Lifetime is a fascinating television network in that it regularly airs programming that most would label “so bad it’s good.” Because the network occasionally pulls something legitimately good out of its hat, it’s often difficult to decide whether the other cheesefests are just failed attempts to make good movies or deliberate disasters which are intended to make their fans laugh. I could write an entire book about the subject, and I probably will one day, but I think I found my answer during the debut of Lifetime‘s new series My Life is a Lifetime Movie.
The show tells the true stories of real women involved in situations reminiscent of scandalous Lifetime movies. Through interviews with those involved, along with reenactments starring more glamorous-looking people, the show pieces together the events. It’s not only the fact that Lifetime made this show in the first place that proves they’re in on the joke; it’s also the way they depicted these stories. Because the show’s premiere told a courtroom drama of sorts, I’ll present my evidence like a lawyer would. I’ve learned everything I know about law from Lifetime, so you’ll forgive me if I’m not completely accurate.
Exhibit A: The show features music suggestive of circus tunes, as well as a narrator who is holding back her giggles harder than Bill Hader playing Stefon on Saturday Night Live.
Exhibit B: The quality of the reenactments can be summed up by describing one scene. One of the stories in the premiere involves a teacher accused of having sex with her student. There is a reenactment in which the student sits in the teacher’s classroom for detention, staring at her. The camera moves up the teacher’s body while intense rock music plays and the student licks his lips. That’s all you need to know to understand how Lifetime retells these true stories. They’re even cornier than the network’s Saturday night movies, if you can believe it.
Exhibit C: Lifetime managed to coax the most ridiculous commentary out of their talking heads. During the teacher/student sex story, viewers could invent a drinking game around the use of the terms “doggie style” and “DTF.” At one point a juror explains why she initially thought the teacher was guilty of sleeping with her student: “She’s pretty. It happens.” The teacher says the following about the way the jurors interpreted her case: “They knew it was kind of big and juicy.” Michael Scott called, and he has a comeback ready. Watching the interviews was like watching Jon Oliver interview politicians on The Daily Show, when he gets them to say idiotic things and paint themselves into corners. Where’s Lifetime‘s Emmy monopoly?
Exhibit D: Lifetime came up with a few tie-ins to promote the series. Along with the Someecards like the one above, which adeptly points out why a lot of us watch Lifetime movies, the network also created a Facebook app letting viewers create their own Lifetime movie, as well as a sweepstakes asking viewers to title their personal Lifetime movie to win $1,000. This shows Lifetime has a sense of humor about itself, which I couldn’t be giddier to discover. They even placed a disclaimer at the beginning of the show warning viewers that the content may be inappropriate for some, and it “might make you think twice about the people in your life.” Touché, Lifetime.
Exhibit E: I can’t believe I didn’t piece this together before, but Lifetime has been giving me clues for weeks that they’re in on the joke that is Lifetime. They showed a movie with a snarky screenplay, aired a flick practically about irony (which is what I use to watch Lifetime), and made a pretty good movie to throw me off the scent. I’ve got you all figured out, Lifetime.
And now for my closing arguments.
So basically it turns out that Lifetime has been making fun of the people whose lives inspire Lifetime movies, and in turn I make fun of the movies the network makes. Then people comment making fun of my mocking comments, and people comment on their comments mocking them, and on and on. It’s like Inception.
Verdict: In order to carry on the Circle of Life(time), I’ll continue to make fun of the network on a regular basis, but now I know that I’m laughing with them, not at them.