Part II of Diminished TV show Characters.
Lacey Porter- Twisted
This one was actually a major sore spot for me because it was ridiculously blatant. The writers of this show could not even try to act like they didn’t sabotage her character. Please bear with me on this one because while this show only lasted one season, the information provided is essential to why Lacey Porter’s character was diminished.
Twisted was marketed as this mystery/thriller drama on ABC Family with three leads, two being people of color! Twisted centered on Danny Desai, a 16-year-old alleged sociopath and murderer who reconnects with his two childhood best friends, Jo Masterson and Lacey Porter when he returns to his hometown to attend high school.
This show had promise. Lacey starts the show as the popular girl, she’s dating the most popular boy in school and as they hear news of Danny’s return, Jo and Lacey speak to each other after drifting apart. Danny immediately finds the girls in the hallway and speaks to them like old times even though Lacey coined the phrase “socio” for Danny while being interviewed. But Danny is drawn to her first (He looks her right in her eyes, it was beautiful), he and Jo manage to become friendly again quickly but Danny has to work for Lacey’s friendship. While things are still rocky between them, they always managed to be alone with intense and reminiscent conversations. They almost kissed in the pilot! I was down for the cause.
The problem comes when Lacey and Danny finally get together, it takes a while for Lacey to admit her feelings but she does. She goes to reconcile with Danny and spends the night with him, both ignorant to the fact that someone records them. The recorder shows his friends the video, Jo’s best friend Rico confronts them, Lacey decides not to fight it because she figures her friends will forgive her and Jo will understand. However, Rico tells Lacey that Jo is “in love” with Danny (lol whatever). So she can’t know about the video because it would devastate her.
At that moment, I knew it was bull because there were no indications that Jo liked him romantically, at least enough that everyone is worried about her feelings. Lacey already felt bad for keeping her relationship with Danny a secret but felt like she needed to because people would react negatively due to his past, so this wasn’t fair to put on her as well. She’s a 16-year-old girl! I mean come on. Lacey goes out of her way to get that video deleted so Jo wouldn’t see it, but it was sent out anyway.
After an extremely awkward public romantic confession from Jo (at a public hearing discussing expulsion for an incident Danny didn’t cause), Lacey and Jo talk. Jo tells her of her feelings about Danny and proceeds to say “I should have told you” Lacey says she would understand because it would have been weird with the three of them and their friendship and Jo says “plus, I know he doesn’t feel the same way about me… but even if he did, I hope you know I never would have dated him without talking to you first. I care about you so much Lacey, about us” and right there I called FOUL because why would they do that?? It makes Lacey look like this horrible person because she didn’t tell Jo (the show would have hashtags every episode but most of them would be: #JoisinlovewithDanny, #PoorJo) whereas now suddenly Jo is saying she would have told Lacey. It wasn’t right. Once Jo sees the video, she gives both Danny (who didn’t know about the video because he had more pressing matters to deal with like being expelled!!) and Lacey the cold shoulder and the two of them GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to apologize to her. I’m sorry (not sorry), I find that absolutely ridiculous. A private moment between them was spread around the school, why are we worried about Jo’s feelings? What about their parents? Why hasn’t someone done something about this?
They wanted to make Lacey look like the bad guy from the beginning. When they were younger, Lacey shut Jo out due to her being constantly depressed and bringing up Danny when Lacey just wanted to move on. I mean, imagine being 12 and dealing with the fallout of your best friend allegedly killing his aunt while you’re at his house. She also convinced a friend when they were 13, not to invite Jo to her sleepover due to her depressing behavior. I’m not giving Lacey a pass for being mean towards the only other person who might understand her feelings but I can imagine being a pre-teen, feeling betrayed by your best friend, having your life bombarded by reporters and therapists and just trying to be normal. That’s a lot for a kid. But none of that mattered because Lacey was set up as this snooty popular black girl and Jo set up to be the blonde haired, blue eyed damsel who should be with Danny and is the most important.
What makes matters worse is that Lacey began to get less and less screen time now that Jo’s random feelings for Danny is out in the open. Even DANNY, the main lead of the show was getting less screen time because we’re all supposed to be #Team Jo. Danny never shows any romantic interest in her at all but they wanted their viewers to believe he suddenly had feelings for her. #TeamJo. No. I was never Team Jo because there was no Team Jo. They were friends and it just so happened that Danny and Lacey discovered they could be more. I don’t think that makes them bad people, nor did they have to tell Jo.
Another example: Jo comes to Lacey’s invisible younger sister’s birthday party. She and Lacey I guess got back on good terms and a big secret is revealed about Lacey’s father. He’s gay. Who discovers this? Jo Masterson. Why? Why did she have to be the one to walk in on Lacey’s dad making out with another man? Why couldn’t Lacey discover them? Or I don’t know… the man’s ex-wife? Then for some reason, Jo was present during this family discussion. Um… why? I also did not appreciate how Jo’s Caucasian parents and Danny’s Caucasian mother got to be regulars but Lacey’s African American parents were only present maybe three times in total throughout the season. I would have loved to know Mrs. Porter’s reaction to finding out her 16-year-old daughter had a “sex-tape” spread throughout her school.
Last example: In the second half of the season, Danny’s cellmate Charlie was introduced. He seemed to show interest in Lacey when they first meet, which I was not for because he was weird and she and Danny were not over. Later he switches his romantic manipulative interest to Jo (who at the time was sort of kind of dating some other boy) and turns her against Danny with a bunch of obvious lies. So, overall Jo Masterson became many things in one season.
Damsel in Distress (Somehow she got involved in drama with Danny and his supposedly dead father, and ended up being the reason why Danny kind of killed his dad. I mean, that would have been a great plot if it only dealt with Danny and his father.)
The Angel and everyone should be #Team Jo because #Jo Is the One
Irresistible to different guys but continues to have feelings for Danny who now suddenly has romantic interest in her. It looked like Avan Jogia couldn’t even fake being romantically interested in her.
Stupid and Naïve. She was always kind of naïve but dang, Charlie turned her against Danny so quickly it was amazing she called herself his best friend.
Jo became all of these things whereas Lacey Porter just continued to become less than what she was. She had her confidence issues but she was a character with a lot of inner strength that SHOULD have been explored more.
We should have gotten to know Lacey’s family, including her sister (they didn’t even cast her). We should have known what happened in the Porter household when Danny was arrested those years ago. Clara was turning 14, did she have a hard time in school too? When did Mr. Porter start sleeping with the gym teacher? Or whatever he was.
Lacey and her parents should have talked about what happened between her and Danny, with the video and it being set out to everyone. There were no serious repercussions of it.
When Charlie came into town and showed interest in Lacey, he should have stuck with that, since Danny and Lacey were actually together and actually had unresolved feelings. Him trying to get close to Jo to hurt Danny didn’t hold as much weight. It would have taken a lot of time and lies for him to turn Lacey against Danny unlike how quickly he did it with Jo. It would have made a more interesting story.
Danny and Lacey should have been able to reconcile what was going on between them. Danny started to get broody because he was being haunted by what he did to his father, there should have been a moment where they should have talked. I think there was something after/during a dance but it wasn’t enough.