Six Lessons from Lifetime Movies

tori spelling

There are days when all you can do is lay on the couch with an afghan (and a kitty) across your lap and a bag of chips nearby. Those days are perfect for a good binge-watch of junk TV. And when it comes to “junk TV,” it doesn’t get better than Lifetime Movies. In case you’re not familiar with the canon of Lifetime Movies, here’s the deal. As with those ‘70s-era “movies of the week”, they run a perfect 90 minutes. And in those 90 minutes, you’re guaranteed a big, fat slice of overheated drama. Tori Spelling famously starred in one with the cheesetastic title of “Mother, May I Sleep with Danger?” The other thing you should know: THESE MOVIES ARE NEVER FUNNY.

During my binge-watch, I noticed certain recurring themes: evil sororities, murderous brides, teachers with a bloody knife under their lesson plans. Seriously, none of the nice people you meet in daily life are immune from going postal. In LM world, that lady at the deli counter will come after you in a serious way if you do just one wrong thing.

So prepare yourself. These handy Lifetime Lessons will let you know who’s waiting in the bushes:

1. Babysitters! Stay Away From Babysitters!
Sure, she looks sweet and has a reputation for being super-responsible. But she’s probably made a deal with Satan to make head cheerleader. Or she has a violent crush on your husband. Before it’s all over, little Anya or Milo is sure to be locked in the cellar (without their inhaler).

2. If You’re the New Kid, Skip High School
According to LM, this NEVER ends well. Your genius-level grades will crater, leading your (single) parent to want to talk earnestly to you. Then you’ll fall in with the wrong group, who will lure you into either becoming a teenage alcoholic, taking steroids or murdering someone on a dare. The aforementioned parent will then discover the evidence in your blog. Save yourself the pain; opt for homeschooling.

3. Substitute Teachers Can’t Be Trusted
In Lifetime’s world, substitute teachers come on like a combination of Johnny Depp, Maria Von Trapp, and Albert Einstein: super hip, with an ability to impart giant buckets of learning to the most recalcitrant students. They’re also suspiciously good-looking. But in the end, that sparkling talent is cover for the body count left behind in some small town. So hand in that homework or risk being mowed down on the soccer field.

4. A New Stepparent? Get Out. Get Out Now!
Get yourself “emancipated minor” status ASAP. Because that new stepparent most likely poisoned your mom or dad. Of course, they’ll convince your remaining parent that you so deserve that sweet new ride (“he/she’s been through so much….). But see? It’s all a ruse. ‘Cause later, you’ll find out that a new baby is on the way and SHARING THE ESTATE IS NOT AN OPTION.

5. That Honors Student Has a Big-Ass Secret
Little Miss Overachiever has perfect skin, cute clothes, and a 4.0 average. She also volunteers at the local nursing home. But before 90 minutes are up, we’ll discover that she’s either 1) a stripper 2) bulimic or 3) on meth. Jeeze….can’t anyone be a nice, normal control freak anymore?

6. The Nanny? Forget It
She shows up at your door at the suspiciously right time, ‘cause you need to get back to your high-powered job, like, yesterday. So you trust the “instincts” which have landed you million-dollar deals, bypass the due diligence and welcome this shiny-faced girl into your home. Big mistake. HUGE. ‘Cause within a week, the pet canary will be found dead at the bottom of its cage. You will miss a vital email (she hacked your computer, naturally) and be forced to take an emergency flight out of town. While you’re gone, your husband will find this skank wearing your nightie and Google’ing how to cut the brakes on your car.

So yes, the world is a scary, dangerous place. But Lifetime Movies helpfully offers a regularly updated field guide for dodging the piranhas walking around in human form. Even if you forget and let your guard down, just remember: it will all be over in 90 minutes.

– Cindy Grogan

Photo Credit: Public domain image of Tori Spelling.

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