When "Awkward" debuted in the summer of 2011, it quickly became one of MTV's first successful scripted series, earning praise from critics and fans alike for its smart take on the teen dramedy genre.
"Awkward" (Season 2 premieres Thurs., June 28, 10:30 p.m. ET) centers on high school social outcast Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards). In Season 1, Jenna became the object of all gossip circles at school after an accident was misconstrued as a suicide attempt, all because she'd received a "carefronation" letter about the state of her social status, signed by "A Friend."
But the unfortunate situation actually gave Jenna some high-profile attention from two very popular boys, Matty (Beau Mirchoff) and Jake (Brett Davern), who happen to be best friends. When we last saw them in the Season 1 finale, Jenna had chosen Jake, who wasn't ashamed to let the rest of the school know how he felt about her, unlike Matty. She also discovered that it was her mother (Nikki Deloach), who had her as a teenager, that wrote the notoriously mysterious "carefrontation" letter.
What will happen when Jake finds out about Jenna and Matty's history? How will Jenna confront her mother about the harsh words she wrote that changed her life? Who else is hooking up in Season 2? "Awkward" star Ashley Rickards previewed all that and more for HuffPost TV.
When we left Jenna in Season 1, she's pretty decided on Jake. Where do things stand between them when Season 2 kicks off?
Well, I have a philosophy about love that I think definitely applies to this scenario. I think that you never fall out of love with somebody, you just let go and move on. And I think at such a young age -- Jenna is 16 on the show -- it can be really hard to understand that concept. And I think she's struggling with some residual feelings for Matty while gaining some new amazing feelings for Jake. So Matty fans shouldn't be apprehensive about this new season. We still most definitely have a love triangle -- it's just obviously in a new light.
And the other problem is that Jake doesn't know what went on with Jenna and Matty. Is she going to be honest with him or is it going to come out from someone else?
I can't say too much about that, but in terms of last season, there were a lot of secrets going around -- between her not being able to tell anyone that Jake kissed her, between her and Matty being a complete secret. You know, this secret is still something that she has to struggle with. I mean, how do you tell somebody that you used to be with their best friend in secret before anything ever happened? She, in her mind, didn't have an opportunity to say that at the right time. And it's hard to say it the longer the time goes by.
At the end of Season 1, there was also the shocking discovery about her mom writing the "carefrontation" letter. I read that Nikki Deloach knew it was her character since her audition, but when did you find out?
I found out a week before and the rest of the cast knew nothing about it actually until it aired. It was super secret. It was a closed set. And so Nikki and Lauren [Iungerich, the show's creator] and I had a big secret we were taunting the rest of the cast with.
What did you think when you found out?
I thought it would add a lot of dynamics this season, especially since this is somebody that you're forced to confront every day, that you live with, that you care about, that's supposed to care about you and treat you with unconditional love. And here they are, writing one of the meanest things you've ever received. And I think there's a lot to grapple with there: Why did she write this? Is there a better way that she could have said this? And it's just hurtful to know that somebody that you love and somebody that's supposed to care and protect you would hurt you to such an extent. And then keep it a secret.
How does Jenna handle it?
We go through the whole spectrum of how she's going to deal with this with her mother, from ignoring to talking on her blog to keeping more secrets because of that. I can't get into the details because I don't want to tease too much, but there's a lot that's gonna happen. The secrets get bigger and worse and affect more people -- there's a lot of collateral damage because of this one thing that Lacey did.
Can you tell us about the new characters in Season 2? In Episode 2, we meet Becca, the head of the school's Asian mob of sorts. She is pretty hilarious.
Yeah, there are some new characters. It's still the same show. We didn't recast the whole thing. But Becca was definitely really fun. Some of the production assistants -- it's their job to sort of follow you around and keep tabs on you -- and I was joking around that one of them was starting to become a Becca with me. So it's a really fun character ... the cast, if somebody is a little too close to them on the street, they're like, "That's a Becca."
That's so funny. She's horrifying and hilarious at the same time. Sadie's "you're welcome" also really caught on in Season 1. Will there be any new catchphrases or "Awkward"-isms in Season 2?
Yeah. There's an amazing episode, Episode 11 I think, the fans are going to lose their minds about. I can't tease too much about it, but Jenna gets a catchphrase. And I'll say this much: You're going to see Jenna in a few different ways that you've never seen her before in every sense that you can imagine.
Wow. OK. That's saying everything ... and nothing at the same time.
Well, there's a very shocking hook up in the Season 2 premiere. Were you surprised about it? Was there anything else this season that really shocked you?
Well, there were a few surprising hook ups in in the first two episodes that I was shocked about. People are gonna get hurt because of those. People do get hurt because of those. There's realizations, there's self-deprecation, there's blame in those and there's manipulation and denial. To see those relationships progress throughout the season is pretty great. And again, Episode 12, there's a huge revelation on one of those characters. All the cast, our jaws dropped when we read it.
Can you say who?
Oh man! Are you finished filming Season 2?
Yeah, we finished filming Season 2 a few weeks ago. And I actually was doing an international promo shoot for it last night until like 3 a.m. and normally those kill me and I'm really tired, but we shot at an amusement park. So Brett, Beau and I were going around on go-carts, rowboats, rollercoasters, mini golf courses. I would just like to put it out there publically, even though I did announce this on Twitter, that I beat them and I'm a really good go-cart racer. I flipped both their cars around. And I talked to the go-cart manager and he said, "Your technique is prime." And I'm like, "Thank you. I know." But I'm not going to reveal it because I plan on go-carting with many more people and stripping them of their manhood.
Well, the world has been warned. It sounds like you guys need a school carnival so you can showcase your skills on the show.
Um, we need an episode where Jenna is some sort of horseback rider because I'm a competitive equestrian and I would love to show off some of my jumper skills. I'm pretty good.
Maybe some sort of dream sequence?
I feel like, just for the sake of me being happy, there should be.
Besides the go-carting and horseback riding, what else do you hope for Jenna in Season 2?
I would love to see Jenna explore someone else. And sort of deal with moving on from both the boys and starting over and exploring a new light of her confliction. I'd like to see her make some really bad choices that people make every day because they're confused. I mean, Jenna's very much human on the show. We get to see her internal dialogue, which is rare, and that's thanks to the great writing. And she makes human mistakes and she's not a caricature at all. But I would like to see her do some pretty horrible things and have to deal with them, because good people do bad things and I would like to be able to explore that with her.
What else can we look forward to in Season 2?
A lot more drama this season. It's gonna be a great season. I'm really excited. It's gonna be a fan favorite season and I had a lot of fun filming it. I wouldn't trade what I do for anything. I wake up at 3 a.m. to get to set by 5 and I do that because I want to give people that half hour when they get home to forget about their day and just laugh.
"Awkward" Season 2 premires on Thurs., June 28, 10:30 p.m. ET on MTV.
Check out "Awkward" Season 2 cast photos here: