Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Lorena Bobbitt in 1994
Photo: Jeffrey Markowitz (Getty Images)

Today in “Objectively awful things that somehow got transformed into comedy memes” news: Lifetime has announced a slate of new projects for its 2020 calendar today, including its latest Surviving limited series—this one centered on living convicted sex offender-turned-dead conspiracy theory fodder Jeffrey Epstein—and a biopic about domestic assault survivor-turned-national punchline Lorena Bobbitt.

Following in the footsteps of 2019's Jordan Peele-fronted documentary Lorena, I Am Lorena Bobbitt is executive produced by Bobbitt herself, and is, according to a press release, a document in which “Lorena tells her story, and hers alone, for the first time…from a wide-eyed, immigrant bride to a battered wife into an unlikely media sensation.” The film’s announcement comes as part of a serious and welcome re-evaluation of how the Bobbitt story was handled in the media back in the 1990s, moving away from the knee-jerk “Tee hee, woman cuts off husband’s penis” aspects, and focusing instead on the abuse and unhappiness that would lead to such a drastic turn of events.

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The Epstein series, meanwhile comes in the wake of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly and its planned sequel, and focuses on the high-profile financier who was convicted on charges of sex trafficking of minors in 2019. In the works since last year, the four-hour doc will examine the life of Epstein, and especially the ways he used his political and financial connections with numerous famous and powerful figures to shield himself from scrutiny. It will probably focus significantly less on the various conspiracy theories that have sprouted up around his death in prison late last year, although, hey, who knows, maybe they’ll throw the internet a bone.

I Am Lorena Bobbitt and Surviving Jeffrey Epstein are just two of several projects that Lifetime announced at the TCA’s this week; other series and films include five new films based on V.C. Andrews’ Ruby Landry series, and a new set of true-crime specials executive produced by former kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart.

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