The Gay-Straight Wing-Manning of MTV's Faking It

Confession: I've been wing-manned exactly once... By a straight guy. In a gay bar. He'd accompanied his gay best friend to my favorite dive and that friend had decided to flirt with my friend. Next thing I knew a shitty beer had been thrust into my hand and a straight guy was asking me about what bands I listened to. As a relatively newly out gay, I had almost no frame of reference for what social situation I'd just found myself in, but of one fact I was sure: This felt like something new.

It's this brave-new-world ethos that provides most of the thrills on Faking It. We've seen tons of teen comedies that involve unrequited crushes, awkward romantic misfires, or simple dating politics, but Faking It refreshes those old clichés with the simple twist of including gay people. Not only that, but daring to posit heterosexuals as occasional outsiders. At the risk of sounding mawkish, most IRL heterosexuals will never know what it's like to come of age in an alien landscape where nearly every image, be it advertising or entertainment, is about straight people getting laid or trying to get laid. What's that old saying? Fish can't feel water? Faking It's future-progressive take on Austin not only allows the acceptance of the gay experience by straight people, it actually has straight people ceding their majority-stake in the human experience to a degree that borders on character-building.

At this point it doesn't matter how senseless or occasionally bland straight stud Liam can be (or how off-putting his can't-unsee "muttonchops" are); the fact that he both accompanies Shane to gay bars, and also looks forward to doing so makes him endlessly likable. Liam's gay bar enthusiasm is rooted in a very real phenomeon though, and it's one straight guys should take to heart: Very attractive women go to gay bars, and they're often pretty grateful to encounter gay-friendly straight guys. Shane and Liam ended up encountering a pair of blonde stunner siblings named Petr and Petra. Despite this plotline's icky resolution (Petr and Petra were romantically fixated on each other, Flowers in the Attic-style), the more compelling element here was how Shane and Liam looked out for each other while in the bar. You know, just like how straight guys boast of doing while waxing bromantically. Gay guys and straight guys in the same bar working together for a common interest is just not a dynamic we get to see on TV all too often. But if society keeps moving the way it seems to be, with bars becoming less and less segregated by sexuality, it should seem normal pretty soon. And Faking It got there first.

Meanwhile the A-story involved the further adventures of Amy's frustrated crush on Karma. At the outset it was to be a girls' weekend involving Amy's favorite things: Eating cans of frosting and hate-watching Twilight (Amy is VERY relatable). Unfortunately Amy and Karma were roped into helping plan Amy's mother's bridal shower, which led to wacky adventures (and a food fight!) but with the somewhat devastating underpinning that Amy's mother had chosen Amy's wicked step-sister to be her maid of honor rather than Amy. Getting passed over like that might be any child's nightmare, but here there was an unstated, if unmistakable, element of Amy possibly falling out of her mother's favor for being gay, which, again. Ouch, Faking It.

In its final moments Faking It managed to squeeze in even more subtle heartache (which is its main jam tbh), as Amy and Karma openly fantasized about someday being each other's maids of honor, living next door to one another, growing old together, and recounting their various adventures in the nursing home. Amy even jokingly suggested "Maybe we should marry each other" before quickly changing the subject. Double ouch. But the episode managed to end on a farcical note when Liam apologized to Karma that he simply didn't have it in him to be anyone's mistress (mister?) and Karma hastily suggested they have a three-way with Amy. BOOM. Perfect idea, can't imagine any drawbacks. Needless to say, the next episode looks like like a must-watch.

Straight guys: Please just buy me a better beer next time.

[Image via MTV]

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