A funny thing happened to me this summer.
I'm not sure when, exactly, it happened, but sometime over the course of the summer I became addicted to the Saturday night movie premiers on the Lifetime network. Part of it was that I was on call for the whole summer, so going to a movie and paying for a ticket when I might have to leave in the middle seemed foolish. Part of it was that I became part of a small but dedicated online community that live-Tweets the movies, and it's kind of fun to have the actors, writers, and sometimes the network itself favorite or respond to your tweets. And part of it is that the Saturday night movies are almost always that strange combination of wonderful and terrible that I've always loved.
It started out small. There were gateway movies, like gateway drugs, movies that I watched because they were based on a book I'd read or had someone I knew in them or something similar. Movies like Flowers in the Attic, or Liz and Dick (a movie so bad that when I watched it with my mom she asked, twenty minutes in, "Is this supposed to be a real movie? Seriously?"), or The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story were the gateway to other movies, and eventually to all of the movies. Dozens of movies. Hours of movies. Every Saturday night, more or less, watching a movie, playing video games, and live tweeting.
My brain is rarely as relaxed as it is every Saturday at 10 PM.
This hasn't been fully wasted time, though. I've also discovered that Lifetime movies are educational. As a matter of fact, here are the top five things I've learned:
1) Never date anyone you met online. Never. The husband she met online, the girl he met online, the wife he met online, the online abductor, they all turn out to be terrible. Sometimes, they just kidnap you, or just rob you. Most of the time, though, the person you met online either murders you, murders your friend, or occasionally sells you into international sex slavery. Online dating is always bad.
2) Never date anyone your family doesn't like. This is especially true if your family doesn't like someone you met online, but it is invalidated, of course, if your family realizes that there's a heart of gold beneath that troubled exterior. For the most part, though, people your family doesn't like almost always turn out to be murderers. They might drug you and make a sex video of you while you're wearing a dog collar, or they might tie you up in a sauna and stab you in the side, or they might push your sister to her death, but for the most part your family is always right. For every skateboarding punk who turns out to be an expert cybertracker who helps find your missing stepsister there are always ten more murdering psychopaths out there drugging their boss at the medical clinic while blackmailing them for money and pretending to love you.
3) Speaking of stairs (we did in the last point, I swear), they are America's silent killer. Anyone who falls, or is pushed, down the stairs dies.
4) Teenagers are always 17. There's actually a reason for this: a 17 year old is young enough that they are still under parental control but is old enough to have sex, drink, do drugs, etc. without the viewer squirming uncomfortably. Sure, those kids probably shouldn't be doing that, but they're almost 18, when whatever that is magically becomes slightly more ok.
5) Nothing all that shocking ever happened behind the scenes of a television show. Seriously, you never learn anything really juicy from an "unauthorized" movie.
You shouldn't skip them, though, because it's Saturday night.
And you should be home, watching Lifetime.