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Real Laughs, No Fakes

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Faking It

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Every time one turns to MTV, one wonders why they've abandoned their channel's title for what appears to be hours upon hours of pregnant teenagers, Snooki and JWow talking, and ridiculous pranking. Then one looks at their offerings for scripted television, and wonders "are the same people in charge of programming both options?" Because their scripted teenagers are clever, hip, daringly subversive, and far more winning then the ones we see on their reality shows.
Take their most recent scripted offering Faking It. It involves what could be considered a cliched story--- two childhood friends, being forced into romantic situations in high school, leads to one realizing they are in love with the other one. Two major differences with this show: both the friends are teenage girls, and they are being cast as lesbians. Even more daring, this series sets itself in a high school in Austin, the self-described 'blue dot in a red state'.
Karma and Amy are not that different from average teenagers --- they lead what they consider to be dull lives, feel a lot of pressure from their families, and want to fit in with a peer group. But this high school is different from Glee in that here, "you're an insider if you're an outsiders'. Mistaken for a gay couple in the middle of having a lonely discussion, they go on with the deception to get invited to a party, and find themselves cast as trailblazers, as--- to violate another sacrosanct ritual of the high school set series--- they are nominated as 'Homecoming Queens'--- which drives the born-again belle (whose going to be Karma's future stepsister) up the wall.
Though neither is gay, they go along with the contrivance because, contrary to the norm, it's more easily accepted here. Besides, as Karma puts it, 'straight guys love lesbians. Don't you watch porn?" and soon enough, Amy finds herself being wooed by a dreamy artist, and is engaged in lip lock soon after. But it's the climax where Amy engags in a minute long kiss with her best friend to 'prove' in front of the student body that they are lesbians, and now it seems that Amy might be one--- even though Karma, at the moment, is blissfully unaware.
I can imagine the religious right being up in arms at how they're depicted here, and how inflamed they'll be at future episodes where the girls cut a number on the dance floor, and possibly engage in a threesome. These things are of little concern to me, however, as this is one of the more delightful and--- dare I say it--- evocative shows I've seen since the early days of Glee. It's fun, it's energetic, and it dares to be different, on a network that prides itself on being deliberately outrageous rather than contrived. I hope it finds an audience of outcasts who want in here.

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