Happy holidays, holigays! I just watched Single All the Way which is Netflix’s second gay Christmas rom-com. Don’t be fooled by Netflix’s Disney-style advertising, Let it Snow was first. Still, Let it Snow was a bit disappointing as it didn’t focus on the LGBTQ+ couple that much.
Whereas I watched this trailer for Single All the Way and my interest was peaked. A fake dating holiday romance between gay best friends? Jennifer Coolidge is in it?! Sign me up! But it turns out that the fake dating trope does not happen. Instead, protagonist, Peter’s, mom tells him that she’s set up a blind date for him, and Nick encourages him to go. Yes, this moment was included in the trailer, but the part where Peter proposes the fake dating idea was also highlighted. This feels misleading, as the IMBd synopis also says, “Desperate to avoid his family’s judgment about his perpetual single status, Peter convinces his best friend Nick to join him for the holidays and pretend that they’re now in a relationship.”
Seems like Netflix was banking on the success of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but decided to focus on the friends-to-lovers trope rather than the fake dating one. This is fine, although I prefer the fake dating trope. One thing that was a bit of a twist on the the friends-to-lovers trope in Single All Way was that Peter, Nick, and Peter’s mom kept saying that gay friends don’t have to be a romantic relationship. But the characters are clearly using it a way to ignore Peter and Nicks chemistry. Still, I have known many LGBTQ+ people who were friends with their partner before they started dating. But I also can relate to Peter saying, “Don’t you have that one friend everyone thinks is your boyfriend?” Don’t we all, except in my case partner or SO rather than boyfriend. Peter says this to James (his blind date) who responds that he doesn’t, thus implying that this experience isn’t normal. I felt at bit irritated at this because yeah, it is, at least for many LGBTQ+ people.
Now that I have all that out of the way, there are a lot of things that I loved about Single All the Way. I found Peter instantly relatable since he has the same plant mister as me. Even if you don’t have this plant mister, I think we can all agree that gardening is a solid interest to give your protagonist. Peter’s best friend and love interest Nick, is a successful children’s book author and TaskRabbit which is fun.
I also liked how the movie was about Peter’s family rather than just about Nick. Part of the movie, isn’t just about Peter deciding who to be with, but him deciding where to live, far away in LA or close to his family in New Hampshire. I think it’s a topic that will resonate with many other young people deciding where to live, what to do with their careers, and their relationships.
I appreciated that Peter and Nick are not only a same-sex pairing, but an interracial couple in a genre that can be very straight and white. One issue that I have however, is that Peter who is White, is still the protagonist. Nick is Black, and still only plays the “best friend” and “love interest” character rather than someone with much motivation outside of loving Peter. His struggle to write a sequel to his bestselling children’s book is a part of the plot, but a small one. Part of Nick’s not having his own life at Christmastime is that his mother is dead, and apparently he doesn’t have any other relatives outside of his dog. Still, Peter says Christmas makes Nick sad about his mom, but this never comes up again the movie. I feel like being around Peter’s mom so much would make Nick miss his mom more, but I guess not. Instead, of Peter being there to support Nick emotionally, Nick just supports Peter.
However, the actors did genuinely have chemistry, so Nick and Peter were a cute couple. And I can understand the writer’s focusing more on the protagonist than the love interest especially since there were already a lot of plot threads happening. I also liked that a picturesque Christmas was also a big part of the movie now I want to spend Christmas in snowy New Hampshire. Jennifer Coolidge also pulled her weight as comic relief quite well. The movie hit all the right notes that a Christmas rom-com is supposed to, and I was satisfied with it. So yeah, I’d recommend you don your gay apparel and watch it.
If you’re more interested in sapphic Christmas movies I have reviews here: https://illinoiseagle.com/2020/12/02/review-a-new-york-christmas-wedding-has-confusing-plot-but-gay-enough-to-satisfy-viewers/ and https://illinoiseagle.com/2020/12/09/the-happiest-season-has-some-great-moments-but-they-come-from-side-characters/.
If you’re looking for a Christmas tv show episode with transgender represention, I suggest Sabrina’s Chilling Adventures “The Epiphany” on Netflix. Okay, technically it’s an ephinany episode so takes place after Christmas day, but it’s part of the Christmas season.
If you’re interested in music here’s my LGBTQ+ based Christmas playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0QGU1fVdHBAHQpmGYqdYym?si=645bc052eae4482b.
If you still need to give last minute gifts here some ideas from them. Personally, as a customer of Women and Children First, I’d recommend them for your book gifts: https://www.them.us/story/last-minute-gifts-queer-lgbtq?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=them&utm_mailing=THEM_Weekly_122221&utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_medium=email&bxid=60a4818aad230651af234e53&cndid=65150591&hasha=f95b4f3a614179becafc30cd785e51ab&hashb=e6857ba260756045568b5b0a0689006fb6f3e60c&hashc=7b1af989864b52e9bf3fc60ad2a4a9580c3a1fd386c2f2d5071b19830ea27388&esrc=bounceX&utm_content=Final&utm_term=THEM_Daily.
Here are my recommendations for LGBTQ+ books to give;
For the fantasy fan: https://illinoiseagle.com/2021/12/17/the-brilliant-death-book-review/.
For the sci-fi fan: https://illinoiseagle.com/2021/11/16/review-one-last-stop/.
For the history and classic literature fan: https://illinoiseagle.com/2021/11/02/review-my-own-dear-darling-boy/.
And for the romance fans: https://illinoiseagle.com/2021/03/31/red-white-and-royal-blue-review/.
You’re welcome! Happy Gay Yuletide!