For a while, Matty McKibben was the unattainable hottie on Awkward. Once he finally returned Jenna’s interest, she had moved on with Matty’s best friend Jake. Now in Season 3, Jenna and Matty have finally found themselves in an actual relationship — but how long will that last? Beau Mirchoff stopped by BuzzFeed’s Los Angeles offices to give us his take on Matty and Jenna’s Facebook official status, his recovering friendship with Jake, and how Matty is finally growing up.
Let’s talk about the arc of the Jenna-Matty relationship. What do you think he saw in her, back when Jenna was a little more awkward and Matty was kind of a dick?
Beau Mirchoff: She was different than all the other girls he’s known. I think that’s the most evident one. And maybe she’s strange, too – she’s kind of peculiar and weird, and I think those are all attractive qualities to Matty that he sees in a girl.
Would you say that he changed, or did they both change?
BM: Matty’s started to change a little more than Jenna, and that’s why it’s starting to work. Jenna’s been pretty consistent honest and open with her feelings toward Matty. And that’s not always reciprocated by Matty, but finally he’s doing that. And that’s, I think, why they’re finally together and doing well. At least, they are at the beginning of the season.
I mean, it seemed like maybe Jenna and Matty weren’t doing so well at the end of last season.
BM: Yeah, they kind of hinted that maybe Jenna doesn’t know if she made the right choice, but it starts off — everything’s pretty peachy between the two of them. They had the whole summer to kind of form that relationship, get to know each other even more. They’re immersed with each other — they had no other distractions, friends, or any other pressures. They were literally at summer camp. But who knows what’s going to happen when they’re back at school, with the pressures and insecurities that high school brings?
What do you think the biggest issue they might face is?
BM: Definitely each other. She’s wildly insecure. That becomes evident. They both are in a lot of ways, and I think they’d be able to have a healthy relationship if they were older. There are still all these other circumstances — external circumstances — that are happening that kind of mess with how they act.
So it sounds like you’re saying that even if they do break up for some reason, they might reconnect and get married down the line?
BM: And have kids! Yeah.
Just thinking ahead for them.
BM: Yeah, that’s definitely possible. High school sweethearts — it’s romantic. They break up, they find each other, maybe they don’t see each other for some years. I like that.
But you’re not planning the wedding yet?
BM: Well, maybe he is in his head. But no.
Was Matty always this romantic, or is it something about Jenna that brings that out in him?
BM: He’s finding his inner romance. No, he’s never been a romantic. He’s just kind of rolled with the punches. He’s never put too much thought into what he should do with his relationships. All his relationships have been kind of flings, nothing too meaningful. And now he’s maybe watched some John Hughes movies, caught up on that. He wants to make her happy — he really loves her. He wants to do it. I think that’s the answer, probably: he never loved someone, and he never had that feeling or that desire to go out of his way to be romantic, and now he wants to do that and gets pleasure from that.
When we first met Matty, he seemed like your classic stuck-up popular kid. But like all the characters on Awkward, we’ve learned so much more about him — he’s now developed into this three-dimensional character we love. What was it like playing him in the beginning, and how did you play that development over time?
BM: It’s all in the writing, mostly. It starts with the writing. If the scenes weren’t written a certain way then I wouldn’t be able to play it that way. But then there’s also subtext and all that stuff. Initially, that’s what I loved about the role — it wasn’t just this dumb, kind of naive jock. There was more to him. There was a reason why he was being standoffish or being kind of a dick, and it’s always explained. There’s always a scene explaining why, and that’s what’s great about it. You get to play all different things. This season, particularly, I get a lot of stuff to do. A lot of comedy, a lot of drama, and everything in-between.
Matty’s definitely become a much better guy. But at this point, what do you consider to be his biggest faults? What’s keeping him from being the perfect boyfriend?
BM: He wishes he could be more than he is, and then that comes off as very insecure. There’s some qualities that Jake has that Matty wishes he had. Jake can talk to girls so easily and he’s charming, blah blah blah. I’m not saying Matty isn’t charming, but he wishes he had more of Jake. And yeah, I think if he kind of grows up and is more comfortable and confident with who he is, then I think everything would be great. I’d say he’s his own demon right now, standing in his way.
On the red carpet, you mentioned seeing a more mature Matty in Season 3. Can you elaborate on that?
BM: In previous Matty-Jenna scenarios, stuff goes wrong — usually Matty’s lying or he’s not honest with his feelings. This year, it’s kind of reversed. Matty’s honest with his feelings, wants to work everything out. If something’s bothering him or he sees something that’s bothering Jenna, he’ll talk about it, and say, “What’s up? Let’s talk. Let’s fix this thing.” And he never would have done that before.
Let’s talk about other relationships. How is Matty and Jake’s friendship now, after everything that went down between them?
BM: They’re better than ever. Yep. Guys have short memories when it comes to — I don’t know, everything. That’s water under the bridge. Now Jake’s found new love so there’s no jealousy or animosity whatsoever toward Matty, and vice versa. They’re best friends, and Matty really has no one else but Jake, guy friends-wise. And vice versa. So they’re great. There are some great episodes this season between Matty and Jake. We have a bro-b-que, where they stay in and just barbecue.
In the alternate universe Jenna imagined, do you think gay Matty and Jake are still happily together?
BM: Jake probably would have moved off to Europe or something, and gone traveling. Matty would have been pissed off and broke it off.
There’s been a lot of partner swapping on Awkward. Is there anyone you could see Matty dating that he hasn’t dated yet?
BM: The list is long and distinguished. In high school, I did the same thing. I dated my best friend’s previous girlfriend and vice versa, and everyone kind of gets together with everyone. There’s qualities in [Tamara] — she’s quirky and fun, so who knows? Yeah, if the circumstances were perfect, maybe.
What about Matty and Sadie? They did hook up…
BM: Matty doesn’t remember it.
Well, what about outside of that — the friendship? Is there still something there, especially now that Sadie seems like she needs more support?
BM: They become real close this season especially. They’ve always been close. Their relationship has probably been the longest out of any other pairing on the show — they’ve known each other since they were kids. So they understand each other for their faults and for their qualities. Matty sees right through all the bullshit. He knows there’s this wall up, this protection. It’s a shell. And so underneath that, Matty knows what’s there. He’s a big support system for Sadie this season, and she is for Matty as well.
You know, Sadie called Matty overrated. To be fair, he was drunk, but still.
BM: Yeah, come on, that’s like playing the best team when they’re missing their best player. That’s right. That’s exactly what it is. It’s not a fair representation.
Are you personally threatened by Nolan Funk joining the cast?
BM: Does Matty feel threatened?
No, does Beau feel threatened. I’m just wondering how many attractive people can be on the same show at once.
BM: It’s an infinite number.
This is an unusually good looking high school.
BM: Well, that’s a compliment. I appreciate it. But Nolan’s a great guy. He’s a lot of fun to work with.
And what about Nolan’s character, Collin?
BM: Matty’s a little … trusting. There’s no jealousy or anything like that when Jenna and Collin start hanging out. Matty meets Collin and thinks he’s a really fun, interesting guy. He’s an intellect and a little different than Matty possibly. He’s happy that Jenna found a new friend.
OK, then I’ll be concerned on Matty’s behalf.
BM: Yeah. Me, too.
Will people who want to see Matty and Jenna together be satisfied by this season? I’m not asking if they’ll end up together. But will fans understand whatever progression happens, or is there a lot of backlash in store?
BM: I think they’ll be satisfied. Because whatever happens is justified. I don’t want to say “get ready,” but stuff happens. Maybe you won’t like Matty! Maybe you’ll think Jenna’s in the right. They’ll be satisfied, but maybe they’ll have a different view of the Matty and Jenna relationship.