Like Awkward‘s Jenna, we have fallen hard — for her, Matty, Jake, Sadie and the rest of the colorful characters on the freshman MTV series. Alas, this Tuesday at 11/10c marks the end of Awkward‘s season as Jenna prepares for her first high school formal. But will she go to the dance with sort-of boyfriend Matty? Or will Jake finally win her over? And what’s in store for mean girl Sadie?
TVLine asked creator Lauren Iungerich to preview the special one-hour finale and give us some hints about Season 2. After dishing up some scoop, she also offered a little advice to all the viewers wishing the show was more than just a half-hour long.
TVLINE | How do you think Jenna has changed since the pilot?
She’s finally getting to a place where she’s not fighting, trying to change people’s opinions of herself. She’s getting to a place where she’s changing her opinion about herself. Like instead of trying to get other people to decide who she is, she’s decided who she is for herself, which has been a journey. Sometimes she’s there, and sometimes she’s not there. She’s getting to a place where she really is embracing the person that she is and getting comfortable in her own skin.
TVLINE | What can we expect from the one-hour finale?
I would say a lot of twist and turns. A lot of surprises. A lot of things come to head – her relationships with Matty and Jake and her feelings about herself, as well as the resolution to the letter.
TVLINE | Does the letter play a big part in the finale? Will we learn who wrote it?
It plays a big part. I will say that there are pieces in both episodes.
TVLINE | Where does Jenna’s heart stand when the finale starts?
Where it stands is, she’s with Matty. She’s finally gotten everything she wanted from him when the finale starts. He wants to be with her. … He’s still working it out, how to be a guy with a girlfriend, and I think that’s true for a lot of boys. It doesn’t come as easy as it does for girls. Matty is a really good guy, but he’s still uncomfortable in his skin whereas Jenna is more comfortable in her skin. That’s one of the things that he likes about her. Sometimes, she doesn’t see that herself, but he sees that about her. And with Jake, here’s a guy who is unabashed about how he feels. It doesn’t matter that Jenna has a stigma or that Jenna is a little bit on the outside. He’s always seen her as being really unique and interesting and he isn’t afraid to befriend her. The more he knows about her, the more he likes her. He’s not afraid to let her know. That’s the difference. Both the boys let her know how they feel about her; they just do it in different ways.
TVLINE | Is the parent test the next step in Matty and Jenna’s relationship?
I would say that’s a very good thought. You might see that in Episode 11.
TVLINE | The first part of the finale is setting up a big dance. Are there any particular school dance TV tropes we should watch out for?
I designed, wrote and directed the finale, so I designed it to feel very much like what it was like for me. There are such magical moments when you’re going to a formal, and this is Jenna’s first one, so that’s such a fun rite of passage when you’re a teenager. I try to make it feel as magical as my first formal. … The finale is probably the most romantic and heart-wrenching episode of the season.
TVLINE | Matty and Jake are keeping a lot of secrets from each other. Does that come to a head in the finale?
I would say it just extends the secret line a little bit further. I would say it’s still a secret.
TVLINE | Where did the “You’re welcome” thing come from?
That came from Molly [Tarlov]. We had all the actors into the writers’ room when we were writing the season to talk about their characters. Molly and I were saying something to each other, she said something really sassy to me, and after she said it, she said, “You’re welcome.” I just stopped there. I started laughing so hard, and I said, “That’s Sadie’s new tagline.”
TVLINE | You created these 12 episodes in a bubble. Going into Season 2, now that you’ve seen some of the fan reaction, are there certain things you want to change or play up?
The only thing that I have been thinking [about] that the fans have been asking for is to really delve more into the supporting characters and get to know them better. I agree with that. I think that show will have a better life if we spend more time with them and give them richer stories. Jenna will always be the eyes into the show, and she’s the glue that keeps the show together… but I think we can break out of Jenna’s world a little bit more and get to know the other characters and follow their journeys.
TVLINE | Will we see Matty’s brother again?
You’ll see Matty’s brother again in Episode 12, and he’s really fun.
TVLINE | Is there anything on your Season 2 wish list?
In Season 2, all I can say is it’s going to be more complicated. This love triangle is going to be juicier. Where we leave off in this season, I can guarantee you next season is going to trump it. My expectation is that we are just going to be digging deeper and really exploring the experience of growing up in a way that is so universally truthful, painful, and funny. We have a lot of places that we can go.
TVLINE | Has there ever been any talk of doing the show as an hour-long? People are always tweeting that they wish Awkward was longer.
I see that all the time, too. The network has never approached me about making Awkward an hour. I tend to think that comedy is fast and furious. I think the reason why people want more of it is because it’s working. The story is propelling and really working. If we turned it into an hour, we might put too much air in the stories and it might lose the obsessive qualities the fans are [enjoying] with the show. I would say to the fans to write the network and tell them to give us more episodes. They should give us a bigger order. If they give us a bigger order, then I could give them more episodes.