Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Best Christmas Party Ever air tomorrow night (12/13) @ 8:00 PM (ET) on Hallmark Channel.

Best Christmas Party Ever

Synopsis (from the Hallmark Channel website): With the holiday season at hand, young party planner Jennie Stanton (Torrey DeVitto) learns that her boss, Petra (Linda Thorson), will be retiring after Christmas and hopes she will be left in charge of Petra’s Parties, New York’s premiere event planning service. Jennie’s hopes fade when Petra’s charming and handsome nephew, Nick (Steve Lund), arrives on the scene and Petra announces that he will take over the business. When an opportunity to plan a toy store’s Christmas Eve party arises, Jennie runs with it, arranging a warm and traditional affair in the same vein as the Christmas parties that inspired her as a child. As Christmas Eve approaches, will Jennie open her heart to find love for the holiday?

Mini-Review:  If you don’t know the answer to the above question then you’ve obviously never seen a Hallmark movie. But, that’s okay. As I reported yesterday, record ratings indicate that the formula is working for the network. And why not? While its fare certainly isn’t self-consciously dark or edgy enough to score Golden Globe nominations, their films and series are actually produced with the audience in mind. By contrast, too much of what is being put out there by most of the other networks come off as ego pieces designed to win awards and receive endless praise in the echo chamber of show business websites.

By and large, it’s the audience and not critics that are apt to like Hallmark movies. And the Hallmark audience, though younger than some might imagine, isn’t likely to spending much time twittering about everything they see on TV. But then, it’s been my experience that empty drums make the most noise.

Hallmark (like UP TV), is more concerned with being warm than cool. And, for most of us who are tired of too-cool-for-the room attitudes, that’s a breath of fresh air.  Sure the network has an occasional clunker but, for the most part, Hallmark produces a steady stream of quality programming that isn’t angry and isn’t obsessed with offending the traditional values of its audience. The numbers prove there’s a big market for that.

As for the movie at hand, Best Christmas Party Ever hits its target. To be sure, it’s a bit of chick flick not really aimed at a manly-man like me. But I can appreciate a modern-day parable about the value of kindness, tradition and pursuing one’s dreams. That’s pretty universal stuff and, while it’s not going to win Hallmark a Golden Globe or an Emmy, it is apt to win over audiences.

With its recent ratings successes, Hallmark is no doubt having its Best Christmas Party Ever. As for the film, it’s Recommended.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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