This week on The Hallmark Channel... A lesbian couple’s wedding enrages backward town folk who find their audacious display of affection threatening in a flat-earth kinda way. Meanwhile, as snow falls gently upon the happily ignorant hamlet of Bigotsville, USA, a multinational corporation beloved for churning out an astonishing number of middlin’ TV movies celebrating love must ask itself: Is love really love, like Dolly Parton always says?
Or, the corporation wonders, is love something we can monetize (especially in December!) and pretend is limited to heterosexual couples? And, more specifically, couples who fall in love with monarchs from obscure countries while nannying? Or, better still, couples who fall in love after SHE returns to her small hometown as a big shot only to discover she no longer loves the hedge fund hottie back in the big city. No, no. Now she loves HIM, the sexy, moody guy from high school who never left their hometown and makes furniture in a small, sustainable, vaguely hipster way.
The Hallmark Channel, as most of y’all know, had a “come to Jesus” moment last week in front of the whole world.
And not just a little one, more of an oversized card requiring extra postage, dammit, kind of CTJ moment.
To catch you up, Hallmark ran an ad for a wedding planning site, Zola, that depicted a lesbian couple joyfully celebrating their vows.
Cue misplaced outrage from something called One Million Moms, which only proves somebody’s prolly really bad at math. OMM went out of its tiny little mind seeing a lesbian wedding that looked, well, like any other wedding. I mean, gowns and flowers? You kidding me? What’s this? Satan didn’t perform the wedding at the gates of hell with only a few gargoyles and hissing asps as witnesses?
When OMM whined to Hallmark, the company caved quickly and pulled the ad, muttering something about not wanting to “generate controversy.”
But, like a plot twist in a Hallmark Christmas movie you could see coming from a wholesome country mile away, the decision to kill the ad didn’t go over well with anyone whose frontal lobe has fully developed. Hallmark reversed its decision and restored the lesbian couple commercial. Or tried to. Zola says it doesn’t want to buy ads on the channel now at all. I hope Zola doesn’t pout about this. I’m telling ya why. Because we’re not going to make progress if errybody just packs up their lesbian TV commercials and goes home. Be the grown-up in the room, Zola.
I haven’t seen this kind of moral dilemma since watching The Hallmark Channel’s “Northpole: Open for Christmas,” in which an ambitious businesswoman (insert hissing asps) who lacks holiday spirit inherits her dotty old aunt’s cherished country inn and has to decide whether to sell it or trust the handsome local handyman that the inn will help her discover the magic of Christmas.
Sillier than any Hallmark movie is the realization we’re still talking about this as we welcome a new decade, right?
Wilmington, North Carolina’s Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.