2020 is the year of the queer Christmas it seems. In addition to Lifetime's The Christmas Setup, which will feature the real-life married actors Blake Lee and Ben Lewis as one-time crushes whose paths cross again, and Clea DuVall's Happiest Season which stars Kristen Stewart as a character proposing to her girlfriend, the Hallmark Channel is ready to make the yuletide gay. And they are hoping Mean Girls can help them do so.
For their first holiday film that features an LGBTQ+ storyline, the much-watched network has cast Jonathan Bennett of Mean Girls fame as a lead. In the project, which is titled The Christmas House, Bennett will play Brandon. The character has returned home with his husband, played by Brad Harder, while they "are anxiously awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child." They spend the time with the family which is rounded out by brother Mike, played by Robert Buckley, and parents Bill and Phylis, played by Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence respectively.
“Our holiday table is bigger and more welcoming than ever,” Michelle Vicary, executive vice president, programming said in the network's announcement. “Our movies are rooted in warmth and positivity, meaningful connections, family gatherings, and seasonal traditions – a winning formula we hope will bring our millions of viewers much-needed levity and holiday cheer at the end of a tough year.”
The movie will join the annual "Countdown to Christmas" slate of projects that will begin airing on November 23. It comes after years of criticism that the network did not show a diversity of narratives. This criticism heightened last December when the network pulled an ad that featured a same-sex couple. Days prior to that, a report found that there wasn't a single major LGBTQ+ character in the channel's 2019 Christmas lineup and the CEO said they were "open" to the idea.