When the world first learned that the Lifetime network would be producing a film about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, expectations could not have been lower.
Fans of the couple feared that the movie would be exploitative and insulting, more concerned with stirring up controversy than with offering an accurate account of the many challenges thw Sussexes have faced together.
Needless to say the bar was low for Escaping the Palace which premiered over the weekend to abysmal reviews.
Viewership data has yet to be released, but we can only hope the ratings were deeply disappointing to the people responsible for this dreck.
Simply put, the movie "went there" in all the ways that fans were dreading.
We were braced for the worse by promotional stills that showed Meghan dying in a car crash similar to the one that claimed the life of Harry's mother, Princess Diana.
The images were revealed in the film to be part of a dream sequence -- a fact that made them no less tirggering in context.
It was widely assumed that horrific scene would be the film's low point, but that arguably was not the case.
Nothing was off topic, in this latest Lifetime abomination, and writers borrowed heavily from Meghan's Oprah Winfrey interview in their seemingly desperate search for provocative material.
The filmmakers dramatized everything from Meghan's first Trooping the Color event -- where she was heavily criticized for breaching royal etiquette -- to her final official appearance as a senior member of the royal family.
And of course, much of the film's runtime was devoted to what People magazine euphemistically refers to as "Meghan's emotional breakdown."
This would be the period of time in which Meghan considered suicide, a dark chapter in her life that she discussed with Oprah back in March.
"I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry," she said at the time.
"But I knew that if I didn't say it — then I would do it. I just didn't want to be alive anymore."
Escaping the Palace filmmakers seemed to delight in drawing parallels between Meghan's despair and that of Princess Diana.
"There are some interesting parallels, I think, that we draw between Meghan's experience and some of Princess Diana's experience," said actress Samantha Dean, who played Meghan in the film.
Interesting parallels, perhaps, but for the time being, the deep exploration of those parallels should probably be left to the participants of this real-life drama, most of whom, after all, are still among the living.
There's been a resurgence of interest in Diana's life and times in recent years, and the humanitarian trailblazer deserves every ounce of the praise that she's been receiving.
But since Harry has openly discussed the fact that the idea of the same fate befalling Meghan causes him profound anxiety, perhaps we could hold off on killing his wife on screen for some cheap shock value points.
And if such a tasteless scene must exist, could it at least be produced by more talented filmmakers?