The end of senior year is upon us. Well, not us, but the kids of Palos Hills High School. And, well, not the actual end, but the looming threat of it.
Awkward is raising the stakes in the second half of season four—premiering Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. on MTV—with an evil girlfriend and a possibly fake pregnancy, all of which are dealt with in the midseason premiere. With so much on the line for Jenna’s (Ashley Rickards) on-again, off-again boyfriend Matty (Beau Mirchoff), we thought it wise to get Mirchoff’s take on what’s in store for Matty when the ski trip is all over and Eva is—hopefully—out of the picture.
EW: As far as Matty’s search for his birth parents is concerned, is there a major tone shift this season, like the ‘Bad Jenna’ phase?
BEAU MIRCHOFF: It’s quite analogous to that. There’s of course a lot of humor, as there always is, but there are some dark scenes and peculiar moments that arise. There’s definitely a whole scope of feelings that arise for Matty. Maybe initially he’s not okay with it. I think he’ll experience the whole spectrum. First you deny, then you accept it… it’s like stages of grief that Matty is probably going to have to deal with the hard way.
Will he find an answer by the end of the season?
First and foremost, he realizes that high school is ending and he has to do something for the rest of his life—he wants to go to a good school and finish high school well so he can get into a good college. However, he’s kind of just bombarded with everything that’s been going on in his personal life with his relationships and his family. He’s really lost. He doesn’t know what to do. He has no one to guide him through it, either. He feels very isolated and alone. So yeah, I think as the second half of the season progresses, he starts to realize his priorities and put them in order and everything kind of aligns for him. He has more clarity with what he should be doing.
Eva, Eva, Eva. How does Matty approach this awful topic at the top of the season?
Like Wile E. Coyote. Ostensibly, he’s on the outskirts looking in. He’s kind of playing it cool but also playing the dumb guy. He seems like he doesn’t really know what’s going on and he’s just rolling with the punches, but I think Matty’s a little more sly than he lets on, and he’s calculative as well. He’s noticing something… the stars aren’t aligning. Something’s going on. Mars is in retrograde.
Assuming Eva is eventually out of the picture, would that pave the way for Matty and Jenna?
He would be a free agent. He’s looking good, he’s feeling good. There’s a lot of girls at Palos Hills, untapped resources. But I think Matty loves Jenna and I think he’s probably forgiven her. I don’t think it’s over for Matty and Jenna by any means. I’d like to see them together at some point, if Jenna really has changed, because everyone makes mistakes.
How much story is left for these characters after graduation?
I think there is more story to tell. Some things reach conclusions and some things are left open-ended at the end of the season. That being said, I do think there’s that transitional stage between the end of senior year and college; that’s really an interesting time. For me, everyone was still home for a month or six weeks before they went to college, and it’s a cool time to be with your friends. And who knows? We could introduce some more characters. Matty’s family storyline could thicken. But I think there is more story to be told. It could end. I think there could be a way to end it, but I think there is more story to be told if we want to.
What is your interaction with fans like? As one-half of a very on-again, off-again couple, I imagine you might get some angry people who yell at you to stay with Jenna.
Everyone’s really nice. I very seldom get any rude comments, and if they are, they’re not said maliciously. People do seem to be on Jenna’s side when it comes to the Matty and Eva thing, though.
I always feel so bad for Matty though. Jenna is the worst to him.
I know. I kind of agree with you. I definitely agree with you. But fans are very positive.
What do the last few months of high school have in store for the rest of the characters?
I think it’s a collective freak-out about the future. I think on the surface everyone’s getting excited, but at the same time people are sad and ambivalent and unsure what the future holds. I think there’s a part of everyone that wants to stay in high school forever and I think kids at Palos Hills will feel the same.
I feel like there’s an allure to scenes involving pep rallies, homecoming, etc. Are those fun to shoot?
They’re horrible to shoot! They’re awful, because there are so many people, and it takes all day, and it’s three in the morning, and you smell, and now it’s your turn, and you’re sweating, and now you don’t feel like doing it. [Laughs]
Is there anything from set you’ll want to take after graduation?
I’d like to get a letterman jacket! Matty’s never worn one in the show. That would be cool. Or the Wheel of Pep. Do you remember that from the first season? The Wheel… of …Pep! From the pilot episode. That thing would go well in my living room.