So I’m giving up watching Season 4 of The Crown right now to do this recap – I hope you are all impressed with the strength of my resolve. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have half a dozen movies on my DVR to watch and every day there are more to come. Plus, I want to watch that Jingle Jangle thing on Netflix – I’ve heard really good things. But you’re not here for my viewing schedule, you’re here for the Hallmark. Today’s installment stars Mona from Pretty Little Liars and original Jack Kelly on Broadway’s Newsies, super dreamy and amazingly talented singer, Jeremy Jordan. It’s Holly & Ivy!
Janel Parris plays Melody, and she is driving one of those station wagons with wood paneling. I didn’t think people drove those anymore. They are in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and full disclosure, I just watched Titanic yesterday, so, hey, birthplace of Jack Dawson. Melody just bought a fixer-upper, and her neighbors are the titular Holly and Ivy, little girls with a puppy who are raised by what appears to be a single mom. Melody has a lot of books in her wood car – like hoarders level. That’s perfectly fine and normal and no one can have too many books. Melody got her Masters in Library Science, but does not have a job yet. Full disclosure, working in a library is kind of a dream of mine, although I don’t want to go back to school for a MS in Library Science. Her new house is charmingly messed up – beautiful wood and trimmings, but with a lot of drop cloths. Nothing a little elbow grease, Pledge, and a vision board can’t take care of. Right?
All right, I call shenanigans right here. Her fixer upper’s doorknobs are falling apart but she has a shiny antique Aga like stove???? She’s also on the job hunt, and rather than do what other people do and haunt the internet, she’s bearding the lion in the den by dropping her resume off at a whole bunch of overly-decorated libraries. None of the libraries have the budget, but wouldn’t you know it, the last one lets her do something on approval.
Jeremy Jordan shows up at the overly decorated hardware/fabric store. Seriously, there are doornobs in the same aisle as ribbon. And while they’re meet-cute-ing in the doorknob aisle, she schools him on what she needs, and he gracefully admits to trying to mansplain. His name is Adam, and they are adorable together already. He’s a contractor, and her house is falling apart. My goodness, what are the odds! But Adam has drama too, his father owns a lot of car dealerships, and his dad is pressuring him to go run one, instead of being sexy contractor man.
Melody is bonding with her neighbors over books, and I just realized I’ve lived at my current location for 16 years and don’t know any of my neighbors’ names. The older neighbor daughter is much more cautious than the younger one, and it seems weird. There’s gotta be backstory there. Edit – no, there isn’t. She’s just shy. Or something.
Adam is at his mom’s making gingerbread houses (did anyone have gingerbread houses before the first commercial break on their Bingo card?) and his parents still want more for him than he wants for himself. Cut back to Melody – she’s being visited by her neighbor, Nina, bearing leftovers and thank you cards and Melody microwaves tea. I will let that slide once because she probably doesn’t have a kettle, but let me say, ew. Nina and Melody bond over having dead (or no) parents, and we’re right back to Adam in his workshop that is lit up by Christmas lights. WHO DOES THAT? Apparently he does, while he makes furniture and sleds in his spare time. Oh, Jeremy Jordan, just sing already.
Nina just collapsed at Melody’s house and is propped up against the lovely shiny antique stove. Nina says she’s just overworked, and now Melody is going to babysit for the girls in order to give Nina a break. After commercials, we see that babysitting involves Melody getting a makeover from Ivy, which looks amazing for a 6 year old. Crafting in the kitchen means sitting in a room that has light up garland at counter level, which to me seems like a fire hazard. They head to the hardware store where they meet up with Adam, who stumbles through asking her out.
Nina, Holly, and Ivy have a dance party while they trim the tree, and I want to do that, but Older and Younger Son will balk at organized choreography. And we also find out that Nina has been in remission for 2 years, and is looking at a third round of lymphoma. Holly overhears that Nina’s mom is probably gonna die which puts a whole damper on the festivities. Ivy lists out her Christmas wishes, which includes a sled (conveniently already in works at Adam’s workshop), and Holly goes over to Melody’s house to get more Trixie Belden books, and Melody proudly shows off the fact that she installed a working showerhead. Girl has a clawfoot tub and a freaking lace shower curtain. Where does that make sense, some distant planet?
Holly is enraptured by Melody’s vision board, and Melody tries to draw her out about the fact that she overheard her mom say she thinks she has cancer. Then we cut to the library where Melody’s dream of a job are again getting cut because no one has a budget, but they did manage to make paper snowflakes that Melody is going to take to the children’s hospital. She’s always thinking, isn’t she?
Oooh, Melody and Adam are on their date! They head back to her house to get Adam to give his professional opinion. It’s my professional opinion that she has too many Christmas lights up in a firetrap of a house and I feel like she’s one faulty extension cord away from an inferno. Melody tells Adam to follow his dream of making furniture and not keep going with his contractor business, which is clearly pre-pandemic job security thinking, and she gives him a deep Roald Dahl quote about being passionate about life and he’s all smitten. They agree to a second date. Please kiss already.
Next day, Melody takes the girls to pick out her tree, and Older Son doesn’t see the magic of a real Christmas tree – it’s just so much more work. Our current tree comes in three pieces, has lights built in, and is set up in 4 minutes. And while it doesn’t have that great smell, it also will not shed like a real one, or fall over like the one Husband and I had in our first apartment. So, Older Son, you speak the truth.
It seems Melody’s backstory and she has no real family (foster kid), but she has a lot of “heirloom” Christmas decorations. A lot of them are elves. She raised herself in the system, and that has allowed her to become the driven person she is today. Nina’s cancer is back, and she’s freaking out about what to do about her kids, and Melody blurts out that she’d take care of them, and Nina has some peace of mind, and Melody says she’ll keep any kid from going through what she went through – so off she goes to look for a job on her computer, except she gets sidetracked by exciting Christmas ideas for the library. They are very nice ideas, but she’s still not getting paid.
Adam’s dad is way too much of a pressure man, and I hate him. How dare you make Jeremy Jordan sad. Sing about it, Jeremy. Seriously – sing your feelings. No, he’s not going to do that. Dang it.
Melody meets with a lawyer about the custody issue with Holly and Ivy, and it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Social Services is going to have to check out her house to make sure it’s safe, among a bunch of other things they’re going to do, and that’s the thing that is making Melody freak out. But not enough that she won’t go on her date with Adam. And she also says she’s going to get a real job in order to make money, and that makes Adam sad, because he wants to live his dream of furniture making like Bill Pullman in While You Were Sleeping. He’s got some kind of Sad Times and bails on the very sad Christmas concert in the overly lit park.
Even the one library that was going to let her do work for free is cancelling that. And Adam is sulking doing the big city construction bid that his dad lined up for him, so off he goes to make more sleds, but then he waffles and calls the guy about said big-city construction job.
Melody – how many times do you have to go back to the library for more rejection? But good for her, she’s got an interview lined up but not before she sees Adam bring a blond to the same bakery/hot chocolate place – but don’t worry – she’s the Director of Urban Planning – and Adam totally owns the fact that he bailed on her in the park because he freaked out. Good for him.
While doing more good works, Melody has an idea to do a bookmobile. And while talking to Nina, she gets a text that her home inspection is December 28. Since I cannot figure out what timeframe all this is taking place – for reals, when does winter start in Wisconsin, and how long is the Christmas getting ready season? How far away is December 28? The big news is that her house isn’t ready yet.
Melody just had the easiest job interview ever – however, it’s just temporary, filling in for a maternity leave person for 6 months. Melody also hears from the hardware salesguy about how hard Adam works to gain his father’s approval. Adam gets it by telling dad he put in the bid for the city job, but then bails on his dad’s car dealership Christmas party in order to go sledding with Melody, and they have a nice conversation about he feels more himself while he’s with her – which is just what Sidney Parker said to what’s her name in Sanditon before leaving her to get engaged to his old girlfriend.
Everyone has a nice time sledding and then they go to the Christmas Carpentry Shop to make shelves, but get interrupted by Stupid Car Salesman dad, who I guess got the Christmas spirit because he likes the table Adam made. But methinks the fact that he’s a car salesman will come into play for Melody’s bookmobile.
Nina and Melody have a nice moment about found families before the commercial. And After the commercial, everyone showed up at Melody’s house to fix the house on Christmas Eve. Montage! So much electrical! So much drywall! So much sandpaper! It’s no so much a makeover, it’s more of a “bring it up to code so it doesn’t look like scary murderers are in the walls” but he did manage to make her a window seat. And then Adam’s parents show up to donate a big ass van for her bookmobile. Called it. Do I get a trophy? And Adam’s parents also say he should expand his furniture business.
Cut to one year later. Looks like Nina’s dead, and Melody is petitioning the court to adopt Holly and Ivy. That went amazingly smooth. She and Adam are still together, he’s gonna propose on Christmas Eve! The house is amazing, they do their tree trimming dance thing, and everyone is happy. And the end.
Husband, who walked in at 15 minutes to the end, said “Is that your Jeremy Jordan there?” and “That didn’t seem to be the same type of movie as your normal ones.” True on both counts. It was uplifting without being schmaltzy, the Sad Times were about personal growth and not because someone overheard a conversation and got the wrong idea, and the two leads are MUCH better actors than the caliber of actor one usually sees in a Hallmark movie. All in all, well done! I watched this one, just so you don’t have to.