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Ashley Rickards teases new season of 'Awkward'

June 28, 2012|By Yvonne Villarreal
  • Brett Davern, left, as Jake with Ashley Rickards as Jenna and Beau Mirchoff as shirtless Matty of MTV's "Awkward."
Brett Davern, left, as Jake with Ashley Rickards as Jenna and Beau Mirchoff… (MTV )

OMG, guys. Thursday marks the return of MTV's "Awkward" for its second season. Obvi, we're just as uberklempt as you.

Last season saw Jenna finally DTR (define the relationship) with Matty ... by going for his BFF Jake. Ouch! And not to totally hit shuffle on the subject, but poor Jenna also found out that the author behind that hurtful letter that haunted her all season was her own mother. Drah-ma!

Ashley Rickards, who plays Jenna, spoke to Show Tracker about the show's sophomore season -- "I cant wait for the viewers to see it and react." Read on to find out which male costar earned brownie points with Ashley, what high school-set show she was a fan of growing up, and why she's not on Facebook anymore.

ST: Let’s just get right to it: How do you think Team Matty fans are going into this season, now that you've made your choice in the Team Matty vs. Team Jake duel?

AR: I think Matty fans should not be apprehensive about this new season. I have this philosophy 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 just turned 16, and I think that can be a hard concept to understand. It takes time and it takes maturity and it takes making the wrong decisions and it’s nothing against her or what she’s doing. There’s still a love triangle, it’s just in a different aspect and a different light. You know, can she be friends with Matty, obviously there’s new secrets being kept this season. It’s just more complicated, but it’s still there.

ST: You’ve already wrapped the season—what can viewers expect as the episodes roll out?

AR: I would descibe it as surprising, funny, more dramatic, and there’s a particular episode in which — please quote me on this, this is no exaggeration whatsoever — but you will see Jenna in a completely different light than you could ever imagine. You see her in a few different lights in one epsiode in every way you can imagine.

ST: What do you mean?!?!

AR: I can’t go into detail. But I think it’s going to be a fan favorite episode. It was the most fun episode to shoot by far. It was unbelievable. It’s hilarious and introspective and dramatic. It’s a great episode. The whole network and Lauren [Iungerich, the show's creator] would find me and slit my throat if I said anything more about it.

ST: Is it an episode toward the beginning of the season or the end?

AR: Toward the end. Gotta save some of that for the end.

ST: Why not just have Beau Mirchoff [Matty] shirtless all season? I mean, what is up with Beau being shirtless in these promotional materials. I feel like a perv when people pass by and see them on my desk.

AR: You know, there are some times in my life where I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what’s going to happen and either I need a Twix or I need Beau to stand by me and take off his shirt and just distract me. And, so, people may wonder why he has his shirt off, but not only does he have an amazing body that obviously everyone around the country is in love with, but he’s also, behind that, an amazing actor with incredible depth. He could have, even without that natural talent, he’s so good looking — even if he sucked, he could have an amazing career. But he is so good. He is so talented, it’s unbelieveable.

ST: So then you’re obviously Team Matty, right?

AR: Um, as far as the characters go, I’m team Switzerland.

ST: Come on!

AR: That’s the truth. As far as the characters go, I’m team Switzerland because I feel that both boys have amazing qualities. If we could put them into one hybrid, it’d be perfect. In terms of personally, in real life, I mean, I was very sick one day and Brett Davern [who plays Jake] came to my door, brought me Vitamin C and chicken soup and hung out with me and watched TV with me.

ST: What did you guys watch?

AR: I don’t know. It was probably some chick show on TLC. He earned major points with me on that one.

ST: Let’s talk about someone who lost major points with Jenna: her mom. What are we going to see happen there, now that Jenna knows Lacey was the one who wrote the awful note?

AR: What viewers will get to witness is, I think, a really important facet of, not only being a female teenager, but being any teenager. A mother always has a special relationship with their child, but during those years it can be very confusing and hard to deal with. There’s a lot of struggle and, from an outside perspective, Lacey is a child adult. She did what she thought was the best thing. From Jenna’s side, it’s the predicament of trying to find out why someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally would write one of the meanest things that you've ever read. There’s just so many “whys” and Jenna is an intropective person so she’s trying to break it down and analyze it. This season you get to see her and Lacey go through the stages of grief, essentially: there’s denial, there’s anger, there’s sadness, there’s confrontation, and then there’s acceptance. And with that acceptance, there are people in the periphery who suffer some consequnces.

ST: How does your high school experience compare to Jenna’s? I read you are a member of Mensa?

AR: Yes, I am a member of Mensa. I graduated high school at 15. I didn’t do a GED or equivalency test. I went through the courses at hyper speed with a curriculum and a school that was willing to sort of go along with that. I graduated early. It was very education-focused. I learned Polish and was fluent in that for a bit. The reason my high school experience was like that was, No. 1, I wanted to be an actress and certain legalities work in your favor when you’re a high school graduate. And, No. 2, I was bullied severely in elementary and middle school, and everyone said that high school was the worst and I had no intention of continuing that torment. Recently ... I had just finished filming a scene with Molly Tarlov [who plays bully Sadie Saxton] and I was home and I was really in my head about this one bully, in particular, from elementary school. I’m usually really good at letting things go, but at that moment I was tuned in to my character’s emotions and knew a name to put those feeling toward so I -- over Twitter so all my followers could see -- I linked her Twitter handle and told her I forgave her for everything and what she did made me stronger.

ST: Did she respond?

AR: Oh, god, no. And I feel bad now because I didn’t think it through enough. I certainly hope she didn’t get any backlash from that. That was not my intention. I just sort of acted impulsively with good intentions. But that’s sort of a look into my high school experience. So it was nice to be able to go on set and live vicariously through Jenna. When things get awkward or too painful, they yell cut so it’s amazing! Then I go over to craft service. It’s great.

ST: Well, this season, we also see that someone is commenting on Jenna’s blog, which freaks her out a bit. Is this going to be the mystery this season — who’s commenting?

AR: It’s definitely the mystery this season. But it’s something that Jenna doesn’t even know how to deal with because her blog is her internal thoughts and she’s always been 100& honest with that. She bares her sole. The blog tells the whole story and the complete truth — not even her friends know the complete truth.

ST: But why does she even have it public in the first place?

AR: She’s used to being this overlooked underdog. She just figured no one was ever going to see it. It was just for herself. I used to do stuff like that on Facebook — when I had a Facebook. I had, like, 300 friends and then something that I said on Facebook would be blasted all over the Internet the next day. You forget that you're never really private, no matter what your privacy settings are! And for Jenna, she's really grappling with the fact that her soul is now on the Internet and someone has read it and she has no idea who it is.

ST: And your character recently got a Facebook page of her own.

AR: She did! I'm so excited about it. I can't tell you. And I'm jealous that Lauren is penning it. She has an amazing, unique voice, though. It's such a fine art. I wouldn't dare mess with that. That being said, I would love to be a part of writing some status updates. But I think it would be obvious if it's me. I'd be writing about how the fog pulled into the porch as past memories darkened over my soul.

ST: Are we going to see any new phrases or acronyms this season. Last season really expanded my vocabulary. This is how I stay hip with the young folks.

AR: I have the biggest smile on my face right now. This goes in line with the episode that I said is going to blow everyone's mind. Because it's that episode, I can't say much about it. But you can write in little parentheses that Ashley had a huge smile on her face when you asked about it. 

ST: What high school-set shows did you enjoy growing up? Tell me "Beverly Hills, 90210" -- though, you were probably a baby when it came out. I know you were on "One Tree Hill," too ...

AR: Yeah, when I was high school age I was filming"One Tree Hill"and so I would wake up every morning and work out while watching reruns of "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Saved By the Bell." I like to date myself. I try to act like I was born in the '80s, but I totally wasn't. 

ST: Hey ... some of us were born then.

AR: No offense.


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Follow Yvonne Villarreal on Twitter: @villarrealy

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