Winners & Losers in Entertainment: Christmas Edition

On my blog, there will be a new piece called Winners & Losers in Entertainment, where I talk about some of the controversies and milestones that have been made in the modern entertainment industry. In the case of the holiday season, content creators are especially getting out of their way to cash into the spirit. In this debut edition of Winners & Losers in Entertainment, there are two winners and two losers.

Winner –  WashPost’s Monica Hesse: Understanding why Countdown to Christmas Is So Popular

This space had been mentioning the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas before, which features romantic comedies starring such favorites as Candace Cameron Bure, Lacey Chabert, and Dean Cain, as well as the recent broadcast of the National Christmas Tree Lighting. But this event will be mentioned once again.

The reason? The popularity of this event has caused a Washington Post writer named Monica Hesse – infamous for her alternative timeline about what would have happened if Hillary Clinton won the 2016 presidential election – to try and find out the reason why this event is so loved, and has become a guilty pleasure for the manliest of men to some extent.

She found out the obvious reason. Because it is an escape from the politics that has infected everything that has to do with entertainment anymore – even sports (both college and professional). She begins with the following:

Hallmark, which often seemed to exist just so you had something to fold laundry to, is now deep into its biggest annual event — “Countdown to Christmas,” a series of several dozen fresh-from-the-oven seasonal made-for-TV movies. And it is an event.

Of course, she would end up disingenuously mocking some Hallmark watchers as Trump supporters who weren’t tuned in to current events, and the channel itself as “schmaltz”. That ended up causing her to still be out of touch about other reasons why the channel is so successful, especially around the holidays, but at least Hesse tried to understand why it resonates so well with viewers. Kudos to her.

Winner – Netflix: A Christmas Prince

Speaking of Christmas-themed romantic comedies. It turns out that Netflix has followed Hallmark’s family-friendly formula. It isn’t exactly a surprise seeing how the film is directed by Alex Zamm, who also directed a Hallmark movie with a similar plot line called A Prince for Chrismas. 

The fact that Netflix is going out of its way to do a wholesome and positive Christmas movie in itself is amazing, since most of its original offerings over the past few years have been leaning pretty far to the left (with Lady Dynamite being the most recent example). Good for Netflix for doing wholesome and positive content for the whole family.

Loser – NBC and DreamWorks Animation: Sexual Content in Trolls Holiday

There’s no doubt that the popularity of the DreamWorks Animation movie Trolls – based on the ’90s toy fad – has been an unexpected success because of its upbeat attitude. Unfortunately, their ‘holiday’ special – which doesn’t even acknowledge Christmas for some reason – has decided to air questionable content to children. It aired back in November, but the controversy should still concern those who may have missed it and plan on streaming it on Netflix. The Parents Television Council’s Kelly Oliver has more:

About halfway through, one of the songs featured the cute troll characters pitching their ideas for a new holiday to the King and Queen of Bergen Town. Then out of seemingly nowhere came a pixilated nudity shot of one of the troll characters (his genital area was blurred). That was followed by several troll characters being “bleeped,” as though they uttered profanity.

Pixelated nudity shots and bleeping references… great content for a kid-aimed television special, isn’t it? But what would you expect from a network airing a Christmas special guest-starring Trump-hating leftist Chelsea Handler of all people?

NBCUniversal and DreamWorks Animation should know better than to aim that kind of stuff at children.

Loser – Freeform: Angry Angel

ABC Family’s trashy, MTV-style transformation into Freeform is now complete. Even though it’s going back to doing Christmas movies, it had to make them cater to young, urban liberals. The latest is a movie called Angry Angel, starring Disney Channel alumni Brenda Song and vulgar actor Jason Biggs of American Pie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame.

The film, which was announced back in August and premiered just this month, focuses on an “already dead” angel stuck on earth, and has some of the most negative dialogue you’ll ever hear from any Christmas movie.

If you want something uplifting to watch for the holidays, then Angry Angel is definitely not for you.



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