‘Rick and Morty’ Creator Dan Harmon Freaks Out Over Duplicated Hallmark Films
In the year 2022, cloning isn’t just a plot device used in high concept, sci-fi rigamarole shows like Rick and Morty — it’s also how you win the war for Christmas content.
Rick and Morty and Community creator Dan Harmon has uncovered a conspiracy in the holiday film industry — on Saturday, the prolific showrunner posted a side-by-side image of two Hallmark Channel streaming titles, Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday and Sister Swap: Christmas in the City, on his Instagram page. The names and thumbnails of both films suggests that Hallmark had started a Sister Swap franchise, but, as Harmon explained in his frantically written essay of a caption, Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday and Sister Swap: Christmas in the City are two different cuts of the exact same film.
Sister Swap isn’t a franchise, and neither film is a sequel — this is Hallmark experimenting with near-identical, alternate reality clones of their content, and, fittingly, the mind behind Rick and Morty was the first to uncover the conspiracy.
It’s an annual tradition for everyone on the internet to joke about how all of the Hallmark Channel’s made-for-streaming Christmas movies are cookie-cutter, copy/pasted repetitions of the same movie over and over, and the premise of the Sister Swap films is certainly a familiar one: A woman with a busy business job in the big secular city returns to her wholesome hometown of Christmasville, Middle America to be reminded of the importance of Family Values™ by a sibling/grandparent/sexy bearded baker. In these films, the hometown sibling also takes her sister’s place in the big city — hence the “swap.”
Two Hallmark films sharing similarities is obviously not unusual, however, as Harmon points out, both Sister Swaps follow the exact same fictional sisters played by the same real-life siblings as they swap the exact same places in the exact same scenes. Hallmark created two different movies by using the exact same footage, just edited in a slightly different order.
After doing some background research and beginning both films, Harmon said of the Sister Swaps, “It should be noted that the sisters AND the cities AND THE MOVIES are, so far, indistinguishable. It’s not like one is a hillbilly and the other is a millionaire, that doesn’t matter, we don’t go to Hallmark for conflict,” Harmon clarified, “The crazy thing is that we also don’t go to Hallmark for experimentation on this level.”
Harmon scoured the internet for more information on the Sister Swaps, but he failed to find any acknowledgement of the insane avant-garde experiment that Hallmark was running with the near-identical films. “The same conversations are happening in each one but there’s no ‘Rashomon’ or 'Peep Show’ angle, the dialogue in each version is identical but the scenes are cut differently because I assume they just had different editors,” remarked the showrunner.
A curious and completely mystified Harmon finished the film(s) after his first post, following it up with a side-by-side scene comparison that proved irrefutably that Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday and Sister Swap: Christmas in the City are two films cut from the exact same footage. Harmon noted how each film is missing scenes found in the other that create entire new subplots underneath the same exact story, creating unique, contiguous viewing experiences for each movie in one of the most daring film experiments of the 21st century.
Harmon ended his study of the Sister Swaps with the all-caps declaration of, “I LOVE THIS F—ING MOVIE(S) F— YOU CHRISTOPHER NOLAN.”
Don’t be surprised if news comes out in the next few weeks that the Community movie plans now suddenly include a second film — and don’t think that it’s a sequel.