When MTV first announced its new series Faking It, about two girls who pretend to be lesbians at a super liberal Austin, Texas high school in order to became popular.... Well, I gave it pretty heavy side-eye. But I admit, I'm hooked already.
From this point on, heavy spoilers of the pilot, so for those of you who would not like to be spoiled please click back. For those of you who don't mind or who have already seen it, ONWARDS! Oh, and I'm from Austin, this is obviously California, just sayin'. But isn't it always? California or Vancouver... Austin has a really cool RTF subculture and *growl, growl, growl disgruntled Austinite* AHEM, but anyway...
From the very first trailer, I could see this show playing out in one of three ways. The first way I saw it playing out is why my first reaction was to scoff and think it obvious queer-baiting: the premise of the show as expressed was the actual premise of the show. You have two straight characters. The second way was that one of the girls would actually already be gay, either in the closet, or suddenly coming to a realisation she had always known: she was sexually and romantically attracted to her best friend. The final way I could see it playing out is if both girls actually were gay and either they were both in the closet/coming to a realisation, or it would be a case of one coming to a slow realisation and one coming to a very quick realisation.
There is only one way which the first possibility would have not annoyed me: if by claiming placement in a marginalised group in a relatively safe space of a very liberal high school ended up translating to oppression outside of campus. In that situation the girls would learn what their popularity amongst their immediate peers cost them in the wider world (even in Austin!) by giving up the presumption of being straight, and with it, straight privilege. That could be a really good show, but spoilers spoilers spoilers...
That's not what happened. So about the other two possibilities? Well, at this point either is actually possible. Karma and Amy have tried everything to be popular. Okay, well, let's be honest here, Karma has tried everything to be popular, pulling her best friend Amy along with her into her various schemes. When an off handed insult from the school's Queen Bee Wannabe leads to the two being "outed" as lesbians, the heavily queer and queer friendly in group "adopts" the pair and puts them forward for homecoming queens. This immediately skyrockets them to fame.
Karma is pretty much only interested in this fame, and in fact, is attracted to an artist guy who hangs out with the gay ringleader of the in crowd and a described feminist (of color, no less), and she is willing to milk it for all that it is worth. Amy is much less impressed, and when Karma kisses artist guy, Amy gets very upset and shuts Karma out. They speak about Karma's plan and are overheard by Queen Bee Wannabe. Amy leaves in a huff telling Karma to "get another girlfriend." After realising how close she really is to Amy, Karma rushes to find her, knowing exactly where she will be. They make up. Karma apologises for being selfish, and Amy offers to go along with the scheme.
When they get to the gym to accept their nominations for homecoming queens, Queen Bee Wannabe attempts to out them as straight. When asked to explain, Karma appears to be on the verge of admitting the ploy, but Amy cuts her off, turns to the assembly, and says, "if we're faking it, then would I do this?" Amy then proceeds to kiss Karma passionately and here's the kicker: it's really, really, REALY obvious that Amy enjoyed it. A lot. Amy's sexuality is pretty clearly not straight, and the kiss is a moment of realisation for her. Karma? Well, she seems mostly blown away by Amy's commitment to "selling it" but there is just a moment of lingering which could suggest something more.
So where does this ending leave us regarding the two potential possibilities mentioned earlier? Hell if I know. The most obvious is the first one, due to the friction which will result from Amy being blatantly queer and probably very much in love with Karma while Karma is... well... very, very straight. There's a lot of potential heartache and angst here, but there's also the potential for dark comedy. Comedy those of us who are queer will probably remember now, but seemed horrific at the time. Given the style and atmosphere of the pilot, I'm not sure how likely the heartache and angst are. This isn't going as far as, say, Glee, with the happy happy psuedo-drama, but it's also so far painted a pretty colorful and peppy picture.
If I had to give my preference, I would prefer the second potential, that Karma is queer herself but will take a lot longer to figure it out, and will only come to this realisation through watching Amy's actual journey and her already obvious love for Amy. Maybe what will end up happening is that Karma isn't gay—she's bi, or pan, or is just Amysexual (there's actually a word for being sexually attracted to one person and one person only, I am sure... monosexual? But I prefer to use names, because I think it's more amusing and infinitely cuter). I can't imagine this show lasting that long, since the girls are already seniors (unless they do the college thing, but... uh... laaaaame), so there has to be an endgame in sight. And the current atmosphere leads me to think a happy ending is planned, and so I speculate that Karma and Amy will end up a real couple, and the interesting aspects of the show will be how that actually ends up happening.
Guess we'll just have to watch to find out. I know I will.
Image/Video via MTV/YouTube.