“Faking It” 2.08: The Pageant Trap

Previously on Faking It, Karma learned to back off Amy even if Liam wasn’t believing it, Lauren declared Theo to be boyfriend material and Shane and Duke clinched their relationship.

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Monday at school, Karma still has her cry-face on but it goes away instantly when Amy approaches her with forgiveness. Karma tells her how Liam believes he’s second in line behind Amy which is completely true. She decides to come out as straight to her parents. Amy is worried they’ll be disappointed what with having just gotten matching rainbow tattoos and renaming one of their smoothies to “Lesberry Blast”.

Back at home Farrah and Bruce (Lauren’s dad) are helping Lauren select the perfect outfit for her appearance in the Miss Teen Cactus Flower pageant. Farrah gushes about winning the title 20 years ago but Bruce vetoes the blue number Lauren has on, suggesting she looks like an “albino child hooker”.

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Amy pooh-poohs pageants but Farrah isn’t having it. Pageants paid for her education and she always wanted to share the pageant experience with a daughter. Now with Lauren she can “and this one might actually win”.

Still fuming when she meets up with Reagan, Amy insists she could win the pageant if she really wanted to. The pair concoct a scheme for Amy to enter and denounce the pageant industry from the inside. Amy’s on board but only after she wins.

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Amy and Reagan surprise Amy’s family at the pageant and Amy surprises Reagan by introducing her as her pageant coach as opposed to girlfriend. While Bruce and Lauren brush up her choreography Farrah pulls Amy aside and demands the truth. Amy swears she isn’t there to embarrass Farrah but to snatch the crown.

While Amy’s crushed the swimsuit competition but her talent, yo-yoing, only netted her five out of 10. Reagan assures her she’ll kill the evening gown category and moves in for a kiss which Amy fends off, pleading lipstick. A puzzled Reagan heads for her seat as Bruce imparts final words of advice to Lauren. Watch her wobbly ankles and prance like a show pony.

Amy wonders aloud whether Lauren is as into the pageant scene as her dad is and what exactly Lauren gets out of being judged on her looks. Lauren is quietly impressed at what she interprets as Amy’s head games and takes to the stage as her name is called for evening gown. Unfortunately her damn wobbly ankle gives out and she stumbles. Amy turns it out, impressing the judges and gladdening her mother’s heart.

"Zen and The Art of Pagentry"

We’ve reached the finals and Reagan is all set to implement their plan, which involves a slide show of emaciated models with bad teeth while Amy denounces pageants from the stage. She suggests adding a sentence about how as an out and proud lesbian Amy doesn’t care what men think anyway but Amy balks. Reagan departs and Farrah joins Amy. She apologizes for mis-judging Amy and tells her how when she learned she was having a girl she looked forward to doing girly things but Amy was never that girl. She’s very appreciative that Amy has helped them connect by entering because she’s wanted it for so long. She suggests Amy invite her girlfriend Reagann for dinner and, pulling Amy into a hug, whispers that she’s rooting for Amy to win.

Bruce grills Lauren on foreign policy for her interview. Drones, the answer is always drones. She suddenly can’t understand why pageants are so important to him then it dawns on her. He started signing her up for pageants the same year they found out she was intersex. She believes he’s ashamed of her and as her name is called angrily heads for the stage.

Some pageant random biffs her interview about Syria and Amy is called to the mic. She is asked the expected question about what she’d say to pageant detractors. Reagan lowers the screen behind the contestants for the slide show but Amy, torn between her girlfriend and her mother, bunts it, saying she can see both sides.

Lauren steps up and grabs the mic.

"Zen and The Art of Pagentry"

She attacks pageants for judging women and girls on how pretty and girly they are. She does the pageant equivalent of dropping the mic, flipping her chicken cutlets out of her bosom and flinging them at the judges as she leaves.

Liam is super stoked that Karma’s going to come clean to her parents, who coincidentally arrive at just that moment. Karma tries to stammer out the truth but before she can her parents surprise her with the return of her brother Zen from his Peace Corps assignment in Africa.

Zen regales the family with tales of derring-do in Africa and Karma cannot roll her eyes hard enough. Zan asks Liam what led him to their home that day and he passes to Karma, who fumbles badly with an idiotic lie about passing out in gym and she and Liam becoming study buddies.

Liam is extremely disappointed that Amy has again failed to tell the truth. She promises she will as soon as “Saint Zen” goes the hell back to Africa. Before this develops further Karma’s mom calls for Liam to help her in the kitchen. Saint Zane emerges from his hiding place in her room which is not at all super-ass creepy and mockingly consoles her having to choose whether to disappoint her parents or lose her boyfriend.

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Down at dinner Karma’s mom fills Saint Zen in on how Karma and Amy made the evening news when they were crowned Homecoming Queens and Saint Zen asks why Amy’s not there. Karma hems and haws some more before finally telling them she’s straight and dating Liam. Her parents blame themselves for “dimming her inner flame” and creating an environment where she didn’t feel safe being herself. Saint Zen can’t believe they’re letting her get away with it so he steals her thunder by announcing that he’s quit the Peace Corps in favor of an assistant manager job with “Suburban Suppliers”. He could no longer live in a world of near-constant diarrhea and no air conditioning. His parents rush to him, leaving Karma and her “are you kidding me?” face behind.

Shane and Duke have yet to make it out of the gym and Duke has yet to acquire a shirt. Approved on both counts. Shane mocks the names of some MMA moves, marveling there isn’t one called “deep penetration”. Duke says there is and begins to demonstrate. Shane flips him onto his back but their makeout session is interrupted by the arrival of Duke’s hot daddy (Branton Box).

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Daddy admonishes Duke to keep it in his pants because of an upcoming match and appraises Shane. A little skinny and also needs to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Shane begrudgingly signs the pre-nup NDA for Shane, wondering if this is how Katie Holmes felt. Hot Daddy enters with good news. He may have secured Duke’s first sponsor: Chik-Fauxl-A. As Shane does celebratory pushups and Daddy departs to gather sandwiches for an impromptu photo shoot, Shane points out that Chik-Fauxl-A is an anti-gay extremist corporation that donates beaucoup bucks to fight against gay rights. All Shane knows is that they might give him money and the sandwiches are delicious.

Duke is about to chow down on camera for Daddy when Shane begs him not to. Daddy and Shane battle for Duke’s soul and Daddy prevails. Shane storms out.

Back home Lauren packs up her pageant stuff. “Goodbye butt tape, I’ll miss you least of all.” Theo would never have tagged her as a pageant girl. She says there’s a lot of things he doesn’t know about her and that she wants to stop hiding the real her but the last time she had this discussion with a boy it did not go well. Theo guesses “alien” and Lauren assures him it’s nothing bad. “See, I’m not your average girl.”

Reagan is livid that Amy bailed on their plan and that she didn’t introduce her as her girlfriend and didn’t come out on stage. The underlying source of her anxiety is an ex-girlfriend who left Reagan for an ex-boyfriend, calling Reagan a “phase”. Amy reassures her that one, she doesn’t have an ex-anybody and two, Reagan is definitely not a phase. They kiss and make up then decide the time is right to get more intimate.

Liam and Karma have the same idea and he tells her he’s proud she finally came out. She agrees that he’s right that lying is the worst. He can’t take the guilt and tells her that the night they broke up he slept with someone. She’s not happy to hear it but she can’t hold it against them because they weren’t together. His relief is short-lived because Karma for some reason keeps talking and Liam’s face gets guiltier and guiltier.

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“It’s not like it was with anyone I know.”

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“It’s not like it was with Amy.”

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“Get. Out.”

Meanwhile Amy is still sweating up the sheets with Reagan so she misses Liam’s frantic text: “She knows!!!!!!”

After last week’s group hang it was interesting to see everyone sort of get fragmented off this week. Three of the four stories followed parallel story lines, with one of the characters torn between family and significant other. Each worked well but none were without some problems. With the show assiduously avoiding the “bisexual” label it was an awkward choice to have Reagan motivated by losing a girlfriend to a guy/fear of being a phase. That’s exactly the sort of thing too many bisexual people face in trying to date and form relationships so while it’s certainly realistic it’s still dicey. Karma’s story wound up being largely inconsequential, being overshadowed by the reveal in the most stilted way possible.  And I don’t know how they’re going to walk Shane and Duke back from the edge. Shane’s willingness to be flexible about the closet issue is one thing but tolerating a closet case endorsing a homophobic company is another. I can’t see Shane putting up with it; what I can see is Shane showing up at a Chik-Fauxl-A function where Duke is present and outing him and I really could not blame him for doing it. I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to come out or not on their own timetable unless they are actively working against gay interests; then they are fair game.