Lifetime Made a Cinematic Universe: Hello, Winter Storm Meghan

Lifetime Made a Cinematic Universe: Hello, Winter Storm Meghan

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We have been watching a lot of Lifetime movies this holiday season. They actually began their 24/7 Christmas movie marathon before Halloween this year, and we were totally ok with that. For 2019, Lifetime made 30 new holiday movies which premiered regularly throughout December. Many fans, including us, noticed a very fun trend this year: Winter Storm Meghan.

That?s right, the vast majority of the 30 movies mentioned a record breaking winter storm dubbed Meghan. Interestingly, the movies are set throughout the country and throughout December 2019, implying that Meghan wreaked havoc across the continental US. This got us wondering ? Are all the 2019 Lifetime holiday movies taking place in the same cinematic universe? In other words, could we actually uncover a reasonable track that Winter Storm Meghan follows? More importantly, can we explain its existence? There is only one way to find out.

We (re)watched all 30 of the new Lifetime movies. It was as exciting as it sounds. Luckily, we could skip a lot of the content thanks to some really excellent reviews on LifetimeUncorked which lists exactly where Meghan is mentioned in the plot. If you?re wondering where one can watch holiday Lifetime movies on demand, we got a free trial subscription to Philo to conduct this study.

In the table below, we list the information we gathered from each of the 30 movies. In addition to noting where/when Winter Storm Meghan directly impacted the plot, we also made notes of where she was not. In other words, if a movie took place in LA on December 15, we made sure to note that Meghan wasn?t causing a freak snow storm on the beach! It?s also worth mentioning that according to this forum post, three of the 30 movies were made by independent studios and then sold to Lifetime. We therefore didn?t take them to be canon.

Full table listed in this gist.

While watching these films, we also really enjoyed the parts not related to Meghan. Our favorite Lifetime plot device this year was live dogs. In Always and Forever Christmas, a movie about a magical Christmas shop whose owner can always find the perfect gift, the new owner literally gives the villain a live dog she finds in on shelf in her store. And no one questions it. Then, in Christmas Love Letter, the love interest makes a robot dog. This is fine. But the robot dog is supposed to be hyper realistic. Like, so realistic that the dog is literally played by a real dog. Our favorite scene of the season is the one shown below, in which an inappropriate reindeer sweater somehow made it into the movie.

Image for postoops

Anyway, to our surprise, the universe is actually pretty consistent. Meghan originally ?comes out of nowhere in Canada?, sweeps through the midwest and ends up in the northeast on Christmas eve. Very few movies deviate from this trajectory. The most notable is Christmas 9 to 5 which takes place from Black Friday to Christmas Eve in Chicago. Winter Storm Meghan (to the best of our knowledge) is never mentioned. Additionally, in Grounded for Christmas, Meghan grounds many flights. The movie open with a weather channel report on Meghan. But that channel must be drunk because it?s totally inconsistent with the other movies and even the voice over of the movie. The graphic below shows Meghan coming in from the northeast, even though the reporter states that Meghan?s in the midwest. Probably the only explanation is the Lifetime as not only created a Lifetime Cinematic Universe, but also a Lifetime Cinematic Multiverse.

Image for postThis is literally nowhere near the midwest

Taking all of this data into account, we have made a GIF of our best guess at Winter Storm Meghan?s path this holiday season. The red points show which locations should not be affected by Meghan on the listed date, while the blue points show locations which should be affected to some degree. We made this plot with Python, assuming that Meghan could always be described by a combination of two Gaussians.

Image for postTrack of Winter Storm Meghan. Red points indicate movies *without* the storm while blue points indicate movies *with* the storm. The blue contours are our best guess at her path.

That?s all fine and dandy, but you may be wondering: what caused Winter Storm Meghan? Well, we are happy to say that the Lifetime Cinematic Universe (LCU) has one answer for this question:

Mrs. Claus.

Yes, that?s right. Mrs. Claus makes just one appearance in the 2019 LCU. In Always and Forever Christmas, Mrs. Claus (played by Beth Broderick aka Zelda Spellman) pretends to work at a magical Christmas Shop (located in Vermont) to teach the reluctant new owner about the magic of Christmas. The new owner wants to sell the shop she just inherited to an Athleisure company. However, the owner of the Athleisure company gets stuck in Chicago in mid-December due to Winter Storm Meghan. The (incognito) Mrs. Claus gives a knowing smirk at this. Innocent enough.

But then

On Christmas Eve, the Athleisure man finally gets to Vermont to sign the papers for the shop. Unfortunately, Winter Storm Meghan drastically changes course and ices up the major roads, forcing the Athleisure man to drive back through the small town. Right in front of the Christmas Shop, the Athleisure man?s car breaks down and he is forced to re-enter the shop (and get that live puppy, which is seriously so weird). It?s pretty clear that Mrs. Claus first conjured the storm in Chicago, but when that wasn?t enough, had it loop crazily to Vermont to thwart the persistent Athleisure man. Do you want more proof? In two other movies that take place in Colorado (You Light Up My Christmas and Staging Christmas) we learn that Meghan was originally supposed to hit the Denver area before ?unexpectedly turning away?. This resulted in a rash of unexpected weather impacting dozens of movies across the LCU.

So there you have it. It took Marvel over a decade to produce the MCU consistent of just 23 films. Lifetime did it in one year. Take that, Disney (although Lifetime is one of the infinity stones the Disney owns)

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