We’ve seen television love triangles divide their fandoms so much that Tumblr practically becomes a civil war battleground, but in the case of MTV’s “Awkward,” things are much more amicable.
Series creator Lauren Iungerich feels the same way, admitting that while she’s mapped out an endgame for the show, she hasn’t quite decided how Jenna’s love life will factor in. She, like Jenna, sees the merits and the faults in both Jake and Matty.
So how will this show end? First of all, we shouldn’t expect to see Jenna grow into some well-adjusted adulthood. “I don’t think the show lives like ‘One Tree Hill.’ It’s gonna have a finality. I think ‘Awkward’ is a 4 or 5 season show. I don’t want to see them go to college. It’s this period of time, these friendships, these relationships,” she tells Zap2it.
Though she won’t reveal what she’s building toward, she has a clear vision for the end of the show. “I know what the final scene is of the series; had it when I created the show. I knew what I was gonna ultimately get to — I didn’t know everything, but I knew that. I knew what the really great last scene of the show would be,” she says. “It would have to feel like what they did with ‘Friday Night Lights,’ right? I’ll tell you it doesn’t involve a boy.”
Iungerich may do her best to keep her secrets close to the vest, but only a couple of minutes into our conversation, it becomes clear that for her, the heart of the show beats in the relationship between Jenna and her mother, Lacey (Nikki Deloach). In this season’s second episode, Jenna and Lacey finally talk about the “carefrontation” letter that shaped the first season — and that will continue to shape Jenna’s life.
Right now, hitting “Friday Night Lights” levels of poignancy may seem like a lofty goal for a half-hour comedy on MTV, but Deloach and Rickards’ performances this season will go a long way toward convincing you otherwise. Season 2 will probe into Lacey’s back story, peeling away the layers until the truth is exposed.
“[People] think she’s just this sort of vapid mom, but they don’t know the whole story,” Iungerich says, adding that Lacey is her favorite character. “This season you get to find out the whole story, and that’s what’s so f***ing awesome about this season with Lacey and Jenna. It’s news to Jenna; she doesn’t know. It’s not like soapy. It’s not like there’s a big twist like Kevin’s [Mike Faiola] not her dad or something. He’s her dad. But there’s history that you don’t know about that will shape and change the revelation.”
When we begin to learn more about Lacey’s inner workings — and her childhood, which ended abruptly when she became pregnant with Jenna — we’ll see that she and Jenna have much more in common than we expected. Though the story that unfolds between Lacey and Kevin this year is about an adult relationship, fans will see parallels as Jenna struggles with her feelings for Matty and Jake.
On other shows — perhaps one of those where the love triangle ‘shippers go to war every day on Twitter — there’s an implication that a person has a soulmate, and that every love story is a sweeping, epic drama. That’s not this show.
“I mean, what is a soulmate? Especially when you’re 15 or 16, what does that mean to you?” Iungerlich muses. “There’s lust and there’s love, and connection, and all these other things, but a soulmate?”
She pauses, then says, “I’m crazy happily married. I just got married and I met the love of my life, right? And I’ve loved before, but if anything were to happen in our marriage I would die, because I love this person so much. But is he my soulmate? I f***ing don’t know. Sometimes he doesn’t let me eat in bed and he gets annoyed when I’m watching TV and he’s trying to sleep. The idea of a soulmate is an anomaly. It’s almost a fluke, or a myth. Soulmates are unicorns. They don’t live here. They live in television shows.”
But, perhaps, not this television show.
“Awkward” returns tonight, Thursday June 28, at 10 p.m. EST on MTV.