The one good thing to result from MTV’s decision to not be a music television channel anymore is its slate of scripted series. If hotties turning into werewolves is your thing, there’s the revamp of Teen Wolf. Like seeing pretty young things being killed off? Try the reboot of Scream. But if sharply written, genre-redefining high school comedy-dramas are more your speed, there’s Awkward and Faking It, which are both coming to SBS 2. But their back-to-back timeslot isn’t all they have in common…
The underdog heroine(s)
Awkward: Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) likes flying under the radar – her blog is even set to private. But when an accident is misconstrued as a suicide attempt, she’s all anyone is talking about. With some encouragement from an anonymous note, she decides to embrace her new profile.
Faking It: Karma (Katie Stevens) and Amy (Rita Volk) are also in social no-man’s-land, despite Karma’s efforts to the contrary. Being mistaken as a lesbian couple changes that, and Karma convinces Amy to keep up the charade.
The complicated love triangle
Awkward: Jenna’s relationship with jock Matty (Beau Mirchoff) was also on the down low, but as her popularity increases, she decides she doesn’t want to be his dirty little secret and becomes involved with Matty’s mate Jake (Brett Davern).
Faking It: While pretending to be Karma’s girlfriend, Amy realises she has real feelings for Karma – romantic feelings. But Karma begins “an affair” with cool guy on campus and resident manwhore Liam (Gregg Sulkin).
The larger-than-life BFF
Awkward: Loud and filter-less Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) slings lingo like nobody’s business and is always up in Jenna’s.
Faking It: After “outing” Karma and Amy, gregarious gay Shane (Michael Willett) becomes pals with the latter. He’s also best mates with Liam.
The bitchy nemesis
Awkward: She might not look like your typical nasty cheerleader, but make no mistake, Sadie (Molly Tarlov) is one mean girl. Expect to hear her tell Jenna exactly what she thinks of her – a lot – and follow it with her trademark sign-off: “You’re welcome!”
Faking It: She might look exactly like your typical mean girl, and that’s precisely what Amy’s soon-to-be stepsister, Lauren (Bailey De Young), is. Well, kind of, as we discover in season two. As she’s fond of declaring, at any campus other than inclusive Hester High, Lauren would rule the school.
The embarrassing parents
Awkward: Jenna’s parents, ditzy Lacey (Nikki DeLoach) and total DILF Kevin (Mike Faiola), had her when they were very young. As a result, they sometimes feel like older siblings rather than parents – and certainly act that way, too.
Faking It: What kind of parents name their child Karma? The kind of dippy hippies you’d expect. Meanwhile, once Amy’s mum marries Lauren’s dad, she gains a junior version of herself – uptight, superficial and very blonde – as step-daughter. Just what she always wanted.
The refreshing tone
Awkward: From its bleeped out swearing to the teen speak that doesn’t sound like a clunky attempt by adults to capture “how kids talk”, Awkward has always been pitch perfect.
Faking It: Less about the slick dialogue, Faking It addresses non-conventional topics in a fresh, non-preachy way.
Awkward and Faking It premiere on Monday, 30 May at 8:30pm and 8:55pm (AEST) on SBS 2. After they air, all episodes will be available on SBS On Demand.