Series Review: “Fakes” (2022)
by Emily Nagle
“Fakes” is just one of the new Netflix originals that rolled out this month. This Canadian teen drama follows Becca and Zoe, two best friends who accidentally build one of the biggest fake ID empires in North America. After anxious, studious Zoe (Emilija Baranac) prints a fake student card so she can go to the library, rich party girl Becca (Jennifer Tong) convinces Zoe to print a fake ID for her. When the teens expand their services to their classmates, Zoe and Becca find themselves in more danger than they could have ever imagined.
This show has a unique narrative style, with each episode being from a different character’s point of view. It’s almost always from Becca’s or Zoe’s perspective, but it does focus on the girls’ Jesse Pinkman-like boss, shady drug dealer Tryst (Richard Harmon) in one episode. They break the fourth wall often, turning to the camera to provide commentary on what’s happening. The story is also told starting from the end – in the present-day cutaways in which the girls comment on the past events, Zoe is sitting in a jail cell sporting an orange jumpsuit, while Becca is still living her lavish life like nothing ever happened.
The best part about “Fakes” is that it’s not just a criminal origin story. As tensions rise and Becca and Zoe realize that what they’re doing is very much illegal, the girls’ friendship gets rocky. Printing fake IDs is all fun and games at first: they move their business into a ritzy penthouse, where their biggest problem is deciding which fast-food place they want to order from for dinner. But when orders increase and they recruit more girls to run the business, including quirky Sally (Matreya Scarrwener), keeping their operation discrete proves to be tricky.
Vibrant visuals, zippy pacing, and a peppy soundtrack add to the youthful feel of this show. The way the girls explain things to the viewer is fun and reminiscent of other teen shows; for example, when Zoe runs us through the process of creating a fake ID, explaining how printing one that even a computer-savvy 5-year-old could do it. They spend a lot of time texting, and instead of just showing us their phone screen, the creative team decided to superimpose the message bubbles into the environment, making them pop.
Zoe and Becca’s adventures are set to high-energy hip-hop and house beats. Which is super fitting, considering their escapades bring them immense fortune (the girls can make as much as $30,000 in one order!), escalating them to a high-profile life complete with designer clothing, vodka, and wild, Euphoria-esque parties. It’s the stuff dreams are made of for 17-year-olds itching to leave home for college.
With only 10 episodes that are all less than half an hour in length, “Fakes” is on the shorter side, making it an ideal binge! If you’re a fan of crime shows like “Better Call Saul”, but also enjoy teen dramas like “Never Have I Ever”, you’ll love “Fakes”. Here’s to hoping it gets renewed for a second season – I can’t wait to see where the story goes!