Although viewers didn't know it at the time, the foundation of Awkward has always been Jenna's relationship with Lacey, her mother, who wrote "The Letter" that knocked down the first domino in Jenna's increasingly awkward life.
If season two was about repairing their relationship post-author-admission, season three has been about rebuilding and reestablishing Lacey as a strong source of support for Jenna. Now that Jenna can once again turn to her mother for advice, star Nikki Deloach tells ETonline viewers can expect another shocking twist in their mother/daughter dynamic. One that promises to shake Lacey to her core.
Check out an exclusive clip from Guilt Trippin' -- tonight's Homecoming-themed episode of Awkward -- below!
ETonline: What have you liked about this season so far?
Nikki Deloach: Lauren [Iungerich, creator] starts with a theme every season and then she beautifully, and intricately, weaves that through. For a teen show, it's quite poetic. This year, that theme is: Who Do I Want To Be? We all went through that, I went through that -- there was a lot of glitter and perms involved as I went through a TLC phase and an Aaliyah phase ... like the underwear showing with a sports bra [laughs]. So good. But you try on so many different hats to find out who you want to be and Jenna is doing that throughout the season which obviously affects Lacey. She just got the relationship with her daughter on track; there was forgiveness at the end of season two and they're finally in this good place. So with Jenna going through this, Lacey just kind of has to follow her.
ETonline: One of the things I've loved this year is how the advice Lacey gives Jenna reveals so much about her own choices. Like in the premiere episode where she has that amazing monologue about her own teenage pregnancy and tells Jenna that she was the best thing to come from such a bad experience. It must be interesting to play that dichotomy.
Deloach: Yes, it is. It very much is -- that was one of my favorite scenes of the season because Lauren understands the importance of the mother/daughter relationship. She understands that, at the end of the day, boys will come and go, but you will always have your mother. That relationship is complicated, but as a girl, you need that. And Lacey is always trying to be, for Jenna, everything her mother wasn't for her -- and along the way she had to tell Jenna some bad parts to that story. Like, it's hard to poop. Which, is the one thing every pregnant person seems to talk about. It was such an honest scene, and only Lacey could tell her daughter that story.
ETonline: I also loved seeing Lacey stick up for Jenna with Matty's mom.
Deloach: I thought that was a great episode for Lacey, but I love that scene because it also revealed a lot about Matty and where he came from. The moment at the end with Jenna and Lacey, I think that was the first time where Jenna truly realized how great her mom is -- because here's the other option.
ETonline: Looking ahead, what's next for their relationship? I can't imagine it will be smooth sailing.
Deloach: The one thing I can tease is that when you're younger and trying on a bunch of hats, there's a lot of roads you can go down. And many of them are not filled with sunshine and roses. Jenna is going to hit some bumps in the road, which is really going to test Lacey's new intention of being a really good mom. She has to really put on the parenting hat for the first time with her daughter. You get to see what it looks like on Lacey when she has to be the mother who is not her daughter's friend, but the mother who puts her foot down.
ETonline: That's gotta be really hard for Lacey.
Deloach: Yes, very much so because, deep down, Lacey so desperately wants to be liked and adored. She's a pleaser. And when Lacey can't please Jenna and has to make a decision that's better for her daughter's life opposed to a decision that will make her popular with her daughter, it's a huge struggle.