Nikki Deloach Talks 'Awkward' Season 3, Lacey's Evolution, and Finally Meeting Matty's Parents
Nikki Deloach (Getty)
It's a toss-up between Magnum P.I. and Alf.
TV SHOW YOU'LL ALWAYS WATCH IF IT'S ON:
TV CHARACTER YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE PLAYED:
Holly Hunter's role on Saving Grace.
FAVORITE TV GUILTY PLEASURE:
The Rachel Zoe Project or The Young and the Restless. I record it every day.
FAVORITE TV WATCHING SNACK:
Any kind of chips. It doesn't matter what kind.
We recently chatted with Nikki Deloach, who plays Jenna's well-meaning but often hilariously clueless mom Lacey, about what's coming up for her character this season, including an awkward (duh) encounter with Matty's parents and a belated journey of self-discovery.
The theme of this season of Awkward is "Who do I want to be?" So how does that play into Lacey's journey through the season?
Well really what we start to see is as Jenna kind of goes on her journey of trying to figure out who she wants to be, you know as anyone who's doing that — really that's what you do in high school and in college is figure out who you want to be. Even throughout the rest of your 20s and somewhere around 30 you hopefully start to figure it out. [laughs] You try on a lot of different hats, you have a lot of different hair colors.
So as Jenna goes on this journey it really pushes Lacey and Jenna's relationship. And it forces Lacey to ask herself that same question because the only thing that she has been is a wife and a mother. That's it. She's never had a job or a trade. She's never really done anything since high school but be a wife and a mother. So it starts really forcing her to ask herself that more, because think about it — Jenna's going to go off to college after her senior year and what is Lacey going to be left with? She has to figure that out for herself. I can't wait for the audience to see the back 10 [episodes]. I think jaws are going to drop — they're not going to believe it.
Lacey and Jenna have obviously had their ups and downs over the past two seasons, but it was really nice to see Lacey be so supportive during the pregnancy scare in the premiere. How do you feel about their relationship evolution over the past few seasons?
This is the thing about Awkward, besides the fact that I love the cast that I get to work with, I love getting to play the mother of Jenna, or essentially Ashley [Rickards]. The two of us absolutely love working together and she's just such a beautiful actress. And I get to play scenes like the one with the pregnancy scare, where we're talking about such a serious topic and yet you have to weave the comedy and find the humor in the situation. I think in life if we could do that in real life it would be easier to get through tough situations. So to be able to take characters and evolve characters — [Awkward creator] Lauren [Iungerich] has arced out Lacey and Jenna's relationship since day one. And she had a vision of what she wanted to see with this relationship every single season.
Season 1 they were really disjointed and Lacey kind of lived in her own world. She was trying to create the daughter that her mother wanted her to be, not the daughter that Jenna always was. And then she did the letter and everything fell apart. Season 2 was about rebuilding that and getting Jenna's trust back. And Season 3 is about trying to be that mom that she never had and that Jenna never had. So every single season has evolved, just like a real relationship with your mother. I mean, what's also been really great is that Lauren and I have talked at length about my own relationship with my mother and we got to really infuse Jenna and Lacey's relationship with a lot of what I've experienced with my own mom and a lot of what Lauren has also experienced with her mother. And we're sitting here thinking, 'If this is a universal experience for us, this is a universal experience for all mothers and daughters.' To go from this place of feeling like you can't connect with your mom to figuring out that relationship and really learning how to trust in them and to go to them in your times of need. It's just so beautiful and that's one of my favorite scenes of the first 10 episodes.
It's so nice in a show where so much of it revolves around relationships and high school to actually see that mother/daughter relationship getting the same sort of time and weight.
Thank you! Lauren and I and the writers on the show have fought for that mother/daughter relationship and that storyline since day one. And the fact that the critics have talked about it and have continued to emphasize its importance to the show has been so critical in allowing the writers the freedom to write what they know and what they want. And I think it's also been the key to why the show has stayed so good. Sometimes with a lot of networks, if it's a comedy they just want jokes. And sometimes you have to prove to them that audiences need a certain relationship before they trust it.
In the preview for the next episode it looks like Kevin is going to find out about the birth control that Lacey got for Jenna — and he's not going to be happy about it. Without revealing too much, how is this going to affect Lacey and Kevin's relationship? They went through a lot last season.
I think primarily this season that Kevin and Lacey are relearning their communication skills. They are trying to be on the same page. Even though Kevin didn't know about the birth control… I mean, my dad didn't know about birth control! I think I tried to hide the fact that I was on birth control until I was like 30 years old [laughs]. It's just not something you want to have a conversation about with your dad. So Lacey was trying to do the right thing by saying, 'Listen, this is not the conversation that you have with your dad.' And then of course, Kevin being the dad that he is, his whole life is torn apart when he realizes that his daughter is having sex. And so the only way he can think to handle this is since he was left out of this and in the dark is that Matty's parents should also know. And so he picks up the phone to let Matty's parents know: Our kids are having sex. Obviously, that's the most embarrassing thing that could ever happen to a 16-year-old.
Can you tell us anything about Matty's parents?
One of the best things about this episode is the reveal of the kind of parents that Matty has. They're so different than what we think they're going to be. We obviously have full insight into who Jenna's parents are, we have a little insight into Tamara's parents — we met her mom in Season 1. We met Sadie's mom, we know who she is. But Matty's parents and his home life has been very behind closed doors. So when those parents are revealed it's so great because it's not what you expected at all, but it completely makes sense. It's a really great episode that plays towards exactly what this show is about, which is real experiences that you go through as a teenager. And one of them is your parents finding out that you're having sex and how they deal with that. And bringing both sets of parents together and the awkwardness that that creates. It's everything the show is about in this upcoming episodes.
You're guest starring on the upcoming May 1 episode of CSI too. What can you tell us about your character?
I can't tell you much without revealing too much of what happens in the episode, but I can tell you that she's a very buttoned up, Type A personality. She's a brown-noser, works exceptionally hard, is married to her job. Very different from Lacey. And she kind of unravels during the episode and has one of the more exciting interrogation scenes that they've had on the show in a long time. And the cast and the crew were really special. I got to do all of my scenes with Elisabeth Shue, which I freaked out about. I mean, I watched Adventures in Babysitting over and over again when I was a kid. And she was just delightful and so kind and wonderful. So it was a great experience all around.
Awkward airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on MTV.
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