Created By: RedneckRocker on October 15, 2011 Last Edited By: eroock on January 14, 2018

Valentine Conspiracy Theorist

Valentine's Day is a made-up holiday by the candy & greeting card companies, etc.

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"Valentine's Day ritualizes a connection between affection and candy so girls can learn the ropes of prostitution."
Jeff, Community

Virtually EVERY sitcom has this character if an episode is made about Valentine's Day. They'll go on a rant that the holiday was just a made-up one by the greeting card and candy companies solely as an excuse to sell cards and candy (and so on and so forth). How this affects the plot varies, depending on the writer.


Examples:

Live-Action TV
  • Mike Heck from The Middle went on a rant in this vein.
  • In Community episode "Communication Studies", Jeff mentions how feminist Britta thinks of this tradition:
    "She says Valentine's Day ritualizes a connection between affection and candy so girls can learn the ropes of prostitution."
  • Happy Endings plays with this, and Alex vehemently denies the whole theory with disturbingly detailed knowledge of the martyrdom of St Valentine.

Western Animation
  • In The Simpsons episode "Trash of the Titans", Costington's department store creates "Love Day," a day similar to V-Day but in the summer, in order to sell more crap.
    Marge: Happy Love Day, everyone!
    Lisa: C'mon, mom. The stores just invented this this holiday to make money.
    Homer: Lisa, don't you ruin another Love Day.

Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • October 15, 2011
    Koveras
    I feel this is waaay Too Specific. But then again, I never watch sitcoms...
  • October 15, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Related: on The Simpsons Costington's department store creates "Love Day," a day similar to V-Day but in the summer, in order to sell more crap.
    Marge: Happy Love Day, everyone!
    Lisa: C'mon, mom. The stores just invented this this holiday to make money.
    Homer: Lisa, don't you ruin another Love Day.
  • October 15, 2011
    robybang
    I could have sworn I've heard this trope on other works besides sitcoms. And the person who does it tends to be single or misanthropic in general.
  • October 15, 2011
    BlackbirdMizu
    I think there was an episode of 8SimpleRules that referenced this. And in one episode of Daria, Jane mentions beleiving that birthdays are just made up by greeting card companies.
  • October 15, 2011
    LobsterMagnus
    A short explanation in the introduction concerning the actual Real Life history of Valentines Day would be nice.
  • October 17, 2011
    Arivne
    Another example of this not being limited to Valentine's Day.

    Western Animation
    Lucy: We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It's run by a big Eastern syndicate.
  • April 1, 2012
    Psyclone
    Yeah, I think this should be expanded to holidays in general being considered "manufactured", truthfully or not. Checkerboard Nightmare for example tried to replace Christmas with "Non Denominational X-Holiday"
  • April 1, 2012
    MorganWick
  • April 1, 2012
    Treblain
    On 30 Rock, Liz refuses to celebrate Valentine's Day, and insists that February 14th should celebrate the birthday of the woman's suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw.
  • April 8, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Maybe we could expand this to Greeting Card Holiday Conspiracy?
  • April 8, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    I think it's more about Romance Conspiracy Theory than greeting cards, as in not just valentines but all romance is a scam to sell diamonds and such.
  • April 9, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Happy Endings plays with this, and Alex vehemently denies the whole theory with disturbingly detailed knowledge of the martyrdom of St Valentine.

    In the UK some people think that the influence of American culture is to blame for the increase in the popularity of Hallowe'en in recent years.
  • April 24, 2013
    DamianYerrick
  • April 24, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    Not Valentine's Day, but in the 1993 movie Hocus Pocus, the main character at the beginning states that Halloween is just a scam perpetuated by candy companies. His classmates think he's absolutely wrong since Halloween is considered much more important in his new hometown.
  • April 24, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    Is this a non-Christmas version of The Grinch?
  • April 25, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^No, although they can certainly intersect, hating a holiday and claiming its a scam perpetrated for profit aren't the same.
  • April 25, 2013
    Random888
    On Parks And Recreation, Ron claims that birthdays were invented by Hallmark to sell cards.
  • April 25, 2013
    Hodor
    ^Maybe I'm confusing that scene, but I seem to remember him making the same comment about Valentines Day as well.
  • April 25, 2013
    DunDun
    I wholly support the Hallmark Holiday, since that's the name I've always heard this as. This trope can definitely be expanded to all the holidays that are given this treatment in fiction, i.e., Valentine's, greeting card and candy companies; Halloween, candy companies; Christmas, greeting card and toy companies (may include video game co.); and St. Patrick's, beer companies, to name a few.

    A bit on the Real Life Valentine's explanation (since this trope needs it for every holiday mentioned): During the time of the soon-to-be-saint Valentine in Rome, soldiers were forbidden to marry. Valentine didn't think that was right, so he married the soldiers with their loved ones anyways.

    Obviously, that explanation needs more, but that's the gist of it. Extremely ironic nowadays seeing how LGBT people can't get married in most (Christian) countries.
  • April 25, 2013
    DracMonster
    • Mother's Day is a unique case of the creator thinking this. Anna Jarvis proposed the holiday in 1908 after holding a memorial for her mother, and the idea was enthusiastically accepted and made a national holiday. But when gift and flower sellers began supplying the new demand, she grew upset at the commercialization. She spent the rest of her life and her inheritance crusading against people buying gifts and cards for the holiday.
  • January 9, 2018
    AndreaTx
    I don't watch sitcoms, but I remember Don Draper invoking this in an episode of Mad Men after Peggy complains about her romantic prospects and not receiving flowers for Valentine's Day.
  • January 9, 2018
    FRizer
    It's not a conspiracy, at least for some countries; in Japan for one the "obligation/friend chocolate" and "White Day" are made-up things there by companies to boost chocolate sales.

    The one who starts the "Valentine chocolate" thing in general, btw, is England (IIRC).
  • January 9, 2018
    Kartoonkid95
    Another Simpsons example:
    • In "Another Simpsons Clip Show", Marge gathers the family to talk about romance, which Lisa describes as having been "acquired in a hostile takeover by Hallmark and Disney, homogenized and sold off piece by piece."
  • January 9, 2018
    Jokubas
    I definitely think there is a trope here, when you have a situation, often in a Sit Com, where someone points out the commercialization of a holiday or the commercial origin of things now strongly associated with a holiday as a reason that they do not celebrate it and try to get others to not celebrate it.

    ^^ But, I was going to say, there's a problem with the current draft treating it like the idea has to come from misinformed or crazy characters. The popular image of Santa Claus may not have been invented by them, but was popularized in part by Coca Cola back in the 30s, and it's well documented how the De Beers company's marketing created such ideas as diamonds being a symbol of love and commitment.

    Perhaps part of the trope could be about characters treating them as crazy even when they're not, but there's an actual origin for this concept. Also, every holiday is "made up" somewhere along the line. ;P

    I also support the name being Hallmark Holiday, because it's a little more neutral while still getting across the idea, even if it's a specific reference.
  • January 9, 2018
    AndreaTx
    I like Hallmark Holiday. This makes me think of Kays Jewelers and their slogan "Every kiss begins with Kay."
  • January 10, 2018
    Synchronicity
    This is Crappy Holidays but more specific.
  • January 10, 2018
    eroock
    ^ Nope, this trope is about characters suspecting that Valentine's Day (or Christmas) was invented to sell products. This may impact their experience of the event but that's not central or required for the trope to apply.
  • January 10, 2018
    CelestiaCadenceLuna
    • Downplayed with White Day in Ah My Goddess. Megumi says it's a Japanese tradition, but doesn't expound any further, and neither Belldandy (who obviously knows what Valentine Day is, being an angel and all) not the show itself ever accuse the Japanese of "trying to take Saint Valentine out of Valentine Day" by creating a second Valentine Day.
  • January 10, 2018
    FRizer
  • January 10, 2018
    CelestiaCadenceLuna
    Can we get some validity to F Rizer's statement? I'm not Japanese, but the aforementioned Ah My Goddess episode treats it as a Anna Jarvis-like Thanksgiving-like traditional Japanese holiday rooted in their culture, rather than an invention of chocolate companies.

    I'm aware that a second Valentine Day that is removed from Saint Valentine seems like a corporate cash-grab, but I'm not familiar enough with Japanese culture and history to say that such is the case.
  • January 11, 2018
    FRizer
    ^ Not a really good source, but here
  • January 11, 2018
    Larkmarn
    I support Hallmark Holiday, or Hallmark Holiday Hater if it's about the person. I think it's reasonably distinct from Crappy Holidays.
  • January 14, 2018
    marcoasalazarm
    More Simpsons examples: "The Menace Wore Tennis Shoes" has Homer, desperate to publish more stories as web-based reporter "Mr. X", creates a Conspiracy Theory regarding people being brainwashed through injections. Not only did he ended up being accidentally correct, but the Motive Rant given to him by the leader of the conspiracy includes the fact that said brainwashing is done to increase sells at Christmastime.
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