I’ve previously discussed my wife’s love of Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. Incidentally, to those who have read this blog and relied on it for investigative research purposes, I’d like to apologize and issue a minor correction. In my previous post, I called the protagonist Blondie because I’d felt that a disproportionate number of the main characters were blonde; after watching more of the Christmas movies, however, I’ve found that most of the main characters are, in fact, Alicia Witt.
I bring this up because this year, my wife discovered that the Hallmark channel also runs movies in celebration of fall. They don’t go quite as far as they do for Christmas–that is, they don’t run a 24/7 movie marathon for more than a month–but they nevertheless pump out a series of indistinguishable rom-coms against a seasonal backdrop. (As if to emphasize this point, they actually switched from the fall movies to the Christmas movies while I was in the process of writing this blog. It’s October. They ended fall before Halloween.)
We’ve taken to calling it “Fallmark,” because my wife likes awful puns. I promise none of the jokes in my books are that bad. This is just our name for it, mind you; Hallmark calls it “Fall Harvest,” I’m guessing because Hallmark decided to award a free Hawaiian vacation to the first marketing executive who came up with a worse name than “Fallmark.”
The fall movies tend to follow a broad formula where some city slicker takes a temporary trip to a small town for some reason (often, but by no means always, an ill-fated wedding), and then falls in love and decides to stay in town indefinitely. Frequently, this also involves leaving behind some sort of lucrative career and handsome, successful fiance (the theme here apparently being that you should follow your heart, pragmatic concerns be damned).
This is actually pretty much the same as one of the more common plots from their Christmas movies, except that the small town’s economy revolves around the fall harvest rather than Christmas-related tourism. Another minor difference would be that the part of Alicia Witt is played by Lacey Chabert. To be clear, it’s only a subset of the Christmas movies that follow this same formula; while the Christmas heroine might move into a small town to live with her new Christmas-tree-farming boyfriend, she might also wind up moving into a palace with the prince of Hallmarkovia. But it’s only the former plot that seems to pop up in the fall movies.
Because we’ve been watching these mediocre movies again, my attention has once more returned to the theme of the Lumberjack and the Suit. As I mentioned earlier, many of these movies feature a love triangle, wherein our heroine has a fiance back home (the Suit) who is successful at his lucrative career back home, but doesn’t understand her. Then, when she travels to Harvest Town without her fiance – which is particularly odd in the movies where she’s traveling to Harvest Town for her wedding to the Suit – she meets the Lumberjack. The Lumberjack, as you’ve probably guessed, is not like the suit. He’s a small town guy. He understands the heroine. He’s good with his hands. And he wears a lot of flannel. It’s a lumberjack thing, I guess.
You can probably fill in the rest of the movie yourself. The Lumberjack and the Heroine are stuck interacting with each other for some reason, they’ll probably get into a fight, then they’ll fall and love and the Heroine will realize that the Suit is an enormous asshole.
Obviously, the Lumberjack isn’t an actual lumberjack (except when he is). He could have any of a variety of professions: a farmer, a cowboy, some sort of…orphan…caring…person…from that one movie with the parade floats that are important for some reason. Oh, or a doctor. He can be a doctors sometimes, too.
The Suit, in contrast–wait, no, the Lumberjack can be a woodworker, too. It might just be a hobby, but that’s still something they can be sometimes. I should also add that while the Lumberjack is much less career-focused than the Suit, he’s never exactly _un_successful. He just values other things more. Like…orphans. Or small town living. Well, I guess technically orphans are still his career if he’s a professional orphan-caring person, but if the Suit were in that same position, he’d just be in it to climb the corporate orphan-caring ladder.
Anyway, back to the Suit. The Suit, in contrast, is the career-driven one. He’s probably an agent, or a marketing executive, or a doctor or something. Okay, I know that last one was a Lumberjack career, too, but it actually works for both–but only if the Heroine herself is also a doctor, and is leaving her big city job at a prestigious but hectic hospital to go become a small-town doctor out in the sticks.
Aside from his career, the Suit might be cheating on the Heroine; if not, he’s just too self-involved to notice that she’s deathly allergic to nuts, and so it would generally be considered rude to offer her a bag of peanuts. He’s also likely to be guilty of the grave sin of wanting the Heroine to come to some boring work party with him and pretend not to hate his insufferable boss. And he probably thinks that her dream of opening up her own Christmas-themed cupcake store for dogs is stupid. The specifics aren’t necessarily important, as long as he doesn’t probably appreciate/support the Heroine the way that some guy she just met while travelling does.
Oh, she should call her store “Pupcakes.” And she could, like, top them with little frosted cats in Santa costumes so that the dogs would look like they’re eating cats, and they could have flavors like “snickerpoodle” or “chocolate chip cookie doberman.” No, really, I promise my books aren’t this bad. Seriously–hey, wait, where are you going? Come back! I’ve got Pupcakes!
Don’t leave me here with these stupid movies!