Gay Romcom 'Happiest Season' Breaks Hulu Records, Director Teases Sequel

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday December 3, 2020

Hulu's LGBTQ-themed holiday movie "Happiest Season" has shattered records at the streamer - and out writer-director Clea DuVall is saying she'd be interested in following up with a sequel to the lesbian rom-com.

"The Kristen Stewart-led film broke premiere records for the streaming service as the most-watched original film on Hulu in its opening weekend," reports People magazine.

The film also "attracted more new subscribers than any other previous feature title," Variety reports.

Hailed in its EDGE review as a "mainstream, studio-backed holiday flick for the LGBTQ community to claim as our own," the Yuletide comedy also features Mackenzie Davis in the role of Harper, the same-sex partner of Stewart's character, Abby.

When Harper takes Abby home for the holidays, Abby plans to spring a marriage proposal on her during the Christmas festivities - an idea that's complicated by the fact that Abby has to pretend to be an "orphan friend" of Harper's because Harper isn't out to her family. Aubrey Plaza joins the fun as Harper's high school girlfriend, Riley; Jake McDorman plays her ex-boyfriend, Connor; and out actor Victor Garber appears as Harper's father, sharing the screen with Mary Steenburgen, who plays Harper's mother.

Variety wrote that "being the first of its kind, and serving the underrepresented LGBTQ audience," the Hulu original "inspired an absolute tonnage of deeply felt opinions, which were manifested both in written takes and on social media," with the show quickly becoming the "most-talked about original film ever on Twitter, and... the most-tweeted about movie during the holiday weekend, trending three times," Variety observed.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, out writer-director Clea DuVall - who also took a small role in the movie - has already said she'd be up for a sequel, Collider reports.

"I would love to do a sequel," DuVall told Variety. "I mean, I have a couple of ideas. We all had such a great time making the movie that we were talking about it" even during production.

"But it was also just like, who knew if anybody would care about the movie or not?" DuVal added. "So I definitely am more than open to it."

"Happiest Season" is part of a wave of LGBTQ-themed holiday movies hitting streaming platforms and cable channels this year. Jonathan Bennett stars opposite Brad Harder in "The Christmas House," which premiered November 22 on the Hallmark Channel. Lifetime is similarly poised to offer "The Christmas Setup," starring Ben Lewis and his real-life husband, Blake Lee, which premieres December 12. "A New York Christmas Wedding," written and directed by Otoja Abit, is currently streaming on Netflix. The newly-minted Paramount Network is losing no time in getting on the bandwagon, premiering its own gay rom-com, "Dashing in December," starring Peter Porte and Juan Pablo Di Pace, on Dec. 13.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.