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Iungerich: Teen travails anything but ‘Awkward’

10 TV Scribes to Watch 2012: Lauren Iungerich

The title may be “Awkward” but with a show airing on MTV, series writer-creator Lauren Iungerich can now more easily explain what she does for a living. Before “Awkward,” Iungerich wrote and sold feature scripts that were never produced.

“It’s the weirdest thing. You’re a professional writer with nothing to show for it,” she says, laughing. “When this show got made I could say to people, ‘See, I’m not making this up. I really do write for a living.’ ”

She looked to her own cultural touchstones growing up for inspiration when creating “Awkward.”

“I grew up, like a lot of Gen X-ers, loving John Hughes. I saw ‘Sixteen Candles’ when I was little and it just really spoke to me,” she recalls. “Being able to write a show people have so kindly compared to John Hughes — which I just take with a grain of salt because no one could be John Hughes nor would I ever attempt that — is for me the journey of writing these characters, because I feel so connected to that part of myself. It’s like a love letter to the 15-year-old me.”

The show’s 12-episode second season, premiering June 28, will continue Iungerich’s effort to create an authentic look at what it feels like to be a teenager.

“Sometimes being a teenager makes you want to die in a metaphorical sense,” she says. “We’re examining the world through the eyes of a non-cynical teen; someone who has a lot of heart.”

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