Faking It is not what you can call a great and deep TV show, but in its simplicity and even ordinariness it obtains something very few have. It is an average show, one like all the others you may catch on TV switching channels, but it’s a modern, more open-minded version of those silly shows.
The topic through the seasons is teenage life, the daily drama of grown-up kids and their parents, just a common, overused, trivial topic we have seen millions of time on TV. And yet, the show comes as an amused breath of fresh air.
It’s a comical show, exaggerated in its drama, ridiculous in most of its dynamics, and yet it also manages to offer some deep considerations. It can be watched as a light show to pass time, or it can be watched more carefully, paying attention to the messages behind the comical exaggerations of teenage drama.
The characters are teenagers in this school that’s working, in a funny and sometimes ridiculous way, to fight discrimination and accept each one of its students. It starts off with a fake-lesbian couple and an acclaimed kiss in front of the whole school. There’s a weird, hysterical pride the school takes in being able to accept its student and be open to any “diversity”. They literally start to show off their open-minded ways.
Gay characters, lesbian characters, straight, bisex, confused, intersex, transgender characters, they’re all part of this show. Among the leading characters are represented all these different kind of persons. And that’s what they are: persons. They hate each other, love each other, can’t stand each other, and their different sexual orientations or the matter whether their gender is the same as the one they were born with have nothing to do with the hate or love they feel for each other, have nothing to do with the friendships, nothing to do with the antagonism.
As for what happens to these teenagers, it’s the same things we’ve seen so many times, but the fact that we can finally see those trivialities in a realistic setting of people who are so very different and so very much the same is a breath of fresh air. Faking It is new and progressive because it brings variety and positive diversity in a very average scenery.
To offer an example, there is an episode, in the last season, where the hysterical attempt at fighting discrimination brings in the school a very stupid, much ridiculous rule: everyone must wear brooches, on which there are the labels that better describe them (gay/straight/lesbian/bisexual/pansexual/… – vegetarian/vegan/… – male/female/genderqueer/…) so that everyone can know how to correctly respect the person in front of them. One of the leading characters, faced with the imperative of having to choose her own labels and not wanting to define herself, wears them all, making the labels completely useless.
It is a comical episode, indeed, it’s silly and funny, but it also stands as a metaphor. Sure, your school will not ask you to wear brooches with labels to define yourself, but society tries to force labels on you everyday, whether you like them or not.
In the show it actually comes from a naïve, innocent, well-meaning intent: let’s say you have a male body but you feel a female, you haven’t (or don’t want to) done the surgery yet but you’d appreciate it if people got the pronouns right, if you wear a label everyone will know to address you with female pronouns. Sometimes we can find this same way of thinking in society too, sometimes people could ask you to define yourself so that they can avoid disrespecting you by mistake. From that naïve intent can come the obligation for everyone to wear labels, and sometimes a person may simply not want any label, they may simply want to be who they are without having to feel the need to define themselves with terminology. Sometimes it’s good to be seen as the person you are instead than a “male with interest in females”, or a “female trapped in a male body, interested in females”.
I really appreciate the metaphors you can find here and there in the show and I really liked that episode of labels. People don’t need labels to be unique individuals. And you don’t need a label to respect someone – if you get a pronoun wrong when you first meet someone, you will make sure not to get it wrong again after learning about your mistake.
Watch this show with no big expectations, it is a nice and funny show, certainly silly and many times stupid, it is no great TV series, but it’s new, fresh and light.