MTV’s “Faking It”: Progressive and Inclusive, or Insensitive and Offensive?

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MTV is set to air the premiere of their new show Faking It, starring Hungover Games actress Rita Volk and former American Idol contestant Katie Stevens. The premise of the show is two less-than-average teenage girls who are desperate for the elusive high school popularity sphere have tried everything to improve their social position, to no avail. Their high school existence threatens to be nothing short of mediocre until they are mistakenly believed to be a lesbian couple and outed during a party, instantly launching them into social stardom. Obviously, the conflict arises in the fact that they need to keep pretending to be gay, while the threat of the truth being discovered always looms above.

I took a look at the trailer, and the acting doesn’t seem bad at all. It even appears to hold a certain level of wit (a teen mom clique… and the line “I don’t even like looking at my own vagina” actually made me chuckle). However, I’ve got to wonder if MTV missed the mark on this one.

Look, I’m really not one of those ultra-uptight, predictably-PC gays who need everyone to constantly show their support for the LGBT community. There’s nothing wrong with demanding respect, but I understand all too well that there are real hard core homophobes out there, and targeting any and everyone who is less than a little sensitive to homosexuals just makes us look petty. Honestly, sometimes we have to know which battles to pick. That being said, I’m not sure where I stand on this new show.

On the one hand, how awesome is it that we have a show depicting the idea that a same-sex couple in high school is adored! We’ve read stories of same-sex teenagers winning prom or homecoming royalty, being popular etc, so I won’t say that it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, we have to realise that this happens in the minority, and the more common occurrence is that gay teenagers are often subject to disgusting cruelty and bullying, which far too often lead to acts of attempted and attained suicide. Therefore, I also can’t help but think that Faking It is making light of – or completely disregarding – the reality of LGBT teenagers in high school.

Many people are thinking that one of the faux lesbians in the show will turn out to actually be gay and will therefore come to terms with her sexual orientation. If that’s the case, it could be a great opportunity for MTV to portray a gay teen in an amazing way (which they do! Their record really does speak for them on this one, I won’t lie!). Still, one of the worst feelings for any homosexual is falling for a straight person who will never be able to return the sentiments, and if the show does head down in that direction with a lesbian who falls in love with a hetero who’s only in it for the popularity, I think they should be ready for the shit to hit the “fans”.

Either way, I will reserve complete judgement until I check out the show. At the very least, we can’t say that Faking It isn’t provoking discussion… and it hasn’t even aired yet. Faking It airs tonight April 22nd at 10:30 pm ET/PT on MTV.

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