A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Faking It is a bawdy comedy about two high school girls who pretend to be a lesbian couple in order to be popular. The characters refer frequently and casually to sex, including no-strings sex between teens, group sex, and masturbation. There is cursing, including bleeped four-letter words as well as audible words like "hell" and "dammit." There are also salty jokes, such as one in which a boy spills beer over a girl's shirt and then discusses her (blurred) visible nipples. There are also jokes about suicide, venereal disease, and pornography. Characters drink out of opaque red cups at parties and make references to being drunk or wasted, and act sloppy and silly. Parents and authority figures are mostly absent, ridiculous, or easily fooled on this show.
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What's the story?
In MTV's edgy comedy FAKING IT, high schoolers Karma (Katie Stevens) and Amy (Rita Volk) are such close best friends that they call each other even before they get out of bed in the morning. Amy's completely satisfied with their weekend habit of watching Netflix marathons together in their pajamas, but Karma's looking for more excitement. She finds it when the cool, popular gay-man-on-campus Shane (Michael Willett) overhears a conversation between Amy and Karma and concludes the pair are lesbians. Since he's hoping Amy's Young Republican of a stepsister-to-be Lauren (Bailey Buntain) won't win this year's homecoming queen contest, he puts Amy and Karma up for co-queens. Will Amy and Karma be able to pull the ruse off? Does Amy in fact have deeper feelings for her best friend? Will Karma second her emotions, or is she just using Amy to gain the attention of hunky classmate Liam (Gregg Sulkin)?
Is it any good?
The idea behind Faking It is a kinda neat one: What if two girls faked being gay to win Girls Gone Wild attention, only one of them wasn't faking it? The coming-of-age-and-coming-out story is certainly a time-honored one in the LGBTQ cinematic canon, and having both girls playing gay-for-social-cachet is an interesting farcial spin.
If only the show didn't traffic so much in teen-movie cliches. Does everyone in the cast have to be so unlikeable and unrealistic? Does Shane have to be a fashion plate who spits out campy quips at a machine-gun's pace? Does Lauren have to be the epitome of a red-state refugee without a heart? Do all the other students at school have to do things like giving the girls gluten-free muffins to celebrate their coming-out? You sense that there's a heart buried beneath the one-note characters and off-color jokes, but this show needs to decide whether it's sincere or satire. A mix of both is just confusing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the central premise of Faking It. Would coming out as a lesbian couple make two girls popular at your school? Why or why not?
Would this show be different if it were about two gay male teens instead of females? Why?
Is the setting of Faking It, a high school in Austin, Texas, important? How would the story be different if it were set in a parochial school? A college? A workplace?
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