J-14 chatted with Lauren Iungerich, creator of the new MTV show, Awkward, as she shared her message to teens through the show, the ideas that formed each episode and the bromance going on behind the scenes! Catch Awkward every Tuesday night at 11 p.m. on MTV.
J-14: Where did you get the idea for this show?
Lauren Iungerich: Basically I was thinking about the worst stigma you could have in high school, the time when you're really trying to forge an identity for yourself. Everything's so dramatic and so big and so heavy. I thought about how sometimes, we're thrust into situations that we can't control and the only control we have is how we feel about the situation. I wanted to have a more empowering, positive message and do it in a way that was truly unique. It's a really uplifting, optimistic show.
J-14: What do you hope to share with teens through Awkward?
Lauren: Everybody struggles with their identity. I think it's just taking control of how you feel about yourself. Even kids who are seemingly really popular and have an easy life really don't have an easy life. Everything that has made me humiliated, scared, frustrated and bitter has only brought more joy and lightness to my life as I've worked through it. What you think isn't working for you as a teenager is actually making you a more interesting, valid adult. Everybody, regardless of what's going on in the outside world, has control over how they feel about themselves and can define their own identity for themselves.
J-14: If you could go back in time, what would you change about your high school years?
Lauren: I would do nothing differently. Believe me, there are some things I probably should have done differently, but they've made me the person I am today and I have to say I really like who I am today. I wouldn't be as funny. That's totally subjective and I'm totally biased with my own sense of humor, but I've gotten to a place in my life where I am who I am. This is who I am and I'm not striving to be so perfect - I'm okay and I've accepted myself.
J-14: What are the biggest things you keep in mind when writing episodes?
Lauren: We're trying to show the brutal reality of what it's like to be a teenager. Life starts in high school, but it never ends. This show explores all kinds of relationships in a real way. These relationships and dynamics don't just stop when you leave high school, they continue. They start in high school but they sort of permeate the rest of our lives.
J-14: What is the vibe like on the Awkward set?
Lauren: We have a really awesome group of people who work together. We're really blessed with an incredible cast; they're all friends. The boys - Brett and Beau - play best friends on the show. They met through the casting process and they are truly in a bromance. They really love each other to the point where they're inseparable. I think their girlfriends are frustrated sometimes by how much time they spend together, on set and off. We're constantly in situations where we have to separate them to get through scenes!
Photo: Courtesy of MTV