To American fans excited for the American release of A Very Cool Christmas, known as Too Cool for Christmas in Canada, you may be just very angry at a very small detail of the film. And by very small, I mean a huge change in the film.
For the Canadian version of the film, main character Lindsay’s parents feature same-sex parents played by Barclay Hope and Adam Harrington. In the film’s American release, her parents are replaced by cisgender parents played by Barclay Hope and Ingrid Torrance.
Of course, if you were to wander over to google and do a little search of the film, you’ll notice it doesn’t particularly have the best of ratings. But that being said, it doesn’t mean that the change isn’t a big deal. It is a very big deal.
It’s fun to see the same formulaic holiday film over and over even though you know the ending. The dorky girl working at the coffee shop meets a hunk, they fall in love, they fall out of love, and then the man does some big huge gesture to win the girl over.
So why exactly is it so much work to make the same cheesy, formulaic movies, but with same-sex couples? Why can’t the holidays have just a sprinkle of rainbow magic from the gays?
Hysterically, the two versions of the film are exactly the same from the big things like the script and camera angles, to the more minute details like the lighting and tiny little details in the background of the setting. You can, quite literally, play the films side-by-side and get the same scene-by-scene results.
According to The Data Lounge, “each scene would be filmed with the gay couple, then one of the dads, actor Adam Harrington, would step out of the shot and actress Ingrid Torrance would step in and play the mom.”
And where did the straight version air, you may ask? If you were thinking Hallmark, you are most certainly right. While the film was made back in 2004, so I guess they get some pass, Hallmark recently released their line-up for next year’s batch of holiday movies. Out the 40 movies they plan on producing, not a single one features an LGBT character. They weren’t even lazy enough to throw in some random side character who briefly mentions they’re gay after two seconds of screen time and then is never mentioned anywhere else in the film (yes, I’m looking at you, Marvel).
Executives at Hallmark have stated they are looking at pitches for movies featuring LGBT+ characters, so I guess that’s some effort. But I am most certainly wary of when a company says they’re going to “expand our diversity.” Um, zero multiplied by two is still zero?
Even more so, it begs the question what sort of diversity will be represented? Are they going to make films with leading queer characters pursuing a queer relationship? Are they going to represent people of color and black queer folk, which, may I note, is still severely lacking in queer media today. Or are they going to pull the outdated clear-your-gays trope, contributing to the long line of misrepresented queer experience and message that queer people are undeserving of the same happiness cisgendered are privileged earning?
We’re watching you, Hallmark.