Good news! I found a working VCR, so I got to watch the end of Heartbeat today. And it is a doozy. Unfortunately no clips of this one exist that I can find, but please let me know if you have one I can toss up there.
Heartbeat kicks off with a lovely greeting from the authoress herself, who is for some reason in a kitchen making a giant sandwich. I guess we're supposed to think she likes to kick back with a hoagie when she isn't writing interchangable pink-jacketed novels. Apparently, Heartbeat is a "modern love story" about "finding love in unexpected places"! The first unexpected place we go to is an airport, where successful TV producer Bill Grant gives a weird, exposition heavy goodbye to his kids. My god, he is sad to see his kids go. You'd think they were going to China, or into outer space, as opposed to back to their mother for a while. Get used to it, because Bill is King Weepy Weirdo. He also loves kids more then anything else in the world, and the mere prospect of more kids turns him into a raving-yet-nurturing lunatic hellbent on fathering the fuck out of everyone in a ten-mile radius. But more on that later. Bill loves his kids, but he cannot live near them because he produces a very popular soap opera. He also happens to be dating the lead actress on the show. Way to go, Bill! She begs him to come on a trip to Vegas with her, but he declines. I'm sure he won't regret it. Ahem.
Another program filmed in that television station is some vague news program that is produced by the heroine of our story, Adrain (?!) Townsend. Despite the fact that Adrain is a sentence fragment and not a real name, she has managed to succeed in life. She has a sweet-ass house, a sweet-ass job, and a husband who personifies 90's TV movie beefcake. That is, until she goes and finds out she's knocked up from a home pregnancy test that looks like an entry in a third-grade science fair. Maybe it makes a little baking-soda volcano if you got a positive result, I dunno. Her husband is the career type, and hates kids with a passion, so he informs her that she needs to get an abortion or he's divorcing her. Dick move aside, I really have to wonder how she got pregnant if he's that terrified of knocking his wife up. Snip snip, buddy. She goes in for the appointment and finds she cant go through with it, so her husband lawyers up and steals all their furniture and serves her divorce papers in the span of a week. Anyone else getting the feeling he might be the villain in this story?
Meanwhile, Bill calls his floozy starlet girlfriend only to learn that she's cheating on him with her ex. Apparently they met up in Vegas, had a chat, and realized they were still in love. Now she wants to ditch the soap. Bill, being king of the passive aggressive nice guys, agrees to write her out of the show by having her brutally murdered. There's a weird scene where they film a guy strangling her, then everyone applauds, then she tearfully thanks Bill for setting up a really awesome homicide. I guess we are supposed to think Bill is a sweetheart for releasing Ditzy from her contract and letting her run off with her new boyfriend, but having her faux-strangled in front of her friends and co-workers just seems creepy to me. Good thing Bill realizes he has weird issues with women, goes into therapy, and the film ends shortly thereafter.
Psych! Actually, Bill starts noticing Adrain around the office. And around the grocery store. And finally, around her front yard. He haunts her every step, telling cheesy jokes and insisting she comes to a 4th of July party at his place. This would be cute if Adrain did not reject his invitation 4 times, with increasing firmness, and emphasized the fact that she's married in every conversation they had. It's true that Adrain was in the midst of a divorce, but she was clearly not ready to be seeing someone new yet, and his creepy campaign to befriend her is obviously unwelcome. Nevertheless, she finds herself lonely on the 4th and decides to check his party out. As soon as he spots her, he ditches the rest of the party guests and follows her around talking about how amazing his kids are, and how much he loves kids in general, and how much he misses being married to someone who loves kids as much as he does. It's fucking creepy, and if the guy wasn't played by John Ritter I would have assumed he was going to steal her baby and flee to another country to raise it as his own. Since it is John Ritter, Adrain has no choice but to fall stupidly in love with him and his love for her fertile womb. Bummer for Adrain!
The movie gently montages us through the beginnings of their relationship. 10 synth-pounding-beach-jogging-pastel-hued minutes later, Bill proposes to Adrain. She is excited, but she's not sure she's ready to marry him, and she wants to have the baby first. This is completely unacceptable to Bill, who browbeats her about her inability to get over her husband and get on fast track to domestic bliss. She placates him by saying that she'll marry him after she has the baby, but she wants her ex to witness his spawn and maybe have a chance to be a father first. Kinda stupid, but so are Bill and Adrain, so whatever. It's not over yet, but I'm pretty sure you can see where this is going, so let's fast forward. She drops her calf and immediately calls her husband. He comes around and offers to take her back with the baby as long as he has an option to return them to Bill later if he doesn't want them. Adrain is not in the business of being treated like a holiday sweater, so she tells her ex to shove it and tearfully begs Bill to marry her. He agrees on one condition- he wants his name added to the baby's birth certificate as his father. Adrain, who has already established that her creepdar is broken many times before, agrees to this. The last scene has Adrain and Bill walking down the aisle with their baby in their arms. Seriously. I'm pretty sure Bill would have just married the baby if he could have found a legal way to do so.
Awesomeness: 6 out of 20
This movie was many things, but awesome is not one of them. 5 of these points are for the science fair pregnancy test and a cute dog that appears halfway through the film. Sadly, he doesn't get to walk down the aisle with the baby's posse. The final point is just for the unrelenting bizzareness of the whole thing. I hesitate to reward a film that is about a man who stalks a pregnant woman to hang out with her baby more "awesome" points then strictly necessary. This whole thing made my skin crawl.
Star Factor: 7 out of 10
We all know who John Ritter is, and I'd say he's famous enough for 5 points. Polly Draper, who played Adrain, was apparently a major cast member of thirtysomething. She also created some Nickelodeon show called The Naked Brothers Band, so good for her that she kept busy once the TV movie bubble burst. Finally, the evil husband was on the 1/2 Hour News Hour, so I guess he's evil in real life too.
Lifetimeliness: 9 (out of 10)
BABIES! Babies babies babies. Babies? BABIES.
22. Sure hope Danielle steps it up for Palomino.