CRUEL AND UNUSUAL CHRISTMAS PUNISHMENT



Help! I am being forced by my wife to sit through the series of holiday movies on the Hallmark-Lifetime-Great American Family channels. The cable stations are running these marathon style. I have reminded Grace that the very first marathon runner, Pheidippides, died from the ordeal, but this has not made much of an impact. Though in fairness, I guess it makes up for the rest of the year's sports programming she must endure.

In any event, since I am now a qualified Hallmark (or Lifetime or GAF) movie goer, let me fill you in, in case you missed one of the movies. It's easy, because they are all exactly the same movie.

It starts off with a guy and a girl being improbably thrown together. They're attracted to each other, but there is an intense dislike, because they are on opposite sides of either a competition or some sort of project. There is also some vague backstory, wherein the two had a prior relationship but for obscure reasons parted on less than amicable terms (presumably not caused by forced watching of Hallmark holiday movies).

By the way, this occurs in a small town where EVERYONE participates in a common Christmas festival (there are no Jews or Muslims living in these towns). Oh, and all the stars, who are faintly reminiscent of old time child actors who couldn't act then either, have an obligatory BFF who is biracial. Ah, but I digress.

Anyway, in the midst of their rivalry, something happens where one displays some need, the other offers to help, and they magically see the better angels off the respective characters' natures. That does not resolve matters however, because there is still approximately 60 minutes of advertising time to fill. Accordingly, some rather unbelievable misunderstanding will arise, causing the leading woman and man to part, under considerable emotional duress. You can tell the severity of the duress by the way the actors wince markedly, sigh, and look off into the empty distance.

With less than five minutes to go, each realizes the person they've despised for almost two hours is their soul mate. They rush to each other and kiss, but only in front of the entire town, which cheers (possibly because the whole thing is about to end; I share their sense of profound relief).

You know, old Scrooge might have had it right in the first place. Humbug!

Oh, I have to go now. The next movie is about to begin.

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