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Well, this is awkward.

"My name is J, and I'm awkward — and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right."

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl follows the titular character, "J," a diet-pill salesperson who doesn't hate her job but thinks her co-workers are "pretty much the worst people in life." As a coping mechanism, she writes rap lyrics that she considers "too Nicki Minaj" and obsesses over the awkward issues in her life. The show addresses concerns such as "What do you do when you constantly run into the same person at stop signs?", "How do you cover up waving to the wrong person?", and much more.

The brainchild of writer/director Issa Rae, who was unable to identify with sexy vixens and sassy black women on TV, the show revolves around awkwardness, "which is a unifying and universal thing that we all have experienced in some capacity."

The show sprung into popularity after only a couple of months, due to the relatable Black and Nerdy main character not often shown in television. It began accepting donations via Kickstarter to extend its first season, which culminated in the raising of $56,000, nearly doubly their goal of $30,000. In December 2013, it was announced the show had been picked up for television by HBO; the project eventually became a new series titled Insecure.


Check out the official site of the series at

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In "The Decision," J's boss lady keeps calling a new coworker (named Jesus) "jee-zus" when the name is actually pronounced "hay-soos." This leads to confusion when other people say the word "Jesus."
    Nina: Jee-zus! That is not a good idea.
    Jesus: Hay-soos! All of my ideas are good. And I am your boss.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Amir
  • All Love Is Unrequited: J has a huge crush on Fred, which he hardly notices. Also, White Jay has a crush on J beginning in "The Dance," but it is rather one-sided.
  • Alpha Bitch: Nina
  • Ambiguously Brown: Amir who's Armenian. CeCe who's Indian.
  • Berserk Button: Do not touch J's stapler.
    • Everybody in J's anger management class has one of these, eg. coworkers writing emails in Comic Sans, people not letting the microwave time run out.
  • Better as Friends: As of the first season finale, J and Fred.
  • Black and Nerdy: A
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama:
    • Played for Laughs in "The Date." When J and White Jay walk into a restaurant all of the customers stare at them with a look of disapproval, including a black man and white girl couple.
      J: Am I dating the founder of the KKK? Why all the attention?
    • In "The Friends", J is talking to someone at White Jay's Class Reunion and introduces herself as his girlfriend.
      Random Guest: I should've known by the look of that dress that you was a murderer. I'm tired of bitches killing black love.
  • Brick Joke: CeCe randomly mentions that she had to go to Racial Insensitivity Training. Amir, who had disappeared sometime during the series due to Real Life Writes the Plot, returns in the season finale, reformed by Racial Insensitivity Training. (He needed it.)
  • Buffy Speak: J narrates this way frequently.
    J: Did he just Angry Black Woman me?
  • But Not Too Black: Played straight with Nina
  • Butt-Monkey: J
  • Call-Back
    • In "The Job," her boss lady (jokingly?) says to J, "girlfriend, how are we gonna get cornrows now?" When she shows up in "The Icebreaker," she's wearing cornrows.
    • Space-invading co-worker with AIDS, or Patty, fired sometime before season 1 episode 4, keeps re-appearing.
    • "I get you."
    • J steals water from her anger management class. "Shit, I thought he said the water was free."
    • "Dear sushi restaurant, thank you for not being Red Lobster."
  • The Cameo: Kevin McCall plays the rapper/freestyler who J had a crush on in the 11th grade.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first few episodes are more Slice of Life and heavily focused on comedy. While the show never stops being comedic, it gradually becomes more focused on romance, and the second season is much more dramatic.
  • Comically Missing the Point
  • Cringe Comedy
  • A Degree in Useless: When J has an Imagine Spot about what would happen if she took the "sales associate" job opening, she bumps into an old college friend, who whispers to her child, "This is where people who major in African-American Studies end up, sweetie."
  • Dogged Nice Guy: White Jay
  • Dominatrix: The cashier in the sex store J visits is an elderly woman dressed as one of these.
  • Did Not Get the Girl/Guy: Seesaws throughout the entire first season. A didn't get J. J didn't get Fred. White Jay didn't get J. And in the end, Fred doesn't get J.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first few episodes were more obviously low budget and were a lot shorter, compare the 5 minute first episode to the 25-minute season 1 finale.
  • Extraverted Nerd: A
  • Fan Nickname: "White Jay" is almost always called "White Jay."
  • George Jetson Job Security: Patty has been fired at least twice.
  • Gilligan Cut: As a Running Gag. J would say something calmly (e.g. "I wasn't bothered by it"), then the show would cut to her rapping furiously about just the opposite.
  • Gratuitous Greek: The Gamma Ray sorority sisters wear matching T-shirts with the Greek letters of their sorority on the front. On another note, which letter of the Greek alphabet is "ray?"
  • Gratuitous Spanish: When Jesus fires Patty (again), they have a brief exchange in Spanish.
  • Gratuitous Rap
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Fred seemingly has one at the end of "The Date." Sort of a case of You Are Too Late.
  • He Who Must Not Be Heard: Darius, whose voice is so quiet that neither J nor the audience can understand what he is saying.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: J and CeCe (also known as "Curry Fried Chicken")
  • Hint Dropping: Fred can't take the hint that J is interested, while A cannot take the hint that J is no longer interested.
  • Holier Than Thou: Delores a.k.a. Sister Mary Clarence.
  • Hopeless Suitor: A. It seemed as if White Jay was heading into this direction as well but not anymore.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: "I want to know I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings why the caged bird sings, I want to get my groove back, and I want the rainbow to be enuf. E-N-U-F."
  • The "I Love You" Stigma:
    White Jay: I love you, J.
    J: Um ... Thank you. (awkward pause) That's what's up.
  • Imagine Spot: The series is told from J's point of view so we get a lot of these.
  • Important Haircut: J cuts off all her hair after her boyfriend dumps her in the first episode. Only for her boyfriend D to take her back, then dump her again because he can't deal with her being bald.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • CeCe always "diagnoses" J with some kind of disorder, e.g. Rejection Displacement Syndrome or Intimacy Reasoning Disorder, in order to "make use" of her psychology degree.
    • J's narration usually starts out with "It's not X, if you don't Y." Examples, "It's not violence, if you don't act on it." Or "It's not stalking, if you don't mean any harm."
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: Has become a Running Gag that Fred is the only one who can clearly hear what Darius is saying.
  • Just Friends: J and Fred, much to her dismay at first. Once she gets a chance to actually date him in the Season 1 finale, she realizes they are Better as Friends and chooses White J.
  • Lampshade Hanging
    J: Why is my life like a YouTube video?
  • Love at First Sight: J falls for Fred the first time she sees him.
  • Love Confession: Fred finally spits it out to J in "The Exes."
  • Love Triangle: A has a crush on J, who has a crush on Fred, who is dating Nina. It gets even more complicated when White Jay enters the mix.
  • Love Interest: J has two. White Jay and Fred. Also A, but it's pretty much unrequited.
    • The conflict reaches its climax in the Season 1 finale "The Decision", in which J is forced to choose between White Jay and Fred. White Jay wins.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • When J first cuts her hair off in "The Exes"
    • Also, when she ends up wearing White Jay's clothes to work in "The Sleepover."
  • Mistaken Nationality:
    J: He's a walking rainbow of racism and the main reason he gets away with it is because nobody knows what he is.

    • Happens to CeCe all the time. She's frequently mistaken for latina, middle-eastern and "Pocahontas."
  • N-Word Privileges
  • Naked First Impression: At the end of "The Group", J decides to surprise White Jay by going to his apartment and showing him her boobs. Unfortunately, some of his college friends were also there.
  • Naughty by Night: J sees Dolores, aka Sister Mary Clarence at the sex toy store.
  • Nice Guy: White Jay
  • The Nicknamer: J. Mostly in her narration.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted, a parking attendant asks J if she needs a maxi-pad after she says it's just not her day.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The Sexual Harassment coach from Corporate keeps pronouncing the word "har-ass-ment."
    J: Pick on me again, and I'll kick your har-ass.
  • Oblivious to Love: Fred seems to be selectively oblivious to J's love, no matter how obvious she makes it. At least up to "The Stapler."
  • Offscreen Breakup: Averted in the first episode, as D breaks up with J not once but twice.
  • One-Letter Name: Several characters have these.
  • Operation: Jealousy: J tried this at Fred's birthday party by dancing with White Jay in order to incite a Green-Eyed Epiphany. Ends up backfiring on her as he kisses Nina right in her face.
  • Plays Great Ethnics: Amir.
    Amir: (with a fake Asian accent) Haro, I'm part Asian. I think I can calculate the total.
    • And...
    Amir: We should totally get Cinco de Mayo off. I mean, my arms are ... shit ... they're still tired from all that swimming. Right, mija?
    CeCe: You know I'm not Mexican.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: "My boss is an offensive dumb fuck of an idiot."
  • Portmanteau: Jesus keeps using the word "teffort" - a portmanteau of "team" and "effort."
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy:
    White Jay: "My fellow Americans."
    J: Who is that? Bill Clinton?
    White Jay: (points to his name tag which reads "Michelle's Baby Daddy") Barack Obama!
    J: How could I possibly not get that?
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: A
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Happens to White Jay in episode 6.
  • Psycho Ex-Lover: A will not leave J alone!
  • Reality Subtext: White Jay mistakes Danny Glover for Donald Glover's dad. This happens to Donald quite a lot, actually, in Real Life.
    J: Danny Glover is not his dad. They're just black together.
  • Relationship Reveal:
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    J: No one even likes you. So get out of my face! (Snaps)
  • This Bitch: Nina
  • Romance-Inducing Smudge: Nina does this to Fred in front of J simply to make her miserable.
  • Romantic False Lead: White Jay started out as this. Has become a more developed character since then.
  • Running Gag:
    • J writes raps to channel her anger and passion.
    • "Bitches be [trippin'/lyin'/nosy]."
    • Patty getting fired
    • Everyone pronouncing Jesus' name "jee-zus" instead of "hay-soos."
  • Sassy Black Woman: Passive-aggressive J is a deliberate aversion of this trope.
  • Sensitivity Training: Amir is sent to sensitivity training for his frequent racist remarks, J goes to anger management after snapping over a stapler (which is where she meets White Jay) and the office has a mandatory sexual harassment seminar.
  • Serious Business: Sorority life.
    Nina: You think this is a game? You think being a Gamma Ray is fun?
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • CeCe encourages J to bring her relationship with Fred further.
    • Also ...
    Leslie: (whispering) Kiss her.
  • Shock Value Relationship: It's implied that partially the reason Nina is dating Fred is because she knows how much J likes him.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts:
    • Nina purposely flaunts her relationship with Fred around the office simply because she knows it bothers J.
      • Becoming somewhat subverted as Fred had begun to grow a backbone against Nina's advances.
    • Cece and her new boyfriend are also this.
  • Silly Love Songs: "The perfect date is always set to a 90s love song." (Kiss Me starts to play.)
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: J in the first episode. She finds one in White Jay come episode 6.
  • Special Guest: Donald Glover appears in Episode 12, as a Continuity Nod to J and White Jay's first date when she thinks the spoken word poetry they are going to see has Donald Glover in it.
  • Spicy Latina: Cece lays this on thick when talking to black guys because she thinks it entices them. Shown to just creep guys out.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call
  • Stalking Is Love:
    • J toward Fred in the beginning of episode 3
    • Also, A towards Rihanna
  • Take That!:
    CeCe: Don't worry; it'll end much quicker than Kim K's marriage. So like, less than 10 minutes.

    CeCe: Nina is like the British royal family—a total spectacle without any real power.
  • Theme Naming: Every episode is named "The [NOUN]"
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-universe, on J and White Jay's first date he takes her to a spoken-word show which falls into this trope.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Jesus takes over by saying, "I plan to take the GutBusters team in a new direction."
  • Unfortunate Implications: In-universe, most of what J's boss, Amir and sometimes Nina say.
  • The Unintelligible: Darius, affectionately nicknamed "Baby Voice"/"DJ Whispers" by J. Neither J nor the audience can understand what he is saying, due to his incredibly soft voice.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The series is narrated by J, who tends to overemphasize certain characteristics of the people she meets.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: After J spent 6 episodes pining after him, Fred looks deeply confused and hurt when he sees J and White Jay Almost Kiss in front of a theatre.
  • Unusual Dysphemism: "I just Starbucked the shit out of Nina's ego."
  • Up to Eleven: "Shut the front door! And the back door. And the side door."
  • Well Done Daughter Gal: J can never live up to her mother's expectations to "be somebody."
  • Western Zodiac: J thinks that every question someone else's friends ask her would be so judgmental. When she Imagine Spots meeting White Jay's friends, one of them constantly asks her what's her zodiac sign.
  • What Does He See in Her?: Said verbatim by CeCe after Fred and Nina kiss.
  • Working with the Ex: J works with her former one-night stand, A, who cannot, and will not, take the hint that J is no longer interested.
  • You Are Worth Hell: J was about to quit her job until Fred walked in.


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