We’ve all fallen prey to the Hallmark Channel Sunday night line-up. They reel you in with a psuedo-celebrity and the promise of wholesome entertainment void of depth. Oh, and whatever skills they lack in acting, well they make up for with ruthless tugs on the ol’ heartstrings. Last night was no exception.
Channel 52 is a staple in my viewing habits, so after deciding (defaulting) that my Sunday night was going to be reserved for copious bad TV and a box of sugar cereal, to channel 52 I went. Faith Ford? Sure, I like her. In not only a hopeless-romantic-loses-her-faith-in-true-love-falls-for-kind-widower-with-meddling-kids, but one that involves an online dating Web site scam, re-scam, he doesn’t know she knows she’s being scammed, she sabotages the relationship then learns he was never aware of the scam, they fall instantly in love plot twist.
A Kiss at Midnight (2008) suggests that the main character is, I don’t know, 14, but no, she’s Faith Ford, a hopeless romantic who writes a blog about life, and love and flowers. Her best friend is a nurse slash nun, that’s right, this girl about town gets half of her dating advice from a celibate woman of god. The other half of her advice comes from her mother, Dyan Cannon, who just found love herself. I will say this about Ms. Cannon. WHAT? You look absolutely ridiculous. You are 72 years old. I realize you cannot undo whatever procedure has been performed on your face, but your big long curly super blonde perm, is a look too young for Abigail Breslin. Try again. Anyway, in an effort to prove that online dating sites don’t work, Faith signs up for a match.com doppelganger and ends up getting “matched” with its CEO, a widower whose meddling daughter’s sign him up (unbeknownst to him )to FIND A NEW MOTHER!! This relationship has healthy written all over it. She finds out who he is (through a Toogle search, yes TOOGLE), thinks he’s fucking with her, rudely leaves their “family” dinner and goes home and BLOGS ABOUT IT, which he reads and doesn’t fully understand because he’s still in the dark about the set-up. At this point you might be wondering, “Where is the aged horse?” Well, the recently purchased because it was going to be killed sideline plot horse is down at the stable, where the little girl runs, when Faith and her father “break-up.” She lands herself in the ER after the horse runs her face into a branch (where the nun/nurse is working) and Faith shows up to comfort her in an all too awkward “I have now replaced your mother” kind of scene and they tell the father about the scam and then they get married and wait for iiiiittt. . . Kiss at Midnight.
And after you invested two hours to hours watching that drama unfold, what else would you feel like viewing than ANOTHER MFTVM with an identical plot line — of course how and why these sad children meddle, and what the ultimate get-the-two-star-crossed-lovers-back-together-portion will alter slightly, the important thing being that after only a few forgettable encounters, it is apparent that the two are not only in love and totally meant for each other, but also the perfect fit for the already established family.
This second gem was titled The Nanny Express and starred VANESSA MARCIL as the whatever, protagonist. I mean, I love Gina Kincaid as much as the next 90210 fan, but this woman possesses ZERO motherly instincts and therefore putting glasses and casual sweaters on her, will never make me root for her to be the half-orphaned children’s mother. This was one of those, every other nanny leaves after a few hours because the kids rig the washing machine to flood the laundry room and hide rats under clothes so that they’ll get fired up and quit. Not Vanessa, she’s tough, needs the job and loves these kids for no reason. Just try and guess what happens in the end. Good, yes, you’re right.
Now perhaps that was a long lead in to get to my actual point, which is this. WHO is the target audience here? These are only two of dozens and dozens of MFTVM about a depressed, but fully devoted father figure who finds love in the unlikeliest (read: most obvious) of places.
I mean, I’m not particularly interested in making a relationship work with a single, unattached, father of zero with NO emotional baggage, so I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to identify with a middle-aged, hopelessly romantic, unmarried spinster who is. And what is it about a silver fox widower who devotes all his time and resources into his bratty kids am I supposed to find attractive? Oh wait, you’re not just dealing with the emotional torment of a divorce, but the untimely death of your lovely spouse? GET ME A DATE! Now I don’t only have to attempt to replace a woman, who in death, achieved perfection, but I also have to be the mother to your children and those huge chips on their shoulders? I call shenanigans.