Christmas at the Palace: Family Observations

Katie, our heroine, is a former figure skating champ who suffered an injury and turned her focus to putting on ice shows in foreign made-up countries like San Senova, where our hero is the begrudging King. Troubled by loss is his past, can he embrace Christmas cheer in the present – and our heroine?

I sat down to watch this gem with my sister, brother-in-law, and mother. There were varying responses to the film.

We open on: CGI snow, and no shots of faces as a “professional” ice skater swirls on the ice.

My mother: Do you feel bad you guys never got to ice skate?

Brother-in-law. “M”: [in no way related to my mother] I do, and I blame you.

Hallmark Hallmarks: There’s a Nicholas in this movie, as I’ve discovered there is in any Hallmark movie. New element to a drinking game: do a shot when you’re introduced to a Nicholas.

Our hero is called “The Grinch King” by his people, which is fair because he just looked at a tree and said “why is THIS in here?” Also, there are way worse things to be called.

Hallmark Reality Check 1: The entire country of San Senova was founded on Christmas, both the day and the idea. I don’t even remotely understand how this works. What is their international trade like? Is it all flown over in sleighs by old fat bearded drivers?

Hallmark of Hallmarks: Our hero, Grinch King, has a kid. Yeah, he’s a dad. What do you think happened to the Mom?” – “M” slashes at his throat.

Hallmark of Hallmarks: Heroine bumps into hero: “There’s no way that’s she didn’t see him.” – Sister

Hallmark “Comedy” Hallmark: King gets up to give a speech, knocks everything down “King Doofus…the FIRST.” – M

Regarding our heroine and her best friend: Me: “I can’t tell which one’s Katie and which one’s Jessica.” Mom: “They’re not sisters” M: “I think they’re clones.”

Hallmark realities: The royal family inexplicably has a private ice rink.

We now have a time frame for romance: two weeks. We know this is the time frame because Christmas is two weeks away. In a Christmas movie if the climax doesn’t happen ON Christmas, something has gone awry.

Hallmark realities: Our heroine’s dream is to buy an ice rink in New Jersey, because of course it is.

Meanwhile the secondary romance between the clone bestie and the chief advisor is percolating nicely and normally. No weird hitches here, why would there be? They’re just plotting and development.

Hallmark Prediction:  Clone Bestie breaks an ankle before the performance and our heroine is forced to take on the lead role. Meanwhile, the Grinch King is going to play the ice skating hero that requires no ice skating, and his daughter is going to play the historical princess of yore, neatly occupying all principle players on the ice.

Aside: If I’m being honest we’re all spending way too much time trying to figure out the relationship of Princess Patricia to the King. Sister? Aunt? Great Aunt? 

Mom [after The Grinch King specifically calls her by her name]: “That one’s Katie

Hallmark breaks the fourth wall: Katie: “Christmas is my middle name.” You honestly can’t joke about this in Hallmark movies, Katie.

Hallmark realities: Katie just compared prom queen to being an actual king to his face.

“My family has always assisted the crown.” Slavery, that’s what that is. – Sister

Clone bestie Jessica just injured her ankle. We’re in the endgame now.

The king’s adviser enters the room and immediately backs off on seeing our romantic pair at arts and crafts. “This important state business can wait. He’s sewing… something he’s never done before.” – Sister

Clone bestie flirting with the adviser: “Speaking of adventure—” Have you ever been to Trenton?” – Sister

Oh look at that, Katie’s skating the Queen role.

They continuously cut away from anyone actually getting on the ice. I don’t think anyone knows how to skateM

Hallmark Reality Check: On the handmade Grinch King stockings for the staff: Those are a little close to the fire.Mom

Hallmark missed opportunity: “What if you didn’t have to lose anyone?” our king asks obviously proffering immortality which would be a fantastic plot twist.

“Do you date?” “Not since Kristina’s mother died.” That implies he was dating when his wife was…alive?” – M

Mom just shushed M for talking while the characters are talking.

M: “Are you afraid you’re going to lose the plot?”

Mom: “…No.”

Hallmark jumps the shark: Now there’s a mythical Christmas star that guides them all. The Sen Senova star. I feel like there was something like this in The Lion King too. – Sister

Hallmark Hallmark: There’s a copious amount of contemplative tree staring in this movie.

Hallmark Reality Check: An anxious clone bestie to Katie about the ice rink she just flew to Trenton to purchase: “What if you don’t like it?” It’s an ice rink. Can’t she just facetime the ice rink to her? Sister

Hallmark Hallmark: There’s a lot of dead moms. – Sister

The Grinch King to his kid: “Tina Bear you do know I can skate.” Literally no one knew he could do that.

Katie makes her entrance back to the rink and approaches the princess: “You’re out kid – M

I think we can all agree that they missed a real opportunity with the title here. They were so close with Grinch King. Why Hallmark, WHY.

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