Awkward‘s Matty is kind of a question mark. It’s never obvious whether he’s going to be really sweet to sort-of girlfriend Jenna or completely ignore her in public. We don’t know much about his family. And he keeps secrets from his best friend. Luckily, Beau Mirchoff was able to shed some light on his character during a recent chat with TVLine.
The actor also previews this week’s new episode (airing Tuesday at 11/10c on MTV), the Matty/Jenna/Jake love triangle, and the introduction of his onscreen bro. Mirchoff even gave us the answer to Awkward‘s biggest mystery. No, not who does Jenna end up with, but what’s up with the armpit sniffing?
TVLINE | The show has been compared to everything from My So-Called Life to Juno to Freaks and Geeks to Daria. And creator Lauren Iungerich said she was inspired by John Hughes. Are you a fan of these programs and movies? Did you draw any inspiration from them?
I am a fan of all of those. I think they’re very creative and smart and good programming. I don’t know if I used them for inspiration. The material was already in that fashion, so when I went to prepare for the work, I wasn’t trying to be like Juno. But I think it just sort of came out.
TVLINE | Matty is slowly revealing bits and pieces about himself. What’s surprised you the most about him?
He’s thoughtful. He’s more sensitive than all [his] friends think. That’s become more evident as more episodes have aired, and it will continue to become apparent. It doesn’t surprise me, but that’s what drew me to Matty right off the bat. He’s not your typical jock – not that there’s anything wrong with a typical jock. He cares about people. He loves his family. He’s a cool guy. At the end of the day, he wants to do well. He wants people to like him.
TVLINE | He has these really genuine moments of emotion and sweetness, mostly with Jenna, and then he goes back to being more aloof. Why do you think he’s holding back both with Jenna and in his own life?
Matty’s just young. He’s 16 years-old. He’s figuring everything out for the first time. He’s never been in a relationship, and he’s more self-conscious than everyone thinks. Jenna’s not in his clique, so he’s a little apprehensive to tell the world of his affection. He likes where he is in his life. He doesn’t want things to change. Matty is a little afraid of change and [the question of], “What if I’m not perceived in the same light if I start this relationship with Jenna?” I think he’s trying to figure that out. Hopefully, sooner rather than later he’ll realize that he really cares about her and what other people think doesn’t matter. But that’s hard to think when you’re in high school.
TVLINE | So when he told her he’s not ready for a relationship, was that an excuse because he’s scared?
Maybe it was a little bit of an excuse, kind of hiding his feelings a little because he’s not ready to be in a relationship. He’s not. He’s not ready to tell the world that it’s just me and her. He’s just figuring everything out.
TVLINE | What can you tease about this week’s episode?
[There's a play] Dead Stacy. Matty’s not involved in the play. It’s a production the school puts on every year to explain drunk driving and stop kids from drinking and driving.
TVLINE | Matty’s brother, James, is being introduced soon. What’s their relationship like?
More contentious now than it was. Back when [Matty] was younger and [his brother] was in high school, he was the golden boy. Everybody loved him. He was smart, funny, athletic. [Matty] idolized him. He was everything to me. Still is everything to me. When [he] graduated from high school, things derailed. He changed. That’s where we’re at now. [Matty's] a little embarrassed of him [and] a little disappointed in him.
TVLINE | Is Matty going to take matters into his own hands to prevent Jake and Jenna from growing even closer?
Yes. Well, he uses some tactics. I don’t want to say too much. He took Jenna for granted. Or he thought she would always be there for him, and then he realized, “Oh wait, she’s not always going to be there for me. I want her back.” There’s some pretty funny stuff in the next couple episodes.
TVLINE | Is he ever tempted to just blurt out the truth to Jake?
I don’t think Matty’s ready to do that quite yet. He’s more secretive than you think. He doesn’t even tell his best friend his secret. So no, I don’t think Matty’s going to tell him quite yet.
TVLINE | How are you feeling about where the season ends?
I think the last episode is the best episode of the season. It’s really good. … It’s sad. It’s exciting. It’s scary. A lot of different emotions going on in that episode. … Your heart starts to race a little at the end.
TVLINE | I have to ask… What’s with the armpit sniffing?
[Laughs] It’s a nervous tick. That’s pretty much it. I don’t do it as much as the season progresses. When people are nervous, some people move around. Some people scratch their leg. Matty sniffs his armpits.