Editor's Note: The following has been adapted with the author's permission from its original publication on Carolina Culture Warrior. To be fully transparent, the author also owns shares in ABC (as previously disclosed).
In the case of this holiday season, content creators are especially getting out of their way to cash into the spirit. So, for this space’s debut edition of Winners & Losers in Entertainment, there are two winners and two losers.
Winner – WashPost’s Monica Hesse: Understanding Why Countdown to Christmas Is So Popular
This space has mentioned the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas before, which features romantic comedies starring talents like Candace Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, and Dean Cain. In addition, the network recently broadcasted the National Christmas Tree Lighting.
Countdown to Christmas’s popularity led to Washington Post writer named Monica Hesse – infamous for her alternative timeline about what would have happened if Hillary Clinton won the 2016 presidential election – to try and find out the reason why this event is so loved, and has become a guilty pleasure for people of all ages.
Hesse found out the obvious reason, which is the Hallmark Channel’s way of being an escape from the politics that has infected seemingly every aspect of our lives. She began with the following:
Hallmark, which often seemed to exist just so you had something to fold laundry to, is now deep into its biggest annual event — “Countdown to Christmas,” a series of several dozen fresh-from-the-oven seasonal made-for-TV movies. And it is an event.
Of course, she ended up disingenuously mocking some Hallmark watchers as Trump supporters who weren’t tuned in to current events, and the channel itself as “schmaltz.” In turn, it caused her to still be out of touch about other reasons why the channel is so successful, but at least Hesse tried to understand why it resonates so well with viewers. Kudos to her.
Winner – Netflix: A Christmas Prince
Speaking of Christmas-themed romantic comedies, it turns out that Netflix followed Hallmark’s family-friendly formula. It isn’t exactly a surprise seeing how the film is directed by Alex Zamm, who also directed a Hallmark movie with a similar plot line called A Prince for Christmas.
The fact that Netflix went out of its way to do a wholesome and positive Christmas movie is amazing, since most of its original offerings over the past few years have been leaned far to the left (with Lady Dynamite being the most recent example). Good for Netflix for doing wholesome and positive content for the whole family.
Loser – NBC and DreamWorks Animation: Sexual Content in Trolls Holiday
There’s no doubt that the popularity of the DreamWorks Animation movie Trolls – based on the ’90s toy fad – was an unexpected success (arguably thanks to its upbeat attitude). Unfortunately, their ‘holiday’ special – which doesn’t even acknowledge Christmas – has decided to air questionable content to children.
It aired in November, but the controversy should still concern those who may have missed it and plan on streaming it on Netflix. The Parents Television Council’s Kelly Oliver wrote:
About halfway through, one of the songs featured the cute troll characters pitching their ideas for a new holiday to the King and Queen of Bergen Town. Then out of seemingly nowhere came a pixilated nudity shot of one of the troll characters (his genital area was blurred). That was followed by several troll characters being “bleeped,” as though they uttered profanity.
Pixelated nudity shots and bleeping references...great content for a kid-aimed television special, isn’t it? But what would you expect from a network airing a Christmas special guest-starring Trump-hating leftist Chelsea Handler of all people?
Loser – Freeform: Angry Angel
ABC Family’s trashy, MTV-style transformation into Freeform is complete. Even though it airs more traditional Christmas movies, there’s a number of others that cater to young, urban liberals. The latest is a movie called Angry Angel, starring Disney Channel alumni Brenda Song and vulgar actor Jason Biggs of American Pie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame.
The film, which was announced back in August and premiered just this month, focuses on an “already dead” angel stuck on earth, and has some of the most negative dialogue you’ll ever hear from any Christmas movie.
If you want something uplifting to watch for the holidays, then Angry Angel is definitely not for you.