Tuesday, May 6, 2014

REVIEW: 'Faking It' - The Hester High Students Protest While Amy Talks Openly with Shane in 'We Shall Overcompensate'

MTV's Faking It - Episode 1.03 "We Shall Overcompensate"

When a major tech company makes a donation to the school, Hester students protest. Liam's "promance" buddy Soleil makes Karma jealous as Amy looks for a secret boyfriend.

Three episodes into Faking It's first season, and I have to ask: Is Karma's emotion journey just too easy or nonexistent? Her chief concern is about being popular and having Liam fall in love with her. Compared to the inner turmoil with Amy, everything with Karma feels so trivial and juvenile. In her defense though, it's a show about high school. When you're young, you make big deals out of the small and trivial things. So, she's actually very true to the setting of the show. And yet, Hester High is such an atypical high school. Every kid there feels more mature and independent than your typical TV high school student. Karma is forcing her desire for love. She got that moment of clarity with Liam during the second episode. He's into her because of his desire to be with a lesbian. And then, she's forcing the issue of true love and it's largely just awkward. I mean, there can only be so many sexual innuendos in Liam and Soleil's encounters. Karma inserted herself into his life and his causes and it's meant to feel forced. It's surprising that no one on the show recognizes how forceful she's being. She's basically on this to serve the ego of a man - which is the exact opposite vantage point a show like Faking It should have.

Moreover, the show is taking Liam as a character and turning him into a mystery that needs to be solved. Karma's in love with him and yet she knows very little about him. Her curiosity into learning more about him feels like an investigation that needs an answer or clarity in order to feel earned. That's a plot-based narrative that just feels so out of place considering the other stellar character interactions elsewhere on the show.

Like I said, Amy's inner turmoil is the far more interesting character bit from these first three episodes. She's struggling with her sexuality while trying to keep up the facade of her lesbian relationship. She's made her mom and Lauren's dad uncomfortable now because of her fake coming out - which actually might be real. It's an awkward yet complex situation to be in. And I love that now she has a true friend to talk to about her struggles. Karma is her best friend but it's difficult for Amy to talk to her about this. With Shane, it feels easier. Their friendship is something I want to see flourish in future episodes. He's seems completely understanding and hopefully will help her come to terms with what she really wants.

Some more thoughts:
  • "We Shall Overcompensate" was written by Drew Hancock and directed by Jamie Travis.
  • Faking It's stand-in for Google is called Skwerkel which is perhaps trying to be too quirky.
  • Lauren gets the hunger strike to end in exchange for being head of the prom committee. That feels like it's going to be overly important later this season.
  • It took three episodes before American Idol alum Katie Stevens got to sing. That's restraint.
  • Ever since the show premiered I've wonder who Stevens and Rita Volk remind me of. I've decided that Stevens is basically a young Sarah Drew while Volk is a blonde Sasha from Bunheads.
  • Karma: "So what if I like the hottest guy in school. I'm a (bleeping) teenage girl."