By: Andy McDonald
10 Rules I Learned From Lifetime Movies & An Interview With My Friend Who Wrote One
Yes, the Lifetime Movie channel still exists and it's still as guilty-pleasurable as hell. Every few years, while on a journey through what is often the deserted wasteland of television, I land on the Lifetime Movie Channel, desperate and thirsty for mindless drama, my rods and cones anxious to find stimuli to satisfy their raging eye boners. What results is a week long excursion, where I don't shower, I don't change out of my pajama pants or Chive tee shirt, and I start seeing the positive side of gender reassignment therapy.
But listen, if I was ever trapped within Lifetime Movies, I would completely win Lifetime Movies. Now some people might say, “That's just a ridiculously implausible premise to setup this article you've written!”
Please, enjoy, but pay close attention to these rules of Lifetime movies.
The No One Believes You Rule
The town hates you. Everyone in the town hates you. And no one believes you. They don’t believe anything you say. They believe the mayor with the shiny record. Not you, the girl with the sketchy past. Even if you are getting your life back together, and going to night school for political science, and singlehandedly raising your son so he doesn’t grow up to be like the men on the Lifetime Movie Network… what a lying floozy you probably are.
The No Break-Ups Rule
Don’t break up with anyone. Ever. Don’t believe them when they tell you “Everything’s fine.” It’s not. Because even as they’re hugging you (in that really aggressive “You’re… hurting me…” kind of way), they’re remembering where that piano wire is, and exactly how many steps from your driveway to your bedroom window. Unless you’re making a clean break. And by that I mean CLEAN. No fingerprints anywhere in their house, car, your hemisphere. No used condoms in any trash cans in the world. No hair fibers on their property whatsoever. After that, and entering the FBI witness protection program, you should be good to go. However…
The Someone Is Trying To Find You Right Now Rule
FYI, they are still trying to find you, and while they’re waiting, they’ll occupy their time by standing in front of a mirror, whispering, “Mr. & Mrs. [your last name].” If they’re a guy they’ll still want to take your last name. Which makes it even creepier. That, and the generous amount of lipstick they’re applying. Then they’ll rub their bodies with some food product, likely the main export of your local economy. Maple syrup or cheese or seafood or cherries or guano.
The High School Party Rule
Are you at a high school party right now? Shit… well, you’re going to jail. I don’t know how just yet, but you’ll be in police custody pretty soon. Is there a hot tub, maybe some alcohol, perhaps a few different cliques at this party? Double shit. No, it doesn’t matter ‘you can leave if you want, but you’ve already left enough hair, semen, whatever, for the police to finger you. And since you left, the kids who stayed are probably plotting against you right now. Because remember, everyone in the town also hates you. Lawyer up. And make sure the lawyer is a close family friend or an actual family member. If not, they were probably at the high school party getting it on with some underage chick and now they have the perfect way to avoid suspicion. It should also be someone you know because of the next rule…
The New Acquaintance Rule
Don’t let anyone new into your life, ever. Live a lonely, sheltered life. New people just means people will be getting killed. Those new people will be liked more than you. Everyone loves new people. Once again, everyone in town hates you, and as in all walks of life, the less popular you are, the more likely you are going to be convicted of homocide. However…
The Community Oddball Rule
Living a lonely sheltered serves another purpose. The isolated, friendless person in the community, while he/she may attract a lot of suspicion and carry themelves in a generally qustionable manner, in the end people will recognize you as misunderstood and harmless once they’ve gotten to know you. You may even be accepted into the community and make a lot of new aquaintances… STOP! Have you listened to nothing I’ve told you! See NEW AQUAINTANCE RULE.
The Single White Female Rule
Someone wants to be you. You don’t know it, but right now someone is standing in front of a mirror (I’m convinced Lifetime movies keep the mirror industry in business) cutting their hair with the crudest, Kindergarten safety scissors anyone has ever seen, and saying “Hi, I’m [your name].” Soon they will become associated with members of your family. They’ll be invited without your permission to a party you’re throwing. Someone will make the offhanded comment that you and this person sort of look alike. The observation won’t sit right with you, but that person will get an emotional boner from it, leading them to sneak into your bedroom during the party to check the size and brand tags of your clothing ‘I mean, aside from smelling and/or humping them obviously.
Eventually though, that obsession to become like you mutates into the unquenched thirst to BE YOU. Again, enter: MORE MIRRORS. This time in a violence outburst, they've smashed the mirror, symbolizing their disgust with the image they see, a person that no longer exists. Their life, like the mirror, is a psychotic sharded reflection of what it once was. And as this doppelganger gazes into the web-cracked, kaleidoscopic surface, we the viewers know that we've just driven into Crazy Town. Population: Us.
The Startling Someone Who Has No Reason To Be Startled Rule
If you ever walk in on someone doing something seemingly harmless, perhaps relating to their job, and you startle them, they are plotting to kill someone. Perhaps you. Maybe they’re a taxidermist ‘they’ll run you through with the horn of a random beast. A taxi driver ‘they’ll run you over with their cab. A tax accountant ‘they’ll run you through your deductions for the previous year… then deduct your head from your body!
The Lone Witness Rule
The only person who can prove your innocence will be killed just as that flood of long-awaited reassuring calm you never thought would come washes over you. You’ve just finished meeting them at a coffee shop, somewhere in public. “Thank you so much for coming forward with this infor” ‘hit by a car. You’ve just finished talking to them on the phone. “I can’t tell you how relieved I am that soon this will all be” ‘their car explodes. You’ve just finished reading a note they sent you, saying “Urgent” or “very important” with a number by which to reach them ‘car crashes through their house, hits them, then explodes just for good measure.
The Take Matters Into Your Own Hands Rule
You’ll have to take this investigation into your own hands. The cops hate you, everyone in the town hates you, but you know who doesn’t care one way or the other? JUSTICE. Go snoop around the property of the person you’re pretty sure committed this crime. Ultimately, this is the only way you will ever prove your innocence, or show that your boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife is a psychotic killer, or show that the town’s golden boy mayor/sheriff/humanitarian is really a crooked maniac whose thirst for power will never be satiated. All this within the last 5 minutes or so of the movie. Warning: the last 10 minutes or so will be the most trying of your life. It may require you to get roughed up. It may require you to have your clothes torn in a way that will test the moral compass of viewers at home. “Damn, please don’t harm that girl… with her so-close-to-being-exposed breasts… and sexy lace brassiere… maybe just a little longer… okay, GOOD the police are here because they traced the 9-11 call she made even though the killer knocked the cell out of her hand before she could start talking. Phew.”
Go read an exclusive interview with my friend, writer and comedian Tia Ayers (@tiaayers). She not only wrote a Lifetime movie, but had it produced! No one believes her but it’s true! Go read it, now!