Faking It: How to Be Offensive without Really Trying

Faking It: How to Be Offensive without Really Trying

MTV

Juliana Diatezua, Copy Editor

It would be reaching to say that MTV is a network notorious for groundbreaking programs. However, in terms of adjusting to its shift from predominantly music-television into the regularity of cable Tv sitcoms, one can’t deny it’s doing its best. Staying afloat with its many hits–irrespective of the more numerous misses–MTV has clearly been fighting to find a niche towards a demographic that has begun weaning itself off network television.

Most recently, MTV has taken an algorithmic approach towards drawing in viewership. Take an awkward teen outcast, a quick witted best friend, an obviously-older-than-high-school nemesis, quests for infamy and what do you get? Well, if you’ve been following closely, you get “Awkward,” “The Inbetweeners,” “Teen Wolf,” the canceled “My Life as Liz,” “Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous,” “R.J. Berger” and now, “Faking It.”

“Faking It,” the new MTV scripted comedy, is about two teen friends, Karma and Amy, who are barely holding on to the bottom rung of the high school social ladder. Through a series of mix-ups, the two are mistaken for a lesbian couple, and rather than correct this and fall back into nonexistence, they decide to “see how this plays out.” The outcome of their decision being, surprisingly, instant attention and glorification by their peers, forces them to decide how long they’re willing to play gay.

There are many reasons why “Faking It” could become the latest show worthy of banishment to the MTV graveyard: the trend of MTV comedies burning out their charm too soon, a dry reception in the wake of the many teen comedies following the “brash and quirky” route and plain ol’ poor ratings. What burdens “Faking It” further however, is the premise: two girls “pretending” to be gay for the attention of schoolmates and boys.

In reality, LGBT+ youth are 4 times more likely than straight peers to commit suicide; 80 percent of LGBT+ students have been verbally harassed at school, 40 percent have been physically harassed at school, and 20 percent report having been the victim of a physical assault at school. Suffice it to say, “going gay” in high school is anything but a glamorous, popularity-granting experience. Critics of “Faking It” have overwhelmingly been members of the LGBT+ community who see their chance at applauding MTV for its openness to sexual diversity clouded by its outright objectification of lesbians. Seeing MTV take a serious issue such as discovery of sexual identity in an already confusing time in a person’s life and turn it into a comedic punchline seems to stray far from any inclusionary, pro-millennial acceptance standpoint it was hoping for.

“Faking It,” which formally appears Tuesday, April 22 at 10:30 p.m. EST, already has the jury waiting to knock it into the ground. What remains unknown is if the show will succeed in deviating from its buzz-inducing trailer and fetishizing photosets and become one of the few cable programs that truly addresses the struggles that LGBT+ youth go through when daring to come out in high school. The show already hints at the possibility that one of the duo, Amy, may actually identify as LGBT. With this possible storyline hanging in the distance, only time will tell if the program will be able to escape the terminal ending of its many predecessors and become a trailblazer, detailing all the ups and downs that come along with coming out.