Saturday, January 2, 2016

HALLMARK - WHEN YOU CARE ENOUGH TO SEND THE VERY BEST CHEESE FOR MY WINE


Now that Christmas season is over, I have a confession. During the weeks when I should have been building gingerbread houses and searching Pinterest for DIY gift ideas, I was overdosing on those Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. In fact, it got so bad that I got the shakes if I went for more than four hours without a Lacey Chabert or Candace Cameron sighting. Don't judge me! No one warned me that these feel-good flicks are saccharine-based and that, after the initial desire to vomit copiously, you sink into a state of euphoria. I call it The Currier and Ives Effect. It's only now when I'm in recovery that I can see that there is so much wrong - so very wrong - with the Countdown to Christmas flicks.


For example, has anyone noticed that, in Hallmarkland, Christmas is for white people?  Out of all the movies shown during the Hallmark Countdown to Christmas, there are exactly zero where the lead character needs a make-up foundation darker than "Tennis Court White." In fact, the towns these stories are set in are as white as a Ben Carson For President rally. What's up with that, Hallmark?

Also, the young women are prone to getting engaged to men they can't stand. These men are always wealthy and successful, yet of deplorable character. Even though the heroine's parents, friends, co-workers, and the guy driving her to the airport don't seem to be happy about the upcoming nuptials, she remains miserably ignorant. She spends the first half hour of the movie shaking her head at his antics, most of which involve brokering dubious deals that will only benefit him.  It's always a mystery why these lovely, intelligent, successful young ladies would agree to marry such buffoons. Oh wait....

Fortunately, with only seconds to spare before Christmas Day, she comes to her senses. For, it is then that she realizes the true man of her dreams is the beefy town chimney sweep, or swoon-worthy local handyman who specializes in hanging Christmas wreaths, or, better still, a carol-singing cowboy who got stuck in the annual blizzard on his way to a rodeo.  Not only is she prepared to return the ring to the cad who was only marrying her for her great bone structure, she is also going to give up her lucrative career in Big City, USA. Who needs it when you can return to Quaintsville to take up a life as an extra in the pages of an LL Bean Christmas Catalog?
"My life is now complete! Um...is it ever summertime, here?"
Which brings me to another point. The heroines in Hallmarkland break off engagements as if they are Kit-Kat Bars. It's always the same. She learns that her "beloved" (term used loosely) was working a real estate deal that would turn the entire village in which she grew up into Potterville. She confronts him. "You lied to me! It's like I never knew you! You can take back this 5 carot diamond ring and tell your mother to cancel the fitting with Vera Wang." He replies, "You're making a big mistake." Of course, she isn't paying attention as she's too busy staring, starry-eyed, at her new love, the man who runs the local reindeer rescue.  Bids on how long THAT one is going to last?
"Isn't it exciting that we've known each other for three days, yet I've already dumped one fiance, got engaged to you, and am giving up my job as corporate attorney to run the Christmas tree stand? What could go wrong?!"
And another thing!  The major industry in the villages in Hallmark land is Christmas. This is why, when a greedy fiance wants to buy up the town and put in a factory that can employ thousands (plus offer vacation and benefits) the townspeople are horrified. What is to happen to the Christmas tchotke shop that's been in the heroine's family for generations and hasn't turned a profit in decades? What about the Christmas Cookie Stall where dozens of cookies are sold daily during the holiday season, or the hot chocolate stand by the ice skating rink where the ten town skaters stop for a cup before heading back to their festive homes? And won't someone think of the children? Would you condemn them to a world where their parents are gainfully employed and don't freak out at the mention of a holly shortage? Would you?
"Why, Santa? Why?"


The thing is, like all good Christmas movies, there's a big payoff. First of all, it always snows just as the town bells ring in Christmas. Secondly, people look so cozy in their bright sweaters, wool coats with thickly woven scarves, and Prozac-induced grins. In the end, it's not about the couple who fall in love at Christmastime. It's about the stuff - the garland and tinsel, the cookie's the heroine's mom bakes, the jolly townspeople who have nothing to do but be in the Christmas spirit, the horse and carriage that trots down Main Street in time for the happy couple to climb aboard. It's a visual fantasy of what we all think our Christmases looked like when we were young.

So, will I go off the wagon next year and mainline this dreck until I need intervention?  Of course I will! It's better than blow-up lawn-Santas, Mariah Carey on the sound system at the big-box store, and people griping about Starbucks cups. My only request from the company that asks if we care enough to send the very best is that they go for a little more diversity in the casting. After all, when it's Christmas time, we're all Whos Down In Whoville, are we not?

Ooops...not much diversity here, either.

Happy New Year, all! I'll just be over here, binging on the Lifetime Channel Movie Channel.




4 comments:

  1. I haven't watched them, but I sure can visualize them through your retelling. And "only marrying her for her great bone structure" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

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  2. Jeez, I'm going into a sugar coma. I don't need to watch these movies, I just need to read the Invisible Diva's blog. Happy New Year!

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  3. Hahahahahaha! (I don't get the Hallmark channel, but there is a book equivalent. Many, many, many book equivalents. I always want to smack the heroines across the head!)

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