We all know the templates Lifetime shoots for:

  • Woman Protagonist
    • single mother of one
    • working mother of one
    • married working woman
    • SAHM
    • married stay-at-homemaker
    • single working woman
    • smart teenage girl at a pivotal time in her life (typically prim and proper with a good heart and of Caucasian decent)
  • Male Protagonist
    • unsupportive of wife and regularly paints her out to be crazy
    • dreamy love prospect
    • perfect husband with an ass iminent to get screwed with
  • Antagonist
    • jealous best friend
    • jealous coworker
    • mentally unstable neighbor
    • mentally unstable mother
    • mentally unstable stranger with some kind of long-standing connection to protagonist
    • jealous crush
  • Law Enforcement
    • useless
  • Setting
    • small suburban town with maybe one rough corner in which the gremlins creep

These characters are the cornerstone to a “good” Lifetime movie. Aside from the fact that the acting isn’t Academy Award-worthy, the movies itself are redundant. For some reason though, I can’t stop watching them. Maybe it’s the perfect background noise. Maybe it’s like that of breakfast chatter. Well I’ve watched enough to expound a deeper meaning from them.

So here’s A Sister’s Revenge staring Tommy Quincy (jogging your The-N days with this cheesy vid). The movie has all the elements a Lifetime movie needs.

  • SAHM
  • perfect husband
  • mentally unstable bombshell

The bombshell pops up and riddles viewers with foreshadowing. While the clues aren’t interpretable, it’s gently placed throughout the movie so that we feel for her. She’s a bit of sociopath who talks to her accomplice more like she’s talking to herself but there’s a human in there. The story has something to do with her sister. Immediately, as I’m half-assed paying attention dusting the back of the television, I understand her anger. Sociopaths are callous; motive is driven by fervor. Fervor is in the love you have for your family.

Next, there’s the young family’s characterization. Wife is crazy down-to-earth, husband is compassionate, there’s a best friend in there somewhere with some kind of sense neither of the protagonists will take up. In the end, the woman wreaks havoc on this poor innocent man’s life executing an airtight framing that secures a pressurized role in their lives. His wife and baby get caught up in the mess before a final showdown in which he and his family prevail. We all know who dies– the best friend of the accomplice. In this case, it’s the accomplice. He had the least amount of characterization.

This is the type of the story that, if real, would have to be prefaced with “This shit is like a movie or something!” Granted, Lifetime is low-budget down to their Acting 101 technique but the network is kinda like fast food but then it’s not necessarily bad for you. Although, through the acting and the story line is figured out within the first ten minutes of the movie, the stories aren’t hi-and-bye. There’s an opportunity to guess what it’s gonna be this time. My husband and I watched Waffle Street a few weekends ago and that film epitomizes basic.

Well said, Mark Mackey.

Like Law & Order, Lifetime just never runs out of dynamic. Delving into the cringeworthy lives of a porn star-fit mother and laughably jacked father whose kids look half their age is inspiring to me because I imagine that, if the story happened to me, I would be less cynical of the bizarre nature of the scenario.

My high school creative writing instructor taught me that Harry Potter is acclaimed because it’s great storytelling. Give the idea of a ten year old orphaned wizard who undergoes numerous adventures at a magic school to any writer and they’re likely to butcher it, I promise you. Sure, Lifetime is making me do more imaginative brain work than necessary but I like it. Could you craft up a praiseworthy film about a family member who seeks revenge on someone else in honor of their deceased loved one?