It's not easy being Jenn.
Claws, which returns at 9 p.m. Sunday on TNT, started out well enough for Jenn Husser, played by Jenn Lyon.
Jenn married her fellow recovering addict Bryce, and he adopted her daughter, Brienne. Then they had a daughter of their own, Baylor.
She worked as a manicurist at Nail Artisans of Manatee County, owned by her best friend, Desna Simms, along with Polly, Quiet Ann and Virginia.
Then the wheels came off.
Sensitive Bryce, who wanted to become an abundance (life) coach, got dragged into the family business, the Dixie Mafia, after his younger brother Roller disappeared. Bryce settled into that life, becoming a murderer and relapsing.
Brienne was kidnapping by one Russian mob boss while later Bryce was shot by the new Russian mob chief.
In between, Jenn had an affair with Hank Gluck, a square-dancing Messianic Jew who later stalked her. She fell off the wagon, and the couple teetered on divorce, before reconciling and deciding to move to Tampa for a fresh start.
You just know that's not going to stand.
Jenn Lyon is a fresh face to television, having made her mark on the stage. She appeared on Broadway in “The Coast of Utopia” and “Fish in the Dark.”
On TV, she played Tim Olyphant's girlfriend on Justified Seasons 3 and 4 and starred in Saint George with George Lopez and Danny Trejo.
TV Fanatic caught up with Lyon at her Brooklyn home, “gathering up laundry, being a domestic goddess.”
She talked about her bighearted character and her relationships with her family and friends and what viewers can expect from Claws Season 3.
How did you get involved with Claws?
I've been an actress in New York City for a minute, and this role came along. They called me in, and I auditioned, then promptly went back to the pizza restaurant at which I worked. Then I got a callback, and I did that. Then I went to L.A. for a chemistry test with Niecy [Nash, who plays Desna], and we fell in love, and the rest is history.
What do you like most about your character, Jenn?
Oh, God. That's hard. I like so many things about her. I like that she is fiercely loyal. She'll do anything for her family and her friends, to not only survive but to uplift them and give them the life that they need. I really like that about her.
How would you describe Jenn's role in Desna's crew?
She's definitely Des's best friend. She's known her the longest. She's the ride-or-die girl for her. She's also the only one with kids. So I think that her loyalties can sometimes get split between her family and her crew. So that's something she always has to deal with.
What's at the root of Jenn and Desna's enduring friendship?
They both really make each other laugh. They both come from tough childhoods and backgrounds and they're scrappy. And they hang on together.
Sometimes, if there's a disparity between people, it can be hard to bridge that gap. But Desna was in foster care and Jen's mom was an addict and got paraded around by hundreds of stepdads and grew up poor. They both know what it's like to make your own way, and that's what ties them together. That's what ties all the women together.
After all Desna has been through, is she still essentially good, or has she changed?
There's a theory called cognitive dissonance, where you can hold two thoughts in your head at the same time. Like, I can love my mom, but I can also steal from my mom. Whatever your objective is, in the moment, you can do whatever it takes to get it.
Desna has made some pretty terrible mistakes, she's made some bad choices, but it's all in service of her objective, which is to protect Dean and her crew.
We see that in many anti-heroes, such as Tony Soprano and Walter White. But when we saw that in a woman, we have a tendency to be like “Is she good?” But does she have to be good? Can't she be good and complicated? I think both can exist at the same time.
Jenn and Bryce have gone down a rocky road over the past two seasons. Have they forgiven each other for their recent bad decisions?
Yes, I think so. They might bring it up in fights. But they love each other with a ferocity that is unmatched.
Is it safe to say Jenn and Bryce aren't suburban people?
[Laughing] It's very safe to say that. They are backwoods folk. I come from the mountains of Appalachia, I'm a mountain person. I can see they're kind of like swamp people. They're backwoods people, trying to make their own way and come up in the world.
So much has happened to Jenn through the first two seasons. Will she finally catch a break in Season 3?
Girl, I hope so. You gonna have to watch. Ya think I'm gonna tell ya?
What else can fans look forward to this season?
I was thinking about that this morning. Everything has been elevated. They're bossing up in terms of the responsibilities they take on, the fashions are wilder, the hair is bigger, the love is more volatile, the stakes are higher. Just everything. It's a roller-coaster.
I love the production numbers. Are those as much fun to make as they are to watch?
Yes. When we get to do a dance number, we just mess with each other all day. We have the best time. I'm a nerd. I love rehearsal. I'm like, “Guys, let's take it from the top, 5, 6, 7, 8.” We love it. It's so wonderful.
Claws returns Sunday, June 9, at 9/8c on TNT.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.