If you have cable or satellite TV, you probably get the Hallmark channel. And like all the specialty channels that abound these days, Hallmark specializes in G rated light-weight romance movies. Their Christmas movies have a huge audience, mostly women who prefer non-violent schmaltz with happy endings over the more edgier stuff on Amazon Prime, HBO, Netflicks and all the other subscriber channels ya gotta pay extra for.
They are all basically the same: A young attractive woman who has a high paying dream-job in the big city that affords her the opportunity to frequent coffee bars, enjoy long leisurely lunches in nice restaurants (always with a glass of wine), and whose boss is always kind, supportive and allows her much time off (did I mention that these are fantasies) to travel to her small home-town because Daddies Christmas tree farm is in danger of being bought-out by a greedy corporation who wants to turn the place into condos. What’s a girl to do? Matters get worse when the corporate rep, a good-looking single guy who just loves her cute young son/daughter, shows up in town at the same time. The tension between the two , who are always smiling (as is everyone else) builds. But somehow despite all odds, love is in the air, along with a lot of hot chocolate and snowball fights, and Mister Wrong turns out to be Mister Right. He softens up and they fall in love. The Christmas tree farm is saved, Daddy is put in an Alzheimer’s home, and they seal the deal with a kiss (always closed mouth and never any tongue). Oh yeah, it turns out that he was actually a Prince in disguise.
These are really low budget movies that only take three weeks to shoot. Most of the cast are straight out of community theater, and if they do have a ‘star’, they are usually well past their prime. All the hot actresses of the 80’s and 90’s are now playing not so hot grandmas. You kinda know them when ya see ’em, the challenge is: what sit-com where they on thirty years ago?
The locations are always snow covered small mountain towns with thriving cup-cake bakeries, candle shops and antique stores. Main street is over decorated with all manner of Holiday paraphernalia. And every interior shot filled floor to ceiling with holly, ribbon and multiple Christmas trees.
Wow Hansi! How come you know so much about Hallmark movies? Well…The Wife loves ’em, and we start recording them as soon as they come out in early September. Every night until Christmas is a Hallmark movie in our house; we’re now staring to record “Winter” movies and are gearing up for Valentines (another biggie) shows.
I actually don’t mind these movies that much. After an early evening of medication, listening to 60’s music on earphones and dreaming up blog stuff, it’s nice to settle in on the couch with a case of the munchies and watch something that isn’t too demanding. The good part is I can fall asleep and not wonder how it ended. They all end the same…Happily Ever-after.