Creator Lauren Iungerich Exclusive Interview AWKWARD

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The MTV series Awkward. is an irreverent look at the conflict, chaos and humor that defines teenage life. As seen through the eyes of Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards), whose life changes from the moment that a simple accident becomes an epic misunderstanding that is blown way out of proportion, the half-hour episodes are smart, funny, entirely relatable and leave viewers wanting more, every week.

During an exclusive phone interview with Collider, show creator/executive producer/writer/director Lauren Iungerich talked about how Awkward. came about, the universal notion that we can’t control what happens to us but that we can control how we feel about it, speaking to real high school teenagers to keep the dialogue authentic, the challenges of telling the story in just 30 minutes a week, the increasing popularity of the show that has already lead to a Season 2 pick-up, and even gave hints as to what fans can expect from the remainder of the season, leading into the next. She also talked about MTV’s decision to go into production on another pilot that she’s developed, called Dumb Girls, about how the smartest people in life tend to be the dumbest, when it comes to love. Check out what she had to say after the jump:

lauren-iungerich-imageQuestion: How did the idea for this show come about? Was it from personal life experiences and things you had observed, or was it just entirely from imagination?

LAUREN IUNGERICH: It’s a combination of both. I’m a product of a different era. I’m in the Gen X category, not a Millennial. When I grew up in Palos Verdes, there were kids that committed suicide every year, or every other year. You aren’t really thinking about life and death, on those terms, when you’re a teenager. As you get older, you start to think about life and death. The whole notion about being a teenager and the real tagline of it is, “Sometimes being a teenager makes you want to die.” Who hasn’t felt that before? Whether you’re a teenager or you’re 35, you have those moments. You don’t mean them, but it’s how you feel, in the moment. You’re so humiliated, exhausted or exasperated that you feel like, “Oh, kill me now!”

So, I thought about teenagers and what the worst stigma is that you could possibly have in high school. It’s not being pregnant, being gay, being a drug addict or being fat. It’s really being a kid who might be a little unstable. Now, every kid is on Adderall, Welbutrin or Zoloft. It’s a medicated generation. So, I was thinking about that, and thinking about a girl who’s given a stigma that she can’t change anybody’s mind about. It’s an accident, but all the things surrounding the accident make it look like her cry for help. And then, she denies it, and the more you deny it, the more you seem like you’re in denial. It just adds up. It’s how people perceive her. She’s this girl who lives on the outside, so of course, she was probably having those feelings.

How delicate was it to explore the stigma of kids thinking Jenna tried to commit suicide, on a comedy series?

IUNGERICH: I’m not trying to make light of suicide, at all. My grandfather committed suicide. I have had a lot of really close friends and family who have been touched by suicide, and I would never want to make light of it. It’s really a metaphor for what you experience when you’re a kid. She gets this crazy, awful stigma that she can’t control, so it’s about her deciding to take control of how she feels about it. It’s really a message for kids who are in these awful times in their lives. I wanted to do something that was really irreverent and really takes a very satirical look at what it’s like to be a teenager, in an authentic, real, honest way, so you have to go to the dark side, a little bit. Through that dark side, we find the bright light, which is her empowerment of herself. Everybody has that empowerment of self. She starts to realize, on her journey in this show, that she can define who she is, on her own terms.

It’s such a beautiful thing that I struggle with, on a daily basis. You can’t control the things that happen to you, but you can control how you feel about them. I thought that was just a really strong statement for this generation, and really beyond this time of life. I’m in my 30′s, and I’m still struggling with defining myself. I’m working every day to take control of things that are out of my control, and not letting them bring me down or frustrate me, to the point of paralysis. It’s just such a beautiful thing to experience. The journey of the show, even for the adults, is that high school starts in high school, but it never ends because life is high school. That’s a truism that we explore in the show. That’s where Jenna is starting to sense, “Oh, this isn’t going to end when I graduate. This is going to continue with me, for a long time.”

When I was creating this character, I was thinking about her 20-year reunion. She would go to that 20-year reunion and be a totally different person, and probably a really cool person for all the experiences she had as a teenager that defined her, and people would say, “Oh my god, it’s that girl! Remember her?” That stigma will never leave her, from the people who were there when it happened, but she would be able to somehow, through her own exploration of self and defining herself, change their opinions of her, and how great that would be. Jenna is not a loser, and she’s not popular. You can’t put a definition on her. We never explore those kids. There’s a whole realm of kids out there that are just invisible.

awkward-tv-show-image-04With so many shows about high school teenagers, was there anything that you specifically wanted to do to set this show apart, and make it as authentic and real as possible?

IUNGERICH: I think there’s a lot of really good programming on television. What I’ve noticed, through the years of being a professional writer, is the watering down process of story. You have to market to the masses and not offend anybody. To be really authentic and honest, you have to potentially be offensive. So, this project was such a passion project. I wrote it and sold it. I had a terrific executive at MTV, who I pitched it to, totally off-the-cuff. I had thought about it and called him, after a general meeting, and said, “I have this really weird idea, but it’s kind of crazy.” He said, “Come in. Don’t work on it, just pitch me off-the-cuff.” So, I did and he called me back and was like, “Okay, I ran it up the ladder and everybody says it’s super-water cooler. Work on it.” And then, when I sold the show to them, they just let me write the show that I saw.

It was this really amazing hands-off process, as I was developing it. I really wrote my vision for the show, and I wrote a teenage show for my inner 15-year-old self. It’s a love letter to who I was. And, I was really worried when I wrote it because I had to pour so much heart into it and I had to lay things bare that I thought people would judge me for. Teen shows today are either salacious to be salacious, or it’s so middle-of-the-road that it’s condescending to an audience, and I always look at the John Hughes movies of the ‘80s, that I’m a total product of. By no means do I think that I’ve reinvented the wheel with this show, or that I am John Hughes. I am not. He was amazing. I’m just me, and I’m a girly girl. I really thought, when you look at those movies, he was so amazing and so ahead of his time, and he really wasn’t condescending to his characters. He really told the truth, and everything felt really grounded. The heightened comedy came out of what it feels like emotionally when you’re confronted with things that are weird, when you’re a teenager. Tonally, it always felt authentic, and those heightened moments worked because they came from an emotional place.

awkward-tv-show-image-07How did you approach finding the voice of Jenna and determining everything she would have to go through?

What I really wanted to do with this show was write a truly honest look at what it is to be a teenager. Jenna (Ashley Rickards) didn’t go into that closet to have sex with Mattie McKibben (Beau Mirchoff). She went into that closet because Matty McKibben wanted to see her and she thought, “I’ll make out with him and maybe he’ll be my boyfriend.” And suddenly, she’s having sex and she hasn’t thought about it. She hasn’t processed it. And then, what happens on the series is that she has time to process what she did. That’s what happens to teenagers so much, and it’s so real. It’s seemingly very scary to put that out there, but that’s what’s happening. By no means, do I think that we are somehow telling kids to go have sex and do drugs and get pregnant. If you tell the truth, then you can sneak in a really empowering message about self-preservation, and I wanted to do that. I wanted to write a show where I could be like, “We’re going to be bold and we’re going to be brave and, at the end of the day, we’re also going to give girls a fairy tale.”

It’s no good, if there’s no romance in there and no pay-off for her struggles. I wanted Jenna to go through some real ups and downs. She makes mistakes, but she’s a good person, and I didn’t want her to be a character who was above it all. She wants people to like her. She cares what other people think. She’s not above it all, like Juno. No disrespect to Juno, which was a great movie and a great character, but Jenna isn’t Juno. She’s nicer than Juno. She cares what people think, and she doesn’t want to hurt anybody. I just wanted to do something that was a little bit more bold, but by no means, do I think I reinvented the wheel. I think I just got lucky with a network that was willing to take some risks, and they see that there’s something very uplifting about the show. There’s a lot of heart. And, through the series, there’s a lot more heart. It gets really emotional and really cool.

Is it challenging to get into the mind of teenagers today and keep the dialogue feeling authentic?

IUNGERICH: Good question. First of all, I usually speak like a teenager and I watch everything that teenagers watch. I also did a focus group with my old high school, and went and talked to 15- and 16-year-olds with my team of writers. We asked them 100 questions. We told the teacher, “If there’s anything that we’re asking them that’s crossing a line, let us know and we can move on.” And she said, “There’s not a question you can ask these kids that will cross a line.” So, we asked the about everything – sex, drugs, everything – and took copious notes. Through it, we came up with a lot of language, and we created a lot of language. We tried to be truly authentic to how kids speak. My voice is the show, so these characters might speak a little bit more thoughtful than an average 15-year-old because we aren’t 15-year-old writers, but kids are really smart.

We just tried to let them take ownership with us, of how they felt, of what they had to say and the language they used. There’s an expression in the show, where the actual title came from, when the kids say “TIA,” which means “This is awkward.” When we were looking to change the name of the show, we went back to that. We couldn’t clear, “This is awkward,” but we could clear Awkward, and it just felt like it encapsulated this awkward situation that Jenna is thrust into, in the pilot, as well as the time of life that is being a teenager. We really got so much out of those kids. It was awesome. And, we do have a lot of teenagers in our show, and they feel like it is representative of how they talk. We try to be authentic, as best we can.

awkward-tv-show-image-02How difficult is it to tell this story in half-hour episodes, that are really only about 20 minutes with commercials? Is it tough to balance telling enough story with not throwing too much into one episodes?

IUNGERICH: It’s an insane challenge, let me tell you. My co-executive producer, Erin Ehrlich, who is the most amazing person in the world, and I both over-write. We tell a lot of story because we know we know we need to tell a lot of story. We also have seven series regulars and we have to tell their stories every week. It’s insanely hard, I will just say that. It took us about eight weeks to really find the groove and the formula of the show. A lot of first-season shows don’t even find their formula until their done with the first season. We found it mid-way through, and then had to go back throughout a lot of episodes and completely start over. It was faster, at that point, but we just had five weeks to churn out most of the season. It was so hard.

I directed one of my episodes – Episode 6, which was a 30-page script – and I probably cut seven pages out of the script. There were seven solid scenes that I had to cut in post because we just didn’t have room. And they were some of the more additive scenes, here and there. They didn’t change the story, but oh, my god. I learned a lot. But, you still have to have room because sometimes you don’t know what’s going to play. You want to shoot more, so that you have that luxury in the editing room, in case something doesn’t work as scripted. That way, you have a back-up and a way to tell the story, and still make it a strong episode. It is really, really hard. Because it is fast and furious, and there is so much story in each episode, we always tried to make sure that the emotional journey was really strong and it never felt like we short-changed Jenna’s journey. It does leave you wanting more, which is a good thing.

awkward-tv-show-image-05How important was it for you to cast actors who actually were close to the age they’re playing?

IUNGERICH: Well, it was imperative. Some of them really are teenagers. Our cast is really young. Ashley [Rickards] barely qualified to do the pilot because you have to be 18, especially with the sexual nature of the show. They’re all legal. But, what’s so amazing about the cast is that they’re all really strong actors. We lucked out. It’s really hard to find young actors who have so much range. Each one of them is such a defined character. It was hard to write all these voices, but also to find people that really inhabited them, and then brought their own thing to it. I would say that each one of my cast has a little bit of them that’s similar to their character. Not totally because they are their own people, but there’s something about them that they can bring to the character that’s truthful. My casting director told me, “You want to find people who can bring some authenticity because it’s who they really are, in some way,” and she was really smart about that.

What can viewers expect from the remainder of Season 1?

IUNGERICH: The first season is an emotional journey about identity. Jenna’s arc for this season is coming to grips with how she feels about herself, and not letting other people define her, and realizing that that’s a really hard task. She has to get comfortable with who she is and not try to be somebody she’s not. That’s a constant struggle that we all have. I don’t know if we ever graduate to a place where we totally, completely like ourselves. We get better at liking ourselves, but I don’t think we ever get to a point where we’re like, “I like myself.” Even my 93-year-old grandma, before she died, was trying to lose weight. I was like “Grandma, come on, you can’t even walk. Just enjoy yourself.” The show is really, really funny, but it’s so romantic. We’ve got really good twists and turns. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, you don’t know. We have that mysterious element with who wrote the letter and who Jenna should be with. We get to know who all these characters are, and they seemingly fit a stereotype in some way or another, and then we pull the rug out and we let you know who they are on the other side. Why is Sadie (Molly Tarlov) so mean? You’ll find out. Who is Jake (Brett Davern), as a guy? Who is Matty? Why is Matty hiding his feelings about Jenna? Does he really like her? And, at every turn, just when you think you know what’s good for Jenna, we’ll surprise you again. We tried to keep it as true to life as we could.

awkward-tv-show-image-03How much thought went into the look of the cast that Jenna had to wear in the pilot?

IUNGERICH: We had an expert come in and do that. Those kinds of casts don’t really exist, with your arm in that position. That was just a very creative, funny way to really make her stand out. We made two of them, and it took four hours to make each cast. They were open on the side, so she would slip her hand in through the side, and then we would quickly glue her up. Sometimes she would be in that cast for an hour and her arm would be feeling numb, and we would take her out of it. The cast was one of the biggest hiccups for the pilot, just getting that thing on and off of her, and for her to be able to take a break from it.

How reassuring was it that MTV believed in this show enough to pair it with one of its most successful series, Teen Mom?

IUNGERICH: It was very, very flattering. I couldn’t have asked for better promotion for the show. I love Teen Mom. Last season, I was like, “This is one of the best dramas on TV. This is totally like birth control. There’s no way anyone would have a child, when they watch these poor girls struggle with having their children.” The network has been incredible. They’re really been more like partners than a traditional network, in the sense that they are just really fantastically creative, smart and unbelievably supportive of their talent. They just had a good feeling about this show. We were supposed to air in the Fall, and then one of our executives just really fought to put it behind Teen Mom and give it a shot, and they all agreed. They all have a love for the show, and you can feel it with their copious notes about making every cut perfect. It feels really good to be really supported.

How did you approach things with the story, not knowing whether you’d have a Season 2, at the time you wrote it? Did you decide to do a cliffhanger, thinking ahead to where you’d like to take the show?

IUNGERICH: We have a really good cliffhanger, at the end of Season 1, so I have a sense of where I want to take the show next season. When I sold the show, I knew what the first season was going to be in my head. I knew the big bullet points of the show. I knew what I was going to do with the love triangle. I knew what I wanted to do with the letter. And, I had rough arcs for all the characters, in my head. I had an extraordinary group of writers working with me, who were just awesome. Our cliffhanger is really great, and we’ve left some ends to tie up. How we’re going to tie those up will come from really examining relationships and the boundaries that we push in our relationships, in Season 2. This season is really about identity. If we get a second season, we’ll be examining the relationships and the boundaries that we have within those relationships.

awkward-tv-show-image-06Now that you’ve gotten the Season 2 pick-up, how quickly will you have to get started on writing it?

IUNGERICH: Immediately. The network would like the show to get back on the air sooner rather than later, which is a wonderful vote of confidence in the show and my incredible production team and cast.

Are there any specific themes or storylines you want to cover in Season 2, that you didn’t get the chance to explore this season? Are there any characters that didn’t interact much in Season 1, that you’d love to write scenes for in Season 2?

IUNGERICH: Now, I can answer that question, but it would spoil what happens at the end of Season 1 and I don’t want to do that. But, I can say that Season 2 is going to be juicy. As for characters that didn’t interact much in Season 1, that is also a bit of a spoiler, since we have only aired four episodes. But, I have plans to have a lot of interesting interactions in Season 2.

MTV has also announced that it will go into production on your pilot for Dumb Girls. When are you looking to shoot that?

IUNGERICH: Sometime in the Fall. We’re still working out the details and have just started casting. I think it will all depend on when we find the right cast.

What can you say about Dumb Girls, and the story and characters you’re looking to explore with that show? Is that going to be another ensemble?

IUNGERICH: Yes, the show is another ensemble and a little bit more of a romp than Awkward. The show explores why the smartest people in life tend to be the dumbest, when it comes to love. I have noticed a common denominator among my smart and successful single friends, who tend to over-analyze and underestimate the opposite sex far more than their peers. The show explores how we can all be our own worst enemies on the path to finding love.

awkward-cast-imageIf that show also gets picked up to series, how will you split your time between the two shows?

IUNGERICH: Good question. That is a champagne problem and one that I really can’t imagine contemplating at the moment ‘cause it feels so far away, and it’s too overwhelming to process. If it happens, I will be incredibly grateful and probably feel compelled to adopt a child, or a few more cats. Basically, I’d need to do something to pay my good fortune forward. Although, in just contemplating that, it might be easier to get the cats. Kids don’t do well with their moms working all the time. Right?

Are you also looking to branch out into feature writing, or are you just focused on these two shows, for right now?

IUNGERICH: Oh yes, that is the plan. I have been working on a few feature ideas and some new TV ideas. But for now, I am focused on keeping Awkward on the air and making a great second pilot. I am just so incredibly grateful to be working and want to do right by all the wonderful people who put their time, energy and lives into the projects that I write. It takes a village to make anything good, and lucky for me, I happen to be part of an incredible village of great folks. I just hope I can continue to keep working with my village.




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  • DonaldRowland

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentBuzz.com

  • amy smith

    Watched your episode tonight about “Palos Verdes women”…you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Having grown up in PV myself, you could not be more wrong about the women here, and as a PV mom myself, I’m not about the “plastic”, both on my body or in my wallet. I have a huge family that lives in RPV, PVE, RHE and RH and I can say the same for them as well. I find the women here to be more friendly and interested in their kids than in most surrounding cities. And you make it sound like being supported by your husband while raising your family is a bad thing. Disgusting. I enjoyed your show at first (less the sex scenes…would hate for my teenage kids to see crap like that! Thankfully they’re still young!), but after this little comment and general stereotype about PV, I hope you get cancelled.

    • Lauren Iungerich

      Hi Amy-
      I am sorry you were so offended by tonight’s episode. My intention was not to offend- it was to make light of my experience as teenager growing up in Palos Verdes. I also spent a lot of time talking to kids last year at PV High about their mothers- and the notion that their mothers were social climbers was a common perception. I am not blanket stereotyping the community. I am also a PV girl- born and raised. My mom is a PV mom (and i love her dearly). And some of my best friends are wonderful women raising children in PV. I never suggested that being a full-time mom was bad thing. It is hands down the hardest job in the world. I merely suggested that the PV moms who are focused on NOT being good moms– the kind that spend their time merely “working out or working a room” are not cool. ALL the characters- bad AND good are PV folk. Jenna (a very good PV person) is judging a group of the ladies (as I did growing up in the community) who she thinks focus on charity in the wrong way. From an elitist stand point. How can a charity organization really be promoting charity when they discriminate allowing anyone to volunteer with them? Can’t you see the irony in that? From a teenage point of view– if you are not in the elite- Palos Verdes can feel like a very elitist place to live. It may not be your experience – but it was mine. That said, I clearly have much love for the community or I wouldn’t write about it. I shout out to all my PV friends, mothers and the town through out the season. And had I not struggled growing up in that community- I wouldn’t be the person or the writer I am today. Palos Verdes (and its mothers) are part of who i am- and i have love for them both.

    • Betsy

      Amy –
      First, I don’t think telling someone to be ashamed of themselves for telling their story, truth, or perception just because it doesn’t match yours is fair or constructive. I grew up in PV. My mother was in the 2nd graduating class of PV high. Certainly many, many PV mothers are not elitist social-climbers, not even close. Of course not. But they ARE there. They DO exist. And, having gone through high-school in PV as it sounds like you have, you are kidding yourself if you think that was merely a figment of Lauren’s imagination. And, let’s not cast aside the fact that the story is told through Jenna’s eyes – that of a teenager. Which, when you consider that, can make the portrayal even more accurate.

      So, in short, is it possible that Lauren’s experience in PV was perhaps different from yours? I would hold that for every person that grew up in PV there is a different and relevant perspective.

      I would encourage you to please be more understanding of perspectives that are different than yours.

    • Anne Sam

      Amy- I had to chuckle at how you say that PV moms are -essentially- “better than” moms in “surrounding cities” (EW, *Torrance*!) because they are so friendly, in to their kids, etc. I’m sure you mean well but it’s sorta reinforcing the stereotype.
      I agree w/ the post that says that other people can have had a different experience than you. Lauren doesn’t seem to be hating on PV- just describing her own experience-for our entertainment. Keep it flowing, L.I.!

  • amy smith

    No, that’s not life in Palos Verdes, that’s life as a teenager! You go to ANY high school, ANYwhere, and students will say the same thing. I never drove around in a BMW or Benz, I actually had a 10 year old hand-me-down. I was far from the elite, but I was able to fit in where I felt I wanted to fit in. I went to another school as well, and life was exactly the same (less the really nice cars in the parking lot!). But I think you are further feeding on some basically ignorant ideas of how PV, or any wealthy community, is. Why didn’t you make up some random city?? I think your viewers would be able to relate much more. And why is it that the media has to scar a financially successful person, wealthy family or someone who has more than the average American, as a horrible, heartless, selfish beast?!!

    • Anon.

      Hilarious Amy. This program is scarring the financially successful? Hilarious

      Also, I grew up in an affluent part of Orange County. I spent a lot of time in the ‘nice’ parts of South Bay… YES, kids drive BMW’s and Jags. You may be the exception with your 10 year old hand-me-down… but I know what the kids drive around, its not Moms old Volvo.

  • Dani

    Amy, relax, I’m pretty sure everyone (including myself) barely took the Palos Verdes commentary as seriously as you are. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind if the show made light of any other city in the world. Take it from me, as a born-and-raised San Fernando “Valley girl,” it’s much better to laugh along with the jokes about your hometown instead of getting so defensive. Hey, at least you live somewhere relevant enough to be made fun of and have a whole show set there in the first place. Not many can say that.

    ANYWAY, Lauren, I just wanted to say that I think you are doing an amazing job with Awkward. I’ve been waiting for a show like this for a long time- one that I can actually relate to, with young people that are not pieces of paper but actually seem real. It’s so emotionally realistic and addictive, and it’s absolutely a breath of fresh air these days. All I can say is please keep up the good work- it gives me hope for the entertainment business. Also, i don’t know if you’re aware, but this show may have just single handedly resurrected MTV’s reputation. And that seemed nearly impossible just two months ago. I’ve been posting about this show a lot on the blog Oh No They Didn’t because I want people to give it the attention it deserves. And I see with the rising ratings that the show definitely is connecting with people. My only request is please do keep the show quality as great as it is now. Never sacrifice it for some questionable ideas that execs or whatever try to push. Stay true to the heart of this show, and it will be seen as one of “the classics” in the future.

  • Veronica

    Hi Lauren,
    As a teenager growing up in Palos Verdes, I am in love with your show. It perfect captures the struggles that many PV High students endure on a daily basis. However, I think it would be really interesting to make an episode about PV’s rival school, Peninsula. Uber competitive and unhealthily obsessed with having “perfect” test scores and brilliant students, Peninsula gives its students much to stress about.

  • Anna

    Lauren Iungerich…
    You are officially my FAVORITE writer. Not only is Awkward amazing, but Dumb Girls blew my mind. You’re like Tina Fey mixed with a touch of Sarah Silverman! ZOMG. I hope that you keep on dishing out the beautiful work and that Danielle, Amber and Barb keep bringing me back for a chance to be a part of it :)
    A

  • Deirdre Devlin

    Lauren Iungerich!

    I met you with my writer partner Anna (who I see commented above) at the Awkward wrap party. I must say Anna and I talk about you a lot and how you have a great voice and you’re always taking chances. KEEP IT UP. You are such an inspiration to us. Thank you for taking chances in your writing and we will do the same. Also, let me know if you need a writer’s PA for Dumb Girls. My email is ddevlin22@gmail.com Thank you!

    deirdre

  • Anne Sam

    Amy- I had to chuckle at how you say that PV moms are -essentially- “better than” moms in “surrounding cities” (EW, *Torrance*!) because they are so friendly, in to their kids, etc. I’m sure you mean well but it’s sorta reinforcing the stereotype.
    I agree w/ the post that says that other people can have had a different experience than you. Lauren doesn’t seem to be hating on PV- just describing her own experience-for our entertainment. Keep it flowing, L.I.!

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  • Leigh Ann

    Hi Lauren,
    I grew up in Palos Verdes and went to Rolling Hills High School. You are hitting the nail on the head as far as the characters go. (And, my gosh, you are correct about those suicides…ugh.)
    Here’s some new material for ya:
    I went to a ton of parties where the parent(s) were off on vacation with their (new) spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend only to leave the kid(s) with a wad of cash and side-look as they yelled “now, be good this weekend,” out the driver’s side window as they took off to wherever-the-hec.
    All we kiddos had to do was make sure we partied our asses off, cleaned up a little and then paid the maid(s) extra dough to detail the place and keep their lips zipped.
    When talking about PV, I most often say, “The brighter the lights on the outside, the darker the secrets on the inside.”
    God Bless ya, Lauren…keep writing!

    xoxo
    Leigh Ann

    P.S. Amy, my sweet, you are living in a bit of a dream world if you only expect to hear that PV was filled with all good, happy people who passed out their money to charities and helped every old lady across every street. PV was a knarley place to grow up…I drove an 1968 bug that my Dad and I fixed up and got repainted; The girls and guys who were popular were mean as they come with parents that LOVED that their kids were popular. Without saying a word to each other, every person there was comparing themselves and each other to everyone else. It’s very sweet that you think PV is made up of rainbows and puppy-dog tails. xoxo

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