Jenna & Matty Just Can't Escape Their Friendship

by Alanna Bennett

One thing I certainly didn't expect throughout the first couple seasons of Awkward was that Jenna and Matty would develop one of the two most nuanced and deep relationships on the show (the other being the one between Jenna and her mother). And yet here we are: Jenna and Matty have evolved past a simple will-they/won't-they, and past the realm of bitter exes. They are best friends, and in such a genuine way that it still startles me: More than Jenna and Tamara or Matty and Jake, Jenna and Matty show evidence of showing up for each other when life gets genuinely shitty.

Should Jenna and Matty be togehter romantically? God, I have no idea; I stopped being invested in the "should they" part of their will-they/won't-they a long time ago. But one thing's clear while we're on the topic of what they should or shouldn't do: They shouldn't discount what they have.

One of the biggest indicators of intimacy in life comes in the form of who you reach out to when you're dealing with shit getting really real — and they respond to that reaching out. This episode saw Jenna attempting to backtrack in her relationship with Matty through guilt over their weird almost-hookup last week; she didn't want to hurt Gabby further, and that's a noble motivation. In fact yeah, Matty should maybe try to let his girlfriend in on the rough stuff he's going though, too.

But as Jenna realized at the end of this episode, it's not that simple to walk away from the people you trust and care about most in this world. I am genuinely glad that these two have reached a place in this show where the aftermath of them kissing isn't about their respective self-esteem or whether or not they're each other's soul mates — where instead it's about the tough area between romantic significant others who you're supposed to be intimate with by society's rules and the friends who are, in a big way, even more significant in your life and even more intimate. What Matty needs when he's dealing with finding his birth parents isn't whoever society tells him should be the person he should confide in — it's whoever he actually feels best talking about it with, and that's clearly Jenna. And it's clear from her actions this episode that she's up for the gig.

Awkward could very well plunge us back into the ravages of the will-they/won't-they at any moment. For the time being, though, I'm very glad they've decided to take a look at something that's bigger than that.

Image: MTV