I’m sitting on the sofa. I turn the television channel to a popular family-friendly cable network. I know I can count on a happily-ever-after story when I watch this channel during the holidays. Which is why I cannot stop watching these sappy movies.
(SCENE 1: A BIG-CITY NEWSPAPER OFFICE. THE EDITOR IS TALKING TO TIFFANY, A BLONDE REPORTER WHO DRINKS COFFEE FROM A COFFEE-SHOP-STYLE PAPER CUP.)
EDITOR: Tiffany, it’s almost Christmas, and I need you to travel to Quaintville to cover an important story!
TIFFANY: Quaintville? Is that a real town?
EDITOR: Who cares? This is a cable movie, and I’m supposed to be your grumpy but lovable editor, sorta like What’s-His-Name from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
TIFFANY: Ed Asner?
EDITOR: Whatever. All I know is that the script says you’re an independent single woman, but you’re filled with indescribably painful angst and romantic longing.
TIFFANY: I’m on it, Chief.
(SCENE 2: TIFFANY ARRIVES IN QUAINTVILLE, SHE GOES ICE SKATING. SHE MEETS A HANDSOME MAN SKATING WITH HIS DAUGHTER.)
LEADING MAN: Hi. You must be the leading lady.
TIFFANY: How did you know?
HIM: You’re holding a paper coffee cup.
TIFFANY: My contract stipulates that I have to drink coffee from a paper cup in every scene. But sometimes I drink Orange Fanta.
HIM: My contract requires me to wear heavy plaid flannel shirts even though we’re obviously filming this in July and I’m sweating my buttcheeks off.
TIFFANY: Is that your daughter?
HIM: Yes, I’m a widower, filled with indescribably painful angst and romantic longing.
TIFFANY: How did your wife die?
HIM: The script never says.
(SCENE 3: ANNUAL QUAINTVILLE CHRISTMAS PARADE. LEADING MAN AND DAUGHTER ARE WATCHING PARADE WHEN TIFFANY BUMPS INTO THEM.)
DAUGHTER: Look, Daddy! That lady is drinking coffee in a paper cup again! Just like they always do in the TV show “Gilmore Girls.”
LEADING MAN: Totally different network, sweetie.
TIFFANY: Fancy meeting you here.
HIM: Listen, Tiffany, I know we just met, but would you be the bookkeeper at my inn?
TIFFANY: You own an inn?
HIM: And a bakery.
HIM: And I eat corn starch straight outta the box.
TIFFANY: And you’re telling me that your inn has enough customers in this tiny town to survive, even though in each scene the TV-viewing audience only ever sees the same fifteen Hollywood extras dressed as townspeople?
HIM: Pretty much.
(SCENE 4: TIFFANY’S FIRST DAY WORKING AT THE INN. SHE IS KEEPING THE BOOKS.)
LEADING MAN: What’s wrong, Tiffany?
TIFFANY: I’ve been crunching numbers and I’ve discovered that your inn is not making enough money to stay in business.
HIM: Oh, no. Why?
TIFFANY: Because this script needs a crisis before we fall in love.
HIM: What am I gonna do?
TIFFANY: We need to raise money quickly!
HIM: But how?
TIFFANY: You could always sell your daughter on Craigslist.
TIFFANY: That’s what my character did when I starred in a Lifetime Network movie once.
(SCENE 5: QUAINTSVILLE PIE-EATING CONTEST WITH THE WHOLE TOWN GATHERED OUTDOORS.)
TIFFANY: Folks! Can I have your attention?! As you know, we’re all gathered here to raise money and save the inn, which is, according to the script, going bankrupt!
TOWNSPEOPLE: What does this have to do with a pie-eating contest?!
TIFFANY: Duh! This is a major cable network holiday movie!
HENRY WINKLER: I’m Henry Winkler!
(SCENE 6: LEADING MAN AND TIFFANY ARE CURLED ON SOFA DRINKING COFFEE FROM PAPER CUPS BY A FIREPLACE.)
LEADING MAN: I don’t know how to thank you, Tiffany. We raised three million dollars at the pie-eating contest today. Also, I’m looking kinda cute in all this flannel, huh?
TIFFANY: Yes, but I’m conflicted inside. I feel just as confused as I did when I had a recurring role on “General Hospital” and I fell in love with the old fart wearing the eye patch.
HIM: Stephen Nichols? I thought he was on “Days of Our Lives.”
TIFFANY: I get them confused sometimes.
TOWNSPEOPLE: (Standing outside window.) Kiss her already!
HIM: They’re right, we should really kiss before the network starts rolling the pharmaceutical commercials.
(SCENE 7: MIDNIGHT, TIFFANY SITS BESIDE THE LAKE, DRINKING COFFEE FROM PAPER CUP. SHE IS DEEPLY CONFLICTED. THE CRUSTY ELDERLY SHERIFF APPROACHES HER.)
SHERIFF: It’s awfully late to be out here by yourself, young lady.
TIFFANY: Ed Asner? From “The Mary Tyler Moore Show?”
SHERIFF: Yes. And I’m also an accomplished author.
TIFFANY: Aren’t you a little old to be playing the sheriff?
SHERIFF: I’m ninety years old.
TIFFANY: You look pretty good for your age.
SHERIFF: I’ve been doing keto.
TIFFANY: I’m emotionally conflicted.
SHERIFF: I know, that’s why I’m here, to tell you to follow your heart because the only way to find inner joy is to follow your heart.
SHERIFF: Hell if I know. I’m ninety. I’m lucky if I can pee without crying.
(SCENE 8: WEDDING IN THE CHAPEL. TIFFANY IS WEARING A WHITE DRESS, WITH A PAPER CUP OF COFFEE IN HER HAND. LEADING MAN WALKS DOWN THE AISLE.)
LEADING MAN: Wait a minute! I’m the groom. Why am I the one walking down the aisle?
(SAME SCENE; TAKE 2: BRIDE WALKS DOWN THE AISLE THIS TIME.)
TIFFANY: This is the first scene where I’m not wearing one of my eleven cute wool coats that I somehow managed to cram into my Barbie-doll-sized suitcase along with the rest of my entire wardrobe.
LEADING MAN: Lucky you. The producer is still making me wear flannel.
MINISTER: Do you, the Leading Man, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, or in the unlikely event of a sequel, when the script-writers decide to kill you off in a tragic fire at the inn?
HIM: I do.
ED ASNER: I have to pee.
And they lived happily ever after.
George T Jacoby - November 25, 2019 7:20 am
Now, you know, Sean, that when sitting by the fireplace, the requirement is for a mug of hot chocolate (with 4-6 marshmallows), being cupped in both hands, held closely and viewed lovingly, but only sipped during brief pauses in the dialogue while looking longingly and deeply into each other’s eyes… when the phone rings 😰
Lisa Ware - November 25, 2019 8:33 am
This is so funny! Couldn’t stop laughing! Keep it up! You sincerely have a gift with words!!
Lisa in Brandon, Mississippi
Cynthia Woods - November 25, 2019 10:13 am
I’m loling! ( For months I thought that meant “lots of love!) I just watched my first of many silly, predictable, sappy Christmas romances. Sometimes a “70 something” just needs flannel and ice skates. Sure beats the evening news. 😁 Love the view from your sofa, Sean. Thanks for making me lol! 😆
Susan - November 25, 2019 11:55 am
Nailed it! Hilarious 😆😂🤣 😂
Steve - November 25, 2019 12:10 pm
Sean, did you know that there’s a Rothschild giraffe? A subspecies distinguishable by its pattern, and now endangered? You need to change the channel. No one is wearing flannel while they study population densities of the Rothschild Giraffe.
Joretta Parker - November 25, 2019 12:36 pm
This was hilarious! I sit and watch these stupid movies every day and wonder what in the world possesses me. I am an incurable romantic and know the script to every one of them. Help!
Marilyn - November 25, 2019 12:37 pm
Watched at least 4 of these movies yesterday, and you pretty much described how they roll. And of course we know how each will end – with a big kiss!. But at least they are not filled with sex or violence, so that gives them at least an 8 out of 10 in my book. Thank goodness we still have choices! Keep writing these stories so we also have something decent to read!
Rhonda - November 25, 2019 12:41 pm
You know you ain’t quite right don’t ya?!! My favorite is still Mr. Magoo as Scrooge. And I just heard some one say, Mr. Mawhoo?
Brenda - November 25, 2019 12:44 pm
Obviously, you have watched a Hallmark and/or a Lifetime channel movie a time or two. Spot on!!
Nan Williams - November 25, 2019 12:49 pm
In the Holiday Channel movie parady, you forgot the dog. There’s always a dog. Otherwise you were spot on!!
I love your columns and ~really~ loved “Stars of Alabama”.
Cindy - November 25, 2019 12:52 pm
I would watch this one🤣
Kaye Wells - November 25, 2019 1:07 pm
My hubs and I chuckled all the way through this post- mainly cos there’s a lot of truth in it. We love those movies.
Carol (Carper$ Langford - November 25, 2019 1:09 pm
Your humor ROCKS!
Susan Gregory - November 25, 2019 1:18 pm
Love love love these movies! Simply enjoy (and I don’t have to use my brain)…love love love ur blog too!!!
Naomi - November 25, 2019 1:18 pm
Funny! I just watched “The Gilmore Girls” before I read your column. It comes on every morning.
turtlekid - November 25, 2019 1:18 pm
Dianne - November 25, 2019 1:47 pm
Hilarious!! Even though all of these movies have predictable plots and storylines, I still love them. They’re a great form of escape from Pelosi, AOC, Shiff, Biden, et al.
lebrowning - November 25, 2019 1:55 pm
Spot on! You forgot the Christmas pageant that “Tiffany” is always in charge of!
Connie Havard Ryland - November 25, 2019 2:10 pm
And you just explained why I never watch those movies or that channel. Same stupid script. Same vapid actors and actresses. Sorry. I prefer Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty and Rudolph and every Christmas cartoon ever. And most every black and white Christmas movie. I’m not a Grinch, I just prefer to watch one.
Edna B. - November 25, 2019 2:13 pm
Yup, this is the time of year when folks love these movies. Enjoy yours and have a great day, hugs, Edna B.
John - November 25, 2019 2:37 pm
Still funny premise, but today I wish it was also possibly true.
Nancy Wright - November 25, 2019 2:44 pm
Cute, Sean! I can only do a few of those every December. And guess who loves them — my very male, manly husband! He’s normally a “Clint Eastwood, John Wayne” type, but he’s enjoying the Hallmark Channel this year!
Celia - November 25, 2019 3:07 pm
I’m crying…from laughing so much! I don’t binge on these saccharine movies, but do watch them to experience that feel good, life’s not all gloom and doom, don’t feel depressed mood…so much better than sad movies that make me cry when I watch the pain of others. Thank you for a bright spot to begin my day.
Harriet - November 25, 2019 3:10 pm
I love those cheesy shows. You got it right with the coffee drinking and flannel shirts.
Phil S. - November 25, 2019 3:27 pm
Sean, why do you insist on suffering through those movies when great works of art like Suicide Squad or Deadpool might be on another channel? Oh, I forgot – it’s the holidays. Seriously, I must admit, some of those “nice girl meets nice guy and they save the quaint little town from being torn down to build a dam over the beautiful, picturesque stream it sits beside and then they get married right before Christmas” movies are really pretty good. At my age, I will take heartwarming over revenge and gross violence any day.
Anyway, your column today was hilarious. You could go to “Follywood” or “New Dork” and be a high-salary comedy writer, but we like you just where you are.
Wish I could afford that coffee-shop style stuff…
Shelton A. - November 25, 2019 3:31 pm
Sean…you just detailed why I cannot watch those movies. They’re too scripted. I love a happy ending as much as the next guy, but these things all follow that formula. Just can’t take it anymore…
Ala Red Clay Girl - November 25, 2019 4:11 pm
Hey, I think I saw that movie with Tiffany! Seriously, those movies are corny and so predictable. They are also highly addictive; I watch them year-round. It’s a pleasant escape from the real world.
John Harvey - November 25, 2019 4:15 pm
Laugh out loud hilarious! Great episode Sean.
Linda Moon - November 25, 2019 4:53 pm
After reading this, I’m reminded of why I avoid The Holiday Channel. I liked your parody, because you really “get it”. I hope two screenwriters I know and love avoid “sappy” in their future projects Your ending was well-received by me because we ALL want to live happily ever after like all those sappy characters…especially Ed Asner who’s just happy to pee!!
Gordon - November 25, 2019 5:03 pm
LOVED this, Sean! I sit here through this “holiday season” and watch those sappy “holiday movies”. Your take on them is spot on! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Alan - November 25, 2019 6:01 pm
Have you seen UP TV’s version of these movies? Takes it to a new level.
Rebecca Souders - November 25, 2019 6:56 pm
You nailed it. I would have included a description of all those leafed-out trees covered in fake blown-on snow. I enjoy your words so much, Sean. Thanks for sharing your talent!
BETSY BROWN - November 25, 2019 7:27 pm
I think I saw that one last night. 🙂
sholmes53 - November 25, 2019 8:43 pm
Sounds like about right!!
Tim House - November 25, 2019 9:14 pm
Hilarious parody, about every movie now playing through Christmastime on the Hallmark and Lifetime channels. 😀
Martha Young - November 25, 2019 10:18 pm
Yep, that about sums it up. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent ! Love them anyway.
Martha Young - November 25, 2019 10:24 pm
He probably knows that. LOL and even L !
Curran - November 26, 2019 3:47 am
Uh oh, does your wife know you wrote this…?
Dru - November 26, 2019 6:50 am
Those scriptwriters never understand the objective pronoun case! I hate it when fifty-year-old actresses pretending to be twenty-five say, “ Handsome Flannel Shirt has such a heart for Christmas (eyelashes batting, false tears starting, little-girl voice breaking), and he wants to get a REAL TREE and drink hot cocoa and eat Christmas cookies and sing Christmas carols with my son and I! Who would have believed that this could happen when my fashionable car broke down in front of his beautiful chalet just off the Saint Nicholas Parkway?
Dru - November 26, 2019 6:52 am
What became of my closing quotation marks? Zut alors!
Suzanne Hill - November 26, 2019 4:14 pm
Yes, they are corny. Last scene ends w/ couple kissing. I may accidentally tune into one of them for 10 minutes. But they are so cute!! No, corny.
Edna Beam - November 26, 2019 6:00 pm
You just described every Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movie ever made. The only thing missing was the city boyfriend (tool in an Armani suit) who makes the big mistake of showing up in Quaintville just to reveal how inferior he is to Mr. Flannel Shirt Heartthrob.
Dawn Bratcher - November 26, 2019 6:10 pm
HaHaHa! So true, but yours is better! 😂😉
Lita - November 27, 2019 8:09 pm
Hilarious. Recognised all the characters. 😀
angie5804 - December 2, 2019 9:23 pm
and there is a puppy somewhere