My Biggest Issue with Hulu's Lesbian Holiday Movie (as a Lesbian)

Would I marry Kristen Stewart tomorrow if I had the chance? Yes. Would I marry Clea DuVall tomorrow if I had the chance? Yes. Would I marry Dan Levy tomorrow if I had the chance? No, but I would propose a platonic sleepover at the Rosebud Motel.

So imagine my delight when I heard all three would be involved in Happiest Season, a holiday movie coming to Hulu on November 26.

Then imagine my delight when I heard that Happiest Season would be a queer holiday movie. My little gay heart hadn't been so happy since Niecy Nash publicly came out by marrying a smokin' hot musician named Jessica Betts this summer.

Earlier this week, the film's first trailer was released. (Notice how I didn't say 'came out'—that's foreshadowing, folks.) I paused my Aimee Mann Spotify playlist, took off my Dr. Martens to get comfier and summoned my legion of cats (just kidding—the cat part is fake). I hate to say it, but my first reaction was a tinge of disappointment. But why? I love the cast and I love to see an openly queer woman (DuVall) writing and directing.

I was disappointed because, like so many queer or queer-adjacent films before it, it centers on coming out. Specifically, Stewart plays Abby, a lesbian who's close to getting engaged to her girlfriend, Harper (Mackenzie Davis). The two head to Harper's hometown for the holidays, where it's revealed that she's very much still in the closet to her family. (As a quick aside, I don't know if you're a woman who's ever been on a date with a woman, but the idea that Abby wouldn't know that Harper wasn't out to her family is...hard to believe. I once dated a girl who wasn't fully out to her family and we talked about it the first time we met.)

Now, I am all for queer representation in TV and movies. I've watched entire series for one gay kiss (looking at you, Killing Eve). But have we not gotten to the point where two queer characters can be the focal point of a movie in which their queerness is irrelevant?

I want to see a classic holiday comedy where no one bats an eyelash at the fact that the main characters are queer. There's a disastrous run in with the family dog and the Christmas tree; a little sister who's secretly TikTok famous; a zany neighbor who directs the squirrels in her backyard in an adaptation of A Christmas Story—the works. I want to see a rom-com where queer people are portrayed as just that...people.

None of this is to say that I won't be watching Happiest Season the second it's available. As I said, any kind of positive queer representation in entertainment is a step in the right direction, and far be it for me to turn my nose up just because this particular movie doesn't check all of my boxes. Still, I'm so looking forward to the day when the sexual orientation of the characters we see on TV and in movies isn't even one of the 15 most noteworthy things about them.

And Kristen and Clea: If you see this and aren't offended by what I've written, I'd love to discuss the whole marriage thing. My email is

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Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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