All the drama and laughs of Season 1 of the MTV series Awkward have been leading up to the special one-hour season finale on September 27th. That explosive episode promises to answer the burning questions of who Jenna (Ashley Rickards) will choose – either her longtime secret crush, Matty (Beau Mirchoff), or Jake (Brett Davern), the guy who wants everyone to know he likes her – and who really wrote her that letter.
During a recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Beau Mirchoff talked about how he can relate to Matty McKibben, promised that hearts will be broken in the season finale, how he’s looking forward to further exploring his character in Season 2, and how dedicated everyone is to the show. He also talked about his role in the upcoming feature film The Secret Lives of Dorks, and said that he’s up for anything and everything that he thinks will be fun to try. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
BEAU MIRCHOFF: Exactly, yeah. I read the script and I remembered loving it. The pilot script was so good, and I wanted to go out on it, so I did. I thought the audition went great, but then I didn’t hear anything for three months. So, I finally got a call and I was like, “What?!” I guess the rest went pretty well.
When you read the pilot, were you able to identify with Matty from personal experience?
MIRCHOFF: I could totally relate to it. I remember actually liking a girl in high school who was kind of an outcast and weird, and people made fun of her. I remember hanging out with her, but I was apprehensive about telling anyone I really liked her. So, right away, I related to that part of it. Also, I’m very similar to Matty. When I read it, I connected to it because of that. I didn’t sleep with anyone in summer camp in the janitor’s closet, but I definitely can relate to Matty.
Without giving anything away, what can you say about what fans can expect from the Season 1 finale?
MIRCHOFF: Fans can expect a lot! There’s a winter formal dance, and Jenna (Ashley Rickards) picks her love – either Matty or Jake (Brett Davern). A choice is made and hearts are broken. I’ll just say that. You also may or may not find out who wrote the letter. All that comes to a head on the finale.
Were you surprised with the choice that Jenna made, or do you think she made the right choice?
MIRCHOFF: I don’t know. I don’t want to give too much away. Jenna went with her heart. We’ll go with that.
Having gotten to play this character for a season now, how do you see him? Are there things that have most surprised you about Matty, as you’ve learned who he is?
MIRCHOFF: Yeah. He’s finally starting to man-up with Jenna. In the beginning of this season, he definitely wasn’t ready to do that. He’s grown, in that sense. This is his first kind of love. He’s never been in a relationship, or been this open about a girl before. This is all new for Matty and he is developing, so that’s good to see. I don’t know if anything about him surprised me. The stuff with his brother (played by Zachary Abel) was surprising.
MIRCHOFF: Yeah, I think that’s huge. I think (show creator) Lauren [Iungerich] and her writers really are great. It’s not an easy thing to make dialogue sound authentic and real, and I think they do a great job. It’s also funny, too. That’s all kudos to them.
Has it felt challenging to tell this story in half-hour episodes, which are really only about 22 minutes with the commercials? Do you think the show has found a good balance of telling the story and furthering the characters, in such a limited amounted of time?
MIRCHOFF: There’s a lot going on in the half-hour, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of information getting thrown at you and not a lot of time to process it. Maybe if the season was a little longer, there might be more progression of the characters, but I think every character is developed quite a bit. If you look at where Matty has gone, from the beginning until now, that’s quite a bit, and they did it in a good way that didn’t seem forced. I think the charm is Awkward is that it’s half an hour. It’s fast-paced and it’s fun and it’s got energy. Maybe if it was an hour, it would lose a little bit of that, which I don’t know is a good thing. I think it’s great that, after you’re done with an episode, you want to watch more. That’s a good thing for audiences. As much as people are like, “Oh, make it an hour,” it keeps people watching. At the end of the day, that’s pretty key to keeping the show going. It just more difficult for the writers because every scene really has to count.
MIRCHOFF: It’s great! I’m best friends with Brett Davern, who plays Jake. It’s really fun. Everyone is excited about the show, and dedicated. Everyone is there to work and bounce ideas off each other. It’s not our first job. We all kind of know what we’re doing, so that makes it even more enjoyable.
How has it been to work with Ashley Rickards? What does she bring to the scenes you have together?
MIRCHOFF: I love working with Ashley. She’s so good. Our scenes always go really well, and we get them done pretty quick. There were a couple scenes we were slated to shoot at the end of the day, and we didn’t have much time ‘cause we didn’t want to go into overtime, but we always seem to get it finished, even when we’re pressed for time. She’s a pro. I find that we work really well together. I think we have chemistry, which you can’t always get. You can’t manufacture the chemistry. You just have it or you don’t, and I really think we do.
MIRCHOFF: I think it will continue to be explored. I have no idea. I hope they will. I don’t know what they have in store for next season. I’m not sure they even know yet. But, I would like that. I hope that the next season takes off right where we left off and it doesn’t time jump. Who knows. We’ll see.
Will you get to have any input, as to where you’d like to see your character go?
MIRCHOFF: Yeah. I’m sure (show creator) Lauren [Iungerich] will bring us all in separately to the writers room to talk about what we think. I know that all these characters are very personal to Lauren, so she knows them well. I haven’t given it too much thought yet, but I’m sure that if I have some ideas, they’ll be receptive to them. I would like to see Matty grow up a little more and become a little more confident with the ladies.
MIRCHOFF: I love playing Matty because I get the best of both worlds. I get to play the comedy in some scenes, and then I also get some more emotional or straight scenes. That’s fun. The crew and cast are a lot of fun, and we all have a lot of laughs. That’s really enjoyable. And, I think the last episode was a lot of fun to shoot. I think it’s the strongest episode, so tune in!
Has anything about this job been challenging for you?
MIRCHOFF: Yeah, I had a challenging scene in the finale. It’s always challenging when you’re working on TV. You’re so pressed for time and you have to really be on your game. We don’t get a lot of takes. We get two takes, and then we’re moving on, so you really have to be prepared. You can’t go out the night before. You have to go to bed early and learn your lines and get to set ‘cause there’s no time for messing around.
MIRCHOFF: The show being so short, we have to get everything in, so there’s not a whole lot of improv going on, that’s for sure. At times, I’ll have little things, here and there, or at the end of scenes, I’ll try to throw in some lines, but they never make it.
Have you ever been surprised with some of the things you’re able to get away with on the show?
MIRCHOFF: During some of the table reads, I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, can we say this stuff?” But, it’s on cable at 11 o’clock, and we say it in a funny way. It’s nothing degrading. I think it’s just funny, witty banter. I find that amusing, so I think it’s okay.
Of all the things you’ve had to do with the show, was there anything you thought, “Oh, my god, they want me to do that?”?
MIRCHOFF: For the streaking scene, I was like, “Oh, my gosh!” We all take viagra and then go streak through the quad. I’d never heard anything like that, and I thought that was so ridiculous and awesome. That was crazy!
Is there anything you do to prepare yourself for that, or do you just have to give yourself over to the comedy of it?
MIRCHOFF: Yeah, I did a bunch of push-ups before. You’ve just gotta do it and have fun. It was fun, for the first while, but it took all day for that clip. You just have to dive in and have a good attitude about it.
MIRCHOFF: Yeah. I’m actually up for a couple things right now. I might be going to Detroit to shoot a movie. They’re very cool about that. When we’re not filming Awkward, they want us all working and getting better. They’re very helpful with that.
What is The Secret Lives of Dorks, and who do you play in that?
MIRCHOFF: That is very similar to Awkward, in a sense. It’s about this unpopular kid and his life in high school, and trying to find love. I play Clark, the bully who is actually a good guy. He just has a facade because he wants to be cool. That was a lot of fun. That was broader comedy and we got to improv a lot. We got a lot of input in the process, so that was very rewarding.
Is there anything you’d really love the chance to do?
MIRCHOFF: I would like to do a period piece. I think that would be fun. I’d like to play someone much different from myself. I think that would be great. I don’t know exactly what that is, but when it presents itself, I’ll know. Maybe not the popular jock role, but something else. I’d like to do something in the future, and something in the past. The short answer is anything and everything.