2020 has taken so many things from us, but in its final stretch there have been glimmers of real hope. A new president (and, more importantly, his vice president) heading for the White House! A possible COVID-19 vaccine! And the first same-sex holiday movie on a basic cable network!
Yes, despite Hallmark and Lifetime shitting out approximately 291 holiday-themed movies a year for the last decade, they have never before featured one with a gay couple at its center. There have been Christmas princes, Christmas witches, Christmas twins, rival a cappella groups, and more adaptations of A Christmas Carol than anyone would ever need or want. There are almost always sharp-suited city slickers who lose their fiancées to the gentle country guy in plaid, but there have never been sharp-suited city slickers who get the guy in plaid. Until dueling holiday movies: Lifetime’s The Christmas Setup! and Hallmark’s The Christmas House!
The Christmas Setup, starring real-life couple Ben Lewis and Blake Lee, and co-starring Fran Drescher, was announced first—but Hallmark craftily released their soon-to-be gay classic November 22. Starring Robert Buckley and Jonathan Bennett as brothers, The Christmas House makes history as the channel’s first movie to feature married gay characters (played by Mean Girls‘ star Bennett and Brad Harder).
And of course there’s also Clea Duvall’s Happiest Season, premiering on Hulu November 25, and starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as a big-city couple who spend the holidays in the suburbs (does anyone stay in the big city for the holidays?!) with a star-studded cast—er, family and friends—including Mary Steenburgen, Dan Levy, and Aubrey Plaza.
So what are these flicks about? Does it actually matter? Gay leads aside, these are still made-for-TV holiday movies, probably filmed over Memorial Day weekend in a Canadian suburb filled with houses kept decorated year-long and with snow permanently affixed to shrubbery for this very purpose. If nothing else, at last now we have proof that the gays are just as happy to sink blissfully into cliches as a way of relieving the stress and anxiety of when the Republicans will concede! Hopefully before The Christmas Setup premieres December 12, but who can say! 2020: She’s a fickle bitch.