The Problems with Hallmark

The Problems with Hallmark

Jayce Jessup, Editor

As the year ticks down and we enter the long-awaited month of December, what’s not to be excited about: family time, the food, eating way too many cookies, breaks from school, and the great movies that come around this magical time. Well, almost all the movies. There’s one kind of movie at its most popular during Christmas time that is the absolute worst. Yes, I’m talking about Hallmark movies. From the acting to the predictable plot, the cliche storylines, and the insanely short amount of time it takes people to fall in love, Hallmark movies are the bane of our holiday existence.

Before you all come for my throat, hear me out. Like many of you, I’ve watched these movies. More than I’d like to admit. While Hallmark movies may target adults, according to Forbes they have an average audience of around 3.5 million viewers, with nearly 650,000 being women aged 25-54 which is their target audience, otherwise known as “middle-aged moms.” Along with “routinely being the number one cable network on Saturdays and Sundays during the holiday season.” also according to Forbes. Despite these remarkable achievements, there are some significant problems with these movies. 

When asked how he feels about Hallmark Christmas movies FMHS senior Andrew Lee said, “I don’t despise them at all. Like I’ll watch them with my family, but they do get very repetitive and at some point they just get hard to watch.”

Let’s start with the most noticeable problem with these movies: the acting. Hallmark films are defined by forced laughs and dialogue that almost seems like someone is telling them exactly what to say. While all movies do have a script, it shouldn’t feel forced, whether it’s laughing at a joke that isn’t even funny or the actors just smiling way too much.  I mean, come on, everything isn’t sunshine and rainbows. Well, except for Hallmark land, I guess.

Next, let’s talk about one of the most unrealistic parts of these movies. How in the world do people fall in love so freaking quick? We’ve all heard of love at first sight, and all that other nonsense, but come on, the people in these movies fall in love quicker than most high school relationships last. Granted, you may think that a high schooler doesn’t quite know how long it takes people to fall in love. While that may be true, this high schooler does know that it sure does take a lot more than a few days to fall in love with someone the way that the people in these movies do. 

Now, in case you haven’t noticed, Hallmark movies recycle the same plot for every single movie as well as the cliche storylines that every single one follows. Now, this is the biggest problem with Hallmark movies: once you’ve seen one of them you’ve pretty much seen them all. The basic structure of Hallmark movies cycles between two plots. The first one is where one of the main characters, either the actor or actress, went off to the big city and became all rich and famous, while the other main character stayed home in the same small little town that they both grew up in. This is followed by the one who went to the big city coming back for some strange reason and eventually getting stuck in the little town until after Christmas. This leads into the plot of both the main characters pretty much hating each other until something happens where the one that stayed in the small town does a heartwarming activity which for some reason makes the character that went to the big city fall head over heels for them. 

The other storyline these movies often follow is very similar but twisted ever so slightly. Where one character stills goes off to the big city while the other stays in the small town, followed by the one that went to the big city getting stuck in the little town except this time they’re in a relationship. This may make you think like “oh no how will they ever get together.” But they handle this conflict worse than Disney handled The Last Jedi. As the same usual storyline follows as usual, except when that one oh so romantic scene comes up and they’re just about to kiss or something along those lines, the one that went to the big city gets a phone call from the person that they’re in a relationship with, and you may wonder what they say to them, well if they even answer the which, which most of the time they don’t, they’ll say something super shallow like “I’m not coming home.” Like ok, the people in these movies literally fall in love and break up with people quicker than high schoolers.

As said by Danielle Paige from NBC news, “According to Pamela Rutledge, behavioral scientist, director of the Media Psychology Research Center and Media Psychology faculty at Fielding Graduate University, the reliable Hallmark holiday movie plot formula takes us on an emotional journey that can be especially beneficial during the stress of the season — which keeps us coming back for more.”

Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that you can’t sit around and watch these movies this Christmas, as I see why people like them. They’re low stress, they’re heartwarming, they promote the Christmas spirit, and most importantly they have a happy ending and make people feel good, and that’s what this time of year is all about, being happy with all the people that we love and care about. But, they’re not without their problems as you’ve seen and probably now notice these in every Hallmark movie. While this may ruin them for you now, just be happy that you can watch other Christmas movies that are much better such as The Santa Clause, Home Alone, and of course ELF.