Awkward season 5 finale postmortem: Inside Matty and Jenna's reunion
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Awkward.]
Awkward executive producer Mike Chessler said the MTV show’s season 5 finale would be “very satisfying,” and he wasn’t kidding: The hour-long episode featured Sadie (Molly Tarlov) finally getting told off, Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) finally taking hold of her financial woes, and Matty (Beau Mirchoff) finally — finally — telling Jenna (Ashley Rickards) how he really felt.
Chessler and fellow executive producer Chris Alberghini called up EW to walk us through the night’s biggest moments, including that car accident, where it all went wrong with Luke, and why they had to end this part of Matty and Jenna’s story at Camp Pookah.
Tamara comes clean about her financial situation — and then ends up dealing with it all on her own.
CHRIS ALBERGHINI: We felt like she had been pretending to be someone she wasn’t for so long, not just with this last guy, but also with Adam the Marine. It was important that she finally faced the reality of who she is as a person and that who she is and what she has is good enough and that she’s going to not only make the best of it, but embrace it moving forward.
MIKE CHESSLER: It was meant to be a very empowering decision. She’s taking control of and responsibility for her own future.
Matty tells off Sadie…
ALBERGHINI: That was very deliberate because historically, Matty is the one who has always remained friends with Sadie and supported her even at her most awful. He’s been the one who has stood by her and been the nonjudgmental, platonic friend. For us, if you can’t even get along with Matty McKibben, you’ve gotta think about some of the things that you’ve been doing wrong in your life. It’s what pushed her over the edge.
CHESSLER: Very simply, Matty is the one person that Sadie respects the most. And that’s been the closest friendship. So Matty calling her out on her bad behavior is the one thing that’s the most devastating to her. Anybody else, she could kind of blow off. But hearing it from Matty really cut to her core and, well, we saw how she dealt with it. [Laughs] Not well.
…and then Sadie gets in a car accident while trying to text (via voice recognition software) and drive.
CHESSLER: We wanted Sadie to have a big awakening. And then I had the idea that it would be really interesting and funny to see Sadie in something analogous to the situation Jenna was in in the pilot, where Jenna had her broken arm. We talked about ways that Sadie could end up hurting herself. This is the one that felt right. We felt like Sadie would never be the type of person that would try to kill herself, and also we really wanted to be very gentle about the whole idea of suicide, which is a heavy issue … We wanted Sadie to do something reckless and bratty that she ended up hurting herself and being in a very helpless situation that required her to reevaluate how she got there and if she should change her M.O. going forward.
ALBERGHINI: And also to shine a light on how utterly annoying most voice recognition software is. [Laughs]
Luke and Jenna have a falling out.
ALBERGHINI: When you’re in a relationship with someone and at the beginning, it’s all great and you grow close and you love everything about the other person and all of the person’s faults and idiosyncrasies seem charming and you love them. But then as you get to know the person more, and as you get to have a more realistic viewpoint of your life and of the relationship and what it brings you, you start to be a little more critical. Those things you once found charming and cute, you now find maybe a little bit annoying. They had their arc this season with moving in together and playing house, and isn’t it great and cute to live together, and slowly, the reality of that starts to come into play. Two people that don’t know each other all that well, really, and I think what we’re getting in these last few episodes is just a dose of, okay, as much as I may love this person, and want to be with this person, it’s still a challenge, there are still things that we don’t see eye-to-eye on.
Matty and Jenna return to the closet where it all began.
CHESSLER: We made that decision pretty early on when we sat down and talked about season 5. We just felt like, to bring this chapter of the show to a close, it just seemed very right to go back to camp and to go back to that closet where it all began and really highlight how much they’ve grown and how different they are, but at the same time, how that fundamental attraction that they’ve always had to each other and that that pull was still there and stronger than ever after all they’ve been through together.
ALBERGHINI: That moment in the closet in the very first episode was a defining moment in Jenna’s life, and informed so much of who she became as a person as the show progressed. We felt it was important to go back to that place.
CHESSLER:We had a lot of conversations about what would be the most satisfying end to the Matty-Jenna story at this point. We talked about different versions and we did talk about a version of the speech where Matty said, “Choose me over Luke.” The more we talked about it, we had the realization that the most selfless, generous thing Matty could do would not be to say, “Choose me,” but to say, “Choose yourself. Go have your own life. Don’t be determining your future based on who your boyfriend is going to be.” That just felt very right for the show and for Jenna and where she is. It seemed like a great thing for Matty to do, and certainly, the doors open in a way that, how could she not end up with somebody who is so wonderful to come up with that? We felt like it gave us everything we thought we wanted to take that story to a completion at this point.