June 10, 2014

THE SKED Season Finale Review: “Faking It”


MTV’s FAKING IT did a surprisingly deft job of sustaining its limited premise over 8 half-hour episodes–until, at least, the last 30 seconds of the season fell victim to a bad case of Season Finale-itis, reaching for one plot twist too many so that people would have something to talk about during the hiatus.  As it happens, a lot of that talk is likely to be a little bit disquieted at the way the show threw its main character, high-schooler and budding lesbian Amy (Rita Volk), under the school bus for the sake of a final gasp.  Up to that point, though, showrunner Carter Covington (who was in creative control of the series, although it was originally created by Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov), had treated Faking It‘s contrivances fairly and with some effective satire, compassion and wit.

The season revolved around a Big Lie:  in order to be popular at their liberal Austin-area high school, BFFs Amy and Karma (Katie Stevens) declared themselves an out lesbian couple.  That, in the way of these things, led to a Bigger Lie:  when the two girls sealed their public romance with a kiss at homecoming, Amy found herself with genuinely amorous feelings toward Karma, which she had to hide, since Karma was mostly concerned with getting into the pants of artsy bad-boy Liam (Gregg Sulkin).  Of course, before long, everyone was keeping one or more aspects of their feelings and actions from everyone else.  None of this was necessarily promising material, and the supporting characters didn’t help.  Despite the attempts to make Liam interesting (he’s secretly rich!), he remained a mostly dull hunk.  Shane (Michael Willett) was practically everybody’s gay buddy by the end of the season, while Amy had a family from sitcom hell, with an engaged, clueless mother who’s a former beauty queen and weathergirl, and wicked stepsister-to-be Lauren (Bailey Buntain).  Karma’s parents were so crunchy they made audible sounds when they walked.

Covington, though, hails from the writing/producing team at Hart of Dixie, and Faking It has some of that show’s flair for the farce of romantic woe.  Most of the characters had more to them than they seemed to at first, especially Amy and, in the most recent episodes, Lauren (it felt like the writers had finally figured out what they had in Bunheads‘ Buntain and started to make use of her talents). Volk proved to be a very likable, relatable protagonist, and an episode like the one where Amy, Karma and Liam, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, agreed to a threesome had a bit of erotic heat and some believable emotional beats (before not happening, of course–this is MTV, not FX).

The season finale, written by Covington and directed by Jamie Travis, blew up everyone’s cover stories.  At the wedding of Amy’s mother and Lauren’s father, Amy’s bridesmaid toast was so heartfelt that Karma figured out it was about her, and she confirmed Amy’s worst fears by professing that her own feelings were only friendly.  Amy, for her part, learned that Karma and Liam were having sex, and Liam found out Karma had been lying to him, too, about her “break-up” with Amy.  This led to a sweet scene where Amy and Lauren shared some wedding cake and misery, and treated each other like genuine sisters–and, then, at the very end, to Amy and Liam impulsively having sex.  You could sort of understand where Covington was going with this–it had been carefully established that Amy was very, very drunk, and that Liam was bitter and frustrated– and it’s probably not meant to indicate any real change in Amy’s sexuality (as to which she’s confused anyway, her feelings for Karma being new and this being high school and all) or even in Amy and Liam’s relationship.  Nevertheless, it felt like a betrayal of Amy as a character, and a gimmick to set up an even Bigger Lie for Season 2.

Clearly Season 2 of Faking It will be a somewhat different show, since the cards are now on the table between Amy and Karma, and it’s hard to believe the two will still be a “couple” even for public high school purposes going forward.  If much of the season centers on Amy and Liam trying to keep their secret tryst from Karma, that will be a disappointment.  But Covington and the writers have some time to work that out.  For the most part, Faking It was a better companion piece for MTV’s flagship comedy Awkward. than one would have expected (in the ratings as well as creatively), and perhaps it will exceed expectations once again when it comes up with its new configuration.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."