In the same day that they ordered six (6!!!) more seasons of "Married at First Sight," Lifetime announced one of their films as part of this year’s "It’s a Wonderful Lifetime" holiday programming block. Any other year, this wouldn’t be news, but this particular film stands out: "The Christmas Set Up" will be the network’s first movie to center around a same-sex couple.
In the film, New York City lawyer Hugo travels to Milwaukee to spend the holidays with his mother -- a notorious matchmaker. She sets him up with Patrick, a high school friend whom Hugo had always secretly crushed on, and the rest is holiday history.
Lifetime was already ahead of the game last year when they featured a kiss between a gay couple in the film "Twinkle All the Way." The difference now is that the LGBTQ+ love story will be at the movie’s center, rather than featured in supporting roles (in "Twinkle All the Way," the kiss was between the protagonist’s brother and his husband.)
Hallmark must be shaking in their boots. You’ll remember that last year, Hallmark actually received backlash from both pro- and anti-LGBTQ+ groups after their decision to pull a running ad by wedding planning platform Zola that featured the wedding of a lesbian couple.
Though the network has communicated in the past that they fully intend to cast more LGBTQ+ leads and feature more inclusive storylines, their 2020-21 holiday movie line-up, released last month, was...lacking in that department.
The call for LGBTQ+ couples to be at the forefront of romantic films has been a push for years now, but we’re finally seeing some traction. Back in April 2018, Sony announced their holiday LGBTQ+ rom-com starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis, with Dan Levy, Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen and more signed on for the Clea DuVall-directed film; it’s due out this holiday season, pandemic-willing.
Lifetime will also air "A Sugar & Spice Holiday" this year, which will feature a Chinese-American family in an original holiday film for the first time.
Production on "A Christmas Set Up" is due to begin this month, with casting decisions on the way shortly, and the full holiday film roster will be released in September.
It’s about time we’re making the yuletide gay!