Once upon a time there was a show called The Lying Game
on ABC Family. Since the last new episode aired more than 10 months ago, I understand if you've forgotten about it.
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The show about a pair of long lost twins who discover each other and then switch places, unbeknownst to everyone around them, is a soapy companion to Pretty Little Liars
that had a modestly entertaining first season.
However, whether you still remember exactly where the show left off, don't really remember much about it or have never seen it, season 2 is your chance to watch the soapiest, most absurdly guilty pleasure on all of television.
The second season of The Lying Game picks up where the last one left off, with the duplicitous Alec Rybak (Adrian Pasdar) arrested for murder, all part of a master plan concocted by evil twin Sutton Mercer (Alexandra Chando) and her biological mother Rebecca (Charisma Carpenter).
The good twin, Emma, isn't aware of Rebecca's true identity or the fact that her sister is actually working against her. As for who knows that Sutton and Emma are twins trading places, that now seems to be about half the main cast.
The real joy of The Lying Game season 2 is a clearer sense of purpose, even if that purpose is totally ridiculous. Rebecca and Sutton's endgame is revealed and, however preposterous and impossible it is, it at least gives the show a sense of structure.
Season 2 also introduces a new bad boy, Ryan Rottman's Jordan, a character whose own secrets are sure to cause maximum drama for everyone involved (as is his sexy poolside hook-up with one of the main characters).
The real stars of the show, however, are the adult actors. Carpenter and Pasdar seem to perfectly understand that they're in a daytime soap opera that happens to air at night and chew the scenery every chance they get. There's one scene in the season 2 premiere where they have a conversation and it achieves a certain soap operatic brilliance. Both characters are lying through their teeth, each acting as if they know something the other doesn't.
This is the fun of The Lying Game. If even one character was simply honest with everyone about what's going on, everything could easily be resolved in a calm and peaceful manner. But the show's title is accurate and, instead, there's nothing but lies on top of lies inside other lies.
You can't think too hard about it. It's obvious from the start that Rebecca and Sutton's ultimate plan has a zero percent chance of success, but their steadfast determination to make it work is what makes the show so wonderfully absurd.
The Lying Game is everything you'd want from a primetime soap. There's a hot young cast who spend a large amount of time sleeping with each other or trying to sleep with each and adults whose immorality and indifference to others is astounding. Toss in performances by Carpenter and Pasdar so over-the-top they border on cartoons and you have a show that will have you feeling guilty while you go back to watch it every single week.