Wednesday, February 02, 2011
"Lie to Me" Almost Ruined Our Relationship
I really like the show Lie to Me. And I was one of the first. That's right. For once in my life, I can honestly say that I've been with the show since the pilot. Usually something happens in the hour-long drama shows to offend me by this point and I've jumped ship. And something almost DID happen Monday night, but it's not grievous enough for me to slam the door in its face, turn off the porch light, and close all the blinds. Yet.
Usually it's the non-lesbian straight-hot-girl kiss that does it. Why? Because it's b.s. It's never in there because it adds to the story. It's deliberately contrived to be in there to titillate a male audience, which is offensive to me. It's like saying, "Hello, I know you're my girlfriend, but want to go to the strip club with me?" I know there are women who do that and that's fine, for them (of course I tend to think they're weak and insecure, but that's just me), but it's not ok for me. I demand civility and gentility and a bunch of other -ilities from the men in my life and if I don't get it, then . . . [fill in the blank].
Many of these shows know the largest part of their viewership is women, and what they end up counting on is the fact that women are not offended by seeing the non-lesbian straight-hot-girl kiss. So they throw it in to garner favor in their male audience, which is small, and which they hope to increase by the tantalizing chance of seeing such forbidden actions on prime-time TV.
If more women were as tough as me, they'd boycott the shows after such gratuitous, pointless, crap and teach the networks a lesson. Because it's not just offensive to me. It's offensive to real lesbians who have real relationships and not flings with women while actually being into men, just to be exhibitionists for men. It's reducing real lesbian partnerships into something that exists only for men, which is, as I understand it, what so many feminists (who often happen to be lesbians) want to escape.
So anyway. I haven't seen any of my pet peeves on Lie to Me. Yet.
But Monday night the show crossed a line. A faint line. Upon further reflection later on, it snowballed into something that could squash my enthusiasm for Tim Roth's character and the intriguing relationships he has with the rest of the characters.
What was it? What could it have been? you ask, holding your breath, sitting on the edge of your office chair.
At the very end, Cal Lightman's adorable daughter has broken up with her too-perfect boyfriend because . . . why? "He doesn't believe in sex before marriage." Tim Roth's character laughs. All this time he's been worried about what his daughter's getting into with the boyfriend and it turns out, the kid won't have sex before marriage. Not even a "is that so bad? Sounds perfect to me," from Tim Roth. Just laughter.
Am I insane that I think most decent fathers are going to be thrilled to find out their daughter has a boyfriend with standards like that? Am I insane to believe that most dads don't want their high school daughter sleeping around? Even in a culture that has determined that lots of sex before marriage—to see if you're compatible, of course—is a great idea, aren't dads a little more protective of their daughters than an "I give you my blessing" to a guy who wants to live with daddy's little girl before they get married?
What bothers me, really, is that this show I love has suddenly decided to twist what a girl wants into what men really want and not what women want. Sex in the City did enough of that. They've lied to women about what we want and a lot of women have bought it. It's not female empowerment to try to be what men are. We're not men. It doesn't empower women to sleep around and not demand commitment. It only serves men when women live like that.
So I don't need Lie to Me, to be trying to sell me some stupid Sex in the City ideology about what teenage girls want. GIRLS DON'T BREAK UP WITH GUYS BECAUSE A GUY DOESN'T WANT TO HAVE SEX BEFORE HE'S MARRIED. And if she does, her problem isn't the guy. It's the commitment. She's got commitment problems.
Ok. And that may be all me and me alone, because I'm not an idiot and lots of other people tend to be when it comes to logic and reason, nevertheless, it's really irritating. It's irritating that Cal (Tim Roth) didn't say anything, because in my opinion, his daughter was looking for fatherly advice, not laughter and best friend sort of crap. No kid in their right mind wants mom and dad to be their buddy. They want mom and dad to be their guide. They want dad to set them straight and show how important they are by pulling them away from the fire, not letting them get burned to a crisp. They want mom to establish rules and stick to the rules, because it makes them feel safe in a dangerous world.
Sure, teenagers pretend to hate it and they push against the boundaries, but until the kid is 18 or not living at home, they deserve to have the guidance of their parents. And even after they're 18 and have moved away, kids go back to their parents for guidance. Advice. Sound reasoning. Etc.
So it bugs me that Cal Lightman just laughed and didn't tell his daughter that a man like Liam (the boyfriend) is decent. That he respects her and sexual relationships if that's what his standards are, and that she shouldn't be breaking up with a guy over that, and oh yeah, she'll have sex before she's married over his dead body, etc. If a show is going to be trying to teach me standards, then it better be decent standards. And not Sex in the City standards, because that's no standards at all. And if I wanted that, I'd watch that show.
I hope Lie to Me straightens up after this and that if they want to do something about Cal Lightman's daughter having sex as a teenager, for pete's sake, show us that the consequences are detrimental. Because that's the reality more often than not. Sex complicates everything. And everyone knows it; if they think otherwise, they're lying to themselves.