like wildfire, and if anyone finds out she’s connected, she is going down. Uh oh!
Love, love, love the lady solidarity we saw in this episode, especially how disgusted Gabby was by Matty rating Jenna. This could have turned into a situation where the girls scrambled at the chance to see the shit the guys were talking about their peers, but we received a solidly feminist response instead. A+, ladies.
Episode Rating: 9/10