Lifetime catches a lot of flak for being rough on the menfolk. Critics aren’t wrong exactly, but considering how rough most mainstream fiction is on the womenfolk, you’d think there could be one tiny corner that gives a little of that back without too much bellyaching. Since roughly about 90% of the internet that isn’t cat pictures or porn is bellyaching about pop culture, apparently I am wrong. Also when the aliens come, I’m totally selling all of you assholes out.
So imagine my surprise when I read the title for this week’s Lifetime Theater. Granted, that while subject of the sentence is still feminine, it’s pretty clear that this is about the titular “he.” A quick look at the synopsis confirmed my suspicions. This is a Lifetime film apparently with a male protagonist. I was worried I was going to have to change my breakdown of the kinds of stories Lifetime tells. What was I to do?
Watch the movie and not panic. Incidentally, that’s good advice for anything. It’s totally okay to dislike a movie you’ve seen for any reason, but it’s patently insane to hate one you haven’t seen. Thought that should be obvious, but it’s not. So yeah, I watched the movie and didn’t panic. Besides, I could be content that people are fundamentally lazy, and Lifetime wasn’t going to throw out their whole business model because one guy had a bad experience on Tinder.
Which is fundamentally what this movie is about. For roughly the first half to three quarters of the movie, the protagonist is Bryant, an amicably divorced single dad looking to find new love with a lady he (gasp) met online. The movie opens with the website doing a short film on their wedding day, for use as promotional material. Proof that the site can lead to marriage. Once again, I found myself happy that my dating life is long over.
Bryant’s new lady Georgia is perfect for all of ten minutes. Then at the wedding, she starts hallucinating her mother, and the movie comes right out and says that’s what’s happening, rather than holding off for an obvious third act twist. I was grateful. Normally, a Lifetime movie waits around 20 minutes for its first commercial, just to make sure you’re good and sucked in, but The Wife He Met Online broke after 10. While I wasn’t so naïve to think this was going to mean Georgia would spend the next hour going full Joker on the idyllic British Columbian suburb where Lifetime shoots all its movies, I could at least hope for some solid crazy.
That’s not to say the performances were good. Let me put it this way: both Bryant and Georgia’s actors appeared on All My Children, and man. You can tell. The score does them no favors, but apparently loves me, as every histrionic emotion or bizarre reveal was greeted with a hilarious sting.
Georgia pretty much instantly shows a jealous streak. At the wedding, Bryant talks with co-worker Zenya, and she’s a bit flirty with him. Georgia flips out and locks herself in a bathroom where she can talk it over with her dead mom. That’s not something you really want in your wedding. The thing is, the movie kind of toys with the idea that Bryant and Zenya are having an affair. Being well-acquainted with all things Lifetime, I naturally assumed that we were going to learn Georgia wasn’t as crazy as she let on, and Bryant was a cad with a wandering dong. In fact, it’s revealed later that Bryant and Zenya used to date, and Zenya’s still in love with him.
But then Georgia blows her right the fuck up. Not even a possible affair is an excuse for homicide on the Lifetime network. Georgia is also mean at one point to Bryant’s adorable moppet Megan, which she smooths over with a bribe. This is what gets Bryant’s ex Virginia suspicious in the first place.
And yep, Bryant apparently only marries women with the same first name as states. Georgia, Virginia. Zenya never had a chance. Maybe if her name was Dakota, Michigan, or the District of Columbia.
Since Bryant is a doofus who can’t see the the danger in front of his face, Virginia resorts to some old fashioned detective work. She has some initial problems finding anyone, as Georgia had neither friends nor family at the wedding — and that’s just the biggest red flag ever — but she tracks her down through employers. Eventually, she gets the story of Georgia’s ex Geoffrey, who we’ve seen in flashback. Georgia was pouring gasoline on his bed, so it’s pretty clear Geoffrey’s gone to the big clambake in the sky with Zenya.
In the next big twist, Geoffrey’s alive and in Russia. He says he’s there on business, but fuck that, he’s hiding. He gives Virginia all the info she needs. Georgia is not only insane, but she very might as well have killed her own mother. A flashback later confirms this. Though the fire (yep, she’s got a preferred M.O.) was accidental, barring the door was not.
Eventually Bryant and Georgia have it out on a rooftop (don’t ask). Georgia stabs Bryant in the gut with a knife and is ready to finish him off when a secondary character bursts out onto the roof for no good reason to save the day. If this sounds like that similar scene in The Room, congratulations, you’re my people. Georgia escapes, and that’s where the movie ends, with her already catfishing the next guy. She even looks directly into the camera for the fade to black.
This movie is fucking insane, you guys.
So what did we learn? If you’re going to meet someone new, you have to do it in person, or you’ll inevitably find a homicidal maniac. Computers are exclusively the tools of predators and arsonists. Lastly, if you do marry a woman you met online, listen to your ex-wife. She only wants what’s best for you.