Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Faking It...Emphasis on the FAKE

So I caught MTV's new scripted show, Faking It. I was watching Awkward (yes, I still watch it even though it has devolved some since I wrote about it...) and the lead-in caught my attention because it's supposed to take place in Austin (it's the most LA looking Austin I've ever seen, but I digress.)

Here's the premise, from the Wikipedia page:
After numerous attempts of trying to be popular two best friends decide to come out as lesbians, which launches them to instant celebrity status. Seduced by their newfound fame, Karma and Amy decide to keep up their romantic ruse.
Hm. Ok.

Let me just dig in on a few immediate reactions I had to what I saw...

1) How the hell is that supposed to be Austin when almost none of the students are Latin@? Did the show runners do any research on local high school demographics? Although, maybe it is supposed to be on the west side of town since so many people appear rich and white...? Either way, while there are diverse people represented, it is NOT an accurate picture of what the average Austin high school students actually look like. Would it have killed them to cast a Latina to play one of the leads?

2) Amy and Karma decide to "fake" being lesbians because it's Austin, so their high school is so totally liberal and accepting that they have to do something to stand out. (That is honestly emphasized several times. At one point the villain who "should" be popular but isn't, screams something along the lines of, "If this was anywhere else in Texas I'd own your asses!")

Seriously. This is the premise. It sounded like a lot of the disconnected white liberal self-back patting that I hear around town, so I had to look up the creator and see if he's actually from here. (He's not.)

I'd really love to hear what all the kids that I KNOW are bullied for being queer in Austin schools think about the premise of this show. (If I was still in direct service, I would ask them myself, but alas.) Obviously public opinion is shifting (yes, even in Texas) especially among young people, but this story line is, frankly, an unrealistic fantasy. The only part that does feel accurate about it is how the straight boys in the show are fetishizing Amy and Karma for their "relationship."

3) It really plays on the whole "girls pretend to like girls to get boys" myth which continually erases bi/pan/lesbian women and centers female sexuality back on dudes. That is literally Karma's end game, at least in the pilot. She's 100% focused on getting a boy to like/notice her so that she convinces Amy that this is something they need to do. Karma even makes a comment about how "everyone has a gay phase in college, let's just do it now." So while the show is probably trying to be progressive, it's bringing up the same old bi/pan/lesbian erasing tropes.

4) BUT I have one small glimmer of hope! It was at the end! While Karma is reveling in her fake lesbianism to get ahead socially, Amy is actually into Karma! Like for real! This was quite literally the only saving grace I experienced in watching the show. I stuck with it because I was mentally composing this blog post but then that happened. So we're going to have Amy faking being a fake lesbian...interesting. There are some good things that could come from this, only time will tell, and I'm not holding my breath. Honestly, I will probably give it a shot because I'd like to see how it all shakes out and what messages they're sending, but I will certainly have to over look all the crap above and some blatant cheesiness to do that.

Wish me luck.

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