An Open Letter to Lifetime Television
JANUARY 27, 2007 Listen to this Story
Lucy Baker has whiled away way too much time--not reading or taking photographs--but watching Lifetime Television. She blames a lot of time wasted on the TV channel. We hear a letter she has written about it.
Lucy Baker's Letter
Look at the two of us. Me, buried in the couch cushions, surrounded by soggy mugs of tea and a half-eaten bag of Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. You, blinking your one eye against the dying sunlight reflecting off its surface. You lured me in just like Lisa Rinna seduced that guy in Another Woman's Husband.
Where has the time gone? It seems like mere moments ago that I was waking up full of good intentions. I was going to go to the gym. I was going to purchase and wrap several belated birthday gifts. I was going to do three loads of laundry. I only flipped on the TV to check the weather, only sat down for a moment, just to see if little Emily's estranged biological father was a match for the bone-marrow transplant she so desperately needed.
At first, you seemed so sweet and harmless. All the familiar faces. It was like a tearful reunion with long-lost friends! Jennie Garth with the same flowery, shoulder-padded dresses I remember her wearing in 90210. And how did you find Alexandra Paul? I thought surely her career was washed up after Baywatch--she was only the token brunette. Even the Sisters were there--Sela Ward, Swoosie Kurtz. It was too much, really. I needed to take a moment and let it all sink in.
I swear I was only going to watch you for half an hour. But that half-hour became an entire movie, and then another, and another, until I was as addicted to you as Meredith Baxter was to the drugs she was stealing from the methadone clinic in Darkness Before Dawn. Nothing mattered anymore--not working out, not clean socks and underwear, not even my friends. All I cared about was my next Lifetime Original fix. Each commercial for upcoming programming was like a miniature hit, a little taste, set to the tunes of Sarah McLachlan or to Peter Hyatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me."
I made excuses for why I couldn't leave you. I told myself that you were teaching me things, things about morality, virtue, and what to do if my neighbor ever installs a spy cam in my shower. But deep down I felt like such a phony. As I rooted for Tiffani Thiessen to ditch her abusive husband in The Stranger Beside Me, a knot formed in the back of my throat. I couldn't admit that I, too, was in an unhealthy relationship--with you, Lifetime. I knew I needed to end it, but I just couldn't bring myself to hit the power button and walk away.
So it comes to this. Night has fallen and still I sit here in my sweatpants, teeth unbrushed and hair uncombed, like a wretched bump on a log. I am another one of your victims, Lifetime. I see myself in Judith Light, in Susan Lucci, in all the women, as they rage against those who have betrayed them, the stalkers, cheaters, and pimps. Lifetime, you bitch, you've robbed me of so much time. You're no better than the whore that took Tracey Gold's baby in Stolen From the Heart.
Mark my words, Lifetime, I will fight back against your feminine wiles. I'll get my revenge, like Patty Duke, who sued her ex-husband in When the Vows Break. Just as soon as The JonBenet Story is over.
Lucy Bakerfrom McSweeneys.net