Peggy asked me to be sure to DVR this new series on The Hallmark Channel (!) called "Cedar Cove," starring Andie MacDowell. It tells the story of a divorced woman who is a judge in a seaside town in Washington State and how her life and those of every single other human in the adjoining 50 square miles intertwine all over the place.
Watching it is sort of like that game your parents gave you on a long car ride, where they give you a list of things to spot along the highway as you go to Crestfallen Lake for a family vacay. You watch this show, and it's like a Parade of TV Movie Cliches, to wit:
- The judge hands down a crucial ruling involving an old lighthouse on the edge of town, and the sun streams in through the window behind her, turning Andie's famous mop o'curls into an angelic backlit halo of gold.
- The judge's friend recently got divorced herself and is down about it, but the judge, plucky to the core, is determined to help her find the bright side.
- The new editor of the local newspaper used to be a bigshot columnist in Philadelphia, but alcoholism and scandal forced him to relocate to this dinky town with its small weekly paper,where honest work will allow him to rebuild his life.
- The editor, when attending a dress up occasion, shows up in a corduroy jacket and jeans...the sartorial equivalent of scooting into a classroom just as the late bell rings and the teacher is closing the door to latecomers.
- The judge's daughter was involved with the developer who wanted to tear down the lighthouse and build dozens of houses on a development that most surely would have been called "Lighthouse Point," but she dumped him and seems to be headed back into a rekindled relationship with a younger guy who lives on a boat and fails to observe a regular shaving schedule.
- When the townspeople get all worked up over the lighthouse, a bearded, longhaired 60's relic shows up to block the demolition equipment, shouting "Power to the People."
- The judge's home phone number is listed in the phone book, because, as she says, "This is a small town; we're like a family." Suggestion: next time you're in District Court for some minor traffic offense, ask the judge for his or her home phone number so you can call them later to discuss the verdict.
- The judge's daughter, while she was dating the older developer, wore a denim jacket so we would all understand that she is still a flaming youth. But now that she tied a can to him, she is back to wearing dresses, and thinking of going back to the boat guy, who wears denim.
- A certain number of citizens have nothing better to do on a weekday than to become an orderly mob.
- The judge's mother, somewhat annuated but still plucky, works as a volunteer at the town hospital. A man has been brought in, unconscious at first but now awake but seeming to suffer from amnesia. The judge's mom goes in and talks to him, suggesting that she knows him from somewhere in the dimly-recalled past. She discusses this with the only doctor at the hospital, who is, of course, an Asian female.
- Bruce Boxleitner is in it.