8 Ways that Lifetime Movies Skew Our Perception of Real Life

If you have a lazy Sunday to spare, nothing is quite as satisfying as saddling up on the couch in your pajamas with a half-gallon of ice cream and watching Lifetime movies back to back. These poorly written, made-for-television pieces feature washed up actors desperate for work, cringe-worthy plotlines, and goofy titles that reel you in from the moment you start browsing the TV guide. Lifetime movies have a clear-cut demographic of stay-at-home moms, so the films have some recurring themes that cater specifically to females and the apparent need for excessive drama. Were we to actually believe that Lifetime movies represented real life, we’d be incredibly misled.

  1. Babies are Switched at Birth All the Time

    In the world of Lifetime movies, infants are switched at birth at hospitals by accident, stolen, or sold to the highest bidder at a laughable frequency. Watch enough of these Lifetime movies, and you’ll start to suspect that your blonde sibling in a family of dark hair is most definitely a black market baby that got into the wrong hands. For example, in The Face On the Milk Carton, a teenage girl buys milk from her school cafeteria and sees her face on the back of it. Confrontation with her fake parents ensues and she finds out that she was kidnapped as a baby by her fake parent’s mental case of an older daughter involved in a cult. Likewise, mishandled babies continue to proliferate in Baby For Sale, in which a desperate couple, unable to conceive, resorts to purchasing a baby off of some shady Hungarians.

  2. Nannies Can’t be Trusted Ever

    Lifetime movies will bring you to the rightful conclusion that nannies and babysitters should never be trusted. They will rob you, kidnap your children, or steal your husband, and ultimately kill you. Exceptions exist, but even in those cases, the killer is usually related to the nanny, supplying an excellent red herring. For some reason, Hillary Duff’s lesser known older sister Haylie Duff stars in several Lifetime movies with this theme. For example, she is the nanny blamed for the burglary in My Nanny’s Secret, after her no-good brother comes in town and is suspected of robbing the family under her care. Even if she clears her name in My Nanny’s Secret, she sullies it again in Home Invasion, in which she plays a nanny looking to exact revenge for her boyfriend’s death after he administered a botched burglary. In The Perfect Nanny, a nanny falls in love with the man who hired her to care for his child and will kill anyone who comes between them. As Lifetime would indicate, nannies and babysitters are downright dangerous people.

  3. People Often Marry Complete Strangers

    The women in Lifetime movies have a nasty habit of marrying men that they know virtually nothing about. They are then shocked to find out that these men are abusive or murderous. This theme is par for the course in Drew Peterson: Untouchable. The most remarkable thing about this movie is that it’s based on a true, ongoing story about a cop who seems to be killing his wives. After the fourth wife goes missing, you’d think women would stop marrying him or at least do some digging into his questionable past. In Devil’s Pond, Mitch and Julianne, a couple who have known each other for less than a year, opt to marry and honeymoon in an isolated cabin. Julianne wanted a beach resort, but Mitch brings her out to this unfortunate shack where his personality suddenly does a complete swap for an abusive, maniacal husband. It turns out, he was stalking her long before they married, and spends the duration of the movie trying to hold her hostage in the cabin and, oddly, impregnate her by hiding all of her birth control.

  4. Teens Are All Hedonistic Sex Mongrels

    The teens of Lifetime movies are quite literally only interested in sex, unless you stumble across the spattering of Lifetime movies involving eating disorders. But it’s safe to say that in most cases, Lifetime movies with teens will either result in unwanted pregnancy, STDs, or porn addiction. Such is the case in Mom at Sixteen, in which a teenage girl — you guessed it — becomes pregnant and decides to keep the baby. Another surely accurate portrayal of teenage sexuality is shown in She’s Too Young, a riveting drama about a 14-year-old girl who becomes entangled in a group that participates in “sex parties” where she contracts syphilis. Likewise, Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life unveils what happens when a high school boy becomes addicted to porn and energy drinks.

  5. Maternal Obsession is a Serious Problem

    Lifetime has a string of movies that involve lunatic mothers obsessed with their children, having a baby, and all other aspects of parenting. In Her Only Child, Lily is an insurance saleswoman in her mid-30s whose mom must know where she is every single hour of the day. When Lily becomes involved with people, they always suddenly disappear from her life for no logical reason. That is, until she finds out that her mother has been threatening them in order to keep her beloved daughter all to herself. Meanwhile, Lily is a spineless waif who is unable to tell her mother to back off. A different kind of obsessive, off-kilter mothering occurs in Invisible Child, in which mother Annie Beeman is not satisfied with her two real live children and thus creates an invisible third child named Maggie which, for some reason, her bewildered family plays along with. And lest we forget that this network is aimed primarily at women, there’s also the Lifetime film, Maternal Obsession, in which a pregnancy counselor advises a teenage girl to carry on with her pregnancy so that she can steal her baby in the end. This caters specifically to the idea that women become overcome with maternal instincts by a certain age, which is apparently so strong that they resort to taking babies from confused teenage mothers.

  6. Technology is Evil

    The writers of Lifetime films want you to know that nothing good can come from using the internet. You really should abandon all technology, lest you want to be murdered, sexually harassed, or bullied into suicide. The Craigslist Killer, based on a true story, follows Philip Markoff as he leads a double life as a murderer of women who advertise their services on Craigslist. Had these women stuck to soliciting sexual services in the local paper, they might still be alive. Furthermore, in Sexting in Suburbia, teenage Dina commits suicide after a sultry text message goes viral and inspires endless bullying from her classmates. Similarly, Betrayed at 17 features a teen who winds up killing herself after discovering that the dreamy school football star only dated her on a bet that he could score sex with her and film it on the first date. The technology in both cases is the photo or video documentation of the act that goes completely viral. The aforementioned Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life also falls into this category. Too often, Lifetime movie characters make poor decisions about appropriate internet, video, and phone usage.

  7. Police Are Useless

    According to all Lifetime movies ever, police will be no help in your moment of desperation, so you should always take matters into your own hands. If you have a missing child or very strong reason to suspect someone is involved with a murder, the cops probably will roll their eyes at you and tell you you’re being overdramatic, regardless of the evidence at hand. Even if they do come to your aid, they will likely show remarkable incompetence at actually helping you. At least, that’s what you’re led to believe through from the wide array of Lifetime movies that promote this message. For example, in Race Against Time: The Search for Sarah, Natalie and John Porter are in hysterics when their daughter goes missing, but when they report the issue to the cops, they refuse to help as they don’t believe their daughter is legitimately gone. Thus, John must try to unravel the mystery of his daughter’s disappearance by himself. In A Cry For Help: The Tracey Thurman Story, the police are called when Tracey’s ex-husband repeatedly harasses her. When the police arrive, they merely stand and watch as the man beats Tracey and slashes her throat. She actually has to sue the police department for their lack of protection.

  8. Stockholm Syndrome Leads to Happy, Balanced Relationships

    In the world of Lifetime cinema, it is possible to be kidnapped, fall in love with your captor, and live happily ever after with no real repercussions for the situation. This actually happens in Abducted, as well as Stolen Women, Captured Hearts. In Abducted, the wife of a cheating prison warden is kidnapped by one of his escaped inmates. While they flee the authorities, she falls for her kidnapper, who turns out to be oddly compassionate. In Stolen Women, Captured Hearts, a woman is kidnapped by Sioux Indians and falls in love with one of them in a sort of Dances with Wolves fashion. Maybe this is Lifetime’s way of saying that love truly overcomes all, even if your lover has been holding you hostage at gunpoint for an extended period of time.