April 16, 2013 11:56am PT by Philiana Ng
'Awkward' Season 3 Preview: Jenna Goes to a 'Really, Really Dark Place' (Video)
How awkward and uncertain can junior year be? Just ask the Awkward cast.
"The theme of the season is who do you want to be," star Ashley Rickards tells The Hollywood Reporter when she and her castmates dropped by the THR Cover Lounge. "[Jenna] spent two seasons trying to figure out who she wants to be, get the guy she needs who's right for her and figure out her place in the world."
When the 20-episode season three kicks off, Jenna finds herself entering a new phase in her romance with Matty -- which may or may not threaten what they've built thus far.
"She's navigating this new stage of a relationship with Matty," Rickards says, "and her and her mom [Lacey] are evolving. But at the end of the day she has to figure out if this person she's becoming is who she wants to be."
That season-long journey, introduced in a question by creative writing teacher Mr. Hart (Anthony Michael Hall), will force Jenna to "go to any length to figure that out." "In the end she goes to a really, really dark place the show's never gone before," Rickards hints.
The premiere will also unveil a budding relationship between Jenna's best friend Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) and former fling Jake (Brett Davern). That season two finale kiss in the car between the two? It was easily Reed's favorite moment of the season, Davern jokes, prompting Rickards to reply: "Humble over here, humble."
"We get to see where the romance led," Reed tells THR of the aftermath of the pair's summer Europe trip.
For his part, Davern tells THR that Jake is "really excited to be in a relationship that is fully open and out there, and they get to explore this very adult relationship that they think they're in."
Will it be awkward between Jenna and Tamara because of Jenna's romantic past with Jake? Not for the most part .
"Tamara and Jenna talked it out beforehand and came to an understanding and sort of got the go-ahead," Rickards says. "That being said, it doesn't mean it's going to be flawless and there won't be jealousy and awkward moments of course."
"There are a couple of weird awkward group dates that we go on," Reed teases. Davern echoed her point, saying, "[Jenna and Jake] have some inside jokes and stories that happened with just the two of them that get brought up when Matty and Tamara are around .. a little third and fourth wheel sometimes."
"Inside jokes, they seem so harmless but they kill," Rickards jokes.
Awkward premieres at 10 p.m. Tuesday on MTV.