Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Lying Game (2011) - Fun Drama About, What Else, Wealthy Teens,

The Lying Game cover
"The Lying Game" (2011-2013).

"The Lying Game" is a solid cable television offering that tracks the twists and turns of a fairly small group of teens and their immediate families. Naturally, these particular teens have outlandish issues that make them "interesting." A foster daughter who has a secret twin, girls with a missing mother, killer stalkers - you know, the usual stuff you probably grew up with as well. Such "complications" are piled on top of the rote teen angst revolving around who is dating whom, the eternal philosophical dilemma over whether a nice girl should date a sleazy classmate just because he is rich and throws his father's money around (did Descartes have anything to say about that one?), and so on and so forth. To one girl, the only thing that matters is whether every acquaintance or family member is punctilious about instantly "telling the truth," which includes completely dispelling all misunderstandings, gray areas and quibbles. Otherwise, of course, you are not Worthy.

The Lying Game Alexandra Chando
The star, Alexandra Chando.  Do you see the resemblance to...

The girls casually walk around in high couture with elaborate hairdos, the teen guys have the sensitivity and panache of dapper 40-somethings, and everyone - wait for it - has a deep, dark secret. I know, no way! This includes the parents, who, perhaps uniquely for these types of soaps, are drawn as real people with problems of their own - though their problems tend to be just as eccentric and play out in the same melodramatic way that the teens' problems do. Go figure.

The Lying Game Charisma Carpenter
Charisma Carpenter. She is gorgeous and looks just like....

It is a fun, glitzy, "lifestyles of the rich and prep school crowd" show that has its deep, creaky roots in "90210" and those '90s Kevin Williamson movies. Layered on that is a more recent "Twilight" vibe minus the vampires, teens prowling around pursuing their own twisted agendas. If you seek a show where twins pull off the old switcheroo pretending to be each other, with all the adults remaining absolutely oblivious and all the teens in on it, well, look no further.

The Lying Game
... the dynamic duo

The actors are serviceable, with most having to do little beyond looking either seductive or hurt. You know, hurt as in "You lied to me! You are just like all the others!" and then flouncing out and pouting, or seductive as in "We need to convince the hidden but watching killer that we're together, so kiss me NOW." Standouts are Alexandra Chando as the lead (she plays the twins), and Charisma Carpenter, who was brought on in Episode 11 as Rebecca. Charisma turns out to be, well, I won't ruin it here for people watching from the beginning, but let's just say she also has, yes, a deep, dark secret. Imagine that!  It is interesting that Charisma and Alexandra, IMHO, bear an uncanny resemblance to each other. Quite the coincidence.  Or is it?

We all just love Charisma.

All right, so it isn't Dostoyevsky. But for its target audience, perhaps it rises to that entertainment level. I give it props for actually working the phrase "the lying game" into episodes, and for showing attractive people in attractive settings. None of this is groundbreaking, but you probably aren't going to tune in a show called "The Lying Game" if you are looking for some Nietzsche.

"The Lying Game" ran for 30 episodes, from 2011-203 and always draws comparisons to "Pretty Little Liars." These days, you never know when they might bring back a series, and "The Lying Game" had a very loyal following. I haven't read (or, to be truthful, heard of) the books. The show stands on its own for what it is, which is about the highest compliment I can pay it. If you miss Brandon, Kelly and the Peach Pit, or even Buffy's old gang, this might be the show for you.


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