If you've seen the trailer for the second half of MTV's Awkward's third season, you may be feeling that Jenna's (Ashley Rickards) usual relatable teen angst is kicked up a notch into almost anti-hero territory. The girl who seemed so much more mature than those around her when we first met her as gradually proven to be just as messed up and insecure as all of them, and it's her time to spiral and make choices that her parents, her friends, and even some of her fans won't condone, which leaves those around her to step up and be the mature ones. And some of their responses-- especially that of her on-screen mother's (Nikki DeLoach) may surprise you!
"It gets pretty dark pretty quickly. But that goes back to what I feel is really authentic about the storyline, which is what I could relate to when I was a kid. I was a straight-A student, and then it seemed like a week later I was making all of the wrong choices that could have pretty severe consequences," DeLoach said when LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with her earlier this fall.
"Season three for Lacey has been about being the mother that Jenna never had and also being the mother that Lacey never had and figuring out what that looks like. She's been more concerned with trying to be her friend and trying to be liked than trying to be a disciplinarian or a parent. With that being said [though], she really hasn't had to be a disciplinarian for Jenna. She really is kind of stepping into her mommy power, and I don't think she ever realized she was going to be tested the way Jenna is going to test her in the back half of season three."
After Jenna's affair with Collin (Nolan Funk) is revealed not only to Matty (Beau Mirchoff) but all of her friends and family in one fail swoop, her actions prove to have consequences she doesn't want to face, and she rails against them. Her parents are somewhat helpless to respond at first, given that they are not used to stepping into her life in such a way.
"The two of them struggle a little bit with how to handle Jenna. It's uncharted territory for them, and what do you do when all of the skills you've learned on how to discipline your child are not working? That's what they're asking: 'What do we do? How do we fix this? Where did we go wrong?'" DeLoach said.
"I think it just adds to the layering that we're playing with this season of really seeing Lacey step up to the plate as a mother, and it's just a callback to what we've been saying about Lacey since the very beginning. She wants nothing but the best for her daughter. She doesn't want her daughter to run through a brick wall or make bad choices or to fall flat on her face. And in past seasons it's been really silly things like 'Look pretty; I want you to look your best' or 'Date the captain of the football team because that's what you deserve'. It's been more superficial things. But this season when she really starts to run into the brick wall, Lacey steps up to the plate, and she's the one who says 'Absolutely not, I'm not going to let you do this.' I do think that makes her more of a hero in the eyes of the audience."
Since there are only ten episodes to tell this more-serious-than-ever story, things progress very quickly. But Awkward is still a comedy at its core, and DeLoach noted that the other characters-- including her own-- do have lighter, quirkier stories that will "let our audience breathe," too. For DeLoach's Lacey, those moments come in the form of her friendships with both Val (Desi Lydic) and Aunt Ally (Barret Swatek).
"There's a lot more stuff with Lacey and Val in the back ten, which is super fun! Episode 19 is very heavy on that relationship and is one of my favorite episodes of the entire season three. It's so funny, and it was so much fun to shoot. I'm hoping that the fans love that," DeLoach said.
"And then we bring Aunt Ally into the fray. Of course she has drama, but it's lighter drama; it's Ally drama. We don't want to leave our audience on a down note. It is a comedy, and the Jenna storyline might feel heavy, but along the way there's the usual other quirky characters, so by the end, yes we do let the audience breathe. There is light at the end of the tunnel in what I think is a beautiful episode for the last episode. It's really beautiful and really touching, and I love the poignancy that anything is possible in season four."
Awkward returns to MTV on October 22 2013 at 10:30 p.m.
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