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Hallmark Movies Haven’t Changed — Candace Cameron Bure Just Doesn’t Want to See Gay People on TV

Candace Cameron Bure might just have a point. Don’t you miss the good old days of Hallmark Christmas movies, back before they got all “woke”? Back when a big city real estate developer would fall in love with a small town rancher, or when a small town designer would fall in love with a big city movie star, or when another big city real estate developer would fall in love with a small town innkeeper, or when a big city married couple would fall back in love at a small town inn — those were Christmas movies! Fortunately, those are all movies that were made this year.

It turns out that the nightmarish erosion of good old Christian values and American morals that’s ruined Hallmark movies, as Candace Cameron Bure so implies in a Wall Street Journal profile, doesn’t exist. The only reason she gives for going exclusive with Great American Family is that Hallmark “basically is a completely different network than when I started because of the change of leadership.”

What is Bure talking about? What has changed so much that she would break a 9-year streak at the undisputed king network of Christmas movies? And we are talking about Christmas movies too, movies that aren’t afraid to put Christmas in the title. There’s one Hanukkah movie this year, the same as in 2021 and 2020. Kwanzaa gets half a movie, sharing it with Christmas in this year’s Holiday Heritage. The specific holiday that these holiday movies are celebrating hasn’t changed. The lineup is still called Countdown to Christmas! So it can’t be the “war on Christmas” that got Bure spooked.

Hallmark does have a few more leads of color than they have in the past, including two films with leads of Asian descent. But on the whole? Only six movies of forty feature two leads of color. Granted, that is six more than were part of the 2017 lineup, back when Hallmark was presumably more aligned with Bure’s values. For comparison, one of Great American Family’s seventeen 2022 originals has two leads of color.

So really — what has changed? Some of the gender roles have changed, like the rancher I mentioned in the first paragraph was a woman (!). And The Royal Nanny was a straight up spy movie that didn’t adhere to the Hallmark formula. And Lights, Camera, Christmas treated “move to the city” as a goal and not a threat. But are any of those plots really offensive enough to anger Mrs Bure? Probably not.

So let me say the quiet part loud: Candace Cameron Bure is mad about gay people. She infers as much when she says that Great American Family will focus on “traditional marriage,” which is the disparaging and historically inaccurate way that Christian’s describe straight couples. Notice traditional marriage doesn’t mean the hundreds of years of tradition where women were property. She means modern straight marriage — like, you know, the kind on Love Is Blind.

This is the only thing that has changed significantly, and Hallmark’s previous refusal to acknowledge that gay people exist and also love Christmas is why Great American Family exists in the first place. Never forget that the chief executive of Great American Family, Bill Abbott, left Hallmark (of his own accord he says) after uproar over him refusing to show a commercial where lesbians dared to be on screen for a few seconds.

Since his departure, Hallmark has increased the queer reputation almost exponentially. There have been queer leads and supporting characters every year for three years running — like in The Christmas House and An Unexpected Christmas. The Christmas House gave the network its first gay kiss — a kiss! Scandalous! But note that it’s taken them until this year, Year 3 of Hallmark’s Queer Eye makeover, to put a gay couple in the lead without the buffer of a straight romance storyline (The Holiday Sitter, airing December 11).

The inclusion of gay people is the noticeable difference between Hallmark now and the Hallmark that Bure was happy to work for. Bure’s comments about “traditional marriage” — and the fact that her Netflix sitcom Fuller House walked back her youngest TV son’s inexplicable crush on Blake Shelton in favor of him getting a girlfriend — don’t dissuade me from assuming that the inclusion of gay people is the only reason she left Hallmark. I’m sure she loves the money from her exclusive deal and the power of being the Chief Creative Officer, and I’m sure she loves — to use a phrase always lobbed at gay people who are just breathing — “shoving Christianity down our throats” with GAF content. But I think the thing she loves most is that there are no gay people in Great American Christmas’s winter wonderland.

And just to underline this: Bure’s comment about “traditional marriage” is political — the very thing that I bet she says she hates about today’s very political (?) Hallmark movies. Her comments are dangerous. We have justices on the Supreme Court who specifically said that they want to overturn gay marriage. A figure like Bure, a woman who has incredible influence over the Christian and conservative audiences as well as Instagram moms and sitcom-loving millennials, went out of her way to insinuate that gay marriage is not fit to be seen on something as ultimately innocuous and frivolous as formulaic holiday movies. Doesn’t really feel like the Christmas spirit.

So keep this in mind when you hear Bure or anyone talk about the runaway loose liberal morals of Hallmark movies nowadays. Hallmark movies are every bit as G-rated and cheesy as they’ve always been. They just finally acknowledged that gay people deserve to get stuck in small towns and fall in love with their big city high school crushes just as much as straight people.

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