And it Uncomplicated My Life
For years, I have been thumbing my nose at family members who watch Hallmark movies. I also laugh at them for reading romance novels and watching other sappy reality television shows. I am not meaning to be a snob but I have trouble embracing programs that create an unrealistic happily ever after narrative. It is probably the same rationale that I apply to fairy tales – I feel it creates unrealistic expectations. Of course, I know fairy tales are fictitious so if I felt that my prince charming was going to mysteriously show up in my town or find my missing glass slipper or wake me from an unconscious state, that’s on me.
Now, that does not mean I don’t feel that life is filled with romance and love; I met my husband while I was out one night with friends. But, for me, Hallmark movies (and many other romance movies) are scripted, predictable (typically within the first minute or so) and unrealistic. But my opinion changed last Christmas. I think I started watching a few of the Christmas movies as an escape from some stress in my life. I did not have to think while I watched the movies and, combined with a nice glass of red wine, I found myself smiling at the tv (weird, right?). Of course, I recognized the movies were extremely formulated and it made me laugh to see how Hallmark rotated the same actors for each new movie.
This was my first Hallmark experience so I had no idea they had a whole arsenal of movies. There were winter-themed movies, Valentine’s Day, of course, Spring, Summer, Wedding, Fall Harvest, and then the anticipated 7 night Thanksgiving event leading up to Christmas. I could now spend the entire year sucked into the Vortex of Hallmark. This being 2020, I made a conscious decision to not watch the news; between the pandemic, the election, post-election, and a whole lot of ugliness, and chaos, I could escape for close to two hours. I did stay informed but I did it on my terms reading or watching on the websites or networks that best suited my needs.
What is so fascinating is that as I have revealed to a few friends that I have taken to watching and recording Hallmark movies, they have stated they are doing the same thing (although a few have laughed at me). Some of us that are either Jewish, minority, or LGBT recognized that Hallmark had a few movies that seemed to be somewhat of a nod to “we know there are viewers that do not celebrate Christmas or are not Christian and so here is a movie for you. And yes I know Hallmark is a Christian corporation but I do hope that this diversity continues even if it pisses off some of their core base. I mean, we do buy your greeting cards and you do make some that are targeted to many different religious or ethnic groups so why not mix it up a little more with your television shows.
I have a hallmark account where I have ordered greeting cards throughout this year ( free plug- their assorted all occasion box of cards for $29.99 got me through the pandemic when I was unable to get to a store). For some, the movies may elicit some sort of hope that they will meet their prince charming; for me, it is more about the message of treating people with kindness and compassion as well as me hoping that our world becomes a happier, caring world. And for others, it provides the impetus to move to a small town that looks like a Hallmark town (my cousin is one of those people).
Hallmark movies are uncomplicated (except for the occasional ex showing up or a broken romance that leads to a new romance in the first 15 minutes). For someone looking to keep life simple and mindless and kind, download their Hallmark TV app so you can keep track of the movies you have watched.