“Faking It” has never garnered the ratings that MTV’s other realistic teen comedy series “Awkward” gained over the course of its first two seasons. There could be many reasons for that. To begin, it has an objectively silly premise: two best friends pretend to be lesbians to get popular at their liberal Austin high school. In the act of “faking it,” Amy (Rita Volk, “The Hungover Games”) realizes that she actually has feelings for Karma (Katie Stevens, “American Idol”), her best friend.

The first season began by exploring this pretend relationship, and it was entertaining fluff. There are some good jokes as Hester High School satirically reverses the stereotypical high school food chain in the same way that “21 Jump Street” made the nerds popular and the athletes the underdogs. However, there were no real stabs at social commentary in the first season.

The second season, which ended on Nov. 2, took “Faking It” in a whole new direction. The original premise, while occasionally being referenced for laughs, is mostly thrown out in favor of exploring these characters’ inner struggles in real and honest ways. While most shows would immediately classify Amy as a closeted lesbian, “Faking It” illustrates that sexuality lies on a spectrum. In the second half of the second season, Amy finds herself surprised to have feelings for new kid Felix (Parker Mack, “For the Booth”). When questioned about being bisexual, Amy can only muster up an unsure “maybe.” Amy’s unwillingness to box herself into a neat category defines the main arc of the series, and it’s a surprisingly complex topic to tackle.

Even more radical than Amy’s characterization is that of Lauren (Bailey De Young, “Bunheads”), Amy’s stepsister. The season two premiere features the revelation that Lauren is intersex, an identity hardly ever explored on TV, much less by one of the main characters in a mainstream teen comedy. One of the most touching moments of the season two finale features Lauren openly declaring her sexual identity to the school board. She says that before she’d come to Hester, she’d never been able to say that out loud.

Encouraging people to embrace their weirdness isn’t unique to “Faking It.” “Be yourself” is probably the biggest inspirational cliché in teen drama. In Hester High School, however, “Faking It” has found a setting specifically dedicated to it. This is a school where the Queen Bee is intersex and the big man on campus is gay, where people actually fake being different to attain popularity.

Even setting aside the progressiveness of its message, the narrative of “Faking It” is very well-written. So much teen drama on TV is based around keeping secrets and lying, but no secret stays hidden for long on this show. One standout episode in particular, “Boiling Point,” traps all the main characters in one room for detention in an overt homage to “The Breakfast Club.” In this episode, all the conflicts that have been building throughout the season come to a head. Karma admits that her ex-boyfriend Liam’s (Gregg Sulkin, “Pretty Little Liars”) father wants to pay her to stay away from him, and her precarious financial situation is forcing her to consider it. Most cathartically, Shane (Michael J. Willett, “G.B.F.”), the gay guy notorious for outing people, is finally called out for his destructive habit. “You can’t just do the wrong thing and pretend it’s for the right reason,” Liam points out. Most refreshingly, this all happens in episode 15 of a 20-episode season. Many shows would wait until the finale to disrupt the peace, but “Faking It” moves the plot forward considerably each episode.

This is a time when the viewership for shows like “Degrassi” and “Awkward” wanes and genre shows like “Teen Wolf” hold the most weight among teen audiences. “Faking It” provides a funny, relatively new series that’s defiant in its breaking of stereotypes. It offers characters of all sexualities, genders and sexes, yet refuses to define them by those identifiers. It’s the realistic yet over-the-top TV series that audiences deserve.

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