On tonight’s Awkward (Season 2, Episode 4: “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Jenna”), Jenna will get down with the big man in the sky (or just Jesus), as she accompanies Lissa to Church Camp. Wetpaint Entertainment spoke to Greer Grammer, who plays the religious and reformed Lissa, in an exclusive interview, where she revealed some spoilers and opened up about Lissa’s real motives.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What can you tell us about Church Camp?
Greer Grammar: It’s a camp that Lissa goes to every single year. She loves it. It’s kind of her world. The way I explain it is that she’s the Sadie of Church Camp, except she’s not a bitch. She’s still Lissa. But she is the boss, she’s in charge of everything there. She knows what’s going on, but she’s still nice and fun and wants everybody to enjoy themselves. And she gets to have fun because she gets to take Jenna. She’s really overeager in that friendship. She wants to be friends with Jenna so bad, and all from a good-hearted place, it’s not just, “My ex is dating this girl, so I’m now going to be friends with her to make things weird,” which some people do. I may or may not have done that in my personal life.
But she wants everybody to have a good time. There’s a Saints and Sinners party, which is exciting. It’s a fun look on religion. I’m excited for people to see it because it’s not like we’re shoving religion down people’s throats, we’re looking at it in a real way. Religion is something that as a teenager in high school you deal with because you come into your own — which is what Awkward is all about. Growing up, you take on the beliefs of your parents, and when you turn into a teenager you start thinking, “Do I agree with this? Do I believe in this?” So it’s interesting to look at the people at Church Camp and see their different beliefs and why they’re there.
How does Jenna get roped into going to Church Camp? It doesn’t seem like her kind of place.
It’s not her place… Jenna is having a really hard time with her mother this season, as we’re seeing, after finding out that your mother of all people wrote this sort of a thing to you and doesn’t accept you. So she’s having a hard time with her mother and she doesn’t know where to go from here, so she kind of looks at religion. She’s just so struggling with things that she’s like, “I can’t handle this anymore, I have to give it up to something else — maybe I’ll go to church.” And Lissa sees her at church and says, “You should come to camp this weekend.” It’s a weekend to get away from her mom and explore things.
Do you think Lissa would be so into religion if she wasn’t Queen Bee of the camp?
Yeah! I think she became Queen Bee of the camp because she’s so religious and her parents have probably been sending her there since she was five. Lissa has always been the religious character. That’s just always been her and it’s always been something that she’s never questioned, which is fine because she loves it. So even if there wasn’t Church Camp, she’d still be at church every weekend. She loves Jesus. She’s all about him.
Do you see her questioning that?
Maybe. She doesn’t really question it this year, she more questions the people that are in her life, like Sadie, and what she’s done wrong, which is of relation to her love for Jesus. But I think that she could maybe struggle with it at some point. But I think that something would have to happen to her more than just her boyfriend breaking up with her, to where she would take a second look at religion and think “Whoa, is this what I believe? Maybe these things are all lies. Maybe this isn’t what I like.” But for now, Lissa is very naïve. I don’t like to describe her as dumb because to me she’s not dumb, even though that’s how it appears. She’s ditzy and she’s naïve and she kind of just looks at the bright side of things. So last season when her friend was telling her, “Your boyfriend was checking out this other girl, maybe you should do something to step it up so he doesn’t break up with you,” she’s like, “Oh my God, maybe I should!” She listens to other people and maybe there’s a point where she’s going to come out of that.
You mentioned that she’s very overeager to be friends with Jenna — even after she loses her boyfriend to her. Do you think Lissa is really okay with it? Why would she be so accepting of that?
Well, you’ll see a lot of that in this episode. It kind of gets explained a little bit. Lissa just kind of took a look at herself and realized, “Maybe I’m the bad person here.” Jake’s always been a good guy, except for the fact that he cheated on his girlfriend. I’m biased about it. It still pisses me off.
It should piss you off!
Yeah! People are like, “It’s such a sweet moment when he kisses her in the hallway.” And I’m like, “No, it’s not. He has a girlfriend.” I still can’t watch the scene from that day because it makes me sick to my stomach. I’m just so connected to my character. But she took a look at herself and realized she was doing things that were wrong and no one should want to be with a person like that and Jenna is a nice girl, she did nothing wrong to Lissa, specifically. So, she’s like, “No wonder he wants to be with her, she’s nice, she’s great,” so this year is more about Lissa looking at what she wants to do better.
That’s such a mature approach for someone you just described as naïve.
It’s strange because Lissa is so complicated. She wants everything to be on the bright side, but she did have to mature a lot this season.
What do you make of Lissa’s and Sadie’s friendship?
Lissa and Sadie have such a fun dynamic together. Molly [Tarlov, who plays Sadie] and I describe them as Sophia Grace and Rosie. It was fun to go from last season to Lissa done with being bullied. Their friendship changes — Lissa’s a forgiving person, that’s what Jesus does to her, but we’ll see exactly what happens with their relationship. I don’t want to give too much away, but all I can say is that Lissa is still standing up for herself and is much more empowered this season.
Can Sadie be accepting of a role where she isn’t bossing Lissa around?
I think she can be a little more accepting about it. I think Sadie will always want to boss people around, but she’s accepting of the fact that Lissa stands up for herself and says “No” sometimes. She’s a little weird about it at first and then she’s like, “Oh, okay, fine.” I don’t know if she’s okay with it, but she accepts it.
Anything we can tease for the rest of the season?
I think it will be really fun to see how the Matty/Jake thing comes out, because I know the trailer teased that they do find out about each other, and it’s really fun how that all plays out. I’m secretly in love with Kristoffer Polaha, who comes on this season as Lacie’s old flame from high school and I think that’s a huge, fun storyline that’s exciting. And I can’t wait for everyone to see that.
No love for Lissa?
Not really. Jesus loves Lissa. And Lissa loves Jesus.
Catch an all-new Awkward tonight, July 19 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.
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