The Tangled Web Team Reviews: The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl

   3.25 CLICKS   
(out of 5)

3.25 clicks

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The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is an award-winning web series that follows the life of an awkward Black girl named ”J”. Watch The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

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“Awkward Black Girl’s brilliance is in its confrontational dead-pan wit; sitcom installments laced with subversion, race, and identity.” Read Jacqui’s full review…
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sc07ed7e45Sometimes it meanders. Sometimes the low production values take the viewer out of its reality. But Awkward Black Girl is a show with a strong, unique voice at its center and a refreshing antidote to the lack of African-American voices in television today.Read Abdi’s full review…

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“While Rae does touch on a lot of issues everyone can relate to, her exposition of these is forced, unnatural, and well, not meriting any kind of real laughter. ” Read Danielle’s full review…

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ERIN-244ABG is an uber-relatable slice of life, narrated by J’s inner-ramblings that run through any awkward person’s mind… Unfortunately, the acting is a little stiff among the cast, which makes it hard to sustain a 13 minute episode.   ” Read Erin’s full review…

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AWKWARD BLACK GIRL – JACQUI REGO – 4.0 Clicks

Anne Frank had a diary called Kitty to vent her deepest desires to, Taylor Swift has get-back-at-John-Mayer pop songs , and “J” the titular character from the web series, Awkward Black Girl has uninhibited secret rap rants where she poses the question, “What rhymes with pussy niggah?”

I don’t know the slant-rhyme answer to that question.  I also don’t know, as an awkward girl of the paler variety, if socio-racial rules allow me to laugh at her use of the “N” word.  Awkward Black Girl’s brilliance is in its confrontational dead-pan wit; sitcom installments laced with subversion, race, and identity. During J’s first “white date” she cringes at boyfriend, “White Jay’s” selection of a  fried chicken dinner and spoken word poetry performances, “God invented liquor because he foresaw spoken word – praise him” her inner monologue unceremoniously declares. “

Praise Issa Rae for the series finding its footing by the end of season two, after noticeable growing pains including unseasoned actors, and the season one episode, “The Dance” having its audio pulled on YouTube due to a musical copyright infringement.  By season two, ABG is deeper and slicker with a new reliance on quick-cuts to textured and fiercely funny dream sequences (The “Middle Passage” museum enactment deserves a review unto itself).  I only hope Issa Rae continues with a new online season of ABG, because it’s too smart to be found anywhere else.” Read more reviews by Jacqui…

AWKWARD BLACK GIRL – DANIELLE BAUMAN – 1.5 Clicks

They say “Third times a charm,” and in terms of success, Issa Rae, creator ofAwkward Black Girl, can take this slogan to heart. With this, her third stab at staking a claim in the web series world, Rae has received just about every kind of positive result from A.B.G. She’s got an agent, a book deal, not to mention that she’s an African American WOMAN boasting a cast of every color and culture in the rainbow. What more could we ask for? Well, where to begin…

Rae stars as J, the twenty something Every-gal who, according to the shows title, is supposed to be awkward. Unfortunately, the believability of this character and her blundering demeanor is nil due to a stilted performance lacking any kind of genuine comedic timing. Rae wouldn’t know the beauty of subtle comedy if she was forced to pass it in the hall at Gutbusters. But she’s not the only one who falls flat. As we all know, a leader is only as good as her team and this cast couldn’t act their way out of a speeding ticket. Every line sounds like its still living on the page and every joke is delivered with a wink and a grin as if to say: “Here’s the funny! LOOK THIS IS THE FUNNY PART!”

While Rae does touch on a lot of issues everyone can relate to, her exposition of these is forced, unnatural, and well, not meriting any kind of real laughter. Perhaps this is a matter of taste, and some might even say it’s a matter of race, but the truth is, good comedy transcends race, sex and stereotypes. While Awkward Black Girl relies on all of these to deliver the accolades that the performances and creative content could never truly earn on their own. Read more reviews by Danielle…

AWKWARD BLACK GIRL- ERIN STEGEMAN – 3 Clicks

According to Bravo, there are two types of black women:  Boisterous divas ala NeNe Leaks and nouveau-riche, long-haired basketball wives.  Issa Rae, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl creator and lead character “J”, is neither.

ABG is an uber-relatable slice of life, narrated by J’s inner-ramblings that run through any awkward person’s mind.  The mundaneness of it all – dealing with coworkers, dating, finding out your exes are now in a bromance – is how Rae breaks the mode and draws just about every race and gender in.  The narration is the best part.  A quiet, misunderstood character like J can easily be considered whiney, and, at times Rae is, but relatable VO lines like “Is there a non homophobic way to tell someone you’re not gay?” garner many laugh out loud moments.

Season 1 is more like snippets of the life of an ABG – a first date with a white boy, hallway conversations, and running into a one night stand at a stop sign…and then again at the stop sign a block later.  In season 2, the episodes double to triple in length, focusing on developing central characters and continuous plot lines.  This is where it lost me.

The dialogue is at it’s best when it’s keenly observant.  It’s smart quips like Cece’s (J’s best friend played by Sujata Day) advice on how to dress for a white-boy date: “The most important thing is to be casual.  White guys are always casual, even when they dress up” or J performing self-penned rap lyrics that make this series stand out.  But where it lacks strength is the ability to draw me into the relationships between characters, or caring about J’s career (a major plot point).  And, unfortunately, the acting is a little stiff among the cast, which all the more makes it harder to sustain a 13 minute episode.

I do love a series that breaks the mode though.  I’ll keep rooting for this awkward underdog. Read more reviews by Erin..

AWKWARD BLACK GIRL – ABDI NAZEMIAN – 4.0 Clicks

Issa Rae could be the poster child for web series creators. She launched Awkward Black Girl in 2011. The show became a viral success. By 2012, Rae sold a comedy series to ABC produced by none other than Shonda Rhimes. Yeah, that Shonda Rhimes, the only person who reliably delivers hit shows to the ever-panicked networks. Rae also snagged the plum part of Nina Simone in a film shooting this fall. Yeah, that Nina Simone, the one whose myth grows every year and who died weeks before I was supposed to see her in concert for the first time (sorry Nina, you will never be forgiven for the timing of your mortality). So what can I add to the conversation about Issa Rae and Awkward Black Girl that isn’t already obvious from those facts?

Well, let’s see… Awkward Black Girl is a witty, charming show that provides us with a refreshing view of modern life. It is a show clearly done on a shoestring budget that transcends its slightly distracting production values through authentic performances and sharp writing (My favorite line: “Rap and Poetry had a baby named Spoken Word. I wish I could abort that baby.”) It is a show that starts off with small observations of awkward moments in life (playing off waving to someone who was waving to the person behind you) and grows into a soap opera featuring a love triangle. It is a show with a lot to say about the workplace, all told through our lead character J’s job at Gutbusters, a call center for a weight loss pill that causes nausea. And it is a show that is not afraid to tackle difficult issues about race. Case in point, when J is on her way to her first “white date” with her love interest (hilariously called White Jay) her best friend CeCe breaks it down like so: “Everyone knows you’re supposed to ease into interracial dating. Make your way up the color scale. You’ve jumped straight past brown and yellow and gone straight to white.”

Awkward Black Girl is not a perfect show. Sometimes it meanders. Sometimes the low production values take the viewer out of its reality. But it is not a surprise that Rae already has a deal at a major network, because Awkward Black Girl is a show with a strong and unique voice at its center, and a refreshing antidote to the lack of African-American voices in television today. I know there are people out there who would like to abort web series the way J wishes she could abort spoken word, but this girl is a keeper. Read more reviews by Abdi…

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