MTV’s “Faking it” got a lot much heat when the show was first pitched, and I can understand why. Even I was a little bit skeptical at first, because in my mind and in many others, creating a fictional liberal school in Texas where two girls fake being lesbians in order to be popular seems like it’s trivializing a really serious subject that people struggle with all over the world. However, while it’s not exactly perfect, and it doesn’t reflect reality when it comes to American schools, I’d like to take a moment to discuss all the topics it does right.
For a show set at a fictional school, there are a lot of real things happening. The first example being the tokenization of gay people I’ve been seeing more and more. When Amy and Karma proclaim they’re dating, they’re splash them all over the school’s social media accounts. They practically become the face of the school simply because they’re a lesbian couple. It’s like how reality TV shows will cast that one gay character for the sake of diversity, but that one will gay character will then watch all the straight people hook up and just sort of… sit there having served their purpose simply by existing. Or how about Liam’s crush on Karma literally only starting because she’s a lesbian? Something I’ve encountered far too many times.
Another topic that really hit a sore spot for me was that, while all the young people at their school accept and embrace their gayness, Amy’s own mother didn’t. That especially sucks because, of the two girls, Amy’s the one who begins to question her sexual orientation after kissing Karma. Her mother would rather she have a S&M dungeon in the garage than love a woman.
This season, “Faking It” has even done something unheard of on TV: they included an intersex character. This is TV’s first intersex character, and it was MTV that did it. What’s great about it is that they didn’t go into it blind. Inter/Act even tweeted about the actress playing an intersex character before it was actually revealed on the show in order to ease worries that intersex people were going to be misrepresented. Before playing the character, she spent a lot of time with someone born intersex in order to learn about being intersex, which while frankly is not as good as having cast someone who is actually intersex, is a step up from the usual. If you want to know more about what intersex means, this is a great article.