The executive producer of MTV’s new comedy, “Faking It,” says he was “shocked” by the changing tide of tolerance in America that allowed him to write a series where two high school girls shoot to popularity – instead of being bullied and tormented – for being gay.
“Attitudes are changing, and tolerance is viewed as kind of an expected quality to have in many parts of the country,” Carter Covington said at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Friday.
Covington, who developed “Faking It” from a story by show creators Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, said the storyline for the main characters – who are mistaken as lesbians and then pressured to keep up the charade to maintain their popularity – was partially inspired by his own revelations volunteering at a support hotline for troubled LGBT youth.
“I was shocked that some of the calls I got were from kids who were worried that their friends only liked them because they were gay,” he said.
“Kids these days I don’t think see the world through the eyes that I did when I was a kid,” Covington added. “But the core things stay the same – who am I, what do I want to be, how do I want the world to see me.”
But Covington, who formerly wrote for ABC Family series “Greek” and developed the movie “10 Things I Hate About You” for the network, said there is a “wish fulfillment” aspect to the way these young people are written. Responding to a reporter’s question about whether this same story would work if the two lead characters were boys, Covington admitted there are still barriers to tolerance of homosexuality among young men.
“I do think that there’s still a level of bravado that – and machismo in society that is there but, you know, I would like to think that it’s unattractive for teen males to be bullies … I think there’s a real movement in this country to make that energy not appropriate, and I think that’s a good thing.”
Beyond the social issues raised in the show, Covington promised always-engaging teen drama, like a love triangle between the girls – Karma played by (Katie Stevens) and Amy (Rita Volk) – and a hot boy named Liam (Gregg Sulkin).
“Faking It” premieres on MTV Tuesday, April 22 at 10:30pm.