Faking It premieres tonight on MTV (our parent company) and we’re going to be live tweeting with the hashtag #realingit. If you haven’t yet heard about this show, it follows two best friends (Amy and Karma) who pretend to be a lesbian couple in order to become more popular at their Austin, Texas high school.
The reviews are in from around the web and it seems like people are split. What’s interesting is that the critics who like it seem to be men.
“So the lesbian ruse clearly won’t carry the show forever. That’s okay, because other stories are also going on at this weird alt-high school. …Yet many of the fundamental things still apply. Parents are oblivious and barely tolerable. Prom matters. There’s still nothing like a hunky guy, in this case Liam (Gregg Sulkin).” — David Hinkley, New York Daily News
“In many conversations about the growing national embrace of gay marriage, people talk about how younger generations are more accepting of a broad range of orientations and gender identifications. Faking It takes that notion and joyfully runs with it.” — Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe
“That’s enough of a hook to make the show stand out, but it takes a further step (spoiler alert here) by making one of the girls realize that maybe she’s not just playacting her new sexual orientation. It’s a slightly melodramatic twist, though it raises the stakes from teenage farce to something with a little more emotional resonance.” — Mike Hale, New York Times
“From the stupidest of premises sometimes comes the best of shows.” — Mark Perigard, Boston Herald
Women, on the other hand, seem to be a little more skeptical. (Full disclosure: Myself included.)
“The intentions of the show are to normalize homosexuality in the high school setting. But the problem is, Amy and Karma do not have a real relationship. While Amy begins to question the fakeness of her feelings toward Karma, Karma is full-blooded hetero teenage girl. By allowing these two to climb several rungs of high school hierarchy by coming out, Faking It tokenizes lesbianism.” — Molly Eichel, The AV Club
“One of the girls may not be faking it after all. It’s too early to tell if this is enough to turn a potentially damaging whitewash into a fantasy of what high school could be like if homophobia were dead and buried. Until that becomes clear, I’m left wondering what you call the fake girlfriend you’re secretly in love with. Even back in the ‘80s we didn’t have a word for that.” — June Thomas, Slate
“It’s too soon to say how Faking It will handle Amy’s questions, but focusing on them – and maybe even playing with the notion that sexuality can be fluid – would be a better way to stand out from the crowd than Karma’s idiotic pursuit of Liam ever will.” — Ellen Gray, Daily News
One queer blog called Autostraddle liked Faking It, though, saying “it’s kinda cute” and thinks the show will “pleasantly surprise you.”
Having only seen two episodes (the pilot and episode three), it’s hard to say exactly how the central relationship of Amy and Karma will play out, but interviews and spoilers indicate that Amy will surely be questioning her sexuality, making the show more truly of lesbian interest. As I wrote in my Hollywood Reporter review, Amy is the only real likable character thus far. Even the gay popular guy Shane is a version of a gay character we’ve seen before — a narcissistic, image-conscious social director that others look to for opinions and guidance.
“Amy and Shane were both characters I really wanted to avoid typecasting or pigeon-holing,” Faking It creator Carter Covington said in an interview. “I wanted them to feel like fully-realized people. I didn’t want Amy to be so obviously a lesbian at the start of the pilot that it lost [a sense of reality] — that’s not how I view myself. I view myself a big ball of so many things, some of them yes you could call stereotypically gay and some of them you couldn’t. I wanted to create a character that was fully dimensionalized. For Shane, [I] really want[ed] to have a gay character that felt fun and fresh and not burdened by angst. So often we tell LGBT stories in terms of the struggle to come out; I really wanted Shane to be a character who could just be himself. It was one of the things I loved about Jack on Will & Grace — he was such a force of nature; I wanted to have that same sort of fun and vibrancy around [Shane]. I want to see him have a love life and a world that’s not him [acting] as a sounding board and a gay best friend.”
These things don’t come out in the pilot so much, though, so we’ll just have to keep watching and waiting for the full-realization of the gay characters we’re being promised on MTV’s newest series.
Live tweet with us tonight using #realingit and check back after the episode premiere for our recap.