From the start, Faking It has been a questionable show; from the original storyline of two girls pretending to be lesbians to gain popularity in their extremely liberal school to the iffy ways in which delicate subject matters were handled. But, with lack of queer representation in media, hordes of people gave it a shot and even though the three seasons were filled with dubious writing decisions and a lot of confusion, it broke ground on some hard-hitting issues. It brought to light representation for the Intersex community, something that had never before been breached on television. In this past season, the show started delving into issues surrounding the transgender community when they introduced their first transgender character, Noah. It discussed the perfectly acceptable situations of questioning one’s sexuality through Karma’s character and not labeling oneself as seen through Amy’s sexual fluidity. The little show-that-could found a way to resonate with everyone regardless of how they identified.
There were some mishaps throughout the three seasons as the show runners were determined to give more screen time to the straight white cis male than was necessary for a character whom was not the main appeal of the show and whom had no story of diversity. This took time away from exploring the depths of the characters that people wanted to see. Even besides Karma and Amy, the storylines for Shane, Lauren, and Noah held such possibility but were never fully arced. But the slight dig at Liam’s character aside, the fans persevered because despite the ludicrousness of some parts of the story and the fast pace at which the show moved, (this is MTV, what can you really expect?) it was one of the most real representations of queer youth that has been seen in television. And proof of this can be seen from how deeply invested the fans were and how hurt they are now that Faking It is no longer.
Yes, amidst the 2016 cancellation season, Faking It was amongst the many diversity filled shows that were rudely and prematurely ripped from the audience’s grasp. And when MTV renews shows that no one really cares for the question begs, why did Faking It get cancelled? MTV’s other hit show Awkward has had falling ratings for the last few seasons now but even it got renewed for a final season to say goodbye. Yet, Faking It was cut off and given no chance for storylines to be wrapped up.
Faking It always stood on a precipice of being cancelled and with each renewal, there was a breath of fresh hope. But, both the fans and the show runners were aware of the fact that season three could very well be Faking It’s last season on MTV and with that information, it would seem rather obvious to try and tie things up when they had the chance.
On Tuesday, May 17th, the season and series finale premiered leaving most of the fans completely unsatisfied and craving for more. As a Karmy shipper, I may be biased, but even though they did not end up as a couple in the season finale, that was not what I took the most issue with.
In one, twenty minute episode, two heterosexual relationships were pushed without any lead up; without any warning and certainly without any sense of real connection that caused them to fall flat. Karma previously referred to Felix as a brother and now, all of a sudden, they had both fallen for each other? Even the time they had spent together in this season was all about trying to help Felix get Amy or help Karma fix her friendship with Amy; there was no previous talk about possible feelings until the very end. And, they did not even talk about these romantic feelings then either. It was New Year’s Eve and they kissed and the audience was expected to believe that they were both happy. But if Karma’s expression when Sabrina was making her speech (which we will get to in a second) was anything to go by, that girl was not happy.
Then there was Liam and Lauren who are now a real? couple. This relationship as a parallel to Karma and Amy’s relationship in season one, started out as a fake one. They were going to break it off and then instead, they kiss to solidify their popularity standing, but this time, unlike the Karmy storyline, they realize that they felt more with that kiss. And though it could be argued that the same thing occurred with Karmy, for these purposes, the fact that that path was never ventured down will be used as proof that the same feelings were not apparent. Liam and Lauren were never even friends. The fact that Liam started living with Lauren was in and of itself implausible. And their hinted at romantic relationship was even less convincing.
Now, my biggest issue with the finale and the past season in general is that they introduced a new character, Sabrina, and gave her the storyline Karma should have had. The parallel of Sabrina faking a relationship with Amy was obvious enough but then Sabrina also had a secret boyfriend. Then, she discovered she developed real feelings for Amy and gave the speech at the New Year’s party that should have been given to Karma. There was not enough time after Sabrina’s introduction for the audience to even come get to know her character before she took the place that should have been reserved for Karma. It angered me to see the writers wrote Karma in such a way that her questioning her sexuality was subtle and never talked about. We were given some looks and glances that could possibly be hints at her more than friendship feelings for Amy, but other than that, they almost wrote that part of her character off. And that was a huge part of her character and the development of that character.
The fans were already torn apart enough that their beloved show had been cancelled and they would never get to see the outcome of any of the relationships that had come to be in the finale (even if they were thrown together haphazardly), but then the producer, Carter Covington, released a letter to the fans that in my humble opinion, would have been better kept to himself. In this letter Carter wrote: “It was always my intention to make “Karmy” happen during our final season.” Why, when there were abundant amounts of opportunities over three seasons for this to happen; when there was always a possibility of the show being cancelled; when many of the fans needed this type of closure, did you decide to hold off for even longer? It’s hard to believe this is true with the track record of Faking It. And to say this after the opposite of this happened, is like rubbing salt in a wound. It’s like saying, “You almost had this happy ending but too bad.” It’s like taking the fans for granted. So maybe this wasn’t the “closure” we needed, Carter. Maybe we needed for you to keep silent on this one aspect. Maybe we needed for you to take the step a little earlier so we weren’t left with this empty feeling.
But he did not stop there. His letter went on to explain that Karma and Amy, during this supposed romantic relationship, would realize they were better as friends and break up. The uproar this would have caused is almost unfathomable. What would be the point of leading up to this relationship, what the entire show was originally about, to have it break apart? Friendship is an extremely important relationship, maybe more so than romantic relationships, and so while the thought process is valid, it would be seen as cruel. Karmy getting together would be then seen as lip service in hindsight. I’m not sure there would be any forgiveness if this had come to pass.
If you are currently wondering why I kept on watching this show for all three seasons, I would say in response, “Good question.” I cannot explain the attraction I had. At the end of each season I would put my foot down and announce that I would not watch the next season but when the time came, I was always there for the premiere and then never left. It sucked me back in each and every time but I still am able to look at it from an outside perspective. I’m sad and relieved to see it go. Sad that this is one less show for queer representation in a time where it is much needed. Relieved, because there was a possibility that the remaining time we had with Faking It could have been spoiled.
If you’re one of the many that think this show ran it’s course, then I hope you can at least appreciate and respect those who do not share that belief. If you are one of the fans who are truly upset and hurt by the revelation of this show’s cancellation, I hope that the three seasons we were given, healed you and helped you in some way. I hope you do not lose hope and continue on that path of self-discovery and self-acceptance.