This Thursday the much-buzzed about MTV comedy Awkward will return for its second season. Last week the folks over at The Paley Center for Media invited the cast and creator of this unique little show to participate in a special panel, featuring a screening of the first two episodes of the new season and a long, laugh-filled chat with an exuberant audience that, obviously, was filled with a lot of excited, young fans.
As always Rene Reyes, Director of Public Programming, welcomed the audience to the panel, inviting moderator Tanner Stransky, a writer from Entertainment Weekly, to briefly speak about the show. He shared that “this seems like a show that just came together perfectly” and that while he has visited the set of a number of TV shows there aren’t “too many shows that are this harmonious and (such) a fun place to be”.
He then introduced series creator Lauren Iungerich (pronounced You-Know-Rick), who made a heartfelt speech:
“I’m just gonna say something here because I’m never gonna get to be in (front of) an audience like this again. I just want to say a few thank you’s because that is who I am. First to MTV, without you (she then listed a number of people behind the scenes, including executive David Janallori) and Justin Levy. It started with you (Justin). Without you and your support, your understanding (of) what the show was from the beginning. You make me feel like I’m the most important person on your call sheet (that) this is the most important show to you – and I know you make all the other show runners feel that way – but I just want to say from the bottom of my heart, I couldn’t have done this without you. Then I just want to say there are three unsung heroes on this show that never get talked about in the press, (who) I couldn’t do (the show) without. They are the three producers on the show along with myself. Two of them began with me (since) the pilot. (First) Robert West, who is our line producer; (he is) the most gracious, biggest heart in the world. He brings our show (in) on budget, on time. He cares about the crew (because) we set out to make the show a family affair and we did that. I want to say you define what it means to be (a) producer. You are brilliant! (Second is) Steve Edwards, who is our supervising editor. Editors are so unsung. We (write) the show, this brilliant cast brings it to life and then Steve Edwards sprinkles fairy dust on it. It’s true, there are moments that weren’t there, we didn’t write it, we didn’t shoot it, (but) he builds it. You are one of the most talented editors in the business. I know I couldn’t do the show without you. You have made the show successful and you need to know it and you need to hear it from me. I love you! And last but not least, Erin Ehrlich, (who is) my partner in crime. She is one of the most brilliant writers in this town. Thanks for letting me steal you, underpaying you. We were having a really hard (time) last season in the writer’s room because I was getting married and I was crazy. When I said (to the network) I was directing the first episode (of season two, but) I didn’t finish writing the last three scripts, they (still) let me direct (the episode) and I promised them I would get those scripts in. They also let Erin direct the second episode (of season two), it’s her directorial debut. The fact that I get to work with one of my best friends every day is one of the best parts of my job. Thank you for telling me when it’s time to turn it down; actually it’s “dial it down”. One more shout out (is) to my husband who has allowed to let me live and breathe the show for almost three years. (He has allowed me) to talk (about) it at home all the time. I got married and went right back to work. I postponed our honeymoon and (then) he let me talk about the show on (our) honeymoon and email twice. You’re the reason why I can write such emotional heart because I have a true life real love story. You’re the only person in the world who can tell me to get over myself with such love. I wouldn’t be here without you because I couldn’t have done it without you”.
After screening the hilarious first two episodes of the second season, the cast of Awkward, along with Lauren, took the stage. The cast on the panel included Nikki DeLoach (Lacey), Brett Davern (Jake), Ashley Rickards (Jenna), Beau Mirchoff (Matty), Jillian Rose Reed (Tamara), Greer Grammer (Lissa), Mike Faiola (Kevin), Molly Tarlov (Sadie), Desi Lydic (Valerie) and
Jessica Lu (Ming).
Among the teases that were shared that night include:
• Jenna has chosen Jake, but she still has “residential feelings” for Matty; viewers will see a different side of Jenna in episode 11 of season two;
• Matty is “blinded by love” in his efforts to get Jenna back; he tries to get in between Jenna and Jake and “there is a finish line where he either gets Jenna back or he realizes it’s time to move on” and there could be a new love interest in the future for Matty;
• It is unclear whether Jake will learn the truth about Jenna and Matty’s relationship, but he “knows how to be a good boyfriend and his bromance with Matty “is as strong as ever”;
• Tamara will be seen in a future episode in “a full sequined unitard” and she’ll be dancing; and she and Ricky “are never going to work out, I don’t think ever”;
• The now famous snippy line by Sadie – “you’re welcome” – actually came from something Molly said before season one got started and it stuck; and Sadie might have romance in her future while “insecurities will be getting the best of her”;
• Ming will have a new enemy (so to speak) to deal with this season in the form of a member of the high school’s ‘Asian Mafia’ named Becca (guest star Jessika Van) [make sure to watch the second episode for Becca’s introduction]; “Ming literally goes through every emotion…by the finale, she’s a different person”; and she actually gets to go to a party;
• “Lacey has a lot of atoning to do” (she was writer of the letter that started all of Jenna’s problems in the first season) and “she has a lot of growing up to do”; also her portrayer (Nikki DeLoach) knew all along that she was the writer, having to keep it quiet since the very beginning;
• Kevin will “become more human in season two”, but it seems that he will get into some troublesome situations that may “paint him in a not-so-perfect” light this time around; and he (spoiler alert) will learn that his wife Lacey wrote the letter to Jenna;
• Lissa will spend time at church camp this season and will turn against Sadie; she will try to befriend Jenna; in fact, she “may be a little overeager in the friendship”; but they will “solidify their friendship” in the fourth episode;
• High school counselor Valerie “will be getting more responsibility”, but the viewers will have to watch and see if that works out or not; and things “could potentially move forward (in the romance department) between her and Mr. Mishra (guest star Sunkrish Bala); and,
• Season one of Awkward was about “Who am I?” in regards to Jenna while season two, according to Lauren, the series creator, will be about “Who should I be with?”; and if it can be believed, the show will have “more irreverent comedy and (have) more emotional gravity”.
Make sure to watch MTV this Thursday, June 28 at 10:30 PM to watch the season premiere of Awkward. [Additional source material provided by The Hollywood Reporter]