The holidays are to Lifetime like sharks are to Discovery Channel. The A&E network, known for stuffing us with sappy heart-tuggers as we approach year’s end, has earned the title of OG of the Christmas game. This season, it’s debuting 14 new original films plus a handful of acquired titles, and to ring in all this good cheer, it’s dropped two story-driven ads that could be mini-Lifetime holiday movies of their own.
One features a pair of single-parent families who happen to be neighbors and gradually get to know each other by peeking through each other’s frosty windows. (At this point --as we do with Lifetime fare--we’re suspending our suspiciousness and acting like it’s 1985, when perhaps it wasn’t as sketchy or stalkery to be looking into your neighbor’s windows.) The parents in the windows--a dad in one, a mom in the other--both have daughters and start to leave each other cute messages on the chilly panes.
They begin by writing “Merry Christmas” to each other and then move on to introducing themselves: “I’m Mike” pens the dad, while the mom responds “I’m Sara.” The cuteness escalates with more adorable messages (“Ho-ho ho”), drawings of snowmen and directions to look up at the moon. (Again, we continue to suspend our disbelief because gee, their handwriting --and even the kerning of their letters-IS EXACTLY THE SAME! These two must be a match made in heaven!) It turns out they are because when they finally leave their homes to meet face-to-face, it looks like it’s gonna by Brady Bunch from here on out.
But wait, there’s a twist! Why, the parents weren’t leaving messages at all! In the final scene, we see the daughters peering out of their homes, acknowledging “mission accomplished” via more icy script.
If that first ad doesn’t turn you into complete mush, the second will certainly do you in. It features a boy who all throughout the year doesn’t go anywhere, John Lewis Monty the Penguin-style, without his little toy soldier. Finally, when Christmas comes ‘round, while the action figure doesn’t get a new companion like Monty did, you finally see why the boy was so tied to the tiny toy.
The ads, part of the “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” campaign, were created by Lifetime’s in-house team and directed by Jean.