'Awkward' Boss: Jenna's 'Love Triangle Between Matty and Jake Is Done'
"The turns we are creating for season three are going to be very surprising and I think there's a redefining of these characters," executive producer Lauren Iungerich told reporters following the season finale Friday morning.
Jenna's (Ashley Rickards) decision on MTV's Awkward was clear: It's all about Matty.
Though fans made their Matty (Beau Mirchoff) or Jake (Brett Davern) allegiances known, for Awkward boss Lauren Iungerich, the choice between the two was clear.
"I always knew it was going to be Matty at the end of the season," she told reporters on a conference call Friday morning. "She's listening to her gut. As much as she did fall in love with Jake, she hadn't really fallen out of love with Matty. When the opportunity presented itself for her to be kind and clean in her decision-making, I think she had to go with her gut."
But by the end of the season finale, viewers may have thought Jenna was already questioning her decision to go with the jock. But Iungerich was adamant that her hesitation had nothing to do with her romantic life.
"It had nothing to do with Jake or the boys, in the sense that it's now the hunt is always better than the kill, so to speak," Iungerich said, admitting that Jenna's story line reminded her own past experience. "Here she is, she's finally gotten the guy she's been pining over from that summer, and it's the idea of OK, she's just given up this opportunity and this trip to go to Europe and have an experience and she's sacrificing that to stay with Matty. Is that really what she needs? ... For two seasons, it's always been about the boys and now the conversation is turning to her."
Iungerich was asked whether Jenna would regret her Matty choice when season three -- the writers are "knee-deep" in season three story breaks, "almost halfway through" the 20-episode order -- rolls around, and she was coy in her responses.
"She's in a relationship with Matty," Iungerich reaffirmed. "Season three is about who do I want to be and it's a question of not who you are but where you want to go as a person and junior year helps you figure that out. It's the Thursday night of high school, that's what junior year is."
And unlike the first two seasons, which featured Jenna caught in a love triangle with Jake and Matty, that is no more.
"The love triangle between Matty and Jake is done," Iungerich said. "We're not playing with that anymore in the show. Now that she's in a relationship, there's a lot of drama and conflict and confusion that arises, trying to figure out who you are as a person and also who you are as it pertains to the relationship you're in."
What does this mean for Jake now that the triangle is dead in the water? Answer: He's moving onto Jenna's best friend Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed).
"He is still very much a part of the universe and is connected. He is Matty's best friend and he has become a friend to Jenna so I don't want to give it away because it's so fun what we've decided to do to bring back in season three and what we're doing with him," Iungerich said. "He is a crucial part of the show still and he becomes a crucial part of Jenna's arc in season three -- but not from the romantic point of view."
She added: "There's definitely something we're exploring with Jake and Tamara, for sure."
For Iungerich, season three takes the show "into another realm" and exploring more of "who Jenna is as a person and getting back to the things we played in the first season, but now she has a lot of experience to draw from as she makes decisions."
"The turns we are creating for season three are going to be very surprising and I think there's a redefining of these characters because it is junior year," she said. "They're all going to go through a redefinition of who they are."
Additional season three arcs and teases from Iungerich:
- The Mafia came between Ming (Jessica Lu) and Fred's (Kelly Sry) relationship and there will be hell to pay. "The Mafia is back in season three in a real fun way." Yes, "revenge is a bitch. It's so fun what we have planned."
- "We are introducing some new characters that will be strong recurs that are part and parcel of the long-form arc as well as Jenna's story line as well as Sadie's (Molly Tarlov) story line."
- Clark (Joseph Haro), the anonymous commenter, will not be appearing in the early portion of season three (for now, at least), but Iungerich is hoping "to find ways to work him into the show," but he will not be "a big part of Jenna's decision-making process."
- Ricky's (Matthew Fahey) "very fluid in his sexuality," "trying things on." And "unlike Jenna, Ricky Schwartz is open. We have some really fun stuff in store that is too spoilery [to share]. I can promise you he's not gay. The makeout with Clark ... it just sort of happened."
- For Lacey (Nikki DeLoach) and Kevin (Mike Faiola), things may look great on the outside, but there could be some trouble ahead: "Things are on a good path for them. Kevin still doesn't know that she kissed Ben (Kris Polaha), but Jenna does, so therein lies a potential conflict." Could Ben return? "I have a really cool idea of how to bring him back."
Awkward returns for season three next year.