Monday, 9 May 2011

"LACE" MINISERIES: PRIVILEGED LIES


   

"Which one of you bitches is my mother?" Those infamous words uttered by a vengeful Phoebe Cates to three unsuspected career women in the two-parter LACE are silk to connoisseurs of ultra-glam miniseries ears. Indeed, the ABC television event, which aired in the winter of 1984, has become a classic in the genre due mostly to its slick production values and its effective storytelling. Hailed as one of the guiltiest of pleasures, its success has not only paved the way for other soapy-like treats but has even spawned a sequel a year or so later—a rare thing in TV world. So it is with great honor that I present to you, LACE.



I remember vividly when it was first televised. It was on a Friday. I was still living at my parents house, flipping channels in my room when I came across this tasty tale of three high school chums who have a thing for cute guys, silly promises and the high cost of living. Before I continue, let me say right away that the first part of the five hour frothy drama was shown two days early here in Canada. A thing the CTV network (then called CFCF 12 for a local Montreal TV station) used to do a lot; and not only for miniseries or movies, but for daytime soaps (like an earlier in the day airing of ANOTHER WORLD) and TV shows (MAGNUM P.I., THE WALTONS, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY…) as well. Anyway, to get back to LACE, ABC did broadcast the same episode the next Sunday night February 26th. So imagine my luck when I realized that I could see it all over again and even tape it on my betacam if I wanted to. I had spent the entire Saturday playing the first episode in my mind and I couldn’t wait to discover who the heck was Lili’s mother, though I had a pretty good hunch already (but more on that later).


Then came the highly anticipated on-air conclusion Monday night the 27th ; this time simultaneously on both sides of the border. Suffice to say, I was riveted to the screen as the big climactic scene—enhanced by the powerful music score of Nick Bicât—finally came to reveal the true identity of Lili’s mom. Recalling this, I can still see myself watching it like nothing else mattered, this cute little teen who, tries as he might, could never really fit in with the norm. What I didn’t know then but would soon learn as the end credits appeared was how much in sync I already was with the great trash world. Indeed, it didn’t take long for me after that to start experiencing other miniseries like LACE. Though rarely did they give me the same high.


I have seen a lot of trashy miniseries since then. In fact, I still get all excited whenever one shows up on TV. But nothing compares to the buzz given in discovering LACE. It’s as grand as Lili’s unflappable ego. I wish I could say the same thing about the novel on which it is based but alas it does not come close to the high camp thrill of its TV adaptation (thanks to screenwriter Elliot Baker), even if author Shirley Conran does shake the plot a lot with added characters including a fourth friend named Kate. I read the book after the TV fact, so perhaps my dissatisfaction comes from that.


Yes, LACE was my real intro into trash land. To those who have yet to see it, LACE supercharged plot and glamorous locations will definitely leave you wanting more, provided that you’re into that form of entertainment, of course. And be aware that this miniseries comes also with its bag of silliness, most noticeably in regards to Phoebe Cates’ weird accent which comes and goes as it pleases. But if you can stomach this and all the high-gloss stuffing, I’m sure you’ll be as thrilled as I was in discovering this gem. Oh, and about Lili’s mom. Her identity was no surprise to me because the actress who portrayed her was the most recognizable face of the three leading ladies at the time. I figured her character would do anything, even birth an illegitimate child, to keep the spotlight onto herself.




 
Until next post—Martin

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

5 comments:

Ron Klopfanstein said...

I remember "Lace" and that infamous "Which one of you bitches is my mother?" line just as vividly! Pretty amazing considering it's been almost thirty years since it aired and I would have to have been about 15 years old!

I know that I watched the sequel and I'm almost sure it was about Pheobe Cates' character trying to find out which of three men was her father, but I can't seem to recall anything else about it, who was in it, or even who the father was. I'll have to look it up on IMDB or Wikipedia, now I'm wondering. Anyway, I guess it just didn't have the magic of the original "Lace", which was a real sensation.

Amazing how the really great "campy-ness" stays with you forever. It's fun and entertaining and there's nothing wrong with that! Thanks for bringing back a happy TV memory.

Authorfan said...

You're very welcome. I should post about LACE 2 in the near future. Yes, in it Lili does look for her dad, and also in this one, Deborah Raffin takes over Bess Armstrong as her mom.

Authorfan said...

LACE 2 is up and running. Look for the February 19th 2013 post.

Juani Lorente said...

Yo seguidora de Lace, y durante años la estuve buscando para comprarla, y hace dos semanas que la puede comprar en DVD, la primera parte en donde Lily descubre quién es su madre, ahora falta por salir la segunda parte en donde descubre quién es el padre, que yo si me acuerdo de quién es.

Scooter said...

Love Lace. Always good to know that one is not alone with a dirty little secret!