[Note: Yes, Faking It's season finale aired last week, but I've just spent six days trapped inside an old steamer trunk and it's nobody's business why. I still want to talk about Faking It though, is that ok?]
"What if my heart says something really stupid that it can never take back?"
"That's not possible."
Let's just skip the think-pieces and make something clear: Half-hour dramedies are the future of television. Enlightened, Girls, Looking, and now Faking It: All were presented to viewers as comedies, because only comedies can be half an hour, right? Yet each of them were or are quietly devastating in ways only hourlong dramas have tended to be. Serialized, character-heavy, and unafraid of nuance, this new paradigm gives us the maximum emotional impact for our increasingly limited time. Faking It at least presented a candy-colored world of hijinks before punching us in the ribcage over and over, and last week's Season 1 finale was its most painful episode yet. Also it was wonderful. But ouch.
"Burnt Toast" centered around Amy's mom's wedding and Karma's decision to fake her relationship with Amy to Amy. Yes, she and Liam had had sex and followed that up with an all-night Ghost ceramics session, but her own conscience—and Liam's surprising reluctance to be 'the other man'—underscored that Karma's decision to pursue Liam behind Amy's back was not the best one. But the wedding itself, complete with French farce elements like Shane and Liam sneaking in as caterers, was all build-up to Amy's toast to her mother, which of course was a not-so-veiled proclamation of love to Karma. Simple and full of yearning, Amy simply told the crowd that all she'd wanted was to spend the rest of her life with a best friend. I'm not sure if there was anyone in the room who didn't understand that Amy was talking about Karma, but the painful irony of Karma's deception ruined the moment when Liam scrambled out from under a table in full view. Yes, totally silly, but in Faking It tradition, the emotions at play were anything but.
What followed was one of the more painful scenes in recent TV memory: Amy telling Karma directly that she was in love with her and Karma choking back tears and protesting that she didn't—couldn't— feel the same. Karma was likely being honest, but that didn't lessen our investment in seeing Amy find happiness. Ugh, the impossibility of it all. Katie Stevens and Amy Volk's talents at conveying grounded heartache have always been the glue that held this sometimes unwieldy show together and this scene only confirmed how good they are. So good.
But of course this is a teen soap we're talking about, so a tornado of drama ripped through the wedding once Amy discovered that Karma had been sleeping with Liam. A girl can only take so much, you know? But Liam had also discovered Karma's deceit and proceeded to angrily dump her, so it was a mess all around. Meanwhile Amy and Lauren bonded a bit after Lauren overheard the Karma confrontation and she attempted to cheer Amy up with cake and the line of the night: "Shut the fuck up, I'm being empathetic." I'm a major sucker for a character reversal, so Lauren's moment of decency was a season highlight, of course. Still no details on that whole pill situation, but my instinct is it'll be something pretty humanizing, like medication or whatever. Only Season 2 knows for sure.
Again, this being a teen soap AND a season finale, we were due a shocking twist. That came in the form of a wasted Liam making eye contact with a wasted Amy and the two suddenly falling naked into bed together. It's hard to know whether this turn of events is organic to Amy's journey of self-discovery as a bisexual (?) or just a mean-spirited twist meant to create drama between the two best friends. But at this point Faking It has earned our trust. It's truly a compliment to this show that the happiest ending its season finale had to offer was the promise of another new season. Like with all the rest of these newfangled half-hour dramedies, the continued heartache is kind of the whole point.
[Image via MTV]