The Enduring Allure of Hallmark Christmas Movie Tropes
I have a confession to make: I know very little about the Hallmark Channel canon of holiday romance films. The TV in my childhood home picked up fewer than 10 channels on any given day; family-friendly melodramas were not part of the regular programming. Yet over the years, I’ve heard the many infamous tropes that define a Hallmark classic: the interchangeable character archetypes, the predictable storylines, the wholesome, open-hearted outlook on the world. It’s mindless nostalgia tied neatly with a bow, which not so ironically is all our pandemic-addled brains can process these days.
If there ever were a time to succumb to the pull of Hallmark’s feel-good genre of films, then 2020 might be it. And like many cultural artifacts that simultaneously delight and confuse, Hallmark has attracted a cult-like fandom that’s just as interesting to watch as the movies themselves. These self-proclaimed fans have me nearly convinced there is more to Hallmark movies than the “happily ever after” you can spot from a mile away. Or maybe that’s all we need right now — to finally be able to see what’s ahead.
Here’s what people are writing about Hallmark Christmas movies on Medium:
Hallmark movies are not feminist, except in that vague nonsensical way in which anything with a woman in it is somehow feminist. The scripts trade in every trope of unexamined whiteness, class warfare, gender conformity and patriarchal family norms. I watch them because there is no subtext and no surprises. There are only three things that turn off my critical survival lens and Hallmark movies are one of the three. I suspect that is because I do not need a single new skill to anticipate them. That’s because: The monster in Hallmark movies is exactly the same monster in my actual life — whiteness. They are comforting in that way.
“The Black love portion of this movie is awesome, right?” says Robinson Peete, speaking of her…