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Published:June 30th, 2011 19:25 EST

Lifetime Television: Friend or Foe?

By Donna Cavanagh

This is my problem with Lifetime Television. The cable channel for women is not satisfied until every last teardrop in my body has burst through my eye sockets. And I`m not talking about a single glistening teardrop  that rolls gently down my chubby cheek. No, I am talking hysterical, give-my-face-red-rashes-from-bawling-like-crazy tears.

I guess when it comes down to it, the waterworks are my fault. Since I work from home, my number one rule is that the TV does not go on until after 5 PM unless I want to play a little hooky and watch a movie. Recently, I did play hooky and turned on the Lifetime channel. I guess it was murder and mayhem week because I started to watch a movie that was already in progress, but still, I got engrossed in it, and it had one of my favorite Lifetime actors, Patty Duke.

Patty Duke is the quintessential mother in all the Lifetime flicks. For some reason, she always portrays the perfect, sweet, southern mom whose kid gets knocked off by either a serial killer or spouse. The ensuing grief inspires her to turn into Supermom Detective so that her child`s murderer can be brought to justice. And she does all this while taking care of an invalid mother, a philandering husband, and her infant grandchild, who is usually the offspring of the murder victim. Get all that?Anyway, this Patty Duke movie had pretty much the same plot, and as I predicted, Patty caught the murderers and then gave this heart-wrenching speech which resulted in massive amounts of water erupting from my tear ducts. As I was convulsing in sobs, I was cursing myself for falling into the Lifetime trap. And while this movie was on, the promos for another film premiering kept playing, and the  new movie contained the next most popular theme in Lifetime flicks--women in prison.

The upcoming flick was about Amanda Knox, a girl about my daughter`s age, who is locked in an Italian prison for killing her roommate. The mystery remains if she is the killer or not, but my mother mind began to panic, and I came up with a game plan and a list of lawyers who can handle foreign criminal cases in case my daughter found herself in the same predicament. Logically, I know that my daughter works for a company that is just 15 miles from home and she doesn`t have to travel for business so her chances of foreign imprisonment are slim at best, but if it happens on Lifetime, it can happen in real life, so it`s best to be prepared.

I have learned from the Lifetime Channel that women wind up in prison for the most bizarre reasons. In another one of their films -- also based on a real-life event, the female protagonist was hauled off to jail for something her husband did. Yes, he was supposedly involved in espionage and just because they were married, she was considered an accomplice, and the FBI raided her house and took her away in handcuffs, and let me just say that her first night in prison was not a welcoming experience.

So, once again my mind wandered, and I thought about how I would handle prison.

First problem, , I don`t look good in orange, and in fact, that color gives me migraines. I wonder if I could plead a disability and get a softer color jumpsuit to wear. Yes, this was a concern in my totally freaked out mind, so I put different colored jumpsuit on my to-do list of things to find out right after finding lawyers who handle Americans in foreign prisons. My next week calendar was filling up quickly with research about stuff that will probably never happen but needed to be addressed if I was ever going to have a good night`s sleep again.

After the prison movie was done -- and by the way, the woman was exonerated and sent home to rebuild her shattered life which will forever include pictures on the internet of her in that orange jumpsuit and messed up hair because I don`t think police photographers give prisoners a chance to fix their "do" before they snap the photo -- I marched upstairs to my bedroom and demanded to know exactly what my husband did for all those years he traveled overseas for business. After seeing that flick, I knew there was no freaking way I was doing time for him. I would sing to the feds the first chance I got. Although he was half awake, he looked at me and mumbled,

"Are you watching Lifetime again? I thought we agreed NO MORE LIFETIME."

And with those words uttered, he fell soundly asleep and ignored me, so I added one more thing to my research list: divorce lawyers.