About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Valentine Carol

This weekend will be Valentine's Day which reminds me of the 2007 Lifetime Network, made-for-TV movie, A Valentine Carol which stars Emma Caulfield. Caulfield made a name for herself playing one of Brandon's girlfriends on the original Beverly Hills, 90210 and as Anya on another little TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In this movie, she plays Ally Simms, a successful romance talk radio host who is marrying her fiancé on Valentine’s Day. But Ally can also be insensitive and unsympathetic to other people’s feelings and needs for love. The ghost of her former radio host partner, Jackie Marley, warns Ally about the lack of love in her life and urges her to change her life. The ghost takes her to visit several past Valentine’s Day romances and Ally sees how she’s responded to the men in her life. In the Valentine’s Day present, Ally re-connects with her former boyfriends and begins to see what her fiancé Matt is really like--beyond his meeting the standards of her checklist requirements. And, in Valentine’s Day futures, she sees the consequences of her superficial advice and the cynicism played out in her own life. Ally must change her attitude this Valentine’s Day if she wants her marriage to be meaningful and to last.

This is an interesting Valentine’s Day-themed adaptation of the Charles Dicken’s novel A Christmas Carol. Ally serves as a Scrooge-at-love standin for the familiar Ebenezer character while her assistant, Gillian, is the Bob Cratchit character. One change is that there aren’t three separate ghosts for the journey through time--only Marley. Yet this is still a provocative re-interpretation.

The movie regularly airs each Christmas yet I can't find it on the schedule to air this Valentine's Day on Lifetime, or on any of it's ancilliary networks, such as Lifetime Movie Network. One would think that if a network invested in making a holiday-themed movie that they would bother to broadcast it around the holiday. But I'm not the first person to question the programming execs of TV networks. Nor the last.

TRIVIA: Perhaps the character name Ally Simms is a reference to Alastair Sim, the actor well-known for playing the arguably definitive Scrooge in the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol.

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