Lifestyle & Culture

Anxiety Antidote: Hallmark Sappy Movies

November 15, 2020

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BELIEVE IT or not, there is something you can do to escape the anxiety triggered by the coronavirus, the bickering of politicians, the accusations of a dirty election and the frenzy of journalists fanning the flames of it all. It’s called The Hallmark Channel, and it’s on your TV. The best part is that with Christmas coming, you can watch sappy chick flicks with a holiday twist all day and every night from now until year’s end.

Like many self-designated intellectuals, I never sat through one of those movies before now. Featuring no-name, grade-B actors and amateurish scripts, who had time for that? But suddenly those movies are a godsend, saving me from the nightly horror of FOX, CNN and MSNBC, night after dismal night.

The plots of Hallmark Channel movies are identical, so you don’t even have to think. You can tune in late, leave the room to go to the bathroom or fix a snack, talk on the phone or check Facebook and still know exactly what’s happening when you return. Here’s the story: Due to forces beyond their control, a young man or woman (on the Hallmark Channel there are only two sexes) is forced to move to a small town in an idyllic setting. It’s often in Alaska but it could be Montana, Maine, Vermont or even a suburb of Paris or Vienna. They move there because of a new job, or a rich relative they never met left them a big house on a beautiful lake, or a sibling died—usually in a car crash—and they have to take care of their kids.

Naturally they don’t know anybody in town, but on the first day there, often in the hardware store on Main Street, they run into a local who offers to show them around. This person might be the town’s vet, doctor,  carpenter, school principal or real estate agent, and is always extremely good-looking. At first the two protagonists butt heads over a burning issue that impacts the town. Or else the local is about to be married. Whatever the cause, circumstances prevent them from being together. But eventually, through some scheming on the part of the town’s Santa Claus and his helpful elves, they are repeatedly thrown together and end up in love. The final scene has them opening presents around a Christmas tree in a ski-lodge type of cabin with a cozy fire crackling in the background, or else canoodling under a blanket on a sleigh ride through the falling snow, pulled by Rudolph with his nose so bright.

I have several friends who share this addiction with me. In fact, I sent one of them a special gift to snuggle in while sipping her hot chocolate. (I hope it arrives before this blog post spoils the surprise.)

—Andrea Rouda

Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid

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