This week’s Saturday night Lifetime movie, Virtual Lies, has a plot built around irony. It’s appropriate, because I’ve been watching Lifetime ironically for years. Lifetime‘s choice to utilize irony, mixed with my ironic viewing of their irony, creates a kind of super irony, don’t you think? Basically, Alanis Morissette might as well have written this movie.
Virtual Lies outlines how a husband’s online indiscretions lead to horrifying consequences. Will (Marc Menard) breaks off an online relationship with a young woman he’s never met. His “pen pal” Allison (Ali Liebert), who, unbeknownst to him, is the receptionist at his son’s doctor’s office, sets out to destroy his wife Jamie’s (Christina Cox) life.
You might be thinking, “Where’s the irony in this movie?” That comes once you learn two things. First, Allison has a lot of anger management issues. Second, Jamie just happens to teach anger management to teens at a local youth center. Allison’s enemy might be someone who could help her control her rage. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?
And Allison has a lot of rage. She lures Jamie to the empty youth center at night under false pretenses, where a creepy man nearly assaults her. Luckily, Jamie has amazing fighting skills and is able to escape.
That doesn’t stop Allison, though. She tries to destroy Jamie’s career by spreading a horribly photoshopped video of Jamie dancing in a skimpy outfit, starting a rumor that Jamie had an affair with a teenager, and sending a fake letter of resignation to Jamie’s place of work.
That’s not the worst of it. Allison volunteers to babysit Jamie’s asthmatic son, then proceeds to not only give the kid orange juice before bed (Cavities! Acid erosion!) but also spike the drink to set off an attack. Allison eventually beats a witness to her stalking with a crowbar, causing
a dummy in a cardigan the innocent woman’s body to tumble down a ravine.
The movie wouldn’t be complete without Allison knocking Will out, tying him to an antique wheelchair and engaging in a Psycho-esque struggle on the staircase with Jamie.
During Allison’s fits of anger, I couldn’t help but wonder, in Carrie Bradshaw fashion, whether all this could have been prevented if, instead of the unhelpful therapist Allison sees, Jamie had counseled Allison. In fact, even after she and her husband defeat Allison, Jamie expresses concern for the young woman’s condition: “It’s kind of heartbreaking.”
The irony doesn’t stop there, though. Jamie’s position as an anger management counselor is also important to consider in relation to her own responses to Allison’s attacks. One of the kids she counsels approaches her after another rumor gets out. He asks if it makes her mad when people are mean to her, comparing her situation to his own. By the end of the film, Jamie tells the kids that she relates to their anger. The anger management counselor can’t manage her own anger the way she tells her kids to. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?
I’ll leave you with what I think is the most priceless moment from this week’s movie. When Allison, in the midst of a violent fight with Jamie, asks her why she couldn’t let go of Will, Jamie replies, “Because he’s my husband, you crazy bitch!” I’ve suggested a few new slogans for Lifetime before, but so far none have been as perfect as this quote. Just imagine Don Draper pitching it dramatically in a meeting. Good, right?
(Photo: TV Equals)