Ho, ho, ho, Hearties! This completely goes against my self-proclaimed “Christmas Purist” nature, but what kind of hip, up-to-date blogger would I be if I didn’t do ONE post about Christmas in July; especially a blogger who talks about Hallmark Channel?! That sounds completely unthinkable! But before I get to that, we have some…Hooked Heartie Guild business to address. I received a question on my feedback survey from the screen name: mnavin. Here is the question:

“I was curious why Jack never got a promotion. When Doug came to town Jack called him constable and Doug said no I got promoted to Sargent when I took the job you refused. So Jack served and then even went to train mounties but never got promoted. Just curious WHY??”

Thank you for the question mnavin!  And thanks for answering the survey!  That IS a really great question; one that I wondered myself.  To be completely honest, I don’t KNOW the answer.  I’ve put the question to someone who knows more about the script than I, so we’ll see if I get a response.  I will let you know the moment I get one.  

So, I shall now bend my holiday principles with a movie from 2015, “Dashing Through the Snow”, (I cannot BELIEVE it’s been that long!  I thought it was from last year!)

The WCTH stars in this one aren’t any from the main cast, but they’re two good ones.  There’s Aaron Craven.  He played Mr. Elliot Garvey in WCTH, (one of the men who tricks Rosemary into going back to the States with them…before Jack intervenes,) and FBI Agent Sam Monroe in Dashing.  And then there’s Andrew Walker.  Oh boy…Andrew Walker.  He probably needs no introduction, but just in case…He played the conniving Billy Hamilton in WCTH, (which is a huge tragedy to many Hearties since they want him as Elizabeth’s new love,) and Agent Dash Sutherland in Dashing.  Get it?  Did you know he’s been in 15 HALLMARK MOVIES?  That’s a lot!  Kurt Evans, who played Agent Fletcher in Dashing, isn’t in WCTH, but there’s a fun link.  He played Stanley Malcolm, the real estate tycoon in “A December Bride”, Daniel Lissing’s movie.  We are all connected in the Great Circle of Hallmark!  Tee hee

To kick things off, I noticed that the carolers at the beginning were singing “Jingle Bells”, of course.  BUT, they started singing at “…in a one-horse open sleigh,” leaving out the very obvious first line.  Did they do it on purpose?  Who knows, but I thought it was worth mentioning.  There is also the year 1914 embossed on the café window, and the teenage baristas joke about putting a foam heart in a crush’s latte.  No, those tidbits probably weren’t purposely directed at Hearties, but as I said, worth mentioning.

And speaking of shows, did you hear all the show and movie talk?  I thought I was a movie buff, but these two, plus the mom, got me beat.  It was great to hear them quote so many lines, sing show tunes, even act out parts of “It Happened One Night”.  It just added to the charm.

Charm.  That describes Ashley to a T!  I LOVE the character of Ashley!  She is just precious!  She’s savvy, yet optimistically naïve; she’s grounded, but still has dreams; she has an eye for detail, but not obsessively; she sees the good in others, but is cautious when needed; she’s finds the joy in almost everything; and she has great philosophies and Christmas spirit.  Here are the prime examples:

  • She considers being a 35-year-old man and never married (because you just don’t want to be) a red flag
  • She reasoned a comparison of how long a broken leg needs to heal, so why shouldn’t the heart need as much, if not more, time.
  • “I’ve seen this movie, and I know how it ends!” (Explaining her trepidation of getting into a car for a 2-day ride with a total stranger. She also looked him up and down before calling him “quasi-attractive”
  • She has a “truth-o-meter”. And thinks someone is a good person if they believe in the idea of Santa Claus
  • She wants Dash to call his mom so she knows it’s okay to get in a car with him.
  • She tells Dash’s “mom” he could use a shave. YES!!! Ashley doesn’t like scruff.  A woman after my own heart!
  • She decorates the inside of a car for Christmas!
  • She sees nothing wrong with squealing, or hanging an ornament on a tree in front of a crowd.
  • “Miracles happen, and tomorrow is another day.” (Agent Hobbs said that, and Dash said Ashley said almost the same thing.)
  • There are no disabilities, only challenges. (wisdom learned from her recently deceased father
  • She thinks everyone should have someone to believe in them.

That sounds like an all-in-all amazing woman to me!  Add to that list that she can knit and craft, and speaks 3 languages.  I’ve been in love with sign language practically my whole life, so when she started signing, I about fell over.  Dash asks her how she learned, and she reveals that her father was deaf.  By this point, the movie is more than halfway through, and it’s the first time we hear that.  I think that says a lot about Ashley as a person, that she didn’t see her dad as “different”.  I think it also says something about her mother, who is hearing.  I’ve heard disturbing stories of deaf people being snubbed simply because they can’t hear, and it’s obvious Ashley’s mother didn’t think that way.  It didn’t stop her from falling in love with him, when someone else may have just written him off as disabled.

Compare that with Dash Sutherland, the FBI agent stuck (in his opinion) in the car with Pollyanna, and he’s recovering from a failed assignment…and he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder.  I really like that Andrew didn’t play him bitter, just sarcastic.  He had a hard job, having to find a way to get in the same car with Ashley, and make it look perfectly normal; but he had some great lines and mannerisms to illustrate his feelings.  They got off to a great start when she’s expressing concern over riding with him.  She calls him a “quasi-attractive, charming, friendly, wrinkled-shirt stranger.”  He retorts, as he’s walking away, with “My shirt’s not THAT wrinkled.”  He also calls the car a “squeal-free zone”, calls Ashley’s road knowledge “a minor in geekdom”, and asks if Ashley’s driving instructor was a little old lady from Pasadena.  And he’s an Eagle Scout to boot!  My brothers are Eagle Scouts, so that just made me smile.

Some of my favorite moments of him, though, were the unspoken ones.  For instance, the puppy.  When Ashley brings the puppy to the car window, all he does is look forward, and roll it up.  It was such a subtle move, but for some reason, he made it hilarious!  Then, also with the dog, he does the “I’m watching you” gesture, and I burst out laughing.  There are somber ones too.  Andrew did this really well.  After we find out he’s an agent, he’s struggling not to tell Ashley.  His face is so telling!  He has such a haunted look in his eyes, but tries to keep the carefree and sarcastic persona.  It makes for a really great juxtaposition of characters seeing him sit next to a joyful Ashley.  And his best silent moment: actually shivering and acting cold when he gives her his jacket, instead of the macho, “No, it’s 20 degrees out here, but I’m totally fine.”  Hard to do when filming in summer, even in Canada.

I really love how Andrew and Meghan work together.  The car banter is especially important to the plot since the two main characters are sitting still in a car so much of the time.  But they kept it moving; I never felt like the film was moving too slow.  They even play the jinx game with each other.  The BEST part, however, was the first kiss.  I know, you’re probably thinking, “Duh!”, but this kiss was really well done.  First of all, it’s not at the very end, thank heavens.  The lead-up is fantastic too.  When Dash discovers Ashley’s innocent of any wrongdoing, he drops his phone in a billiard pocket on their way out of the bar where they had dinner.  Now the other agents can’t listen in.  Immediately, you can tell the difference in his tone.  He asks Ashley to tell him basically everything about her, something he couldn’t do when they were being monitored.  When she tells him she wants to open a craft store called “Crafty”, he calls it terrible since that can also mean shifty and dishonest.  Then he stops her, and says, “You’re not any of those things, are you, Ashley Jane Harrison?”  He leans in, with a slight hesitation, for an absolutely adorable kiss, asks her if it was okay, then kisses her again.  May I say, that man is a GREAT screen kisser!  Sorry, Meghan, I forgot to watch you too!

Then the end.  Ashley’s found out Dash is an FBI agent, so of course, she feels betrayed, and plans to “sulk all day”.  But at the town’s festival, who shows up…and in a HAY WAGON?  Earlier, Ashley had expressed her sadness that there would be no hay rides because her father recently passed away.  So he shows up, in a hay wagon, and tells her he thinks she needs someone to believe in her the way her father did; and he wants that someone to be him now.  The man was LISTENING!  Smart man indeed!  Ashley, in return, doesn’t make him suffer.  She took him coming back in said hay wagon as a true sign that he wants to be with her.  She doesn’t pull the coy, cold, “What are you doing here?” routine; she runs straight into his arms, and they share a tight hug…and lift.  Not only is that great for the storyline, I think it gives one last indication of her trusting and caring character.  And that, my friends, wraps this Christmas movie up with a nice little green bow!

Thanks for joining me for Christmas in July.  Join me Friday for what I guarantee will be a #FlashbackFriday you don’t want to miss.  Cheerio, Hearties!   

 

Happy Thursday, Hearties! Thanks for your patience yesterday! Time for The Wedding Part 2! Here’s where we get more of the show, as well as some behind-the-scenes trivia.

First thing I want to say is how glad I am that they addressed the black holes; especially Jack’s mother, and what happened between Tom and Julie. Obviously, Brooke Shields didn’t want to, or couldn’t, come back. They could have ignored her absence, but they didn’t. I think they knew “Where was Charlotte?” would be splashed all over social media. We Hearties are a force of nature, after all! 🙂

Tom and Julie were well handled too. I confess, I don’t know why Julie bothered going home, or why she arrived separately from their father, but I’m glad she was there. I’m glad Tom was there too. Jack has such a little family, we had to have SOMEONE from his side there! It was apparent that the former lovebirds hadn’t seen each other since Season 2, and that they’d both done a little growing up. I couldn’t get over Tom being in a suit! And how did he get that AMAZING job with the tire company? I had to laugh when Jack said he’d buy him a drink; then after one look at his wheels, decided Tom could buy him one! I was also very intrigued when Julie brought up her art show, and asked him to come. He all but agreed, albeit a little awkwardly. Is there a future for them after all? Are we being teased? Did Papa Heartie put the writers up to his old pot-stirring tricks? Who knows?! And WHY would Tom bring a date to the wedding when he’s been on the road? Even traveling from Hamilton seems like quite a long distance to bring someone who’s just a date. Silly Julie!

One more thing about Tom. I’ve heard several people speculate why there was no conversation/confrontation with him and Mr. Thatcher. I thought about that too, and then I noticed they carried that wood in together. Since this episode (sadly!) was only an hour long, I’m thinking that was a quick way to show a conversation happened previously, and them carrying wood together was a symbol that they were at least at peace with each other.

Which brings me to Daddy! My first thought was how gracious he was trying to be with his… less than affluent surroundings. But he WAS gracious! I just recently watched part of Season 2 with a friend, and the difference in attitude is overwhelming! I love how surprised he was with volunteers fixing the church, and then he jumped right in! He’s probably not the sort of man who’s used to manual labor. And then there’s Elizabeth’s home. I lost my father about 7 years ago, so that was an especially touching scene. He does survey her dwellings with a bit of a critical eye, but then follows up with, “You’re marrying a good man.” I can’t imagine how much that must have meant to her. But the best part about that scene: “I may be grown, but I will ALWAYS be your little girl!” Usually, grown children say the exact opposite: “I’m not a child anymore!” How refreshing to hear a bride reassure her father instead of expecting vice versa.   

Ordinarily, this would be the part where we would talk about the bride and groom; nope! Not happening! I’m saving them for last! We’re going to Bill. I think the funniest thing about his “predicament” is he looks more panicked about the rings not being at the ceremony than he does about being shot at by outlaws. He handles both situations with his savviness. He’s so smart, isn’t he? And at the same time that he’s upholding the law, he’s teaching that very green Mountie a thing or two about strategy. And that poor Mountie! It’s obvious he’s practically brand new, and yet he’s trying to act tough. This will be an adventure the character, and the actor, will always remember! Jack Wagner said on Home and Family that that one scene of having the windows shot out was a 15-hour day! When the guest host, Allie (spelling?), asked if he liked it, he instantly replied, “A guy with a gun and a horse…a dream come true for an actor!” Guess the long day was worth it!

Two more things I loved about Bill’s involvement. He tries so hard to be tough and gritty, but we all know he’s one big softy! How kind, and very thoughtful, of him to take care of the Mountie business for Jack. What’s also interesting is I almost expected Jack to get upset when he found out Bill did the assignment for him; he’s usually very protective of his work. That shows just how dedicated Jack is to this wedding, and how desperately he wants to marry Elizabeth. I also adored how Bill showed up smelling like the root cellar. Kavan and Daniel had fantastic reactions; especially Daniel because he had no lines. It was all non-verbal. That’s some of the best acting a performer can display.

Okay, okay! We can talk about the happy couple now! Where do we start?! Let’s start with the line that made all Heartie hearts go pitter-pat: “I wanted to kiss Miss Elizabeth Thatcher before she became Mrs. Jack Thornton.” The man can even make a name sound romantic! Compare that serenity to the complete trepidation on his face at the thought of only 14 hours until Elizabeth becomes his wife. He went from “not really” nervous, to “maybe a few” nerves, to “shaking in my boots” in a matter of seconds. Poor man!

But let’s talk about the crowning event: that beautiful wedding! The decorations alone were so elegant, that they would cover the fire damage.  And then, there’s that sweet blue pillow. I thought it was charming to make the ring pillow the “something blue”; not to mention Julie was in blue too. But, of course, Elizabeth’s exquisite dress stole the show! Hallmark Channel is actually giving away the dress in a sweepstakes. Wouldn’t that be some prize?!

Did you just want to faint at the sight of him seeing her? Daniel Lissing said on Home and Family that he purposefully didn’t look at Erin before the cameras rolled so he could have a more genuine reaction. Well, it worked! It was perfect! Once again, his eyes work magic! And their words! I’m sure you know by now that Daniel and Erin wrote the vows for their characters. They were flawless! What you may not know is that 10 minutes before the cameras rolled on the vows, Daniel got the call from his mother that his grandfather had passed away. And he still went on with the scene! But the emotion was so raw and genuine. Put that together with those beautiful words they wrote, and it was magical! “From chalk dust to eternity…I’m yours!”

Did you notice how Jack tightened his grip on Elizabeth’s hands when Frank pronounced them man and wife? He just got so excited! And that kiss! Ooooooh, that kiss!!! Filled with all the passion of a newly married man who’s been eager to marry his love, and his wedding ring plainly visible! And their foreheads briefly touched after they kissed too; one of their signature moves! It was pretty close to perfection!

Try not to swoon too much, everyone, there’s still more story to see. Much love, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Good morning, Hearties. I owe all of you an apology. Wednesday, we left my in-laws’ to come home from Christmas, then the last 2 days, my kids decided to go NUTS! I’ll spare you the details. So, let’s talk Christmas episode! DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED IT!

As usual, let’s get the unpleasant junk out of the way first. I admit to being slightly disappointed with the reunion; it must be all that fan fiction I wrote. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked it, it just wasn’t as epic as I pictured after that amazing proposal and send-off. And it just happened so fast! I guess I was expecting a bit more build up. I have one comfort: last year’s Christmas episode seemed to leave me with a few blanks, but once I watched it with the season 4 episodes, it fit better, and I liked it better. So maybe that’s what will happen with this one too. Maybe his permanent return will be…more, longer even.

Let’s get to the good stuff now. Despite the fact that the reunion wasn’t epic enough for me personally, I still liked it. There’s nothing quite like the man you love whispering in your ear; just like there’s nothing quite like that same man locking foreheads with you, and kissing you senseless to prove he’s really home. Be still my beating heart!!! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Erin and Dan are SO good at conveying the passion the characters have for each other without making it sexual or dirty. It’s one of my favorite things about this show!

Another part I absolutely loved was their Christmas Eve dinner. That scene was reminiscent of the old Jack and Elizabeth. As a side note, may I take a moment to once again applaud Daniel Lissing’s acting. He played Jack dealing with the pain and images of war SO WELL! He was stoic and serious, even reserved. Then something would provoke a smile, and his old self would shine through. The dinner was the perfect example of this. He was still being a little serious, even with Elizabeth. Then he opened her pillow, and she read the rings, and his enthusiastic response just made me tear up. Plus they both said “I love you”, which as we all know, only gets written into the script on special occasions.

Moving on from Jack and Elizabeth, who didn’t laugh their heads off at Lee and Rosemary here? Oh my gosh! They were precious! I especially loved Lee’s VERY QUICK reaction to Jack asking for help. “You’ll be more well read.” And Rosemary literally bowing to Bill’s wishes…hysterical!

Well dear friends, I have a million more thoughts on the episode, but I’m afraid pregnancy fatigue wins this battle. I’ll be back on New Year’s Day, that I can PROMISE!