Turn on Hallmark Channel
Glamorous female character, with swirling, highlighted hair and bright eyes.
Note two handsome hunks: One real-estate mogul, loaded but with zero personality
The other, a poor artist (or writer) with heart of gold
Scan the screen for scenic vineyard scene, perhaps with an alpaca wreaking havoc on the vines
See how the match-making directors color-coordinate fashion for the would-be couple
Notice sumptuous room décor for the rich, but greedy family
Observe the homey wood-burning hearth of the poor, but kind guy
My Formula for watching:
Turn TV Sound OFF
Grab copy of Alexander McCall Smith’s Tiny Tales
Read McCall Smith’s 3-minute tales, glancing at the TV screen every 6 minutes.
Sneak a peek at the TV near the end, to make sure the dialogue is moving toward a passionate KISS or wonderful wedding.
Voilá – you have read part of an entertaining book by a Scottish author along with a visual escape to the sumptuous locale of a French vineyard, a Greek Isle, or a Canadian forest.
During the pandemic, men in my writers’ group admitted to watching Hallmark movies. They sounded guilty, “I’m starting to watch Hallmark now; I don’t know why. The plot is predictable, with stock characters. The ending is a foregone conclusion. It’s silly.”
I’m guessing that the “And they-lived-happily-ever-after” ending is one reason no-nonsense male types would watch a channel with formulaic fare. Think about it: A few years ago, we didn’t know how or when Covid-19 would loosen its grip globally. Death and despair reigned. But the Hallmark channel (or the equivalent happily-ever-after romance station in your country) delivered dollops of happiness with each episode. Nobody died. Except for the nasty knave, everyone thrived!
My Review, Tiny Tales
Virtuoso storyteller Alexander McCall Smith again delights with thirty vignettes that explore romance, ambition, kindness and happiness, accompanied by witty cartoons from Iain McIntosh. I’m familiar with this author, so I know when I crack open his books, I’ll find eccentric and engaging characters mingled with the ordinary. And where else can one find the story of a pope named Ron who permits his long-time friend to etch a tattoo on his shoulder—just a tiny one, of course, with the image of St. Francis of Assisi.
Spoiler alert! another vignette:
Husband cheats on wife
Distraught wife becomes suicidal
She jumps from upstairs bedroom window
As she falls to her death, cheating husband returns home to retrieve his passport
Walking on sidewalk outside home, husband cushions the wronged wife’s fall
She survives; he doesn’t. Retribution complete!
You’ve just read a spoof of Hallmark romance movies. You may think I’ve been unfair, demonizing a perfectly fine genre.
If you disagree with my viewpoint, explain why here.
If you agree, tell why.