Earlier this month, the Hallmark Channel premiered its first-ever Christmas film about a gay couple. In the recent history of the network’s gradual transition to diversifying its hugely popular Christmas programming, it was a small milestone!
Well, while I’m a person who enjoys Christmas in general – in a secular way, a festival of lights in the gloomy winter – I am Not a person with plenty of time for the palatable, prepackaged, cheap feel, which I see as the cornerstone of this sort of low-budget, made-for-TV/streaming flick. But I’d be damned if I wasn’t curious about what Hallmark might do with a gay story. So I watched The Holiday Sitter– which you can still do as it will be repeated a few times between now and the new year. And I had some thoughts.
The Holiday Sitter Stars dating actor and reality show host Jonathan Bennett (he was on mean girls several hundred years ago). He plays a gay man living in New York City who has a big, important job and has no time/interest in getting married or having children. But then, about a week before Christmas, his sister and her husband call him to babysit his niece and nephew somewhere in Small Town USA while they pick up the newborn baby they are adopting. Meanwhile, there is a handsome gay guy named Jason (George Krissa) who lives across the street from J.Bennett’s sister and loves kids and wants to adopt one right away. So J.Bennett offers to pay Jason a bazillion dollars to help take care of his niece and nephew for a week.
That’s the basic plot. Here’s what popped into my sugar-plum-dazed brain while watching:
The film starts off with what I believe to be a Dolly Parton song, so we’re firmly in the Venn diagram overlap of Gay and Hallmark.
In the opening scene, it appears that J.Bennett is on a first date with a very handsome man. make people actually first dates at christmas? How how works everyone find the time??? With all the holiday pressure, it feels like something like this should be captured from Thanksgiving to maybe New Year’s Eve.
The Christmas decorations in these movies always feel so… generic. Like… with no personality or story. Like every house is a mall. Literally, they all have the same color scheme!
Oh wait, J.Bennett’s sister’s house is all blue and silver instead of red and gold like everyone else! This is… a choice!
HAHAHAHA! The last time J.Bennett babysat for his sister, he had a mustache that resulted in him almost burning down the house cooking a single chicken breast! Who did he cook? a single chicken breast Per??? (Wait! It turned out to be an omelet. Which still doesn’t answer my question.)
The energy J.Bennett brings to this role is… messy! Somewhere between Jim Carrey and Lucille Ball maybe? Crazy eyes, rubber face and spastic body language.
Honestly, at this point I feel like J.Bennett should have come off the date in the opening scene with that handsome guy. He was so hunky! And blue-eyed Jason is such a boring lunatic I’m worried he might be a serial killer!
Ok, so…J.Bennett…doesn’t realize the blue-eyed potential lunatic is gay until he realizes…J.Bennett’s “Rossini loafers”? 1) J.Bennett’s Gaydar is broken. 2) “Rossini” is a “designer” who completely invented this film, right? 3) Why? Why don’t you just say YSL or something? 4) Drink every time these nerds say “Rossini loafers.”
I don’t care about the subplot where J.Bennett’s nephew has a crush on Blue-Eyed Psycho’s niece.
J.Bennett: “Young love is hard. Old love ain’t much better.” Touché, Hallmark Channel!
One of J.Bennett’s traits is that he’s constantly throwing money around. Exactly how rich is he? And what is his job?
Well, J.Bennett’s original plan was to spend Christmas in Hawaii, so he ends up wearing this Tommy Bahama-esque Christmas shirt that he packed. I find this shirt…amazing. I feel like I know even less about who this man is, what he wants out of life, how he moves through the world…
There is a Christmas lights walk in J.Bennett’s sister’s neighborhood that actually sounds very pretty and possibly romantic. Except the lights these people put up are awful! For example… Hallmark didn’t plan the Christmas lights properly in their Christmas movie.
Mandatory mean girls Reference: J Bennet telling a dog to stop trying to enable fetch. Kind.
Literally nobody in this movie ever had sex.
J.Bennett teaches his nephew acting lessons for the school Christmas play: “I took language classes in college.” get rid of your lisp???
I bet J.Bennett’s character is a Disney gay man. Like one of those people who has a Disneyland t-shirt that says “Home.” But he’s never been to Gay Days or whatever it’s called.
ok hang. Well, J.Bennett’s niece is very sad that it’s almost Christmas and her parents aren’t home yet because they adopted their new baby. So, he… monologues her about how weird but also awesome it is to have a sibling. That’s… not what she was upset about!
Blue-Eyed Psycho, who falls in love with J.Bennett, gives him two sweaters for Christmas (THEY’VE KNOWN LESS THAN A WEEK) and I kind of can’t tell which one is supposed to be the ugly Christmas sweater and that’s supposed to be the nice one.
Oh my god, those gays aren’t going to kiss, are they?! Hallmark won’t let these gays kiss???
At this point, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if J.Bennett’s sister said, “Surprise, this newborn baby we just adopted is actually for YOU, Blue-Eyed Weirdo from Across the Street! Merry Christmas!” That feels like something that totally happens and makes sense in a movie like this, right?
Why is…Blue-Eyes so pained that J.Bennett is paying him UNDER THEIR PRE-AGREED DEAL??? Just because you are 100 percent in love with someone doesn’t mean they can break financial agreements!
Christmas morning: men in pajamas are the opposite of sexy.
LOL! With less than 10 minutes left in this movie, J.Bennett is suddenly (weirdly) like, “Homophobia exists and it’s ruined me!” (I mean, well, I think I have to give Hallmark credit for acknowledging how growing up in a heterosexist society has made J.Bennett feel like marriage and kids are not Per him and that’s why he always thought he never wanted her. But I do reluctantly.)
Ok, the funniest part of this movie is when Blue-Eyes says, “Yeah, I really love J.Bennett, but I can tell him when he gets back from Hawaii.” And his divorced brother says, “Sure…so be it because, he meets a hot guy in Hawaii who suits him better because he’s not a nut obsessed with having kids like you right away.” And Blue-Eyes jumps to his feet and says, “I got that never thought of it!” and runs to stop J.Bennett from escaping Small Town USA
Oh cool, J.Bennett and Blue-Eyed Jason get to kiss. The end! It’s okay and normal not to want a husband and kids! Happy Holidays!