TV Review - Faking It

Rita Volk (left), Michael J. Willet
and Katie Stevens (right) in "Faking It"
A series about young lesbians is one that would be interesting. If this were a weekly Blue is the Warmest Color, I would be more ecstatic. This isn't that. It's instead two girls pretending to be gay in order to boost their popularity, which ten or even five years ago would have been an implausible premise.

Rita Volk stars as Amy, a very adorable blonde living in Austin, Texas. She attends Hester High School with her best friend Karma, played by Katie Stevens, a very pretty redhead. Amy has a stepsister named Lauren, played by Bailey Buntain, and the setup between Amy and Lauren is the same as the sisters in Ryan Murphy's Popular.

Amy has no concern for popularity or fitting in, while Lauren is the opposite. Lauren is all about being popular and fitting it. Lauren is also a Republican who constantly gives her stepsister grief. When Amy and Karma go to a party thrown by Shane, played by Michael J. Willett, Shane weirdly assumes Amy and Karma are lesbians purely on superficial, baseless observations, and decides to nominate them for homecoming queens.

This nomination is met with cheers at Shane's party. Shane is openly gay, so obviously people at his party would cheer that, but the series, created by Dana Goodman, Julie Lea Wolov and Carter Covington, makes apparent that the majority of those in Hester High have no problem with this.

Amy does have a conservative mom, which could be a source of concern, but not much external conflict seems to exist here. The only conflict is internal. It's obvious as the show goes along that Amy isn't just pretending to be gay, Amy actually is a lesbian. What she's doing is two-fold. She's pretending to be both gay and straight at some points at the same time, and Volk gives a great performance portraying it all.

For sure, Amy is doing a juggling act that could be fun for an entire season, but eventually seeing Amy explore a real lesbian relationship would be preferred and exponentially better. Karma is only pretending to be her girlfriend, so that's a no-go. Karma is instead trying to seduce Liam, played by Gregg Sulkin. Liam thinks he can convert a lesbian to being straight, which is highly offensive.

It's not offensive in a homophobic sense because the character is not homophobic. It's not offensive in a narcissistic or arrogant way. It's offensive in a way that contradicts Liam's character. Liam is best friends with Shane who is openly gay. He accepts Shane and would never suggest Shane could be converted. To suggest Karma could be converted is hypocritical and sexist.

Because Karma isn't really gay, then it isn't truly a problem. It's merely a delaying tactic. If it turns out that Liam is only attracted to her because he gets off on the challenge of converting lesbians, that could be something to explore, but having him be friends with Shane undermines that, so I can only conclude that Liam is a sexist pig and I don't want to watch him be that. Having Karma be only about having sex with Liam is one note and limiting, particularly since she seems oblivious to the fact that her best friend is actually gay.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 30 mins.
Tuesdays at 10:30 on MTV.


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