When it was first announced some 4 billion pre-pandemic years ago that queer cinematic legends Clea DuVall and Kristen Stewart were teaming up for a lesbian Christmas rom-com, I didn’t dare believe our good fortune. DuVall, a cult icon since her turn as Natasha Lyonne’s greasy, androgynous crush in But I’m a Cheerleader 20 years ago, would be cowriting and directing, while Stewart, who’d I’d crushed on long before either of us came out, would star — an almost comical rarity in Hollywood, where the occasionally told lesbian story is much more likely to be a sexy male-directed thriller or a bummer of a historical tragedy. Though we gays love a good Christmas comedy as much as if not even more so than our fellow straight people — my relationship to The Family Stone is practically a sacred one — we’ve never before had one to call our own.
Happiest Season, which drops today on Hulu, is the first-ever studio-backed holiday rom-com to center on a queer couple — a humbling, and frustrating, reminder that for all the progress made in mainstream LGBTQ representation over the last decade, queer characters onscreen still have plenty of uncharted territory left to explore. But even though the sparkly seasonal backdrop is excitingly new, Happiest Season’s queer couple — Kristen Stewart’s Abby and her girlfriend, Harper, played by Mackenzie Davis — are dealing with a very old problem: Harper isn’t out to her hypercompetitive Waspy family, which means when she takes Abby home for the holidays, Abby’s forced back into the closet.