To quote the Sunset Boulevard musical, “Girl meets boy/That’s a safe beginning.”
It’s the basis of thousands of romantic-comedies, a genre that can be thrillingly passionate at its best and The Ugly Truth at its worst. Hulu’s Happiest Season doesn’t follow the safe girl-meets-boy beginning, because there is no boy; the Christmas-season rom-com is about a queer couple, Abby (played by Kristen Stewart) and Harper (MacKenzie Davis), who are on the verge of getting engaged until Harper informs Abby that she hasn’t come out to her buttoned-up family. It’s the rare studio comedy about a same-sex couple.
“You enter the movie immediately comforted by [knowing it’s a rom-com]. For me, especially, as somebody who would completely identify with a story of this kind, [the audience] is just put at ease in a way that’s immediate,” Stewart told the Advocate about Happiest Season. “It’s like, in this beautiful way, indulgent. And it just feels f*cking good.” Davis — who deserved an Emmy for Halt and Catch Fire, and I’m still mad about it — echoed Stewart’s comments.
“It also doesn’t make it an event, which is so nice. It’s two people in love and there is this obstacle that they have to get over. Obviously, that is contingent on their sexuality, but everything else feels ancillary to the fact that they’re lesbians. There are stories about gay and lesbian couples or a person of some marginalized identity that are tragedies or, at the very least, high dramas. It’s so nice to be like, ‘There will be problems, but they will end up fine.’”
Directed and co-written by Clea DuVall with Mary Holland, Happiest Season, which also stars Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy, Victor Garber, and Mary Steenburgen, premieres on Hulu on November 25.