Day 453: Lie To Me


We found another TV series to get into on Netflix. Lie to Me with Tim Roth... and a bunch of other people. It was Jeannette's choice and as per usual she didn't let me down. It was an interesting concept for a show I thought, a procedural crime drama where the hero in question is an expert at determining if someone is lying, not based on any supernatural power at all, but on "science". He uses facial cues mostly, but a lot of body language interpretation as well, in order to tell with a very high fidelity if someone is not being honest. 

I enjoyed the pilot from the get go but was a little distracted with the google search I was doing at the same time for "the science behind lie to me". I don't like to get too invested in a show like this, where I could potentially learn something, unless I know a bit about the people behind it. Turns out the show, while a fictional representation, is based on the life and work of an actual guy who is in fact used by the FBI and government as well as other agencies with various cases because his results are so good.

The show also uses him as a consultant and every script must pass his desk before it gets the go ahead. Pretty impressive considering -as the article says- how most consultants hired by a series in order to provide legitimacy and realism, are ignored in favour of the drama, such as you would find in a lot of the hospital shows. Not so with this one. It seems the show itself is more a vehicle for the science, which is something I'm all for. 

In fact that's what I think most TV should be about, most art for that matter. It has to be in service of something greater, whether it's attempting to reveal a truth, or perhaps tell us something very insightful about ourselves as people. This show, for instance, like the books on memory work I've been reading, pulls back the veil on a practice that itself pulls back the veil on human behaviour. What's even more interesting to me, is that it's a skill that can be learned, as of course -say it with me- ALL skills can.

In the series he works with what he calls 'a natural' which is a person he picks out of an airport where she's working as a TSA agent, telling her that in the field of spotting 'micro-expressions' (we'll get to it) she happens to have a natural ability; a natural ability which when honed with a scientific understanding of what she's doing, and some further education, could turn her into a star deceit spotter. Also a great character for the audience to follow into this strange and interesting (and legit) world of lie detection. 

The micro-expressions I mentioned are really the crux of the entire practice. These are the sudden flashes of actual emotion every human being shows in reaction to some external stimuli. Fear, disgust, pleasure, surprise.. these movements, while incredibly brief, as it turns out, are an entire language unto themselves, with corresponding emotions and background motivation that can go completely unnoticed unless you're trained in the art of spotting them.

The actual researcher spent a great deal of time travelling all over the world, spending time with various tribes of indigenous peoples -themselves having no contact with the Western world whatsoever, or any other part of the world for that matter- and studying their facial reactions and body language in order to compare it to the rest of his findings from other parts of the world. 

The results are in and it seems to be quite clear; the human animal responds the same way across all cultural divides, and geographical separation. We are the same. Therefore we lie the same. 

As soon as I read the article, and then re-read it to Jeannette, I became very excited about this show. Un-surprisingly we blasted through four episodes tonight before finally calling it a night. I'm excited to continue the series, as we have something like 44 more episodes to watch, and I don't even know if the show is still going or not, which means we might have a lot of catching up to do, with more sweet Tim Roth goodness coming at us in the future. I also read that the actual guy runs a blog which expands on many of the principles mentioned in each episode and also gives each episode a post-mortem; in terms of what they got right and what they got wrong.

Love it! 

It was a mentally stimulating day all around actually, as instead of getting to do much work, we packed up the kid and took him over to my parents place this afternoon where we had a really long and in depth conversation about all kinds of interesting topics that I rarely get to delve into with my parents; addiction, religion, family, and all kinds of other things that I'm sure none of us woke up thinking we'd get into. It was a good time. 

I'm required to mention two more things before I go, which I am required to tell you, because one I promised Jeannette, and two I have a prime directive regarding full disclosure. 

First, I was told by Jeannette to apologize for doubting her ability to make rice krispie squares, as I did rather callously in the blog last night, as it happens they turned out very good and I had another one tonight. The peanut butter, as it turns out, was a rather 'nice touch' and was not at all the desperate cry for help from a woman who is panicking over the fact that she may have failed to make one of the easiest deserts known to mankind and is trying to mask the taste with one of gOd's favourite condiments.  

I would also like to let you all know, in the interests of full disclosure, that after my rather strident declaration last night that the ticks won't beat me, that try as they might they will never penetrate my skin.. I had a nightmare about them. First nightmare I've had in FOREVER! Shit man, I barely remember my dreams at all, unencumbered as I am from the anxieties and concerns that used to plague me. Well they came back last night with a vengeance as I dreamed I had an unlimited about of ticks in my hair, and no matter how many I shook out, or pulled out, they just kept emerging.


I made the mistake of telling Jeannette about it when we woke up. There was very little sympathy there. Though she rolled her eyes and told me it was my own fault for being so cocky, my guess is the real reason for the look was because she was still fired up about the rice krispie squares comment. To make her feel better, I'll go down and eat the rest of the tray now. You know... for her.

Nite munks

p.s. when I grabbed the picture I learned that it was cancelled in 2011. I'm four years out of the loop. That's actually not bad considering I live in the back woods of Nova Scotia.