MTV’s romantic, faux lesbo comedy “Faking It” debuted last night to mixed reviews. Lesbian.com writers Candy Parker, Gabrielle Lindau, Natasia Langfelder and Emelina Minero took a break from looking for Malaysian flight 370 to bring you the scoop on Karma and Amy’s Sapphic adventures at the idyllic Hester High in Austin, Texas.
Lesbian.com managing editor Candy Parker
I’ll admit I was among the skeptics in anticipating the debut of MTV’s “Faking It.” The premise — faking lesbianism in order to bolster high school popularity — seemed so farfetched, and possibly even offensive, that I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But as I sat down to watch the show Tuesday night, I did my best to keep an open mind.
The good news is that after watching the 30-minute debut, I can report that I was not offended by the show’s premise at all. The bad news is that the primary reason I wasn’t offended is because the set-up is so unbelievable. Being offended by “Faking It’s” premise would be akin to being offended that alien life forms weren’t properly represented on “Mork and Mindy” or that the wrestling matches aren’t real on WWE.
The show clearly asks us to suspend all belief in reality — a Texas high school where football players aren’t walking Gods and homosexuality and teen pregnancy are the “in” things? Uh, yeah right.
Taken as the lightning-fast vehicle for cheesy one-liners that it is, “Faking It” is fine. If nothing else, it provides an opportunity to dream of a world in which such a Texas high school might exist.
Director, writer and producer Gabrielle Lindau
MTV’s “Faking It” is a fictional world that takes place behind the walls of a Texas high school. The twist is that the jocks and beauties are on the outs and the freaks, geeks and lesbians are the in crowd. The show centers on two best friends who are mistaken for lesbians and decide to role with it for its popularity.
Spoiler alert! We find out that the “fake” lesbians end up running for homecoming queen and queen. This reminds me of my good friend Lori Michaels and her glory days on the football field in high school when she dated the prom queen. So the good news is this stuff the show is portraying actually does happen in real life, sometimes.
My concern for “Faking It” isn’t so much about the predictable plot where everyone ends up sleeping with each other at one point or another. Instead, I worry the show is going to ease younger generations into being complacent on social issues such as LGBT human rights. Unfortunately, we are not living in a post-gay USA where marriage equality applies to everyone and anti-sodomy laws no longer exist.
Lesbian.com writer Natasia Langfelder
I’m going to start this off by admitting that I’m a 30 year old who still watches MTV on a regular basis. I know, it’s sad. I tend to lean on the side of defending MTV, but the concept of “Faking It” is just so offensive it’s hard to defend. Unlike the concept, the show itself actually isn’t too offensive, if only because it’s not that good.
First of all, it’s hard to believe this high school is a high school, with the exception of Amy, all the characters look like they are pushing 30. We’ve all watched enough seasons of “16 and Pregnant” to know what a teenager looks like. Secondly, the name Karma is unrealistic and jarring. Yes, I know that some women have unusual names (look at mine, hello), but on this show the characters run around screaming KARMA over and over again, like “look how kooky this girl is even her name is KARMA LOLZ ROFL SMH.” This heavy handedness bleeds over into the jokes, which are all almost funny but not quite.
The show also falls flat when it comes to making us care about the characters. Amy is just blandly unoffensive, Karma is a delusional social climber and Liam (Karma’s love interest) wants to “turn” a lesbian. Who even cares what happens to them. Maybe they will go on the senior camping trip and get eaten by bears? Would anyone really be that sad about it?
That being said, when I was watching the show I wasn’t offended. The show even takes a stab at tackling issues such as the prejudice that come with the fetish-ization of lesbians. One character even says, “I want lesbian friends,” which is better than gay bashing, but is problematic in it’s own way. And, of course, we have scummy Liam who is trying to sleep with a lesbian. But the former idea isn’t even half developed and the latter, well, let’s just say I have a feeling scummy Liam is up all night to get lucky, like Daft Punk.
Can the show be redeemed? I think so, as long as Amy actually comes out as queer. Otherwise, the show is a lot of sound and faux teenage sex, signifying nothing. Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to hit my head against the wall until I pass out.
Lesbian.com writer Emelina Minero
The concept of two women pretending to be lesbians to gain popularity in 2014 is offensive, but I knew the show had to be deeper than that to run on air, and it is.
It was cool to see a high school setting where being gay was celebrated. I hear a lot about youth coming out in middle school and in high school and taking on activist roles and being proud and vocal. Coming out and being confident and proud at such a young age, that’s unfamiliar to me, and it’s nice to see that as the backdrop of “Faking It.”
Despite the interesting backdrop, a lot of the characters are cliches. I don’t think all of them will develop into full, real characters, but I am impressed by Amy, one of the two leads. It seems like she’s going to realize that she’s actually attracted to her best friend Karma. I don’t think the conflict will lie in her sexual orientation, but in her struggle to understand a new aspect of her identity and how this new part of her will impact her relationship with her best friend. Instead of seeing the struggling, I’m-not-gay-and-am-in-denial storyline, it will be a nice change of pace to see someone come into their sexuality, not from a place of fear, but from a place of learning more about themselves.
From a queer standpoint, I want Amy and Karma to actually get together, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. My next best wish, Amy hooks up with some girl so we can have a real queer romantic storyline explored in “Faking It.”
Is the show worth trying? Yes. Am I going to watch episode two? Yes.