Happy Endings

Daniel di Tommasso as Matt and Ali Stroker as Izzi in Lifetime’s Christmas Ever After

I’ve been perusing the usual holiday fare on the telly! Which is…Hallmark and now, the Lifetime Channel. The syrupy, always ends happily, tales of Christmas, and yes, I saw one advertised, Hanukah.

I even saw one with, gasp, gay people in it. I know! Hallmark is woke, y’all! Though, I have seen several with a gay sibling or a friend but those characters were very much side, seldom mentioned at all and generally kept off the main stage of shiny scrubbed lovers staidly hurtling toward love’s destiny. As the titles all run together in my head…Ah, okay, that was a Bride for Christmas. Her sister was gay, as played by the same actress who was in one of my all time Hallmark faves, Nine Lives of Christmas. Which features cats and firemen, hello! Kimberly Sustad is that actress. Brandon Routh was the fireman who got adopted by a cat, and she was a vet student…you’ve seen this one, right? Right?

Yes, there is backlash to all the ‘wokeness’ being inserted in the shimmery holiday fare. Mostly directed at all the GAY STUFF. Which is so absurdly tame and not at all cause for alarm. Surely, surely, you can just find another movie to watch, cause there’s the Up channel and Ion and AMC is showing holiday flicks and the ABC Family Channel which now has a new name and…okay. I’m SERIOUS here. You can flip over and find Elf 24/7 right now.

If you, um, watch television. I hear there’s some new-fangled stuff called streaming where you don’t have to flip channels or something. It’s just so futuristic. Yeah, I’m almost a Luddite. Yep. Back to the rambling–

I think the freak out was over the new one called the Christmas House, which features a gay couple trying to adopt a kid. Um? Thousand Karens Upset Enough To Call the Managers were clutching pearls over this. You just wanna…ask them why they can’t turn all that hot outrage toward an actual good cause. Like ending world hunger or save the bees.

So.

I happened to flip to Lifetime, to check out their VERY SIMILAR, EERILY SO fare last Sunday. Six at night, it’s called something like Christmas Ever After or Christmas Happy Happy Nice Nice.

Okay! I’m rather charmed by the blond perky, not model thin and not runway in Paris looking, lead actress. I do mean perky with a capital P! She’s a writer! On her way to finish her book! In a very Christmas-positive place! She sees someone who resembles, or, hey, looks exactly like, the man on all her romance novel covers. As she writes a series of time travel romances featuring the same two characters. Got it? All righty.

Oh my, he’s rather handsome! She nearly runs him over, what an almost meet-cute this is. Usual opening to the Life-Hall oeuvre, and I am down with it, baby. Bring it on! Got my ratty purple blanket, the dogs are snoozing, the cat has her butt in my face, it’s a low key Sunday eve and I am determined to see how this ends.

I keep hoping it will all end badly and she will find out he’s a serial killer or a Trump supporter or some sort of conspiracy nut living out in the woods afraid of Bill Gates and Big Pharma. A perennial watcher of the Hallmark stuff can hope, damn it. One time they’re gonna slip there at the Hallmark factory and a gruesome awful ending is gonna escape in a shower of blood or even just a ‘not gonna work out, I choose my career which I’ve worked so hard for, over some small town diner owner in Montana’ finale. They part ways and both are relieved they didn’t have to do that awkward kiss that takes place in the last ten seconds before the credits roll in the usual…

Wait.

What is…What? Is she…Is Izzi [played by Ali Stroker] in a WHEELCHAIR? And the entire story doesn’t revolve around the BRAVE LADY IN THE WHEELCHAIR OVERCOMING THE ODDS? WTF is going on? Did hell freeze over, Lifetime?? Brave new world of Christmas movie involving not-perfect people just living their lives, being all outgoing and sassy, coping with everything as best they can and…FINDING LOVE? What?

Seriously, did I slip into some weird alternate time dimension?

No. Decorating, cookies, Christmas contests, singing carols…the wokeness got me all woke for a bit.

Yeah, okay. We also did not get the backstory of how or why she’s in a wheelchair. She drives her own car, doesn’t have an aide or help of any kind and takes care of herself. We don’t see her do any of this, not really, but…it’s implied.

So the reason the guy, who’s the son of the owner of the place Izzi stays every year during the holidays, is on her covers is that…no no. No spoilers. But it’s actually not that far out in left field nor does it feel forced or ridiculous. Okay, it does, it’s very CONVENIENT AND NEAT, which is not what real life is like at all but if I wanted real life I’d watch documentaries on factory workers or something. Mm.

It’s a very sweet movie. I do mean sweet. Your teeth will ache after watching it. And the ending? Yeah. It’s exactly the ending you think it is but oh my, it’s so very…sweet. A wholesome earned sort of sweet, like a slice of punkin pie with a big dollop of hand-whipped cream.

I also like how this guy– names are not important for the guys, are they? They’re always something like Hal or Sam or James or Roman or Bucky the Wonder Stud– grew to like Izzi very much, then to LIKE Izzi very much. It was done quite well, I thought. Sure, it was the actual plot but the two actors seemed in the same space and accepting and…uh huh.

I also just watched one called Christmas Waltz, which was very much Hallmark Standard Fare. Lacey Chabert, playing a lawyer, breaks up with her fiancee right before her giant Christmas wedding, she’s supposed to take some dance lessons and…you guessed it, she falls for the dance teacher guy.

Now, I enjoyed the dancing, I am a sucker for a movie with dancing in it and the actor, Will Kemp, actually looked like a dancer. And could actually dance. That is my amateur take on the dancing in this movie. No, it wasn’t Gene Kelly standards or even Channing Tatum sexywrithing levels but it was passable. Hello! And the movie had moments of the two just dancing through snowy streets in NYC, which is always something that should now be in every Christmas movie made from now on. Rando dance scenes with snow falling down around the pair. Let’s do this, Hallmark and Lifetime and all those other channels churning out endless holiday hours of slight romantic fare!

Oh my, could we get Channing Tatum to appear in a Hallmark movie with one of their usual actress leads and the two could dirty dance to the shock and horror of the small town that lives for Christmas?? No? Not ever gonna happen? It was a stupid idea and I should be very ashamed of myself for all time?

Yeah, okay. Whatever.

We need a new dance movie to appear, don’t we? Magic Mike was a while ago. Dirty Dancing? Forty years? Oh!

Hallmark and the relentless happy ever after. I really do need it this year. I need some assurance that things do turn out well and fine and good. It’s why I watch those sad animal rescue videos. The puppy thrown in the ditch that’s skin and bones?? It get’s adopted by a royal family and lives the best life ever! I try to avoid the super-sad ones where the animal doesn’t make it.

Damn. I just have to pay the slightest bit of attention to the news feed to get all the sadness, grief and rage I could ever need.

And on that note! Aftermath:Boise, Idaho is available RIGHT NOW. Buy it. Right now!

Note: I am waiting for snow. It’s close. Like Lorelei Gilmore, I can sense it just around the corner…

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