Things In Lifetime Movies Only Adults Notice

Lifetime movies have perfected the art of the guilty pleasure, although there's really not all that much to feel guilty about. Lifetime movies might be cheesy, overly dramatic, and come with a seemingly small budget, but they're still ridiculously entertaining. Moreover, Lifetime movies have been around for a while. In fact, the network was founded in 1984, according to The Washington Post

Maybe you used to watch Lifetime movies with your mom, sisters, or friends when you were younger and were drawn into the drama, or maybe you never really paid all that much attention to them when you watched. Whatever the case, there's no denying the fact that there are some things only adults notice in Lifetime movies, and it's more than just the cheap sets the network uses. Lifetime movies are definitely easy to watch, but, once you notice some of these things, it will be hard to ever watch a Lifetime movie again without pointing them out. You're welcome in advance.

The acting in Lifetime movies is usually less than fabulous

Listen, Lifetime movies are obviously fun to watch, but, when you watch them as an adult, you can't help but notice that the actors seem a little off. To be fair, some of the plots in Lifetime movies probably make it pretty hard for the actors to take things too seriously. There are plenty of accidental pregnancies, angsty teenagers rebelling against their parents, and even cheesy retellings of royal romances (like that of Prince William and Kate Middleton) in Lifetime projects, as noted by Women's Health.

So, as you settle in for a night of guilty pleasure viewing, you might start to notice just how forced the acting seems in Lifetime movies. Again, you can't really blame the actors. In the 2011 Lifetime flick William and Kate, the actor who plays Kate Middleton, Camilla Luddington, yells out in frustration, "I'm the girl he hangs out with, not the girl he brings home!" It's cheesy, of course, but still totally binge-able.

The actors in Lifetime movies might start to look familiar

If you are a living, breathing adult who has watched several Lifetime movies, or has just seen commercials for several Lifetime movies, you will have likely noticed that the actors begin to look familiar. Maybe you recognize one actor from another Lifetime movie in the latest Christmas film from the network to hit the small screen. It's certainly not uncommon in Lifetime movies for a specific actor to return to the network every year or so. For example, Sabrina the Teenage Witch star Melissa Joan Hart starred in 2018's A Very Nutty Christmas, and she signed on to play the lead role for the 2019 Lifetime Christmas movie Christmas Reservations, according to Country Living. It makes sense that actors would want to return to the network, but still, as an adult, you can't help but notice that the same actor who once played a heartbroken chef is now playing an event coordinator at a ski resort. Same actor, different movie universe.

Lifetime movies are actually pretty female-friendly

As an adult, it's pretty easy to make fun of Lifetime movies for being totally over-the-top dramatic, but, more than anything, perhaps the network should be praised for being surprisingly female-friendly. In fact, according to The Washington Post, the Lifetime network was actually founded as a "female-aimed" channel. And, according to a 1991 New York Times article, the network's "aggressive pursuit of that image has been a big part of its success."

For years, the Lifetime network has been working hard to elevate women's stories and to make women the center of their movies and television shows. There are so many Lifetime movies that focus on the lives of young women. For example, We Were the Mulvaneys, a Lifetime movie adapted from iconic author Joyce Carol Oates' novel of the same name, follows a family as they grapple with the sexual assault of their daughter — an issue that's a disturbing reality for many women. That film and Lifetime's plethora of other female-centered movies, makes it a feminist network. For adults watching Lifetime movies, that only makes these films even more watchable. 

Is it weird that you can't stop watching Lifetime movies?

The combination of the familiar actors, the highly dramatized plot lines, and the oftentimes cheesy dialogue all work to make Lifetime movies incredibly easy to watch. And, as AdWeek reported, there's even an app for those obsessed with Lifetime movies, so you can tune in to your favorite dramas and romances any time you like.

When you watch Lifetime movies when you're younger, all the murder, abuse, and sicknesses prevalent in the films might seem like too much to handle all at once. But when you're an adult and you watch Lifetime movies, you can't help but notice how easy it is to simply stay on the couch, not move, and watch one after the other. They're addicting, and, no matter what mood you're in, there's probably a Lifetime movie (or two... or ten!) that will suit you. So settle in, and press play. 

You feel strangely inspired by certain Lifetime movies

As corny and dramatic as Lifetime movies can be, when you tune in to watch them as an adult, you might also start to feel a little... inspired. Yes, while Lifetime is known for turning real-life stories into over-the-top films, some Lifetime movies are actually pretty amazing.

In fact, The Simone Biles Story: Courage to Soar, Lifetime's biopic about famed Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, is honestly really good. The film tells the true story of Biles, who was adopted at a young age, along with her sister, and grew up in Spring, Texas. Biles rose to fame at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Lifetime movie based on her life is uplifting. Who knew that, as an adult, you might sometimes find yourself inspired to work harder, chase your dreams, or maybe just to get off of the couch after watching Lifetime movies. Hey, whatever works! 

Lifetime movies sometimes feel like watching a tabloid story come to life

Sure, Lifetime movies can seem somewhat inspiring when you watch them as an adult, but the network still makes plenty of movies that seem like a National Enquirer story broadcast on television. But those tabloid-esque films are what make some Lifetime movies what they are, and the network knows that. 

"We kind of had a push-pull internally, from tabloid to classy," Arturo Interian, Lifetime's vice president of original movies, told The Washington Post in 2015. "And many times we erred on the tabloid side, or things that were a little more salacious; a little more women-in-jeopardy, because that was really doing it for us in the ratings." Interian continued, "Ratings-wise, we were addicted to the Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? sort of thrillers."

Watching a Lifetime movie like She's Too Young as an adult definitely makes it clear that the network plays into the addicting dramatics of their movies — something Lifetime does it well. But when you're a kid, you may not realize just how sensationalized everything is.

Why is there so much amnesia in Lifetime movies?

Okay, obviously some of the best Lifetime movies feature insane plot lines that would never actually happen in real life. They're basically hour-and-a-half long soap operas, complete with all the normal tropes of that genre, including murder, incest, and yes, of course, amnesia. As The Washington Post reported, "Lifetime's first-ever TV movie, Memories of Murder, premiered on July 31, 1990. It starred Nancy Allen as a wife and stepmom who hits her head, gets amnesia and conveniently can't remember why a psychopath wants to kill her family." 

But really, when you watch Lifetime movies as an adult, that whole amnesia thing starts to seem like a pretty convenient plot point rather than a rare disease, as it once did when you were a kid. Clearly there's a lot more amnesia that takes place in Lifetime movies than in the real world. But hey, forgetting your entire life and the people in it makes for a great drama, so who could blame the network for using this trope so often? 

Watching Lifetime movies makes you feel better about your own life

As an adult, when you watch Lifetime movies, they can feel addicting, as we've mentioned. But part of the reason why they're so intriguing is because the characters in Lifetime movies make some terrible life decisions. Seriously, the 1996 Lifetime movie Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? is about a young woman who legitimately falls in love with a sociopath. With that kind of horrible life decision made by a TV movie character, what viewer wouldn't feel better about their own life?

"I think one thing, certainly about the old Lifetime films, is that there was always a relatable character in it and then the most extreme stuff would happen," Lifetime's vice president of original movies Arturo Interian told The Washington Post. "Your husband was a serial killer or you were addicted to gambling. If you were going through a rough patch in life, I guarantee you — your life wasn't as bad as what was happening to some characters in Lifetime movies." 

The plots were unbelievable, for sure, but they can also be somewhat comforting — after all, at least you weren't dating a murderer.

Just how many stars got their starts in Lifetime movies?

Just as many actors return to the Lifetime network, a lot of A-list actors actually helped kick of their careers on Lifetime. Tori Spelling, Kirsten Dunst, and many other actors once appeared on the Lifetime network, and the films they starred in helped expand their resumes. But that's something only adults notice after the stars make it big in Hollywood.

In 1998's Fifteen and Pregnant, for instance, Dunst stars as a — you guessed it — pregnant 15-year-old. It's a cheesy role, but, in the early stages of her career, appearing in a Lifetime movie was definitely a great move to help Dunst become a household name and showed her in a role vastly different than her parts in 1994's Interview with the Vampire and 1995's Jumanji

But Spelling and Dunst weren't the only big-name actors who once appeared in Lifetime movies. Chris Noth, for example, starred in the 1996 film Abducted: A Father's Love. And only as an adult can you really appreciate seeing Mr. Big from Sex and the City play a father who kidnaps his daughter to save her from an abusive mother.

Half the intrigue is in the titles of Lifetime movies

It's no secret that Lifetime movies are known for their drama and intrigue, but, to be honest, when you're an adult, half of what makes them so interesting are the actual titles of the movies. Honestly, as a fully-functioning adult, a movie called The Secret Lives of Cheerleaders sounds like the perfect way to remedy a Sunday-morning hangover. But that's not the only title of a Lifetime movie worth mentioning. 

According to The Washington Post, Lifetime is perfectly aware of the fact that the titles of their movies are pretty infamous. "Early on, the network recognized how important it was to create a catchy name, especially if the film wasn't going to get a big marketing budget," The Washington Post reported. "That was the case with another cult favorite, My Stepson, My Lover, a 1997 film about a woman who falls for her husband's son from a previous marriage." Clearly, Lifetime knows what they're doing.

Just how true are the Lifetime movies that are "based on true events?"

While a lot of Lifetime movies are based on true stories, that doesn't mean that the network's retellings are 100 percent factual. Adults know not to take everything Lifetime throws at viewers at face value, which means that, when they tune into a Lifetime movie, it's also time to fire up Google. 

For example, Lifetime's 2010 drama Pregnancy Pact is based on a true story of high school girls making a pact to get pregnant together. But in real life, it seems as though the girls behind the so-called pregnancy pact weren't even friends. "It was no, 'Hey, let's do this together,'" Brianne Mackey, one of the many girls who actually got pregnant in high school back in 2008 during the events that inspired the film, told Inside Edition of what really happened. "As far as I know, none of the girls who got pregnant were even friends." Obviously, Lifetime movies make what happened seem a lot more interesting, but only older viewers notice that they take a little too much creative liberty from time to time.

Lifetime movies are a little too G-rated sometimes

While Lifetime movies are definitely a lot less family-friendly than, say, Hallmark movies, they sometimes still "sugarcoat" things a little too much. When you watch a Lifetime movie as an adult, you can't help but notice that a lot of the details are more G-rated than anything else, especially when it comes to those movies that are based on true stories.

For instance, Lifetime's 2017 movie A Tale Of Two Coreys, tells the true story of Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, two young actors who were reportedly sexually abused by Hollywood producers when they were young boys. The real Feldman told People, "Because it is a TV movie they couldn't go into specifics — like when it came to who Haim's actual abuser was, we had to sugar coat that and present it in a more TV applicable ... way." He added, "It's like putting a G rating on an X-rated storyline. There was a lot of sex and drugs that were a part of the story which obviously you can't show on television."

Lifetime movies definitely blur the lines between fiction and reality

Many Lifetime movies are based on true events, but, because of Lifetime's tendency to make things a bit more tabloid-esque, those true events often become more fiction than fact. But hey — Lifetime has to make their movies interesting! When watching a Lifetime movie that's based on a true story, adults are sure to notice that a lot of details were added in.

As Refinery29 reported, the 2017 Lifetime movie Menendez: Blood Brothers takes a story that's already pretty dramatic (two brothers killing their own parents), and adds some details that may or may not be true. "This Lifetime movie attempts to recount new details about the murder, like Jose [Menendez's] treatment of his sons," Refinery29 statedStill, even if viewers already know the true stories behind the films, it doesn't make the Lifetime movies any less addicting. After all, it's no fun to watch a movie where you already know the ending.

Lifetime Christmas movies are obnoxiously heartwarming and nostalgic

Sweet, romantic, heartwarming made-for-TV Christmas movies are all over Hallmark and Netflix, and Lifetime has also gotten in on the business of making people feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The thing is Lifetime Christmas and holiday movies are even more comforting than most other movies centering around the season, and the network leans heavy on the nostalgia. After all, only Lifetime was able to get together several big names from the cast of One Tree Hill and have them do a Christmas movie together (via Entertainment Weekly) — something surely only adults would notice. 

But Lifetime does Christmas movies well, to be fair, and according to Country Living, the network is debuting a total of 28 new Christmas flicks in 2019. That's enough to watch one almost every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas, if you felt so inclined. Really, at the end of the day, Lifetime movies are comforting. Sure, they're cheesy, ridiculous, and downright hilarious (even when they don't try to be), but watching Lifetime movies as an adult is even more entertaining than watching them as a kid.