There are a ton of very, very repetitive tropes about Hallmark. Others have commented already about how say, Hallmark HATES New York City/big cities in general (except for the movies Window Wonderland and Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, both of which literally cannot do their plots without being 100% set in a big city). Pretty much every other Hallmark movie that isn’t 100% set in a small town is about how big cities are awful and everyone should move to a small town, preferably one where it snows. They are very East Coast-centric that way.
But after sitting through at least 4 full Hallmark movies a day (plus whatever partial ones I saw, or sometimes zoned out during because a few are boring) since December 24 (25 total, though about three of them were so boring I don’t remember much about them), I have a lot of deep thoughts about what Hallmark as an entity thinks about jobs.
Almost all Hallmark Christmas plots involve some kind of job drama, such as:
(a) I’m up for a promotion at Christmas!...But I may not actually get it. (50/50 odds)
(b) I’m competing against someone for a promotion at Christmas! (Who the hell knows.)
(c) I’m getting fired for Christmas. (50/50 odds)
(d) I may or may not get fired for Christmas but I’m under threat about it. (50/50 odds)
(e) I get a sudden job offer out of the state/out of the country/in some Big City, but will I take it? (100% NO.)
(f) I lost my Big City Job, so far can’t find another one, so I’m forced to take a smaller job in a small town (I will LOVE it and never want to go back to the city.)
(g) I moved to the Big City for my career, but so far the Big City isn’t giving my career a boost so I might as well go back home (100% YES)
(h) My dad wants me to work for the family business, but I don’t want to because either I’m uninterested in/I don’t want nepotism. (I will be forced to work for Dad by the end of two hours and more or less be fine with it.)
(i) I want to quit my day job and start my own business! (I will instead somehow decide to take over someone else’s previously started business instead.)
(j) I want to quit my day job and start my own business! (I will do that but not even remotely plan this out ahead of time before I quit.)
(k) I am starting my own business on the side and it’s slowly improving but I’m not sure if I should quit my boring side job to focus on my business. (Yes, you should! Especially if it is some kind of holiday niche business!)
(l) I own my own business but don’t want to actually do this business any more because it was my dead husband’s (strictly “The Christmas Ornament,” which turns into “I want to start my own business.”)
(m) I used to do art, writing, or music until I realized this wasn’t a practical way to make a living and now I have a boring day job that means I don’t actually make any art any more. (You should still do your own art, just don’t try to make it a career. Or just find a shadow career because that’s the only way to make a living..)
Overall, I started getting the feeling that Hallmark’s audience is frequently a bunch of people who are frustrated with their careers, and they are trying to send certain messages to their audience.
(1) Big cities and big city jobs and big city money suck donkey balls. You don’t want ‘em! So don’t feel bad if you don’t have one, because those people are miserable.
(2) Promotions aren’t everything either. Well, sometimes they’re great, but other times you just end up with a more stressful job. So don’t feel bad if you don’t get one.
(3) Plenty of people get fired for the holidays for no good reason! (Just look at the Trump administration.) So don’t feel bad if/when it happens to you!
(4) Crazy bosses aren’t worth working for, so quit! (Vicarious thrills there, I’m sure, imagining that you could quit.)
(5) Don’t feel bad if you end up having to work in a shop! Working in shops is great, except for the retail stress and the lack of money, which we will not focus on in Hallmark because those don’t exist in small towns anyway.
(6) Family businesses are awesome, if you can, work in one, and don’t worry about the nepotism if it’s your family anyway. Score for you!
(7) If you want your own business, no matter what kind it is and how implausible it might be to make a living, go for it! You may be able to save some cash by taking over someone else’s business (highly recommended if possible), especially!
On the other hand, I have never ever ever heard of anyone getting the magical job offers the way that they are happening in Hallmark, I think they are just there as MacGuffins to taunt the audience.
And then there’s the adult artists, who wanted a career in art/writing/music/clothing design, whatever and had to come to the reasonable conclusion that even if they are Leann/Kellie/Mariah, they can’t make a living at it. A lot of them tried to make it in the Big City, fail at it because Big Cities suck, and then end up moving home and being all, “I’ll just teach little kids!” I guess the overall message of those movies for folks like myself is, stay with your art...just don’t expect it to go anywhere. Well, that’s realistic, at least.
Here is some more commentary on “women’s work” in Hallmark.
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