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Series: The Lying Game
"A few months ago I discovered I had a twin sister. And then she asked me to take her place. Keep the secret, find our real mother, and try to stay alive. Put yourself in my shoes - how long could you keep up The Lying Game?"

The Lying Game is an ABC Family series based off the novels of the same named by Sara Shepard. It follows the adventures of Emma Becker and Sutton Mercer, two long-lost twins living in different parts of the country. When Sutton decides to go looking for their real parents, Emma is forced to move into her home and take over her life. The Lying Game premiered on August 15, 2011 and was cancelled on July 15, 2013.

Has a characters page in need of some love.

Not to be confused with Liar Game. Or The Crying Game.

Tropes appearing in this series:

  • Acting for Two: Alexandra Chando as Emma and Sutton.
  • Advertised Extra: Nisha is billed as a main character despite only appearing in a few episodes. Compared to Alec who is a recurring character but has been in all but one episode
    • She was demoted in episode 11.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted. One would think this was the reason Sutton was attracted to Ethan, but he actually turned out to be a fairly decent guy.
  • Alliterative Name: Char Chamberlain and in season 2, Rebecca Rybak.
  • Alpha Bitch: Nisha Randall comes off as this. It's implied that Sutton may have some Alpha Bitch tendencies too.
  • Always Identical Twins: Emma and Sutton.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Mads, which is confusing as her father and brother are white.
  • Analogy Backfire: In "Bad Boys Break Hearts", Laurel says her and Emma are both like Cinderella. Emma points out that in the Cinderella story, "everything went to crap" at midnight.
  • Ascended Extra: Thayer (but not Alec) was promoted to main cast in episode 10 and Rebecca was a regular in Season 2.
  • Becoming the Mask: Justin
    • Emma started out only pretending to date Ethan, but eventually fell for him, which caused friction with Sutton.
  • Beta Couple: Laurel and Justin. Dan and Theresa.
  • Betty and Veronica: Ethan between Emma (Betty) and Sutton (Veronica).
    • Emma between Thayer (Betty) and Ethan (Veronica).
    • Laurel between Baz (Betty) and Justin (Veronica).
  • Big Bad: Initially, it seemed like it was Alec Rybak who's behind the major mysteries of the show, but after the airing of the season finale, "Unholy Matrimony", Rebecca is actually the one manipulating the events and Sutton is collaborating with her in carrying them out.
  • Big Brother Worship: Mads, who adores Thayer.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Laurel with Sutton.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In "Sex, Lies, and Hard Knocks", Lexi is conjugating "je mens, etc". It so happens she's conjugating the French verb mentir - "to lie".
  • Billing Displacement: Several of the show's most important characters are billed at just recurring status (ex. Alec, Thayer, Justin) while there are characters like Nisha and Char who were Advertised Extra.
    • Char was more a case of Real Life Writes the Plot: She's as prominent as Mads and Laurel in the first ten episodes and looks set to take a prominent role with Rebecca being named her guardian and her being the twins' cousin but the actress took another job before the second half of season one was picked up, resulting in the character being rapidly Put on a Bus.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Sutton, who could be just as smart as Emma but just doesn't care. When she does care, though, it's usually for something nefarious.
  • Brother Chuck: Justin is gone by Season 2 with no explanation where he went.
  • California Doubling: Set in Phoenix, with Sutton off to Los Angeles... and filmed in Texas (except for the pilot, which was filmed in New Mexico).
  • Cassandra Truth: Emma tries to confess her secret to Dan, but he doesn't buy it.
  • The Cast Showoff: Episode 13 is the first (but not the last) to feature not only Allie Gonino's singing talents but also the other members of her band.
  • Casting Gag: Charisma Carpenter due to her role in Deadly Sibling Rivalry, a movie about a Twin Switch that came out at the same time as The Lying Game and its Dueling Show Ringer.
  • The Chessmaster: Sutton was already shown as quite the chessmaster but the season finale revealed that she was collaborating with her mother Rebecca.
  • Clark Kenting: Taken Up to Eleven. Emma is different from Sutton in almost every way except for appearance (Sutton is a slacker, Emma is smart. Sutton is kind of a bitch, Emma is nice. It goes on.) and yet the whole town continues to believe that she is Sutton simply because she says so.
    • Makes sense in that when someone you know is acting differently you don't automatically assume that they must have switched places with a long lost twin.
  • Consummate Liar: Sutton. She apparently inherited this from Rebecca. Alec is also a pretty big offender.
  • Cool Big Sis: Sutton failed to be this for Laurel, but Emma makes up for it.
  • Creator Cameo: Pieter Schlosser (episode composer) plays the MC of the Black and White Ball in "Black and White and Green All Over."
  • Cut Short: Especially since the show's second and final season was only 10 episodes.
  • Dawson Casting: All of the teens are in their 20s. The youngest was Kirsten Prout at 20 who played Char.
    • Made worse by the fact that Christian Alexander (born 1990) plays a character that is supposed to be a few years older than the teens. He's actually 5 years younger than the actress playing his little sister.
  • Demoted to Extra: Kristen Prout (Char) was demoted to recurring status. Sharon Pierre-Louis (Nisha) was also demoted but she had never really been a major character in the first place. Neither appeared at all in the second season.
  • Disney Death:Sutton.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Thayer to Sutton.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Sutton and Emma. Laurel's relationship changes depending on which one is playing Sutton.
  • Foreshadowing: Rebecca says this to Emma!Sutton after Ethan's murder charges are dropped in episode 18.
    Rebecca: Sometimes a m... (catches herself) an older person knows best!
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: A very extreme version between Emma and Sutton. Sutton and Laurel are a pretty tame version in comparison.
  • In Love with the Mark: Justin, who was initially just using Laurel as a means to get to Ted, ends up falling in love with her.
    • Derek only began dating Char in order to spy for Alec and ends up genuinely liking her. Alec is less than enthused.
  • I Knew It: Annie is not the twins mother, Rebecca is.
  • Lady Drunk: Char's mother, Phyllis.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Annie Hobbs and Annie Sewell. Played Straight in that the latter goes by her middle name, Rebecca.
  • Out of Character: In-Universe. Emma, in her role as Sutton, is often noted to act in ways that contradict Sutton's personality. (Agreeing to give her sister a ride, apologizing to someone she'd angered, etc.)
  • Parents as People: The parents are arguably more screwed up and entangled in lies than the teens.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Emma and Sutton
  • Preppy Name: All of the wealthier kids (Sutton Mercer, Laurel Mercer, Thayer Rybak etc.)
    • And their parents Theodore "Ted" Mercer, Alec Rybak, Phyllis Chamberlain.
  • Promoted To Parent: Dan to Ethan due to their Parental Abandonment.
  • Put on a Bus: Char in episode 12.
  • Race Lift: Of the Type 4 variety. In the books, Nisha (whose last name there is Banerjee) is Indian. In the show, she's African-American, with the last name Randall.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Laurel and Baz's relationship was ended because Allie Gonino and his actor broke up.
  • The Reveal: No not that Rebecca is the twins mother It's the fact that Sutton seems to have known all along and they have some sort of plan put together
  • Revenge: Sutton is pretty pissed at Emma for "stealing" her lifestyle and is probably planning some kind of revenge, despite the fact that this was neither Emma's desire nor her intent.
  • Rich Bitch: Nisha. Sutton herself.
  • Secret Keeper: Ethan and Thayer, who know Emma and Sutton's secrets. Later, Emma brings Mads into the secret. Alec and Ted also keep the secret about Emma and Sutton's mother
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Charisma Carpenter and Alexandra Chando look so much alike that the reveal of Rebecca being the twins' mother was borderline The Untwist.
  • Sibling Triangle: Sutton and Emma over Ethan.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Sutton and Emma
  • Tangled Family Tree: The show has implicitly stated that the twin's parents are Ted and Rebecca. This causes a whole bunch of tangles and relates the twins to almost everyone in the cast. This makes Laurel their biological half-sister, Char their cousin, Phyllis their Aunt, Kristen and Alec their step-parents, and Mads and Thayer their step-siblings.
    • It gets even more tangled when you add in Jordan, Rebecca's stepson.
  • Teens Are Short: Averted with Mads and Ethan. Played straight with just about everyone else.
  • Twin Switch: The plot of the series is based on one.
  • Wham Episode: The Series Finale "To Lie For": Jordan killed his brother, Rebecca tries to kill Alec by throwing him through a glass ceiling and Thayer is shown with the murder weapon that killed Teresa.
  • Wham Line: "Hi Mom."


10 Things I Hate About YouCreator/ABC FamilyMake It Or Break It
The L WordAmerican SeriesMcCloud

alternative title(s): The Lying Game
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