One of my secret passions (vices) is watching Hallmark movies.. I know that they are formulaic, and yet I watch them over and over. I even tried to sign up to be an extra (didn’t make it) And I have noticed that a good number of them take place in an Inn or a Bed and Breakfast. The standard storyline is one of the following:
1. Our intrepid heroine is discouraged in her current career choice (usually something to do with baking) and out of the blue finds that she has inherited all or part of a distant relative’s home, which she then either converts to a bed and breakfast or brings back to life after years of disuse.
2. Our intrepid heroine is a high powered executive in an unnamed big city and finds that she has inherited all or part of a distant relative’s home…a place where she spent parts of her childhood. She travels there to assess the value of said home and decides that it would be worth more if it was fixed up/running as a bed and breakfast.
3. In either (1) or (2) OIH (our intrepid heroine) meets handsome man, who is either the other part owner of aforesaid building/inn OR a childhood sweetheart. Meanwhile, regular boyfriend has either dumped her or is being a jerk.
4. Three guesses what happens! OIH and hunky guy have some merry misadventures while completing renovations on the inn and end up getting together and sharing no more than 3 kisses. At least in the first movie. Some of these have sequels, and in those, more kisses are allowed.
So what do I find wrong with these movies? On the surface, nothing. Except when I watch the depiction of either the renovations or the actual up and running bed and breakfast. Because some things that I see are just not realistic…and in some cases…kind of illegal!
Ah ha! You say! Do tell! So I will be nitpicky and let you know why Lacey Chabert and a host of others stars wouldn’t make it here at the Grape Arbor.
- OIH is a baker and makes all of these wonderful creations that she sells to the local coffee shop. I can’t do that because I don’t have a commercial kitchen, and from the look of her kitchen–she doesn’t either.
- OIH bakes racks of these goodies and puts them in the back of her van (which of course breaks down) to deliver to all the customers. The goodies are not wrapped, or even covered…definitely some health code violations here.
- The phone rings and OIH gets a reservation…but she never writes anything down…looks to see what is available or takes any credit card information. Hmmm..no wonder in the sequel the business is in trouble.
- The guest arrives, and OIH welcomes them into her bed and breakfast–and mentions, oh, you must be starving…let me cook you up something right now. Umm..I serve breakfast in the morning, not when guests arrive..and generally don’t whip something up in the spur of the moment.
- OIH goes out for an evening with hunky guy…and a rain or snow storm happens…they return to the Inn to find water or snow pouring into the guest rooms, ruining everything…but they are able to get everything fixed within a week. I had a tree fall on my roof and crash through a bay window in a room where a guest was staying…and between insurance and contractors it took me almost three months to get things fixed and guest worthy.
- Goats–did I mention they have goats…really cute baby goats; and they wander inside the property? I get complaints about cats…maybe I should switch to goats?
- In at least two of of the movies, a catastrophe happens just before a big event–a semi carrying all of their local farm fresh ingredients overturns on the highway so there are not ingredients for the meal….or the caterer quits the day before…in both cases they are able to find the necessary ingredients needed for a meal for more than 50 people in less than a day…in one case just several hours. Hmmm…I start preparations for my from-scratch breakfast (for 16 people) three hours before…and sometimes the night before..not sure we could pull it off that fast…including shopping for ingredients. And just wondering…why are local farm fresh ingredients coming on a semi…and just one semi has EVERYTHING? Sounds like a food service to me…
- Do I need to mention how OIH looks when serving breakfast to guests? Sorry, but when I get up at 4:30am…putting on fake eyelashes is not high on my list.
- Guest complains that there are not enough electrical outlets in their room, OIH calls the cute local repairman who comes and adds in as many as desired…that day. First, I would call a licensed electrician (yea, even in a small town) and I wouldn’t get them there the same day unless it was and emergency…and I wouldn’t have them in the guest room..while the guest is there (I would be there with them if the guest was out).
- OIH decides at the last minute to visit the family inn, and even though it is the weekend of the biggest festival of the year, there is a room for her! Wow! and later in the movie (because ..coincidentally..ex-boyfriend shows up..there is not a single room available anywhere in town). My rule with my family has always been…if I invite you to come…you stay on my nickel…if you are stopping by on your schedule..you pay the regular rate (sounds harsh, but it is a business, after all.)
I am very much aware that all movies tend to stretch reality a bit, and I am sure that I am definitely more critical than most because I DO know what is going on at a bed and breakfast (most of the time). So I will continue to watch the movies…but chuckle as some of the stereotypes of my life are reinforced. Some come talk to me….I can either tell you the truth…or the Hallmark image…which do you prefer?