Awkward.'s Jillian Rose Reed on Cursing and Crazy Tamara

MTV's Awkward. returns to television tonight, and one of the faces that will be brightening up your screen belongs to the effervescent Jillian Rose Reed. You've seen Reed on Community and Weeds, but she's really found a home on the MTV comedy, where she plays chatterbox Tamara, who's besties with protagonist Jenna Hamilton.

I got Reed on the phone to talk about Season 2, that d-bag Ricky Schwartz, and some of the show's colorful language.

What's the biggest difference between Season 1 and Season 2?

I think the biggest difference is that Season 1 was a lot of establishment and getting to know the characters, and this season we're really diving into everyone's lives. So you get to see a lot more of the secondary characters' lives and what's happening with them.

What sort of zaniness is going on with Tamara this season?

Well there's a lot of drama for her this season. Last season she had this on-and-off-again Ricky Schwartz, and that's there again this season, because he's that one guy she can't get over. He continues to break her heart this season, but she learns to stand up for herself and she develops a little more of a backbone. She goes to a bit of a crazy place which was a lot of fun for me to play. [laughs] There's a lot of love stuff for her.

Can you go into more detail about Tamara's crazy space? I saw that someone tweeted a photo of a "topless" Tamara from the set; did that have anything to do with her journey to looney town?

Yeah that was our awesome director David Katzenberg who tweeted that. I was in a sports bra! But yeah, that was one of the episodes. I'm in a full spandex unitard and I'm dancing, and during this dance I have this big, crazy meltdown.

In Season 1 there was the big mystery of "Who wrote the letter?" and we found out in the finale that it was Jenna's mom. How is Tamara going to react to that information?

There's so much going on this season that Jenna decides to keep that in the family. She doesn't talk about too much to Tamara and Ming. Because there's so much at school going on with the boys, that's the focus for us. So she really lets that problem be between her and her mom.

Are there any similar season-long mysteries in Season 2?

This season is all about who Jenna's going to pick. Is she going to pick Jake or is she going to pick Matty? That's the season-long debate she has with herself.

Do you have any personal preference with regard who she picks?

Honestly, I've always said I'm Team Jatty, which is just a mixture of the two of them because they both have such redeeming qualities and they're both so cute. In my perfect world, she'd date them both.

Girl, we need to talk about this Ricky Schwartz guy. I don't trust him.

I don't either.

What does Tamara see in him? Why does she cling?

I think every girl has that one guy she can't let go of. It's the way he makes her work for it, really. It's crazy, obviously girls are crazy that way, but we always go for that guy who plays those hard-to-get games with us. There's just something about him, maybe it's a little bit of the nerd quality, because I know I personally like that, that she has fallen for and that she keeps wanting to go back to.

Ricky is played by Matthew Fahey, and you two have been friends for a long time, right?

Yeah, I've actually known him since I was like 12 or 13, we're good family friends. We went to high school together, he's been a part of my life for a really long time.

Does that make it easier or harder to do those make-out scenes?

It was actually easier, because he's the first guy I've ever had to make out with on-camera, and just the fact that I know him and I'm comfortable with him was a lot easier, because it was more fun than weird.

You're a really good curser. Do you actually say the swear words that get bleeped out?

Yeah, we have this theory that that's the way kids talk so why should we not say them? If MTV has to bleep it that's fine, but we think that keeps the show true to life.

More on language, there's all sorts of great dialogue and phrases on the show. Do you have any personal favorites?

This season I have a couple really good ones that are really funny, and obviously Tamara's language no one really understands. So it always has to be explained. [laughs] So this year I say, "Frasians," which is "friends who are Asians." That's a good one. And I use "adorahorrible," which is "cute but slutty."

You just went to the MTV Movie Awards! Is there anyone you got starstruck over?

It was awesome! I was hoping all night to see Jennifer Aniston and I didn't get to meet her but I did see her accept her award and I was so starstruck. I was so happy to just be in the same room as her, I turned to my cast mates and I was like, "Oh my god you guys I don't know what to do with myself!"

I'm in my 30s and I love the show. Why do you think Awkward. appeals to such a broad audience?

It's super relatable, and that all goes back to our creator, Lauren Iungerich, who has based this show off of her life in high school. She's your age too, so she's been there done that. She has tried to write the show in such a way that the jokes aren't cheap, the jokes are real and a little more mature than you would find on other teenage comedies. So I really owe it all to the writing.

See Jillian Rose Reed as Tamara on Awkward., which returns for Season 2 tonight (Thursday, June 28) at 10:30pm on MTV. Seriously, do it!

Awkward Season 2 Promo Photos Psst! Once you enter the photo viewer, you can navigate through the photos using your left and right arrow keys.

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (10)
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Awesome stuff! Great interview, Tim! Love the show!
Awkward is just plain fun and funny, I can't wait for more
Spent the last week watching season 1. Really excited for tonight.

Good interview Tim. Tamara is one of my favourite characters on the show, brings so much life to it. Jillian does a wonderful job.
Kids do actually swear so it makes sense that they swear, even if they have to bleep it out. It might be unnecessary because it doesn't really make it more realistic due to the beeping but whatever.
personally I think it's weird to cuss when it's going to get bleeped out. but whatever. I don't see why some of them get bleeped out though, worse stuff is said on TBS lol

love the show though, didn't think I would for same reason I didn't think Teen Wolf would be good.. but it was great
Love this show. Such good stuff.
Also, I love Jillian Rose Reed and her character Tamara. It's hard not to!

I watched it all in basically one sitting (minus the first two episodes which I watched the previous night), but I couldn't stop watching. The cast is fantastic. The writing is fantastic. The premise and how relateable it is, is fantastic.

Literally obsessed now. You're welcome.
It's so good! Enjoy tonight's ep, it's fantastic.

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