An Insight on the Redundancy of Hallmark Films

A+compilation+of+different+Holiday+Hallmark+films+throughout+the+years.+

Inlander

A compilation of different Holiday Hallmark films throughout the years.

Riley Emanuel, Editor

“Does every Hallmark Christmas movie have the same plot?”

Since the early 2000s, Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” has been something many viewers enjoy every time the season rolls around. The demographic of Hallmark viewers tend to statistically be millennials and gen Xers. As time progressed, those viewers began to notice that these joyful films were redundant and had a lack of diversity when it came to the cast members and the plotlines. Since the Holidays are approaching, I interviewed Bourbon County High School graduate and Journalism alumni, Abigail Estrada, and Senior, Clay Arnold, with questions about the redundancy of Hallmark movies during the holiday season.

 

Interview with Abigail: 

Riley: So, when did you start watching Hallmark holiday films?

Abigail: I grew up around them, so during the Holidays, they were always on due to my mother’s interests. 

Riley: Love your mom for that– But when did you start enjoying them? 

Abigail: I started enjoying them when I started getting older. My teenage years I suppose. 

Riley: Have you noticed that Holiday Hallmark films have become redundant over the years?

Abigail: Yes, extremely. They tend to be more about the same topics rather than having diversity in the plot lines and the cast. The storylines are just a (no offense) a bunch of white people experiencing childhood trauma and then having a realization later on in life that Christmas isn’t that bad. 

 

Interview with Clay: 

Riley: So, when did you start watching Hallmark holiday films?

Clay: Whenever the one with Candace Bure was released. Christmas Town, I believe, it was called. 

Riley: Have you noticed that Holiday Hallmark films have become redundant over the years?

Clay: Yes. Not only that, but I’ve seen people comment on social media platforms, such as Tiktok. People say it’s just “white people with white people problems.” 

 

In late 2019, the Hallmark channel released the movie, “Nostalgic Christmas,” and a few weeks after the release, the network found itself in a cave to anti-gay activists due to the film featuring lesbian representation which featured the same-sex wedding. After the network was “canceled,” they apologized for their reflexive capitulation. This was when Hallmark began showcasing more diverse topics but it was quickly shut down after the backlash. You could say they were concerned about any more bad publicity and took a pause on showing LGBTQ+ representation in their films. In November 2020, they released “The Christmas House.” This film featured a same-sex couple but never explicitly stated their sexual orientation, and were only shown as part of the extended family. This upcoming holiday season, Hallmark will be releasing their first openly gay lead in the film, “The Holiday Sitter.” The official synopsis states, “Sam (Bennett) is a workaholic bachelor who babysits his niece and nephew before the holidays when his sister and her husband have to go out of town. Completely out of his element, he recruits help from their handsome neighbor Jason (Krissa) and finds himself in an unexpected romance.” 

 

Interview with Abigail, continued: 

Riley: What are your thoughts on Hallmark showcasing an openly gay lead?

Abigail: As part of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s very important to me that we are represented more in the media rather than shut out as we were in the past. 

Riley: As stated, why do you think these films are so redundant? 

Abigail: Hallmark tends to fear anything too far-fetched that would upset their main viewers rather than go out of their comfort zone to appeal to a different audience.

Riley: Does every Hallmark Christmas movie have the same plot?

Abigail: Pretty much. They usually just reuse plotlines. Such as, a small-town baker meets a big-city guy or vice versa. Or something involving childhood trauma and how Christmas isn’t terrible after all. 

Riley: How different is their casting each time?

Abigail: Their casting choices usually include white actors and usually only have people of color as supporting roles rather than having their own leads. 

Riley: Do you think this slight change in plot and casting will stick for future films? 

Abigail: Based on how Hallmark has performed in the past, they’re slowly starting to accept the difference in society, but they still have a long way to go. 

 

Interview with Clay, continued: 

Riley: What are your thoughts on Hallmark showcasing an openly gay lead?

Clay: I think it’s just like any other form of media showcasing more diverse lifestyles and kinds of people. There’s always going to be backlash from people who don’t agree regardless of what side of what argument it’s on. Personally, I think it’s good. 

Riley: As stated, why do you think these films are so redundant? 

Clay: They have a target market and they want to please that group of people. If they were to change that up, they’re risking not making as much money. They’re risking not pleasing their intended audience. 

Riley: Does every Hallmark Christmas movie have the same plot?

Clay: Basically. As I previously mentioned, it’s just “white people with white people problems.” What I mean by that, it is just mundane people with mundane issues. It’s very textbook and very cheesy, and I think it’s very sad that a company with so much backing and so much funding is not utilizing its funds and its opportunities to showcase some more diverse stories. 

Riley: How different is their casting each time?

Clay: From what I’ve seen, it’s actors from other “family-friendly” franchises who are typically white, straight, and cis. I don’t see many variations with leading roles. 

Riley: Do you think this slight change in plot and casting will stick for future films? 

Clay: I think it’ll become more prominent but it’ll take a lot of time. If they start making all of their movies optimally diverse, then their original audience might be taken aback and it’s already been made clear that they don’t want to lose their usual audience. 

Hallmark hasn’t given an official statement on these concerns. The new films this holiday season are slowly starting to include more diverse topics, plotlines, and casting. Hopefully, they continue this pattern in future productions.