Life is Exactly Like a Hallmark Movie....Sort of

I know you pick your nose.

You know you pick your nose, but you aren't going to admit it publicly. It's just not something you confess to. Well, saying I like Hallmark Movies is the equivalent of admitting I pick my nose. Which I don't. That's gross and disgusting. I use a pen cap like a normal person. Okay, I admit I really do use a pen cap to remove ear wax because it's incredibly effective! I'm always on the hunt for those shitty pens that nobody really wants because those are the best pen caps to use. My wife and I have a battle of disappearing and reappearing pen caps. Some people will get in trouble for a gambling addiction, or a drinking problem. My downfall will be when she finally discovers the secret cache of pen caps that would make the CEO of Bic weep for joy. It's hidden right underneath my scratch off tickets and empty scotch bottles.

Watching Hallmark movies is the equivalent of television junk food. I got hooked on them this past Christmas. They had 31 days of Christmas movies (on TWO Hallmark channels!!!!) and I just kinda fell in love with the simple stories, the laughable perceptions they portrayed of various professions, and the boilerplate plots that were so transparent a Kardashian would want to wear them to the Cannes film festival. Many of the movies feature actors and actresses far removed from their prime, so it's nice to see them still working after all these years. I love the portrayals of wealthy individuals on a Hallmark budget - "royalty" in a Van Heusen shirt, castles that look suspiciously like Medieval Times, and every single white-collar professional is a slimy, greedy, weasel who is more committed to their job than the poor, ignored protagonist. I swear all the writers went to Branson, MO, picked every single person who was wearing a cross with a cowboy hat and asked them what they thought of city folk. And, that became the image they used to write every single yuppie character. The country folks are always the wise ones, those who have it figured out, who could totally kick ass in the city, but choose ever so wisely to hang out in Shitsville, USA. It's literally like watching 90 minutes of the O'Reilly Factor. You think I'm kidding? Go find one movie where the main characters are anything but white. And thin. And beautiful. Nobody ever cheats on anyone, but if they do, it's always the weasley city dwelling boyfriend who does it.

I actually got my wife hooked on these movies. It's the perfect thing to watch while doing something else because you really don't need to pay that close attention. Here is what is going to happen: Adorable heroine's life isn't going her way. Either one of her parents, or the romantic love interest's parents will always be dead by the way. If they really want to pour on the heartstrings, both parents croaked in a horrific New England butter incident. If both parents are dead, there usually a younger sibling they have to take care of while sacrificing their dreams and aspirations to fulfill the parental role. The death of the parent is often just before the heroine (whose name is always something that ends in -y, Lindsay, Mallory, Emily, Annoyingly, etc.) was about to do something remarkable, like go to Juiliard, or the Olympic trials in figure skating (it's never shot put, because no heroine could ever be a size 22, which is kinda bullshit, but that's another post). Either a prince in hiding, an obnoxious but tenderhearted work competitor, or a strapping young Christmas tree farm proprietor will come along to assist the heroine through her difficulties. The heroine always has a lousy boyfriend she is so devoted to that she starts spending a lot of time with another man. All of this has nothing to do with real life, but what happens next does. It's exactly like real life.

Right around 1 hour and 40 minutes into the movie, something ALWAYS occurs. The heroine and Mr. Perfect are about to admit their feelings toward one another. Then, the heroine sees Mr. Perfect do something. She might be running to tell Mr. Perfect she wants to stay in Shitsville and run a side business baking snickerdoodles on the tree farm and then, BAM! She sees Mr. Perfect with his ex, holding hands or hugging, and talking intensely like they are going to get back together. But, what about all the chemistry that has been building up with the heroine from minute 22? How can he not see that he belongs to her? Did she read him wrong the entire time? Wounded and devastated, our fair skinned heroine runs away and decides to head back to Chicago to continue being Dollar General's version of Anastasia Steele. Mr. Perfect, by the way, always has a name that is something rugged like Carter and a dog named Max. So, now there is only 20 left minutes to repair this whole thing and get these two paired up together like they are supposed to be.

The reason I say this is exactly like real life is not because I've been to Shitsville and seen Carter's stupid tree farm and tasted Bethany's amazing snickerdoodle cookies. It's because the what Bethany thinks she saw when Carter was holding his ex's hand and they were talking intensely was not what she thought it was. This is also how I know conservatives write this show. Because instead of waiting and confirming what she thinks she saw is actually true, she runs away. She is NEVER right. She ALWAYS assumes the worst. How can it be true love if, at the first sign of trouble, Bethany is ready to run off and not even confront Carter, or see if he could explain what she saw? You know what really happened? There was a touching scene where Carter is holding Mulva's hand while telling her there is no chance for them to get back together because he loves Bethany, and he can't wait to put his Christmas tree in her snickerdoodle booth, if you know what I mean. Wink wink, nudge nudge. Hey, this is as risqué as conservatives are going to get. He is professing true love, and fucking Bethany is assuming, like the asshole that she is, and making life more difficult for both of them. He literally did nothing wrong, and the next day he has to figure out why the hell she bolted out of town.

We assume all the time. If you think you're smarter than a Hallmark movie, guess again, fucko. You're not. We're not. I'm not. We rush to so many conclusions, make so many assumptions, cast so many judgements. Based on what we thought we saw. Instead of taking the time to really comprehend, we're satisfied that we saw enough to comprehensively judge a situation, or another person. And because it's Hallmark, in the last five minutes Bethany and Carter finally get together, finally kiss, and Shitsville now needs to get a new population sign on the boundary, because there's another resident there to stay. But, we don't always get those happy endings. Probably because you make lousy cookies. Just follow the recipe, Gina! It's not that hard! No, we don't always get happy endings because we live in the real world. Sometimes our erroneous assumptions have enormous consequences. You know what happens when you assume? You end up looking like a dickhead. You thought I was going to say you make an ASS out of U and ME, didn't you? Well, it's not true. If you assume I know Taekwondo, how do I look like an ass? I don't. If you assume that, you just end up looking like a dickhead. Plus, my way is far catchier of a phrase.

How about we live a little bit more like the very end of a Hallmark movie? How about we make sure our assumptive conclusions are in fact accurate? How about we give the other side a chance to be heard? Let's give the benefit of the doubt to the higher elements of our nature winning over the more base characteristics of human interaction. EVERY single assumption in the 95th minute of the movie is proven wrong. I've now watched enough of these I can predict with stunning clarity how it happens. I don't want to be able to predict with stunning clarity the erroneous assumptions in the lives of the people I care about here in the real world. Here in the real world you won't meet a European royal in hiding. You won't meet a gorgeous, hunky trainer of Shetland ponies suffering from dyslexia. And nobody fucking eats snickerdoodles in the real world. But in the real world, if you apply this lesson, I think you'll find the happy endings in your life will be a much more frequent occurrence than the feelings of loss, disappointment, and betrayal. I'll even help you by being the slimy city slicker asshole. But, I'm not wearing Van Heusen shirts.

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