'Awkward' cast talks Season 3B premiere, Jenna's rebellious choices, and the darkest point of the series
Jenna (Ashely Rickards) made the shocking choice to cheat on her all-around perfect boyfriend Matty (Beau Mirchoff) in the Season 3A finale, and that one choice will catapult her and everyone around her onto a new path that no one expected to see. "Beginning of Season 3B, we're picking up where we don't even know if Matty has seen her and Collin making out," Rickards tells Zap2it. "Going into this episode, it's so unclear about who knows what and what's out of the bag, let alone what Jenna's going to do about it. There's a lot to catch up on."
So how will Jenna's choices affect everyone around her, and what's coming up for everyone in the second half of Season 3?
Rickards believes that all the choices Jenna has made up to this point and will make going forward are completely normal for a teenager. "Growing up is a hard thing and I think with the relationship between Matty and Jenna, they're both new at that stage," Rickards says. "They've never really been in a serious relationship. It's hard to gauge what's right, what's real, what's new, and what's stale, and she's trying her best to figure it out. I think it's a very normal experience. She's going to make mistakes, and she's going to do the right thing."
While Jenna may believe she's doing the right thing, her decisions will have consequences, and "Awkward" is going to explore just how far Jenna can push and be pushed. "This half of the season will be darker from the rest of the show," Rickards says. "Jenna's going to be making some decisions for the first time in her life that aren't going to always have a silver lining and aren't always going to work out for the best. There's a lot more than just infidelity that will come to appear this season."
But for all those fans rooting for Jenna and Matty's relationship to make it through the upcoming rough patch, Rickards has these words of encouragement: "There's always hope for Jenna and Matty. Hope is 'hold on, pain ends,' so I believe there is hope for them."
Get ready to see Jenna take on a whole new style as her rebellion prompts her to change up her look, something Rickards was excited to portray. "I'm most excited for fans to see Jenna with mascara on. That's going to be great," Rickards says. "It's a real big change. A lot less hoodies in the style department. It's a lot like a snake shedding its skin."
How will Jenna's infidelity affect Matty? The perfect boyfriend is definitely going to hit a low point when he finds out ... especially since the way he discovers the affair is so completely shocking. "Jenna is Matty's first love and to have that deceitful action happen when you're 16 and in love can make you jaded. I'm worried for Matty," Mirchoff tells Zap2it. "It will definitely change him and their relationship forever. At first we're not sure how Matty's going to react. He's hurt, but this isn't just a random act. Matty knows there is something deeper going on and this is kind of her maybe crying out for help. So Matty will try to help her mend what's going on in her life, looking beyond just their relationship."
Since Matty is all-around a really nice guy, he won't abandon Jenna as she goes down this new, darker path. Quite the contrary, in fact. "He's going to do his best to help Jenna, and he wants to get her back eventually," Mirchoff says. "But at 16 years old, it's hard to bounce back from this. We shall see. I'm excited for fans to see the next half of the season because it goes into a realm that's been un-ventured thus far."
During the difficult time ahead, Matty will need his friends more than ever, especially his meaningful relationship with mean-girl Sadie (Molly Tarlov). "That's one of my favorite relationships, Matty and Sadie. It's different," Mirchoff says. "They know each other so well and they see through all the fluff. They will continue to help each other and confide in each other throughout the season."
As Matty's best friend, Jenna's ex-boyfriend, and the boyfriend of Jenna's best friend Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Jake (Brett Davern) is going to be in quite the tough position when Season 3B kicks off. "It's quite a bumpy ride for Jake. Matty's been his best friend since elementary school, so he's always going to have Matty's back. But with that being said, Jenna was Jake's first love so he's going to be put in an awkward position. Plus, his relationship with Tamara will continue to have its up and downs," Davern tells Zap2it. "Jake has always tried to be the nice guy and please everyone but sometimes people misread that and he gets treated like a doormat. The second half of Season 3 we'll see him stand up for himself more."
Jake may not understand Jenna's choice to cheat on Matty, but he won't give up on her during her rebellion. "Jake has always been someone that anyone can come to with their problems, especially Jenna," Davern says. "I like to think that even if we don't see it onscreen, behind the scenes he's giving her advice and helping her through this time. Jenna really goes through some trying times in this second half and I think Jake is the perfect person for her to lean on."
Davern is excited for fans to finally see "Awkward" cover some new, darker ground. "It's going to take the series to a place that the fans haven't seen before. It tackles issues that we've kind of touched on in the past but haven't really fully delved into," Davern says. "Jenna becomes a very rebellious teenager towards her parents, towards her friends, towards school, towards the establishment. A lot of drama coming up in a way that we haven't really done before that I think the fans are really going to like."
Something else fans can look forward to in the next 10 episodes? Prom! "Junior prom is coming up," Davern teases. "It's kind of a big deal. Who you go with is a big decision, and so is how you decide to spend your night. There are some surprises in store."
Will Jenna's fast-talking best friend stick with her as she heads down this darker path? "Tamara supports Jenna, but doesn't support her making really terrible life choices," Reed tells Zap2it. "In a way, she'll always be there for her, and will always be that shoulder for her to cry on but it gets to a certain point where she can't really be there for her anymore. It goes too far. We've seen Jenna and Tamara fight before, but never like this."
Why does Tamara get so fed up? Because Jenna's "terrible life choices" are going to hurt more than just Jenna. "Tamara's been Jenna's best friend since they were young so seeing her go down this path and making choices that aren't great is sad for her. She wants to help her friend," Reed says. "Plus, through all of Jenna's relationship with Matty, Tamara has gotten close with Matty so it's hard to see her hurt somebody that we've all gotten close to. Her choices will tear the group apart and it's going to take a while for them to come back together."
Jenna's rebellion is also going to cause a strain on Jake and Tamara's relationship. "It's hard balancing the boyfriend and the best friend. There are complications when you're all in the same circle," Reed says. "Keeping secrets is obviously not the best way to do things, and Jake is not happy that she has kept some secrets from him. It causes some turmoil. But I believe that Jake and Tamara really love each other so I think that they can make it through all that stuff."
Reed is looking forward to exploring Jake and Tamara's relationship even further in the back half of Season 3. "A lot of juicy stuff is coming up for Tamara. In the first half we saw a lot with Tamara and Jake falling in love, losing their virginities together, and they're still going through all that," Reed says. "They haven't figured out how to be teenagers in love yet so there's going to be a lot of ups and downs for their relationship. A lot of scary fights and a lot of awesome make-ups. There's glitter involved, but I can't tell you why."
Everyone's favorite love-to-hate-her mean girl is the only one not rooting for Jenna in the back half of Season 3, but that doesn't mean she's happy to see what Jenna's doing to Matty. "Sadie is trying to be protective of Matty, so she's going to kick it into high gear," Tarlov tells Zap2it. "Sadie's going to have to do damage control and take care of Matty a little bit. There's a whole shift in their friend group where everyone is against Jenna all of a sudden so it'll be funny to see Sadie on the same side as everyone else for a little while."
Sadie's relationship with Matty won't be anything more than friendship though, as another boy catches her eye in Season 3B."We met him in the first half of Season 3 at the Halloween party. Austin, Collin's girlfriend's brother," Tarlov reveals. "He's kind of a little off and doesn't really get social cues so he's going to start pursuing Sadie and she's not going to know how to deal with it. She tries to be mean to him and he doesn't really get it. Plus, he's super cute."
This courtship won't be a smooth ride, as Sadie's best friend Lissa presents a complication. "Lissa's going to develop a crush on Austin that's going to catapult Sadie even further into going for what she genuinely wants," Tarlov says.
As well as a new boy, get ready to see more of Sadie's messed-up home life and how that affects her. "We'll see more of her family that's abandoned her. Her mom comes back and there will be a bombshell dropped on her with that," Tarlov says. "She'll be really vulnerable. The thing with Sadie is that she always wants attention but she doesn't want anyone to really see her. We'll see her grappling with that a little bit."
"Awkward" Season 3B premieres Tuesday (Oct. 22) at 10:30 p.m. ET on MTV.