It’s the beginning of Jenna’s junior year of high school, and she’s already anxious. She feels uncertain about her friendships with Tamara and Ming due to their summer separation and Jenna’s absorption in her relationship with Matty. Tamara’s back from Europe with a whole new attitude and vomit-inducing relationship tendencies with Jake.
Vice principal/guidance counselor Val went over Jenna’s head and placed her in a scary Creative Writing rather than Independent Study, explaining that she printed out Jenna’s blog when it went public in order to apply. She adds that she needed a copy for home and for work due to her need for an angsty soap to put her to sleep and one for her mom—who happens to be “Team Matty.” Jenna quips back that Matty is now fully “Team Jenna,” proving that Val and Jenna together are THE BEST. After their talk, Jenna decides she needs to try something new and sticks with the class.
Jenna, Tamara, and Ming overhear Sadie vomiting in the girls’ room, which usually means one thing in teen television—PREGNANT! Or at least, PREGNANCY SCARE!
Jenna goes to Creative Writing, where the teacher is spraying students with a spray bottle. He explains, “You might think you know who you are. I don’t care who you are. I want to know, who do you want to be?” Pretty deep stuff for a high school class on an MTV show. He continues, “Writing is about conquering your fucking fear. It’s about putting down on paper, the thing that you are most afraid to share.” Minus calling the students “pussies,” he actually sounds like a slammin’ teacher. He hands out a parental permission slip that reads, “I give you permission to psychologically torment my child,” and I officially label him a teacher to watch in teen television. We get a glimpse of the new dude at school, but I’m too busy focusing on how cool that teacher is.
After Matty brings Jenna home (sweet, not very smart logistically since he needs to turn right back around and go to practice, but sweet nonetheless) and tries to make her feel better, Jenna talks to her mother about Sadie’s rumored pregnancy. Ma Lacey says that Sadie probably needs a friend, thinking back to her own teen pregnancy. After Jenna attempts and fails to have a real conversation with Tamara, she reveals via blog that the real cause of her ennui is the fact that SHE might be pregnant.
BAM! Way to misdirect, MTV!
What follows is one of the best handlings of the teen pregnancy issue I’ve ever seen. Surprisingly, Jenna tells Ma Lacey almost immediately following the blog reveal. Ma Lacey is less than helpful, discussing first trimester nausea, problems that might arise due to Jenna’s underdeveloped hips, and the lack of sleep that comes with an infant. She follows this up with an amazingly supportive conversation, in which she says she’ll support whatever Jenna chooses. Jenna adamantly says she wouldn’t be here without her mom having her, so she’ll do the same. Jenna and her mom celebrating the idea of a baby and then the lack thereof after they look at the pregnancy test is probably my favorite part of the episode. I give MTV props for going outside of the box on this one.
Now that we know Jenna was the one with the pregnancy scare, Sadie informs us of her actual problem—her family’s broke. The most shocking moment of all is saved for the very end: RICKY SCHWARTZ IS DEAD!
Ricky Schwartz is dead (!!!) from a vicious allergic reaction to a peanut, and all of his classmates are sitting shiva at his house. Tamara’s being strangely quiet. Jenna eats some gifilte fish, her inner monologue explaining, “I need to injest some good luck. And maturity.” She proceeds to spit the fish out into what looks like a vase—but what is actually the urn of Ricky’s ashes. Moments like these are what was missing from the last episode, methinks.
Ricky’s classmates are dealing with his death any way they can—in Matty’s case, he’s celebrating being alive by trying to hook up with Jenna on top of a piano under the bleachers. Or as Jenna puts it, “Matty is YOLO-ing.” This whole thing is pretty weird, especially since there are people in view of them. Due to the recent pregnancy scare, Jenna freaks and offers up skipping backwards as a means of feeling alive. She skips away as a shirtless Matty (nice) looks on in confusion.
At school, Tamara has a mild freak out over everyone’s insensitivity to Ricky’s death, ending with her calling it quits on her relationship with Jake and storming off. Jake asks Jenna to talk to her, to which Jenna replies, “Do I have to? She had crazy eyes.” The relationship between Jake and Jenna is a little too tension-free for the events of last season—I know that some time has passed, but I still find them to be slightly too comfortable with one another.
Matty walks over to Jake, who asks him if he’s okay. Matty replies, “Yes. I’m alive. And I fucking LOVE you,” and kisses the side of Jake’s head. ADORABROS. Matty apparently just really loves being alive right now. It was a good show of the friendship between the two, though I feel like there would still be weirdness between them as well.
Surprise! Tamara confesses to Jenna that she killed Ricky. No, not really. She bought a voodoo kit online and tried out hundreds of spells. “What if I’m a witch?!” Oh, sweetie. Jenna talks her down while simultaneously shoveling fries, the comfort food of choice, in Tamara’s mouth. This scene was great and brought back the feeling of their friendship in the first season.
After Val refuses to talk to Jenna about anything other than Ricky’s death, Jenna gives Matty a talking-to that includes the following phrases: “I’m not your lady of the afternoon,” “I’m not just your jolly juice receptacle,” and “You need to be in this for me and not my funhouse.” Look at Jenna, DOING THE DAMN THING. Matty is confused.
Jenna goes to the gynecologist to pick up birth control and is touched by the speech her mother gives her about birth control responsibility and being a girl—until she realizes that Ma Lacey is reading it off a poster.
Later that night, Matty explains that he wanted to show her that he’s interested in her and not just sex. To prove it, he shows her his “impulsive and irresponsible” tattoo that says “Jenna 4eva,” which is pretty much the worst but Jenna appreciates the gesture. He says they’ll take it slower, spurring Jenna to tell him she’s on the pill.
At Ricky’s vigil, Sadie grabs the microphone to confess that she hated Ricky and wanted him dead. She ends with “I feel guilty…that I don’t feel guilty and that’s all I have to say.” Her honesty inspires Tamara to give a similar speech, though hers turns into a toast for Ricky.
Jenna decides that she doesn’t have to be responsible tonight and goes to grab a drink. While she’s talking to Jake at the keg, she informs him that she thought she was pregnant, because apparently she had some sort of stroke that has blocked her common sense. That, or she can’t hear me yelling at my tv. Either or. She bounces away and Jake tells Matty—I can’t say I blame him, considering he and Matty are best friends again.
Matty pulls Jenna away to confront her about not telling him and inform her that he’s going home. The confrontation is fairly mature on his part—he’s angry at her for not telling him, barely mentioning that it was Jake she told. He ends it by saying, “I can respect that you didn’t want to talk about it then, can you respect I don’t want to talk about it now?” Oy. Certainly didn’t take long for their relationship to be rocked, did it?
Check out the trailer for next week’s episode, “A Little Less Conversation,” below!