includes rule covering "Unspecified Winter Celebration"
September 21, 2022 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Any ex-lovers of residents of Spirit Falls must file, in writing, their intent to enter city limits ninety days before an intended visit. The paperwork must include a notarized affidavit of intent to not participate in, instigate, or be the recipient of romantic gestures. "We Are a Picturesque Small Town and We Refuse to Be the Setting for Your Romantic Comedy" by Rachel Mans McKenny, a short humorous piece in McSweeney's.
posted by brainwane (54 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
12. All snow removal will occur promptly within the municipal area, specifically the roads to and from the Spirit Falls Cabin Resort.

Okay, but how many beds do the rooms there have?
posted by jedicus at 9:42 AM on September 21 [4 favorites]


Huge fucking loophole in not forbidding people who have detested each other since they were children and nevertheless keep having small inconveniences that bring them together.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:45 AM on September 21 [13 favorites]


What's the position on boom boxes in any capacity?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:51 AM on September 21 [5 favorites]



8. All billionaires in Spirit Falls must be in a long-term committed relationship and/or talk about Bitcoin to the extent that precludes romantic interest in them.


lol

("lol" is now my compulsive response to anything bad for cryptocurrency.)
posted by suetanvil at 9:59 AM on September 21 [9 favorites]


Some of these seem suspiciously appropriate for fanfiction as well, not least the dreaded coffee shops and rooms with only one bed.
posted by thomas j wise at 9:59 AM on September 21 [2 favorites]


Some of these seem suspiciously appropriate for fanfiction as well, not least the dreaded coffee shops and rooms with only one bed.

Rom-com manga too, though the "picturesque small town" would need to be changed to "suburb in the Tokyo metro area".
posted by May Kasahara at 10:04 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]


What, no provision for the designation of a curmudgeonly/nosy neighbor who turns out to have a heart of gold?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:04 AM on September 21 [6 favorites]


[Fanfic] learned it by watching [RomComs]!

No mention of attractive veterinarians, or struggling wineries, or community theaters putting on lavishly-produced plays, so my fourteen spec scripts are safe.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:12 AM on September 21 [17 favorites]


Never thought I'd see the day where the works of a wife of a friend would be featured in the blue.
posted by drstrangelove at 10:33 AM on September 21 [5 favorites]


Are specific movies referenced here or is it a generic list?
posted by dhruva at 11:18 AM on September 21


dhruva - a bit of both? It's referencing tropes that seem especially common in those Christmas specials that the Hallmark channel does. So it's a generic list for a specific network.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:21 AM on September 21 [2 favorites]


Some of these seem suspiciously appropriate for fanfiction as well, not least the dreaded coffee shops and rooms with only one bed.

Some day, there will be a coffee shop with only one mug.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:44 AM on September 21 [7 favorites]


I loved the second paragraph, which includes a list of "businesses have been brought back from the brink of corporate take-over and/or foreclosure and/or family disagreement threatening financial ruin." Among them are:

Our used bookstore, Second Chance Books
Our coffee shop, Coffeenation
Our combination coffee shop and used bookstore, Bean There, Read That
Our doughnut shop, Fried and True
Our combination bookstore and doughnut shop, The Hole Story
posted by Bella Donna at 11:50 AM on September 21 [7 favorites]


Couple years ago, I decided to watch one of those Hallmark Xmas movies on a whim. It was called "The Christmas Cottage."

Setting: Modern day America. It was about the 30 year old daughter of a family from a rural area returning home for Xmas. She'd been living in The Big City working a City Slicker Architect Career and had her Nerdy Big City Boyfriend accompanying her on the drive there. Can't remember all the details, but their car broke down (I think) somewhere on the outskirts of her tiny hometown. Nerdy Big City Boyfriend was clueless about fixing the car, so 30-year old Daughter used her experience with tracking in the back woods to lead the two of them to safety. 30 year old small town daughter knew all about finding her way in the woods while Nerdy Big City Boyfriend whined and complained. While traveling through the woods, they came across the ruins of the old Christmas Cottage her family used to go to during the Holidays. Apparently, in the 10 years she had been gone, this cottage had deteriorated alarmingly. Full of broken furniture, spider webs, boarded up windows, etc.

The obviously incompatible couple finally arrive at her folks' home, and it's a cozy, lovely place full of good tidings and cheer. Her Grampa lived there, too, but was bedridden and sick. For some reason they hired a 50 year old actor play Grampa and put really bad Old Man makeup on him. I immediately expected that something magical would happen to Grampa and he would be stripped of the makeup at the end... but no.

Family is SHOCKED to hear that they ran into the Xmas Cottage, and Grampa says he hadn't thought about that place in "a long, long time" even though 30 year old daughter had fond memories of the place until she moved away. So at most the cottage was left alone for 10 or so years. Why did the family let this treasured Xmas Cottage go to hell? No explanation. And 10 years is not really "a long, long time" for an elderly man to forget about this cottage.

Hunky, Christian BackWoods Handyman shows up to fix up the Xmas Cottage with help of 30 YO daughter's architectural skills. Nerdy Big City Boyfriend gets fed up with her family and leaves. Daughter asks why Grampa doesn't like Nerdy Boyfriend, and Gramps replies "It's not that I DON'T like him... he's just a little too 'city' for me."

Daughter and Xtian Handyman fall in love without even touching each other once. Not exaggerating. But you can TELL that they are totally falling in love. They fix up this filthy, broken down, piece of shit Xmas Cottage in a couple days time... just in time for Xmas Eve! The family gathers there on the 24th of December. Hunky Handyman asks 30 YO daughter's father if he can dance with her (!!!) and Dad graciously says YES. So at the party, the happy couple dance an arm's length apart from each other (!!!) to some old-timey Xmas song and the family applauds. Later, Handyman Xtian asks Dad if he can court 30 YO daughter, and Dad once again says... YES!

It's implied that they all live happily ever after. Grampa is standing up having fun at the party (this love connection helped heal him?) but he's still wearing the amateur old man makeup. I think Handyman has a wedding ring for daughter at the end, but I might have hallucinated that part.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:58 AM on September 21 [16 favorites]


The Minnesota town I live in is ostensibly the setting (and was the filming location) for a Hallmark Christmas movie. They named the coffee shop “The Bun Also Rises” and an insurance company store front stood in for Chicago. It’s bad.
posted by dismas at 12:15 PM on September 21 [10 favorites]


The climax hinges on someone getting stranded in a snowstorm on the way to the airport, which is 45 minutes away along a major interstate
posted by dismas at 12:16 PM on September 21 [4 favorites]


My sister lives in this exact little town in Northern Mass although it's called Shelburne Falls, not Spirit Falls. It's got every one of those shops and a Halloween parade and a big winter celebration on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

They do film up there a lot but it seems to be more horror than romance. Oh and the most recent season of Dexter.
posted by octothorpe at 12:16 PM on September 21 [9 favorites]


I have never ever watched a single one of these Hallmark-style and/or Christian-oriented movies, which makes the utterly familiar/predictable nature of SoberHighland's description above a pretty damning indictment of the genre's insipidness.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:21 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


Now that I’m dating again, my biggest fear, as a busy city dweller is losing my girlfriend to a hometown hunk with a failing business and a young son who teaches her the true meaning of Christmas.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:40 PM on September 21 [26 favorites]


Spirit Falls also aggressively patrols the highway leading to the airport. You WILL get a speeding ticket in your attempt to stop someone from getting on a plane. Explaining your intentions to the police officer will not get you out of the ticket or a police escort to said airport even though the police officer is on unexpectedly friendly terms with you despite not being over their high school crush on your departing love interest. It is part of their training and the police operation manual clearly states failure to enforce speeding laws or providing inappropriate escorts will result in termination. (It’s frankly disturbing the police use of force policy is not this well developed in Spirit Falls.)
posted by vorpal bunny at 12:41 PM on September 21 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: this filthy, broken down, piece of shit Xmas Cottage
posted by vorpal bunny at 12:43 PM on September 21 [10 favorites]


They really dropped the ball by not including a holiday special during the first season of The Good Place.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:15 PM on September 21 [10 favorites]


These movies play endlessly at my house, and at this point I have seen enough of them that I can usually recite the dialogue along with the speakers. I even recognize the actors so I know who will do a heel turn, and when it will come, and who will rescue them.

It's basically WWE with shirts on and fake snow.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:21 PM on September 21 [17 favorites]


It's basically WWE with shirts on and fake snow.

This is a deep insight.

I think it needs to be pushed to its logical conclusion.

WWE needs a set of characters based on rom com cliches. I think everybody would like to see lovable but ornery grandfather hit unappreciative boyfriend with a folding chair after getting tagged into the ring by newly widowed high school crush.
posted by vorpal bunny at 1:29 PM on September 21 [28 favorites]


newly widowed amnesiac high school crush.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:53 PM on September 21 [5 favorites]


WWE needs a set of characters based on rom com cliches. I think everybody would like to see lovable but ornery grandfather hit unappreciative boyfriend with a folding chair after getting tagged into the ring by newly widowed high school crush.

Legit if AEW did this for Christmas I would be one thousand percent unsurprised. A Season for Powerslams, starring Britt Baker as the career-driven woman in a relationship with a slick urban dirtbag (Adam Cole, BayBay!) and Hangman Adam Page as the other Adam, who teaches her the meaning of Christmas by doin' some cowboy shit.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:07 PM on September 21 [5 favorites]


re: Shelburne Falls:
The downtown includes an independently owned pharmacy with a soda fountain, one coffee shop, a trolley museum, several restaurants, two pizza parlors, three bookstores, a newsstand, a country doctor, a grocery store, a natural foods store, many artists' galleries, and the second oldest bowling alley in the country, the Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley candlepin.
...holy crap!
posted by praemunire at 2:30 PM on September 21 [5 favorites]


Hangman Adam Page as the other Adam, who teaches her the meaning of Christmas by doin' some cowboy shit.

This is amazing. Teaching people the meaning of Christmas by doin’ cowboy shit now IS the meaning of Christmas in my view. (For people with questions about how the meaning of Christmas can have a recursive definition, suffice it to say that it is doin’ cowboy shit all the way down.)
posted by vorpal bunny at 2:43 PM on September 21 [5 favorites]


If we're going to discuss Shelburne Falls and its proximity to romance tropes I feel it is important to note that one of the (quaint small independent) bookstores downtown has a resident cat named Boswell.
posted by posadnitsa at 3:04 PM on September 21 [9 favorites]


Boswell is pretty great, I have to admit. Very friendly!

Also, the list of Shelburne Falls attractions shamefully omits the glacial potholes underneath the dam, which are reasonably unique and very neat looking.

(signed, someone who grew up one town over – in a yet smaller town, which has too little commerce to even qualify as a romcom movie setting!)
posted by cyrusdogstar at 3:17 PM on September 21 [7 favorites]


Love and Banjos - a Hallmark Romance
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:24 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


Love Boswell.
posted by octothorpe at 3:25 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


These are also the tropes in m/m romance fiction, which some of my friends and I read a lot of.

Big Eden, I have to say, is the lovely gay version of this movie starring Arye Gross, Louise Fletcher, and lots of other people you might recognize from various places. A whole meddling but good-hearted small town unites to help a quiet member of their community win the heart of the big-city artist who has come back to town to take care of his ailing Grampy. It has all the tropes, but deploys them very well.
posted by Well I never at 3:46 PM on September 21 [3 favorites]


You all laugh, but I live for Netflix winter romcom season.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:16 PM on September 21 [3 favorites]


Is Boswell worth a road trip?
posted by wenestvedt at 5:33 PM on September 21 [3 favorites]


I'm obviously biased but I would wager Shelburne Falls, Boswell included, is worth up to a ~2h drive (one way), though obviously YMM (literally!) V; depending on how much you like cute small towns in attractive natural settings, how much you dislike driving, how much you like bookshop cats, whether it's just one stop on a multi stop trip (western MA does have a lot of neat stuff), e t c.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 6:21 PM on September 21 [4 favorites]


Oh heck I just noticed ANOTHER glaring omission in the earlier list: the Bridge of Flowers, which is a very neat old bridge that's been turned into a river-spanning botanical garden. It's not huge or anything, but like the Potholes, it's pretty unique and pleasing to the eye. Highly recommend visiting the town during flower season so you can catch it in bloom!
posted by cyrusdogstar at 6:24 PM on September 21 [3 favorites]


... a river-spanning botanical garden. It's not huge or anything, but like the Potholes ...

I submit that a garden-bridge is nothing like potholes. Except possibly if flowers have been planted in said potholes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:27 PM on September 21


Isn't Christmas Cottage a Thomas Kincade ripoff thing?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:31 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


They had me at 3. Local lumber industry professionals should refrain from wearing tight flannel shirts in public.
posted by theora55 at 7:32 PM on September 21 [3 favorites]


I submit that a garden-bridge is nothing like potholes. Except possibly if flowers have been planted in said potholes.

Not that kind of pothole! This kind of Pothole!
posted by cyrusdogstar at 7:59 PM on September 21 [1 favorite]


Oooooohhhhhhhh, I see.

Still ain't no flowers in 'em though....
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:20 PM on September 21


Oh man, now I really really really want to go to Shelburne Falls, and it’s all the fault of that troublemaker cyrusdogstar.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:33 AM on September 22 [3 favorites]


There will be absolutely no conversation with shy, cute, nerdy visitors who have come to town to pet the Internet famous Boswell at the bookstore. Violators subject to fine.
posted by medusa at 2:50 AM on September 22 [5 favorites]


Isn't Christmas Cottage a Thomas Kincade ripoff thing?

Might be. Watched it on Netflix, I believe. This was at least 5-6 years ago now that I think about it more deeply. But those specific lines of dialog still stick with me. It was fairly entertaining in a bad-movie way.
posted by SoberHighland at 3:14 AM on September 22


They did not ban Civil War Reenactments by innocent seeming older men that valorize southern virtues but are somehow just harmless charming old wealthy landowner fools who know no better.
posted by srboisvert at 3:47 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


> Isn't Christmas Cottage a Thomas Kincade ripoff thing?

Might be. Watched it on Netflix, I believe.


I admit that I got curious enough to Google the IMDB links and such - and there are TWO "Christmas Cottage" movies. One is titled simply Christmas Cottage and the other is The Christmas Cottage.

Christmas Cottage was not a Thomas Kinkade ripoff - it was a Thomas Kinkade biopic.

The Christmas Cottage was the Hallmark Channel romcom type of thing - although the plot sounds somewhat different to the one previously described. There's no city boyfriend, and I don't see any grandfather referenced; our heroine is an architect, though, living as a single gal in the big city. She comes back to the Small Town to help prepare for her childhood BFF's wedding, and the cottage in question is an old cottage that the family owns; they have some family lore that any engaged couple who spends Christmas Eve in the cottage will have their marriage permanently blessed or something. But said cottage is in ruins, so they have asked our heroine to help them fix it up since she's an architect and everything. And our heroine gets snowed in with the bride-to-be's brother - a former boyfriend of our heroine - and wouldn't you know it, THEY'RE the ones who end up staying there on Christmas Eve....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:13 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


I prefer Hellmark's Krampus Cottage. Same basic plot, but any engaged couple who spends Christmas Eve in the cottage is eaten.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:17 AM on September 22 [6 favorites]


Spoiler alert: Grandpa is Krampus. And the "city girl" is actually there to lure her big city boyfriend to his death. But she falls in love with a local witch hunter, accidentally spends the night in the cabin with him, and grandpa is forced to eat them both. The last scene jumps to the following winter as her younger sister is sent off to the city to lure another city slicker to follow her home for Christmas dinner.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:22 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


It's heart warming. Literally. Grampus roasts their still-beating hearts over the crackling Euell leg. Yes, I spelled that correctly. Euell is was the town sheriff.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:35 AM on September 22 [2 favorites]


Shit. Now I have to write this script, don't I?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:38 AM on September 22 [7 favorites]


My only experience is the Simpson’s parody. I’m thinking that is enough?
posted by aiq at 9:04 AM on September 22 [1 favorite]


Some day, there will be a coffee shop with only one mug.
it will be a Tim Hortons on a frozen lake
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:48 PM on September 22 [3 favorites]


Okay, I have an idea for the second season of Schmigadoon! now...
posted by rmd1023 at 11:25 AM on September 23 [2 favorites]


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