“Faking It” recap (2.8): Loco Parentis

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Previously on Faking It, Reagan was sneaking into Amy’s window every time she could escape Noel Kahn’s murder cabin (I get crazy Maya vibes from Reagan). Shane was dickmatized (an expression my gay ex-roommate introduced me to) by Duke, to the extent that he was willing to climb in his closet. And Liam finally broached the subject of why Karma still refused to come out to her parents/let him have a turn wearing the strap on.

My favorite quote about family is from a Joanna Newsom song: “The ties that bind, they are barbed and spined, and hold us close forever.” For me, that sentiment captures the imperfect nature of love, and the way that, even when it feels like your family is nothing more than the endlessly knotted rope holding you down, you desperately don’t want it to let you go. And it’s that feeling that is captured nearly as perfectly in this episode of Faking It. It’s not the funniest or Karmiest episode of the season, but it is the warmest and truest.

We begin on the Hester quad, where it is apparently never winter, with Karma telling Amy about Liam’s hurt feelings.

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Karma: He thinks he’s competing with you for my affection.

Amy: Well I hope you told him that’s like a remote control car competing with a Sherman Tank.

Karma resolves to break the bad news to her parents the next time they are high out of their minds. So anytime after breakfast.

Meanwhile, at the Raudenfeld residence, Lauren is even more dolled up than usual in preparation for the Miss Teen Cactus Flower Pageant, an event that Amy’s mom actually won back in the day. The only person more pumped up for the pageant than Lauren is Lauren’s dad, which is a welcome surprise. I think we all assumed that Lauren adorns herself with the trappings of femininity because she’s so desperate to prove her female-ness to herself, but this episode teaches us just how much of that desperation she learned from her father. So our first example of family dynamics is the extent to which our parents’ insecurities about us become our insecurities about ourselves.

Of course, seeing Farrah and Lauren bond over sequined gowns activates all of Amy’s feelings of jealousy of their relationship. And, as tends to happen with Amy, her rejection morphs into white-hot rage when Farrah says that she wouldn’t have a shot at winning at pageant anyway. As we all know, in this situation, Amy has a bad habit of going after things she doesn’t want at all to soothe her wounded pride. Like Liam, a mistake she has been to busy hiding from to actually learn anything from.

When Amy goes upstairs, Reagan is already camped out there with the blankets warmed and Gilmore Girls queued up on Netflix, but she instantly latches on to Amy’s plan to enter the pageant.

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Reagan: Once you’re up on that stage, you could call out the entire pageant industry, and the patriarchy, and income inequality, OOH and work in GMOs in there too, if possible.

Amy: YEAH AND PLUS ALSO IT WILL MAKE MY MOM LOVE ME.

Reagan: Or maybe you should accept that your mom does love you, just not in the exact way you wish she would.

Amy: NOPE, I’M ON THIS PAGEANT THING NOW.

They crash the pageant, but even a mouthful of Vaseline can’t keep Reagan smiling when Amy introduces her as her “coach.”

fakingit8.3WHAT AMY MEANS IS THAT I’VE BEEN HELPING HER WITH HER TECHNIQUE.

Karma’s parental struggles have been as well-documented as Amy’s but it’s always been a little more difficult to sympathize with her, since her main gripe is that her mom and dad are oppressively accepting. But the Ashcrofts are delightful to watch, so I can’t be too bitter.  (Sidebar: I’m glad to hear the family has changed its financial fortunes by selling sativa brownies from the food truck, but I’m pretty sure I am the originator of that joke. I will refrain from a lawsuit if I can have one of those “Team Lauren” T-shirts.)

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Liam: So you’re really going to tell them I’m your boyfriend?

Karma:  Yeah, I’ll just have to break it to them gently.  Try not to act too butch, and for god’s sake don’t talk about sports.

But Karma is forestalled in her plan by the arrival of her beloved brother Zen, who has been taking care of African orphans in the Peace Corps since Season 1.

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