Awkward Black Girl
|The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl|
|Created by||Issa Rae|
|Creative director||Mimi Valdés|
Madison T. Shockley III
Andrew Allan James
Leah A. Williams
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||25|
|Executive producers||Pharrell Williams|
|Producer||Issa Rae & Tracy Oliver|
|Original release||February 3, 2011 –|
February 28, 2013
The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl (often simply referred to as Awkward Black Girl) is an American comedy web series created by and starring Issa Rae. It premiered on a dedicated YouTube channel on February 3, 2011. The show follows the life of J as she interacts with co-workers and love interests who place her in uncomfortable situations. The story is told through first-person narrative as J usually reveals how she feels about her circumstances through voice-over or dream sequence.
Critics have praised Awkward Black Girl for its witty humor and unique, realistic portrayal of African-American women. The New York Times critic Jon Caramica describes the show as “full of sharp, pointillist humor that’s extremely refreshing.” The series won a Shorty Award for Best Web Series in 2012.
Issa Rae was inspired to create The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl in January 2009 while working at New Federal Theatre in New York City. Experiencing difficulty in meeting people in an unfamiliar place, Issa Rae decided that it would be entertaining to depict uncomfortable scenarios one may experience when dealing with others. Neglecting the idea for two years, Issa Rae's interest was renewed after reading an article by Leslie Pitterson pointing out the absence of black female nerd characters on screen. She then called on friends to shoot the first episode. The series went viral through word of mouth, blog posts, and social media, which resulted in further media coverage. In an effort to fund the rest of the season, Issa Rae and producer Tracy Oliver decided to raise money for the series through Kickstarter. On August 11, 2011, they were awarded $56,269 from 1,960 donations. Due to the popularity of the series, Issa Rae has been interviewed by Fredricka Whitfield for CNN Newsroom, Michel Martin for Tell Me More, Associated Press and other media outlets.
Characters and cast
- J is the self-described "awkward and black" passive-aggressive main character who works at a call center for weight-loss pill company, Gutbusters. Throughout the series J has to deal with rival, co-worker Nina, and being in love with two men White J and Fred. As a means of dealing with the stresses of her love-life and work environment, J composes and performs rap lyrics sometimes with friend, CeCe. J is portrayed by Issa Rae, creator, actress, writer, and director.
- CeCe is the best friend/sidekick and co-worker of J who works in human resources. Typically excited, CeCe offers J fallible advice that usually leads J into trouble. CeCe is portrayed by actress and writer Sujata Day.
- Nina is the primary antagonist and co-worker of J. She makes it her duty to stir up trouble for J and mock her. She is promoted by Boss Lady over J and appears to have dated J's love interest, Fred. Nina is portrayed by actress, writer, and producer Tracy Oliver.
- Boss Lady is J's superior and an antagonist of J. She is apparently unaware of her racial insensitivity. Boss Lady is portrayed by actress and writer, Hanna.
- Fred is J's initial love interest and co-worker. Fred is portrayed by actor Madison T. Shockley III.
- A is an antagonist and nerdy co-worker of J. He is introduced in the series as her "awkward mistake" after she slept with him at a company holiday party. A is portrayed by actor and dancer Andrew Allan James.
- Patty is an antagonist of J and other Gutbusters employees. She is commonly referred to as Germy Patty because she is always sick and perpetually carrying tissues. Patty continues to appear at the Gutbusters office and company social events, even after being fired by Boss Lady. Patty is portrayed by actress Kiki Harris.
- Amir is an antagonist of J and other Gutbusters employees. He makes racially insensitive jokes at the expense of his co-workers. Amir is portrayed by actor and producer, Fahad.
- Darius is an antagonist and co-worker of J. He is commonly referred to as "Baby Voice Darius". Darius speaks low enough that others find him inaudible except for long-time friend, Fred. He has a very loud laugh that is rarely heard. Darius is portrayed by actor Tristen Winger.
- Dolores Clarence is a co-worker and antagonist of J and CeCe. She works in human resources and changes her name to Sister Mary after becoming a born-again Christian. Dolores is portrayed by actress Leah A. Williams
- Jesus is J's superior and an antagonist of J. The former sensitivity trainer, he replaces Boss Lady as manager after she is called to corporate. He is portrayed by actor Michael Ruesga.
- White Jay is a love interest of J who works as an anger management counselor. He is outwardly off-beat and appears to share the same awkward disposition as J. His introduction creates a love triangle between him, J and Fred, however she chooses him in the end. White Jay is portrayed by actor Lyman Johnson.
- Jerry is an overly excited temporary worker at Gutbusters. He is portrayed by actor Ricky Woznichak.
- D is J's former boyfriend. D is played by actor Mike Danger.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||12||February 3, 2011||January 13, 2012|
|2||12||June 4, 2012||February 28, 2013|
Season 1 (2011–12)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"The Stop Sign"||N/A||N/A||February 3, 2011|
|When J keeps getting caught at a stop-sign, she keeps getting spotted by her accidental one-nighter, A, who constantly annoys J as she tries to ignore him.|
|2||2||"The Job"||N/A||N/A||March 3, 2011|
|When Nina gets the promotion that J has been waiting to get from Boss Lady, J tries to keep her angry mood at ease, although she has a passive-aggressive attitude.|
|3||3||"The Hallway"||N/A||N/A||April 7, 2011|
|Every time J passes through the hallway, she bumps into CeCe, who is seemed to also have an awkward stage which makes both J and CeCe become best friends.|
|4||4||"The Icebreaker"||N/A||N/A||May 5, 2011|
|J and CeCe's common friendship rises to a better climax, although Nina has found her ally in Amir, who makes insensitive racial jokes about his co-workers.|
|5||5||"The Dance"||N/A||Issa Rae |
|June 2, 2011|
|After Fred invites J to his party, she finds that she is not the only one that was invited. She then tries to come closer to Fred, but Nina interferes in the process of their relationship. She then gets upset, but she spots White Jay in the kitchen, where Fred comes in and makes jealous looks at the two of them. At the end, everyone does a slow dance, where Fred and Nina kiss, which makes J even more aggravated.|
|6||6||"The Stapler"||N/A||Amy Aniobi |
|July 8, 2011|
|J is still caught up in the Fred and Nina make-out at the party and she is unable to handle her anger. All of her co-workers constantly takes her stapler, where at one point it goes missing and then J shouts in the office. She gets sent to an anger management session, which is being taught by White Jay. In the end, J and White Jay make plans for a date.|
|7||7||"The Date"||Dennis Dortch||Issa Rae |
|August 3, 2011|
|J embarks on her first "White Date" with Jay.|
|8||8||"The Project"||N/A||Issa Rae |
|September 7, 2011|
|As J deals with the awkwardness of talking to Fred, CeCe is faced with an overly religious co-worker.|
|9||9||"The Happy Hour"||Issa Rae |
|Amy J. Aniobi |
|October 5, 2011|
|J has to deal with the awkwardness of group dinners when Boss Lady rewards her Gutbuster employees by taking them out to dinner.|
|"The Unexpected"||Issa Rae |
|Issa Rae |
|October 31, 2011 (Part 1)|
November 7, 2011 (Part 2)
|When Nina takes over the office, J and the Gutbuster employees are subject to her wrath.|
|12||11||"The Exes"||Issa Rae |
|Amy J. Aniobi |
|December 1, 2011|
|After being dissed by White Jay, CeCe causes J to reflect on her dating history.|
|13||12||"The Decision"||Shea Vanderpoort||Amy J. Aniobi |
|January 13, 2012|
|When Fred and White Jay make an unexpected visit to J's place, she is forced to make a decision.|
Season 2 (2012–13)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|14||1||"The Sleepover"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Amy Aniobi |
|June 14, 2012|
|J and White Jay attempt to get more intimate as J deals with the insecurity of her ex hook-ups becoming friends.|
|15||2||"The Visit"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Issa Rae |
|July 12, 2012|
|J turns to girl talk for input on when is the right time to take her relationship with White Jay to the next step.|
|16||3||"The Jingle"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Issa Rae |
|August 9, 2012|
|Just when things were looking up, J's mother's unsolicited judgment leaves J questioning the direction in which her life is heading.|
|17||4||"The Search"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Issa Rae |
|September 13, 2012|
|J finally decides to search for a new job, but just when things are looking up, White Jay throws a curveball.|
|18||5||"The Interview"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Oreathia Smith||October 11, 2012|
|As J undergoes the excruciating interview process, she runs into someone unexpected.|
|19||6||"The Waiter"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Issa Rae||November 15, 2012|
J prepares to get intimate with White Jay, but White Jay takes J out to dinner with a waiter (Timothy DeLaGhetto) who constantly insults White Jay, but White Jay starts to defend him and J.
Guest Stars: Timothy DeLaGhetto as The Waiter
|20||7||"The Group"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Amy Aniobi |
|December 13, 2012|
|In order to make it out by 5 for an important call, J tries to take lead of a group project.|
|21||8||"The Friends"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Chas Jackson|
|December 27, 2012|
|After an embarrassing first impression, J tries her best to get to know White Jay's friends at their annual holiday get-together.|
|22||9||"The Check"||Shea William Vanderpoort||Amy Aniobi||January 10, 2013|
|Things take a turn for the worst when White Jay takes J to an awkward group dinner with his friends.|
|23||10||"The Call"||Shea William Vanderpoort||O.C. Smith||January 24, 2013|
|After a huge fight, J seeks the help of CeCe and her new beau.|
|"The Apology (Part One) |
The Change (Part Two)"
|Shea William Vanderpoort||Amy Aniobi |
|February 14, 2013 (Part One)|
February 28, 2013 (Part Two)
|J juggles her final job interview, her failing relationship with White Jay, and there's a new twist at Gutbusters.|
Critics have praised Awkward Black Girl for its witty humor and unique, realistic portrayal of African-American women. The New York Times critic Jon Caramica describes the show as “full of sharp, pointillist humor that’s extremely refreshing.” On her site beyondblackwhite.com, Christelyn Karazin wrote, “Aren't you tired of seeing black women look like idiots on television? Here's a girl—whom I suspect is a lot like the women who read this blog—quirky, funny, a little unsure of herself, rocks her hair natural and is beautifully brown skinned.” 
Erin Stegeman of The Tangled Web praises Awkward Black Girl for defying stereotypes of African American women and being “an uber-relatable slice of life, narrated by J’s inner-ramblings that run through any awkward person’s mind.”
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- Karazin, Christelyn (August 4, 2011). "Friday Funny: "Awkward Black Girl" Needs Us or We'll Never Know If J Will Hook Up with Jay!". beyondblackandwhite.com. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
- Stegeman, Erin (July 21, 2013). "Awkward Black Girl". The Tangled Web. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.