Appearing every weekday afternoon on a little-heard of cable network near you. Packed with more sugar than a Krispy Kreme factory. More waffle than a Birds Eye warehouse. The hidden heroes of the small screen. Yes, it’s the TV film. A veritable feast of cheesiness, predictable plots and atrocious acting. Juxtaposed against some well-placed muzak. I love them.
My guilty pleasure started as a teenager. Off sick from school, roaming through the channels with a lethargic indifference. And there it was. The postcard-perfect American town. Oozing saccharine. A plethora of once-famous child actors. “Today, Mrs TV film director, I will be taking on the role of do-gooder.” They’re alway do-gooders. And then there’s the romance. We hate each other. But we love each other really. Didn’t see that one coming…
The obsession continued through my university years. Unsurprising, as it seems to be a prerequisite for all students to watch afternoon telly. By now my playlist was peppered with a sprinkling of TV programmes of equally dubious stature. I refer you to Diagnosis Murder, Murder, She Wrote and Quincy. High-calibre viewing indeed.
As it happens, I’m watching a TV movie right now. With a seasonal theme. The bland music plays on and on (and on), as two high school music teachers compete to see who can produce the best singers in their class and win a Christmas concert. The teacher who fails will lose their job. Obviously. Oh, and both teachers have been on an online dating website, and guess who they’ve been matched to? Here’s a clue. It’s each other. Who would have thought it? What a film.*
I must also mention another gem I came across last week.
Synopsis: Pretty blonde reporter arrives in sleepy backwater town, trying to uncover identity of an elusive Secret Santa (clue is in the title, folks). She places her bets on a rich, young bachelor. It’s not him, but she finds love in the process – yay – kicking her useless ex-boyfriend to the kerb once and for all in the process. Leaving her to walk into the snow-adorned sunset with the loaded young stud, amid a blurry glow of Christmas lights.
Why do I love these films so much? They’re overly sentimental, wishy-washy and universally panned by the critics.
Well, for one, they’re good fun. And they don’t require too much brain power. Which I have to say is very welcome when I’ve been working long shifts at work. Or at the moment, eight-and-a-half-months pregnant and barely able to move.
Ok, so they’re ridiculously unrealistic. But hey, don’t we all need unrealistic at times? Pure, unadulterated escapism. With a massive dollop of sugar.
*Spoiler alert: The teachers’ students decide to sing together in the end, as they don’t want either teacher losing their job. Cue very bad lip-syncing, hand-holding, and surprise trumpet cameo by hunky teacher. Before they declare their undying love for each other. Picture postcard perfect.