Jenna finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel (right?) by the end of last week's ecstasy-filled episode, but now she'll have to do some major damage control in the cold light of day. "I think it's bigger than even Jenna knows," Awkward star Ashley Rickards tells ETonline about the destruction Jenna 2.0 left in her wake.
"I'm writing a book called Get Your Sh!tTogether, and my journey has been all about self-acceptance, figuring out who I am in and out of relationships and my own self-worth. It's exactly what Jenna is going through right now, she's defining herself in and out of a relationship by trying everything. I've been there, and losing perspective of who you are in anything -- your relationship, your job, your family -- is one of the most difficult things you can have to come out of. If you don’t love yourself first and foremost, you're in trouble.
And yet, Jenna hurt the ones she loved the most -- particularly Val, who was the subject of a particularly nasty essay that gets published in tonight's episode. "There are people who care about you and there are people who pretend to care about you, and Valerie proved to be the latter," Rickards says. "The person she took for granted was the one who stepped up to the plate when everyone else didn't."
Rickards adds that the fans who've balked at Jenna's darker journey might actually be the ones to gleam the most from it. "As much as people say they hate the new Jenna, the truth is they don’t hate Jenna, they're uncomfortable watching this possibility."
"It's not science fiction where Jenna gets impregnated by an alien probe and David Duchovny hunts me. This is a very realistic choice and people tend to hate things they can relate to because the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. The fact they're disliking her choices proves they're invested in my character and are seeing a glimmer of a reflection of themselves. I hope people stick with her through the redemption because they'll see Jenna has been the same person all along."