Who Are You, And Why Are You Recording The Hallmark Channel?

December 13, 2011


My wife is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met.  Truly.  She reads Russian novels for fun.  She goes to the opera and gets it.  Which is not to suggest that I’m married to Lady Snootybottom of Floggingpeasant Estate or anything, she’s fun and goofy and everything.  It’s just that her intellect is important to emphasize here. Because this is true for 11 months out of the year.  And then December first comes.

And she is replaced… by this… other person.

And this person?  This person is very nice, but she really, really, really, really, really, likes to watch Christmas movies.  Lots of Christmas movies.

“Oh!” you say.  “Don’t be such a grump!  Christmas movies are sweet!”

Seen it.

But the thing you may not understand is that we’re not talking about Miracle On 34th Street and A Christmas Story.  This person likes those, too, but she’s seen them in to the ground.  This person also adores newer ones like Love, Actually (she can start crying from the DVD menu.  The menu).  But the ones that she embarks on this month-long journey with are the Hallmark Channel movies.  The Lifetime Network movies.  This person has literally filled – filled – our DVR with movies about career-driven women who don’t have time for Christmas and haven’t since that sad thing happened at Christmas a long time ago and they have to go to a quaint small town to write an article about the town’s resident Santa and Oh! the lovably zany characters who live here!  And there’s this one hunky guy who owns a café or a hotel, but he’s also a carpenter and the guy just drives her crazy and then she falls in love with the town and even helps the hunky guy save the town Christmas pageant and then she falls in love with the guy but then she gets a big promotion to go to New York!  She has to choose!  What will she choose!?  What will she choose??  And then it snows, and people stand out in the street in T-shirts because TV filmmakers in LA have no concept of cold, and they sing a carol.

DVR is filled.  Often one is recording while she watches another one.

Seen it. God help me, I've seen it.

The first time we got cable (we have a love-hate relationship with TV) she got excited for Christmas movies, and I thought, you know, I don’t care for cheap, awful Christmas movies, but she likes them, so I’m going to watch these movies without complaining or making sarcastic remarks.  Because I figured, what’s enduring 3 or 4 movies if it’ll make her happy?  And then?  We watched a Christmas movie every. single. day.  And she never got tired of them.  She loves them.  She cries at the end.  She cries before the end when the end looks bleak.  Sometimes she cries at the commercials for other Christmas movies.

Wait a second... if he's so crazy... how did he know about the train I wanted when I was 6 and never got?!

All this, despite the fact that she knows what’s coming, knows the rec center’s going to be saved, that the angel’s going to teach the group of ethnically diverse street-toughs to care, that the mentally handicapped boy will get everyone in town to adopt a stray dog for Christmas, that the crazy old man who thinks he’s really Santa just might turn out not to be so crazy after all.  But they get her every time.

That first year, though, I watched them all.  Every damn one of them.  I made a promise to myself and I was going to keep that promise.

I have not made that promise again.  But I do watch one with her every now and then.  And this person, she really does try to find the least awful ones to watch when I join her, which is very considerate.  And I genuinely thought she’d run out.  But they keep making them.  Every year.  And while I’m excited for my wife to get back in January, in a weird way, I do look forward to seeing this person every December, because it’s hard to begrudge someone who’s enjoying something that much.

Who knows.  Maybe, just maybe, my cold heart will be warmed and I’ll learn to believe again.  Now, excuse me, I’m going to go stand outside in a t-shirt and sing.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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37 Comments on “Who Are You, And Why Are You Recording The Hallmark Channel?”

  1. lexy3587 Says:

    Have you see the one entirely set in the west edmonton mall yet? I watched about 3/4 of it in a cough-syrup induced haze before realising that Patrick Swayze (the original draw to tune in) was in it for all of 5 minutes, in which, gosh darn it, he doesn’t have the money to buy his wife a snowblower for christmas. And then his kids go on a sugar-filled shopping spree with stolen (fake) money, madcaps ensue, bumbling criminal side-kicks and all.
    I love all the cheesiness of the new xmas movies, but not all of the movies.


  2. Rog Says:

    What???? Not everyone reads “The Brothers Karamazov” for fun in their copious free time? Seriously though… “The Muppet’s Christmas Carol” should be considered classical literature.


  3. BrainRants Says:

    Your wife can sit next to my Mom during the Hallmark SapFest Marathon.


  4. Lenore Diane Says:

    December is her equivalent to Playoffs/All-Stars/Final Four.


  5. She's a Maineiac Says:

    See, this is proof that you guys will last forever. If you can get through this year after year, you two can get through anything!

    (I laughed so hard at the 12 Men of Christmas caption! And Love, Actually? I have actually never seen it.)


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Well, there were definitely some lines in the sand being drawn when she tried to argue that Love, Actually is a better film than The Godfather, but Love, Actually is really pretty good in a kind of over-the-top kind of way. Shhh, don’t tell anyone I said that.


  6. jacquelincangro Says:

    This season, you might have to clear room on the DVR for the New Year’s Eve movie. I hear it’s like Love Actually but much worse.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      And it’s a sequel to Valentine’s Day, isn’t it? Or at least, a kind-of sequel? So it’s a bad sequel to a bad rip-off. Hopefully she’ll steer clear. New Year’s has very little impact on her.


  7. gojulesgo Says:

    Aw shucks. I need to get Peppermeister to read this. That’s like…the sweetest thing…oh no, hang on, I’ve got something in my eye!

    Although, he has let me keep the Lifetime movie “William & Kate” on our DVR for, like, 6 months. And I’ve watched it 3 times. …Maybe 4.


  8. girlonthecontrary Says:

    I got news for you fella- a *lot* of women are replaced with this woman in December. Myself included.


  9. cassiebehle Says:

    Say what you will, but “A Kiss at Midnight” was delightful! 😉


  10. Blogdramedy Says:

    As a director I would have thought you’d relish the opportunity to pick up some filmmaker tips. Can you call “The cat who ate the Chrismas tree and vomited for 12 days” a film? 😉


  11. angrymiddleagewoman Says:

    I have to see Nestor the Long Earred Donkey and It’s a Wonderful Life and maybe Rudolph EVERY December . . . but that’s about all. You are a good, good man.


  12. becomingcliche Says:

    I bet you didn’t know that Christmas Shoes is now a movie starring Rob Lowe. If you really loved her, you’d buy it for her so that she could have it FOREVER.


  13. Andrew Says:

    And here I was complaining about having to watch Elf every year.

    I really am a Scrooge.


  14. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    So sorry, I feel your pain (almost) as I have a friend I have to hide from all through Dec. I hate, no HATE those flicks. If it wasnt for Ralphie (as “the Pink Nightmare” in A Christmas Story) or Clark Griswold I wouldnt make it through the season. But I confess, if White Christmas is on, I will drop anything/everything to sing along as each sappy musical number starts.


  15. thesinglecell Says:

    Nailed the plot line exactly. To every blessed one of those God-awful movies. I don’t watch the Lifetime/Hallmark variety films for that reason alone. But I do have several actual normal real traditional non-sad-woman Christmas movies that I must see each year. And the first time I saw “Love Actually,” I sobbed uncontrollably at three different points. I bet your wife could guess them immediately. Now I own it. Fortunately I don’t cry anymore. Mostly. Anyway, heaven love you for enduring it and finding it endearing of her.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Okay, I’m going with: When Emma Thompson realizes her husband is cheating on her; When Colin Firth proposes in the restaurant; and…hm… Billy Mack with his manager. That or the “To me you are perfect” card scene.

      How’d I do?


      • thesinglecell Says:

        Ohh! So close! Yes, about Emma realizing my beloved Alan Rickman may be falling for another girl; yes, to the “to me you are perfect” scene (PS isn’t that Mark Feuerstein with a British accent? No?)… but the third was when Laura Linney had to give up her love for Carl the Enigmatic Chief Designer because she loved her brother too much (and also was scared to let it happen). That was the worst sob.



    Great blog! Saw your blog was featured on Laughter is Catching.
    Maybe you should get a few Christmas movies that you like, such as my all time favourite “A Christmas Story” or “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” that way there is less Hallmark channel movies and more GOOD Christmas movies!

    Happy holidays!

    Brooke and Mckenzie



  17. racheldeangelis Says:

    This is the only reason that I dread visiting my parents at Christmas…because my mother will always say, “I DVR’d some Christmas movies for us to watch together!” And they’re always these horrible Lifetime and Hallmark productions–never a movie with any humor or any actors I’ve heard of before. (Well, this AND she’ll always say, “Let’s play a game of Scrabble!” which always seems to take three to four hours per game.) Any mention of Christmas movies or Scrabble and my dad is beelining for the basement to watch football on his flatscreen TV, and I’m always longing to follow. I don’t even like football! But at least football never made anyone all weepy!


  18. crtnyhks Says:

    Your wife & I ought to be friends. Something about those sappy movies just sucks your right in. I’m guilty of it. Too many sweet memories curled up on the couch with my parents & grandparents watching lame Christmas movies? Perhaps.

    I have to admit, though, you nailed it on the plot line. Utterly predictable, yet somehow satisfying.


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