'Awkward': Ashley Rickards Previews Monumental Finale and Reveals Season 3 Wishes (Q&A)
The MTV star chats with THR about her desires for Jenna (hint: be "more spontaneous"), exploring romance outside of Jake/Matty, the "do-over" episode and talks about a possible return to FX's "American Horror Story."
It's about damn time: Jenna finally makes her pick on Awkward.
Will it be Matty, the jock that popped Jenna's cherry, or Jake, the good-natured friend with a nice streak? The decision won't be known until the season finale, airing Thursday evening, and as star of the MTV series Ashley Rickards promised, Jenna will make her choice -- and it'll stick.
"If she picked neither, there's a very strong chance that I will be murdered within the following 48 hours after it aired from Team Matty or Team Jake fans," joked Rickards in previewing the finale with The Hollywood Reporter.
The witty, sarcastic and incredibly blunt Rickards spoke to THR about her favorite versions of Jenna in last week's "do-over" episode, how Jenna's friendships with Matty/Jake would change if she picked neither guy and the possibility of returning to FX's American Horror Story.
The Hollywood Reporter: In the "do-over" episode, we saw different ways Jenna's life could have played out should she have chosen different paths. What was your take on how people reacted to it?
Ashley Rickards: I think people are now terrified of Evil Jenna. It was defnitely part of my mission. It was fun to play all those different versions of her. Hands down, my favorite episode to shoot of that season.
THR: Which iteration of Jenna was your favorite?
Rickards: Big-boobed, mean girl Jenna was the funnest to play although weird things happened when I put on the pregnancy belly. First off, the fitting for that was interesting. I looked like I was Octomom, so we had to get a much smaller [belly]. When I put that on though, I remember we were shooting and they had an ice-cream truck on the set. I had five chocolate milkshakes and dipped my fries in it -- which isn't something I normally do. I was like, "Wow, I'm really under the impression that I'm really pregnant right now."
THR: The season finale will see Jenna reaching her ultimate decision in regards to Matty vs. Jake. I know you can't spill much, but what can you say in terms of how she reaches that point?
Rickards: As always, Jenna struggles with how much to be private and how much does she want be public. We leave episode 11 with her leaving a private phone call to somebody she knew was right, that she was following her gut on. She did what was right for her right at that moment. I'm under the firm philosophy that as long as you do what's best in that moment, you'll never have any regrets. If you do have any regrets in the future about your past, you have to remember that right then, it was what you wanted.
THR: Let's throw a hypothetical out there: Will Jenna's friendships with Jake or Matty change if she chooses neither?
Rickards: If she picked neither, there's a very strong chance that I will be murdered within the following 48 hours after it aired from Team Matty or Team Jake fans. They would find me and hurt me in a big way. [Laughs] If that were to happen, it'd be an interesting place to go for Jenna to pick neither. She could graduate early, like me, and become an actress. That's always an option -- or she could always go back to Twilight. We could just combine Awkward and Teen Wolf and have one 90-minute MTV show. Beau [Mirchoff's] pretty damn hairy to begin with, I don't think he'd have a problem being on that show. He has to shave -- and I'm not kidding you -- in the morning and then at lunch. He has a lot of testosterone, clearly.
THR: How would a single Jenna be different?
Rickards: A single Jenna would be a chance to focus on her own way of life and her own beliefs and her own ambitions, really focus on herself, friends and family. When people are single, that doesn't mean that they don't hook up with people, she could still [do that]; there could still be plenty of bra scenes. It wouldn't really change too much in the structure of the show at all. Though the last episode was about "what ifs," there were still lessons to be learned from each option.
THR: Could we see Jenna explore romance with another person that's not Jake or Matty in season three?
Rickards: I would love to see get her a new love interest. It'd be so interesting to see Jenna really separate from that and have a new love interest or have something else -- other than the pretty cemented love triangle. It'd be interesting to throw something else in the mix and maybe I'll start trending this: #insertteamnamehere.
THR: In the finale, Jenna prepares to go on a trip to Europe. How does she get that particular opportunity?
Rickards: Jenna recognizes that [it's is a good] opportunity. I wish I could speak in webdings because that'd be even more cryptic. Arrow, dot, hyphen -- that's what happens!
THR: With double the episodes in season three, what more could we explore about who Jenna is as a person?
Rickards: One of the beauties with this show is it's about Jenna. It's told through Jenna's eyes, it's told her blog and her voiceovers, and I think that provides a lot of subtle understandings of the character because it's not laid out there as fact. I'd love to see her, quite literally, explore her own interests. Does she like a sport? Is she really good at one? Does she like anything in the arts? What does she want to do with her life? Does she want to be a writer? Does she want to be a counselor? What does she want to do? I would like to see her balance that with her relationships because that's a whole different chapter in her life.
THR: Is there an aspect of Jenna's personality or makeup that you think she could improve on?
Rickards: I would love to see her work on being more spontaneous. Everything she does is very thought out and drawn out and explored. Of course, we need to do a lot of that, but I would like to see her make some crazy, off the cuff decisions. Either it turns out for good or it turns out for bad. If [the episode] could involve Jenna getting on a dirtbike, that'd be awesome.
THR: You appeared on FX's American Horror Story last season. Would you return if they asked?
Rickards: That was my first on-screen simulated urination. A big badge of honor, it's now a special skill on my resume. Ryan Murphy called me, wanted to make a spin-off about urination and we'll be sponsored by Depends. That didn't pan out. [Laughs] I did know what was going to happen [to my character] long before they started sprinkling it in public, but there's still five different ways my character could come back. If it means sponsoring Depends to do so, I'm totally there.
Awkward airs its season finale 10:30 p.m. Thursday on MTV.