Lifetime isn’t wasting a single second in its effort to release a movie about the college admissions scandal as quickly as possible—in fact, rather than spend a moment thinking up a more creative title, they’re just calling it The College Admissions Scandal. Just six months after the FBI made its investigation into the scandal (nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues) public, Lifetime has debuted the first trailer for its “ripped from the headlines” movie, which will air on the network on Oct. 12.
Here we’re introduced to two moms, played by Penelope Ann Miller and Mia Kirshner, who are willing to do just about anything to get their kids into prestigious universities. Even a crime! Their characters may be named Caroline and Bethany, but they might as well be called Shmelicity Shmuffman and Shmori Shmoughlin, because the parallels to the actresses caught up in the real-life scandal are not at all subtle. Miller’s character helps her son without his knowledge by having the answers changed on his SAT exam, as Felicity Huffman admits she did with her daughter. Kirshner’s character is the more ruthless of the two, using a “survival of the fittest” approach to convince her daughter to take staged photos that make it look as though she plays soccer. Investigators say Lori Loughlin’s daughters pretended to row crew.
In the trailer, Kirshner’s character tells the man arranging everything that he’s “worth every penny of the half-million dollars that we paid you,” a very normal and natural thing to say on the phone about a crime you’ve committed. No, really—the line, which sounds like something a hack screenwriter would come up with after pulling an all-nighter, is basically taken from an FBI agent’s affadavit that states one of the parents allegedly involved in Operation Varsity Blues (not Huffman or Loughlin) said over the phone that she and her husband laugh about paying $500,000 to get their kid into college and that it was “worth every cent.”