Once a cheater, always a cheater, right? That's what many MTV Awkward cast members had to say back when it was Jake (Brett Davern) falling for Jenna (Ashley Rickards) even though he was dating Lissa (Greer Grammer). And now that it is Jenna who has cheated on her boyfriend Matty (Beau Mirchoff), the sentiment resonates that much stronger. Jenna's action sends ripples through her group of friends, and her reaction to everyone learning the truth only makes it worse. But there's one person still in Jenna's corner, and that's Matty's portrayer, Mirchoff himself. Mirchoff is willing to give Jenna the benefit of the doubt more than Matty may, and more than much of the audience may.
"He's kind of oblivious to everything that's going on with Jenna. He's hopeful. He knows that there's some things going on in her life, but he doesn't know the extent to which that is, so he throws this surprise party for her with all of her friends. He's really excited; it's this sweet and romantic thing to do, and then yeah, she walks in, kissing Collin, and it's very surprising," Mirchoff said when LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with him.
"At first he's angry, and then he lets some of this ruminate and he thinks he's at fault for some reason. I know a lot of people who will think they're at fault, that there's a reason why this happened to them, and Matty's [one of them]. He thinks he did something to warrant her cheating on him, and it's kind of sad, he kind of says 'Okay, what can I do to change?'"
But the thing is, Matty has already changed quite a bit-- at least, he's grown up. When we first met the puka shell necklace wearing kid in the pilot, he was the kind of guy who worried about his popularity and self-image above everything else. And that had him forgoing other people's feelings or senses of self-esteem. It seemed like perhaps because of Jenna he was able to get past that, though. She seemed so mature because she was so introspective, and that caused him to mature in order to be with her. But now he may have sprinted past her because she is still making selfish, somewhat childish decisions that leave those around her scratching their heads.
"Matty started out very unable to express his feelings and very immature in a lot of ways. You know, that first line in the pilot where he deflowers Jenna and says 'You're the shit, J-town, but no one can know we're together,' that's so awful! So that sentiment to what he is now is a breath of fresh air. That evolution and maturity has been nice, for sure," Mirchoff said.
"He loves her. He's willing to look past what they did. They just made out; he thinks it was just in the heat of the moment. I think that's maybe a mature thought process for Matty. He's not going to just go fight Collin; he's going to kind of look at the situation analytically and use logic and see if he can fix it."
Mirchoff pointed out that Jenna is looking for change-- she's looking to see what else is out there-- and she's just following what she "wants" to do as the right thing for herself in the moment, versus what may be right when others are considered or longer term. Mirchoff didn't want to fault her for this, and he also pointed out that she's in a rough place and may just be rebelling a bit.
"All of her friends are against her, but they haven't really asked or taken the time to get her side of it, and you know, Jenna hasn't had the greatest things happen to her, so she's kind of reacting, in a way to just kind of break free of what's going on in her life," Mirchoff said.
"Ultimately he loves Jenna. Even if they can't get back together, he still cares for her…so she continues to go down this path [of] rejecting her friends and doing things that are out of character, and he's able to look beyond their romantic relationship and help her as a friend."
So although your heart may have broken a bit for Matty when he discovered his girlfriend's indiscretion, he may have dodged a bullet by learning about it when he did. If she is going to spiral down a dark, self-destructive path, he can get out of the way instead of being dragged along into the drama with her. Of course it may take some time before Matty can see the silver lining (Mirchoff said "There will be a couple of episodes where Matty's just kind of sad and trying to get back on track"), but ultimately the change Jenna thought she wanted leaves room for new opportunities for Matty, too.
"There's some bro moments [though] Jake is still in a relationship with Tamara, so it's not like they can be two single dudes out on the town...There's definitely more Sadie and Matty. With Jenna out of the picture for Matty at the time being, he confides in Sadie. They have a lot to do together. Sadie's been a great friend for Matty, and she's someone he can talk to. Right now she's kind of that person for Matty," Mirchoff said.
"And a new character is introduced-- of the female variety. Once Matty deals with the initial stages of [Jenna cheating], he maybe goes looking for love again."
Awkward airs on MTV on Tuesday nights at 10:30 p.m.
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