Hallmark

My husband does not like Hallmark movies. Of course I don’t know many men who do, as they are the epitome of “chick flicks.” He says they’re all predictable. Well, duh! Of course they are. That’s what’s makes them so attractive to us women. We all know the guy and girl are going to find true love with each other in the end. It’s just a matter of how, and that’s what makes the story interesting—even if it is highly unbelievable and lacks realism. But some of us like fairy-tale happily-ever-after endings. And at least the movies are clean. The main characters don’t even kiss until the end. That’s how you know it’s the end of the movie in case you tuned in early and weren’t sure which Hallmark channel you wanted to watch. If the couple is kissing, the movie is over and the next movie will be on shortly.

I do have to admit, however, that there are less than a handful of plots for all the movies. Most start with a single woman who came from a small hometown. She has been working in a big city for the past dozen years and has been too busy with her highly successful career to go back home for a visit. Most of the time she also has a long-standing, non-committal boyfriend or fiancé. But something happens which requires her to make the trip home. It generally involves an illness or death in the family, a crisis with the family business, a money-grubbing developer trying to take over the family homestead, or, on occasion, a personal crisis with the heroine. She is only going to be gone for a couple of days, but circumstances intervene and she ends up staying several weeks—with one small carry-on suitcase of clothes. Her old boyfriend is still there and still single after all these years because he never got over her. Of course once home, she realizes she really misses the small town and all the people. Sparks fly between her and her ex-boyfriend, and she ends up leaving the big city fiancé and the big-bucks job and staying in Smalltown, USA. All dumped fiancés are quite understanding, by the way.

Another plot involves a guy and girl (who don’t know each other) getting lost or stuck somewhere, like an airport, and ending up together because of a mutual need. They, of course, don’t like each other at first, but are trapped together because they have no other choice. Over the course of two days they realize they are madly in love with each other. This is the typical “road trip” plot. Finally there is the real fairy-tale plot of the secret prince who falls in love with a common woman who is struggling to make ends meet at her two menial labor jobs, from which she was just fired. She, of course, does not know he is a prince because he is keeping a low profile. It is not until after she falls in love with him that he reveals his true identity.

Christmas movies are even more predictable. There is always a town tree lighting ceremony in a picturesque town square full of snow. But for some reason, even though it’s below freezing, none of the characters are cold, as they happily gather with unbuttoned coats, wearing no hats or gloves. Their breath doesn’t fog up when they speak, either. And even though Christmas is only three days away, these main characters (usually women) have all the time in the world to cut down their own trees, decorate the house like something out of a parade of homes tour, bake cookies to take to all the neighbors, save the annual Christmas play at the city hall, and have the perfect presents under the tree—not to mention falling in love and solving whatever crisis the town is experiencing. And for some reason, the male love interest never seems to have to work, so he has endless time to hang with the lady while she does all this. It makes me wonder how they’ll ever top this experience come next Christmas.

I have left out the mandatory calamity, which occurs at about the hour and a half to hour and forty minutes point of the movie. This is the event which threatens to derail the happily-ever-after. Fiancé who doesn’t realize he’s about to be dumped shows up unexpectedly, or one of the main characters reveals a long-held secret which changes everything. Maybe one character overhears or accidently sees something which gets misinterpreted. But one can always count on the fact that after the last commercial break, the problem will be resolved and there will indeed be a happily-ever-after.

You know, I’m pretty good at this. Maybe I should apply for a job as a Hallmark movie screenwriter. It couldn’t pay any less than writing blogs! Wishing you all a Merry Hallmark Christmas!

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