John invites his mother over for dinner.  During the meal, his mom can’t help but notice how beautiful John’s roommate is. Then, over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she starts to wonder if there is far more between John and the roommate than meets the eye.  Reading his mother’s thoughts, John pulls his mom aside and says, “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Mary and I are just roommates.”  About a week later, Mary says to John, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the silver gravy ladle. You don’t suppose she took it, do you?”  John says, “Well, I doubt it, but I’ll write her an email, just to be sure.” So he sits down at his computer and writes: “Dear Mom, I’m not saying you did take a gravy ladle from my house, and I’m not saying you didn’t take a gravy ladle. But the fact remains, one has been missing ever since you were here.”  Later that day, John receives an email from his mother that reads: “Dear Son, I’m not saying that you do sleep with Mary, and I’m not saying that you don’t sleep with Mary. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle by now. Love, Mom.”

Hallmark is well-known for its G-rated, family-friendly movies.  For 67-years (the first production was aired way back in 1951), none of its’ now over 2,500 films have ever had story lines where unmarried couples are having intimate physical relationships or living together outside of marriage.  That is, until now.  Cedar Cove is a Hallmark Channel drama television series that aired for three seasons.  It revolves around municipal court Judge Olivia Lockhart’s professional and personal life and the townsfolk surrounding her.  The characters and their stories come from the book series of the same name, written by the well-known Christian author, Debbie Macomber.  Mrs. Macomber’s book sales now total 170,000,000 and she has won numerous literary awards in the romance novel field. (Macomber is dyslexic and has only a high school education. Determined to be a writer, she sat in her kitchen in front of a rented typewriter to develop her first few manuscripts, while raising four children.  After ten years and many rejections from publishers, she finally had her first book published in 1986.  She and her husband have been married for over 50 years.)  And in every book before Cedar Cove, all of her characters morally walked the straight-and-narrow.

So why the sudden change?  Macomber explained that in each case where one of her Cedar Cover couples had sex outside of marriage or moved in together without getting married; it ultimately proved to be disastrous, ended the relationship, and the individuals involved were far worse, not better for the experience.  (This in contrast to other long-and-happily married Cedar Cove couples for whom their relationship was a lasting joy).  And Macomber added, in all cases, no lewd depictions or bedroom scenes of any kind were written up in the books or shown on the television screen.

The bottom line?  There are Hallmark viewers still in shock over the storyline.  And they are because the best of intentions does not equal the worst of immorality.  So in this case, Hallmark became a Hall-miss.