Here’s Hoping MTV’s New Show About Fake Lesbians Will Be Less Offensive Than It Sounds

MTV's Faking It

If I told you MTV was premiering a new series about two high school girls who pretend to be in a relationship with each other in order to get attention from guys, how offended would you be on a scale from one to ten? I started off at eleven, but after reading what showrunner Carter Covington had to say about the project, I’m not so sure how I feel.

Covington tells Buzzfeed that he was initially put off by the concept of the show, called Faking It, when MTV approached him, but that he came around to the idea over time. He talks about a revelation he had while working for The Trevor Project, an LGBT crisis hotline:

I had a caller one night who said, ‘I’m worried that my friends are only my friends because I’m gay.’ I was shocked. The idea seemed so foreign to me given the world I grew up in, but this kid explained that he went to a very tolerant high school where being gay was like a badge of honor. That’s when I realized there are schools out there where being gay is no longer a problem, and tolerance is viewed as an asset. It made me think Faking It could work if we set it in a high school like that and had one of the girls actually have a crush on her best friend.

Hmm! On the one hand, young people who are comfortable identifying as LGBT really don’t need more people reinforcing the idea that they’re confused, faking it for attention, or just looking for something to explain away their problems. On the other hand, it’s definitely time for some gay narratives that don’t focus around tragedy, and even though treacherous coming out stories are very important, there isn’t a lot of media that caters to non-straight kids who grow up feeling relatively safe and accepted.

The other thing that dangles in the back of my head, though, is that it’s pretty irritating to insist that teenagers be comfortable enough with their sexuality that they have to choose to be empirically Straight or Gay. We put so much stigma on kids “experimenting,” as if every teen relationship isn’t some kind of experiment to begin with. Maybe Faking It is a step in the right direction, but hopefully our kids will grow up seeing LGBT characters on TV who can live happy, healthy, normal lives without having to be in the middle of an identity crisis.

Since we only have one trailer to go off of, I’m not going to make any big declarations about how I think this show is going to affect the world– but The Trevor Project does really great work, so I trust that Covington isn’t going into this show with bad intentions. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. You can watch the trailer here.

Via Buzzfeed / Photo: MTV

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    • Kaitlin Reilly

      I read about this show and am still really confused by the concept… It reads very “Lifetime-Movie-experiment” to me.

      • Mel

        That’s my problem. I don’t get what the ultimate point of the show is. The Buzzfeed article talks about “being true to yourself” and that if you are, people will like you. So, if that’s the case, is the whole thing going to blow up in their faces because their “faking it” for popularity. If the point is to show that tolerance is based on genuineness, then I guess I just don’t see how this message is going to come across. Especially to a target market of teenagers.

      • Kaitlin Reilly

        My only idea is that maybe it starts out as fake, BUT one of the girls realizes she’s really doing it because she does like her friend as more than a friend? And that’s how it will show how important it is to be tolerant? I honestly have no clue.

      • Mel

        That’s the only other scenario I can really fathom is that they develop real feelings for each other, showing the fluidity of sexuality and the importance of tolerance. I don’t know, but I don’t get it and until I do, I want to believe it has good intentions.

      • Kaitlin Reilly

        Fingers crossed!

        Am I the only one who thinks that this idea would actually work better at proving the whole “tolerance needs to be genuine” point with two guys? I feel like there’s a lot of people who say that they really want a “gay best friend” just to say that they have a gay best friend…

    • tk88

      I absolutely HATE how films and TV have this ridiculous notion that lesbians are lesbians because they 1) can’t get a man 2) are just making a man jealous or 3) are “experimenting” or 4) are bisexual/still attracted to men because how can a woman not be attracted to a man?!!? This is ridiculously offensive, stupid and sounds like another awful show created by MTV. It’s beyond insulting to have so many people look at you, as a lesbian and think or even say that your relationship is no different from a female friendship, you’re immature, or you don’t even really have sex, because sex involves a man/penis. I really want to kick the creators of this show in the face and then the balls. Because BIG SURPRISE, the creators are men. Ugh

      • Kaitlin Reilly

        I really hope that this show is more than it appears to be on the surface. The Hollywood Reporter wrote about how the creator doesn’t think it will be “controversial.” That’s super confusing to me.

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    • FemelleChevalier

      …so instead of gays pretending to be straight to be accepted, we have straights pretending to be gays to be accepted?

      Interesting, I guess… I just hope this is not another offensive disappointment by MTV, like Skins USA.

    • Eddie

      I would be Zero % offended! Stupid!!

    • Strudelhouse

      Straight people pretending to be gay, while downplaying the bullying that actually occurs in most schools around the country…? Yeah, what’s there to be offended about?