AWKWARD.’s Nikki Deloach teases a heartwarming season finale
To gear up for tonight’s two-episode season finale of my current favorite comedy, AWKWARD. (tonight on MTV at 11/10c), I’ve been spending time chatting with the cast. Over the weekend, it was Jillian Rose Reed, who plays Jenna’s best friend Tamara. Yesterday, we posted the complete interview with Desi Lydic – Valerie, the best guidance counselor in the world.
Today, it’s all about family – I talked to Nikki Deloach (Lacey, Jenna’s mom) late last week, and she spilled as much as she can about tonight’s finale without giving too much away. Plus, we talked about Season 2, who she wants to work with more next year, and along the way, I think she offered me a job….
I could talk about this show all day long, I think.
Then you called the right people. The three of us [Jillian, Desi, Nikki] can also talk about the show all day long [laughs].
What I like about the show, right off the bat, it’s so relate-able, it’s something I can remember from my years in high school. What drew you into this show?
It was interesting. For most of us actors out here, for the majority of actors, we don’t just get offered roles [laughs]. I wish that was so. But, it came across my computer in the form of an audition, and I was like, Oh wow, this is interesting, and so well written, and so nuanced, and I am absolutely in love with this character. So I went in, and Lauren Iungerich, who is our executive producer/creator. She was sitting there on the couch, and I did my read, and she just looked at me, and said “Oh my gosh, you are her.” [laughs] I was so happy at that moment because as a person, I’m so Lacey. I’m just the opposite of who she is, you know? That meant that my work, I had done the right work. I was so happy because I was already so in love with Lacey. And then, I basically tested for MTV, and got the job, and it was a really good day, let me just say that.
It’s gotta be fun, hearing how different you are from Lacey, to play a character like this.
Yes! Incredibly different! I’m a Georgia, Southern girl, and I wear boots or bare feet, and I wear jeans and flannels. You know, I don’t have a 15 year old daughter, which is another thing to wrap your mind around. I’ve worked really hard my whole life. Lacey doesn’t have a job. We’re just so opposite that I think, the thing that I connect with her about, is her intentions, her heart. Just a person who feels like she has lost a lot in life, and is really trying to find her way back to who she is. And she does that, a lot of the times, through her daughter, as a lot of mothers do.
So many other shows could have taken this a different route where all Lacey cares about is living vicariously through Jenna, and nothing else. With this show, Lacey does all the crazy living vicariously through Jenna because she wants her daughter to have what she didn’t.
Absolutely. Lacey got pregnant at such a young age, such a young age, that I feel like, a lot of kids at that age, if they happen to get pregnant, you feel like something is taken away from you, and it’s really hard to say, and it’s really hard to address that. I feel like having a character like that, that is so nuanced, is so kind of real and throwing her the parties, and a dress, and the outfits, this was kind of the way that Lacey was handled by her mom, in a way, in terms of like, how she looked and what she wore, and that’s the stuff that her mother focused on. But unlike her mother, I think Lacey kind of wants to be better than what her mother was to her. And to try to be a part of Jenna’s life. This is just the only way she knows how right now. She doesn’t have the tools to be a different kind of mom.
What can you tease for what we’ll see in the finale for Lacey?
Ohhhh! I have to tell you, lady, that there is this amazing scene that takes place between myself and Jenna, or between Lacey and Jenna. It’s just this moment that every daughter yearns for, I know I did, as a 15 year old kid, and I still do. From my mother, and it’s just this moment where the mother finally realizes what a special, amazing child that she has, and that she can be a better mom, and she can be that mom that her daughter really needs her to be. And the acknowledgement of that for Jenna. For me, the scene makes me feel like that 15 year old girl, that’s looking up at my mom, and all I want her to do is to accept me, and love me. And know how special I am? I think no matter how old you get, if you’re a daughter, you want to hear this. And if you’re a mother, you hope you get to say it.
The show handles relationships so well. I think it’s a testament to Lauren, and how the cast plays it. The show plays for dramatic tones so well, too.
It does! Lauren is so brilliant. She is so incredibly brilliant, how she has gone about these characters, how she goes about each and every story, and how she ties it all up in the end. I just can’t wait for people to see these last two episodes. The one thing that separates us from other teen shows, especially teen shows are comedic, is that we’re not afraid of the drama, we’re not afraid of the tears. Being a teenager is about both. You cry just as much as you laugh, you know? You actually need to be able to laugh about the stuff that you’re crying about [laughs]. I think that’s why the show just resonates with people so much is that, Lauren understands the heartbreak of a teenage girl, and that the heartbreak never really leaves you. You always remember it. No matter how old you are, whether you’re 15 or whether you’re 42, or whether you’re 60, there’s something to relate to because you know, you never forget it.
What would you love to see ultimately for this character, beyond the season finale and going into the next season?
I would love to see how Lacey deals with basically, kind of this revelation, about her daughter, about about being a better mother than her daughter was. You know, Lacey had a mom that was gone a lot, and she wasn’t really there for her. So she’s trying to basically, with her overbearingness, she’s very well meaning, but inappropriate, and overbearing. She’s trying to be more than her mother was, and she’s trying to get it right, and she never seems to be able to. I think now, with this like, revelation, of not trying to be her mother, and trying to be better than that, and realizing what a special gift that she has with her daughter, even thought she lost a lot in the process of her own life, she gained so much more. I would like to see what she does with that, in the relationship with Jenna. And also, I’d like to see her come into her own a little bit. Lacey doesn’t have a job. I would like to see what she does with that. Trying to find a job, trying to find a place in the world. I think the real great thing, about the parallel between Lacey and Jenna, is that they are both kind of trying to figure out where they fit in, and where they belong. And they’re taking these journeys together. Lacey learns a lot from Jenna in that sense. So I’d like to see Lacey figure out where she belongs in Season 2. And maybe she gets even more involved in her daughter’s life, as she tries to be a better mother. I would really love to see her get really super involved in her love life [laughs] and maybe even involved in her school functions. You know? I would also like to do more scenes with the character of Valerie, because I think Lacey and Valerie together would be hilarious, because they’re the two adults on the show that love Jenna, but cannot seem to give her the appropriate advice [laughs]. I think it would be interesting to see Lacey’s Matty McKibben from high school come back.
That would be great. It would be great to have a flashback to where it all started. We wouldn’t have Jenna without your character’s high school career.
Yes! That’s exactly what Lauren and I were just discussing. Look at you, you wanna come write for our show? [laughs] We were just talking about how in Season 2, how great it would be to really see like, how Lacey and Kevin were in high school, to do the flashbacks, them at the bonfires, and who was Lacey’s Matt McKibben, and if it was Kevin. Did she realize that he was the guy for her, and he was her Matty McKibben, or was there a Jake?
As a fan of the show, where do you fall on Matty vs Jake, and what about Lacey, though I don’t know that she knows much about what’s going on there with Jenna and the boys ha!
I think Lacey’s just happy that her daughter is dating [laughs]. You know what, I think from my character’s perspective, I think Lacey is thrilled about the fact that she’s dating the most popular guy in school, which is Matty McKibben, but at the same time, I think as a mother, she would want her daughter with a guy who honors and adores her, and treats her really well, and at the same time, who her daughter feels really safe with, and really loved. And I don’t know if we’ve really figured that out yet. I don’t know. It would kind of be interesting to play the fact that maybe somebody else comes into the picture in season 2, so what happens to Matty and Jake then? Maybe her mom finds that guy [laughs]. That would be disaster waiting to happen.
I have a horrible theory about the letter that I go back and forth on all the time. I always feel like Lacey was somehow involved in the letter.
You think Lacey was involved in the letter? [laughs]
I don’t know. There are so many characters that could have done it, at one point, it was just like, have we explored that possibility yet?
[laughs] How awful would that be? Oh my gosh! The great thing about the whole letter situation is that Lauren kept it so secret. Very, very, very few people know about the letter situation, and I think we’ll all be sitting there with bated breath, waiting for that scene to happen.
I can’t wait – people talk about the show, and it starts with “Who wrote the letter”, “Team Jake/Team Matty” and then people bond over their love of the show.
Yeah I know! It’s so genius. It’s so genius how the series is not about the letter, but yet there has been this looming thing over the entire series from episode 1, that Lauren is going to tie together at the end. I just think she did such a brilliant job with the arc of this entire season. I’m going to be sitting right there with you, just holding my breath, and seeing how this all goes down.
We’ll all have to tweet about it Tuesday night!
Oh my gosh, please tweet about it! You and I girl, let’s do it!
I’ve been a fan forever, like, since THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB days!
No way! Thank you so much. I can’t even tell you how much that means to me. You get into this business when you’re a little kid, and you have these dreams of like, “maybe one day I’ll win an Oscar,” or whatever, and then you get into the business, and you’re like, “maybe one day I’ll just be a working actor.” [laughs] You realize how hard this is, so when you hear someone say that they’ve loved something that you did when you were a kid, or they’ve supported your career, or they love AWKWARD., whatever that is, it really means the world to somebody who has been really trying to put one foot in front of the other in this business for a long time.