Whilst queer sexuality has been represented multiple times in television in the past few years, and the likes of Glee and Pretty Little Liars have brought several queer teen characters to drama that is aimed at young people, Faking It (MTV, 2014) offers a little more. Whilst Glee had an ensemble cast, several of whom identified as other than straight, Faking It has two main characters one of whom is gay. It also presents a slightly modified reality, an Austen (Texas) school where being queer is a positive, reputation building characteristic rather than a negative one. Of course there is a complexity, one character identifies as queer whilst the second is straight, the two best friends initially fake a relationship to increase their popularity. What Faking it offers is not just queer characters but an altered and self conscious political reality that is different to the status quo. Whilst programs such as Pretty Little Liars and Glee present a prejudiced world and the traditional difficult of experience of ‘coming out’ and being queer, Faking It invites a different approach to considering the political climate. Essentially often where the political climate that backs a queer story line is the status quo it is often almost invisible, this self consciously molded backdrop to the storylines invites a more complex consideration.
From Google Images
Faking It is unashamedly political and offers a more complex and considered view of the teenage involvement in politics than most teen dramas. Whilst the likes of the Degrassi series’ (TeenNick, MTV, Much, CTV Television Network) or BBC’s Skins have often tackled teen issues they are not necessarily the type of issues that are self-consciously political. Faking It’s teens are often seen promoting various politic agendas that go far beyond the usual election to school president that is shown in most teen programs. The main characters in Faking It involve themselves in rally against “Squircle” a google parody, referencing both their issues with privacy and the essential corporatization of the school. Whilst to many Australian teens such corporatization may seem like an absurd concept it is beginning to be more familiar in US schools, and in fact with the Victoria Kennett Government’s “Schools of the Future” which allocated 93% of the Victoria’s state run schools their own independent budget to run themselves like businesses.
A program like Faking It is a great launching point for discussions about what control students have over the running of their schools, as well as constructing their own ideas of what an ideal society would look like for them.
Hinz, B., ABC.net: Labor’s new education Policy not new, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-08-04/35694
Monaco, J., on Academia.net, Radical for whom?: Finding space for the political teen drama/comedy Skins. http://www.academia.edu/1673033/Radical_for_whom_Finding_space_for_the_political_in_the_teen_drama_comedy_Skins