MTV’s ‘Faking It’: Promoting tolerance or simply intolerable?

Katie Stevens and Rita Volk in "Faking It."

Katie Stevens and Rita Volk in “Faking It.”


MTV’s new series “Faking It” hasn’t hit the airwaves yet, but it’s already causing controversy.

The show follows the story of two high school friends who are tired of being unpopular. When someone falsely outs them at a party, they decide to play along to boost their social standing. Their status as a lesbian couple propels them to high school fame, but the show’s premise has some steaming, alleging that the premise is offensive to the LGBT community.

The showrunner, Carter Covington (“Greek” and “10 Things I Hate About You”) admits he initially found the storyline distasteful. “As a gay man, I told the network I was offended by the idea,” he said.

But he remembered a conversation he’d had with a caller while working as a counselor on The Trevor Project hotline. The high school-aged caller expressed concern that his friends liked him only because he was gay.

“I was shocked,” said Covington. “That idea seemed so foreign to me given the world I grew up in, but this kid explained that he went to a very tolerant high school where being gay was like a badge of honor. That’s when I realized there are schools out there where being gay is no longer a problem, and tolerance is viewed as an asset. It made me think ‘Faking It’ cold work if we set it at a high school like that and had one of the girls actually have a crush on her best friend.”

Rita Volk (Amy) and Katie Stevens (Karma) portray the faux lesbian couple with Michael Willet in the role of popular preppy guy, Shane, who initiates the rumor that sets the story in motion.

“Faking It” premieres Tuesday, April 22, on MTV.

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