A Hallmark Presentation refers to any story that is assumed to be told in the Lighter and Softer style traditionally associated with the made-for-TV films produced for the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Hall of Fame, which, appropriately for a greeting-card company, tend to specialize in Rose-Tinted Narratives.
Basically, A Hallmark Presentation is the bright and cheerful alternative to the Lifetime Movie of the Week (a lot of performers freely bounce between the two, in fact, especially because there are Only So Many Canadian Actors).
It is thus often used as a
negative er, positive intensifier, in comparisons with Darker and Edgier works:
This has turned it into a minor colloquial expression in the U.S., associating "a Hallmark Presentation" with "Hallmark card sentiment", which is an example of Flanderization in real life.
Ironically, the actual Hallmark Hall of Fame is a pretty well-respected long-runner produced and aired by Hallmark, and the quality has a considerably wide range with many standout offerings. Not unlike HBO, there are many actual Hallmark-produced films that contain biting drama and subvert the general stereotype of A Hallmark Presentation.
For info on the actual long-running Hallmark Hall of Fame series, see Hallmark Hall of Fame.
Darker and Edgier installments of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series may be noted on that page as subversions of the trope.
A Hallmark Presentation describes works that fit in the more general popular conception of "Hallmark Sentiment".
Cynical persons may consider this a form of Glurge, but it is perhaps broader than that.
This trope describes a Genre notable for TV drama, but examples can be found in all media.
Tropes traditionally associated with "Hallmark Sentiment" include:
- Glurge (sometimes)
- Hollywood New England: A staple, especially in their Christmas movies. Often, it's actually filmed in Canada.
- Lighter and Softer
- Only So Many Canadian Actors: Many are filmed in Vancouver or Almonte, Ontario, so expect a few familiar names from Canadian television or voice acting to pop up.
- Product Placement:
- A special case: actual Hallmark Hall of Fame films are produced and "presented" by Hallmark, like sponsored opera telecasts, and range from Lighter and Softer to Darker and Edgier.
- Played straight in several Christmas films, where a building or a vintage car or truck owned by a character will bear a striking resemblance to an ornament released the year of production.
- Rose-Tinted Narrative
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: On the idealistic end of the scale, usually.
- Sugar Apocalypse: Sometimes.
- Tastes Like Diabetes.
Examples can be found in the following works:
- Any movie that plays on Hallmark Channel, including Shark Swarm.
- Parodied in The Simpsons episode "A Springfield Summer Christmas for Christmas".