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Dan Harmon Just Outed Hallmark For Cutting Two Movies Out Of One (& We're Honestly Just Impressed)

What better way to celebrate Christmas than to binge watch Hallmark Channel movies? 

For years the Hallmark Channel has been a literal hallmark when it comes to producing Holiday-focused movies. Take a look at its catalog and prospective viewers will find dozens upon dozens of Christmas films that celebrate the ups, downs, and all the moments in between that manifest during the Holiday season. The channel's yearly offerings are so compelling and festive that any Grinch could fall in love with the period of Yuletide.

Why are Hallmark Channel Christmas movies so darn popular, to the point where spending December without watching them feels incomplete? "Hallmark Christmas movies feel nostalgic for something half-understood, like those episodes of 'The Twilight Zone' where somebody travels back to the 1890s or the 1910s in hopes of chasing some America that has been lost to the mists of time," wrote Vox's Emily St. James in a deep-dive on the channel's festive offerings.

The channel even has a fan in Dan Harmon, one of the creatives behind the ever-popular animated sci-fi romp "Rick and Morty." But Harmon isn't a fan who just mindlessly consumes Christmas content. No, Harmon has questions and concerns about how the Hallmark Channel makes their projects. And he seems to have stumbled upon a unique cinematic experiment. Taking to social media, the "Rick and Morty" scribe has called out the cable channel for releasing two movies that seemingly appear to be the same... but there's more than meets the eye.

The Sister Swap films confused Dan Harmon

Dan Harmon took to Instagram on Friday evening to share his confusion, frustration, and sheer fascination with two Hallmark Channel Christmas movies: "Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday" and "Sister Swap: Christmas In The City." Sharing a photo of both films' streaming pages, Harmon discussed how it's easy (and logical) to assume that one "Sister Swap" film is a sequel to another. "So we thought oh cool it's a franchise and there's a sequel, which 'Sister Swap' do we watch first?" the "Community" creator wrote. After some sleuthing, Harmon was able to find out that both films came out in 2021 (a week apart). 

It also turns out that both "Sister Swap" flicks aren't sequels...

"Both 'Sister Swaps' are the same story, about sisters – played by real life sisters, who have to swap...cities," the creative continued. "It should be noted that the sisters AND the cities AND THE MOVIES are, so far, indistinguishable." The "Sister Swap" duology features Ashley Williams and Kimberly Williams-Paisley as the sisters who do the titular swapping. Both actresses also happen to be sisters in real life, making the layers to this Hallmark mystery all the more exciting. Harmon went on to highlight how the descriptions for both films are concerned with the fact that both actors are sisters, failing to point out the narrative differences between the two "Sister Swaps."

Harmon decided to just jump right into the world of "Sister Swap," watching both Hallmark films at the same time. "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." (Both "Sister Swap" movies are edited by Kristi Shimek, per IMDB.)

The Sister Swap movies are the same... yet different

So what exactly is the deal behind the "Sister Swap" films?

Dan Harmon continued his journey down the Hallmark Channel rabbit hole by watching both films, noticing how they're both similar yet different. "In one of the movies, one of the sisters has a full flashback about her relationship with the other sister," Harmon wrote on his lengthy Instagram post. "In the other sister's movie, you don't get a different version of the same flashback. You just don't get a [expletive] flashback in that one." He continued, pointing out how both "Sister Swap" films feature a scene of the two sisters trying on hats but only one film features an extended moment of them trying on glasses. 

In a follow up Instagram post, Harmon shared a video comparing two similar scenes from the "Sister Swap" movies — scenes that feature the same characters, set, costumes, and dialogue... yet they're different, failing to line up. "Notice there's no way to 'synchronize' them, you'd have to choose one line to synchronize and then all other lines would be offset," Harmon wrote. The "Krapopolis" writer continued by pointing out further instances of how both films tell the same story but consistently diverge, giving audiences different insights into both sister's lives. 

With Harmon's post gaining traction, sisters Ashley Williams and Kimberly Williams-Paisley eventually ended up in the comments section, finally spilling the beans on the Hallmark Channel flicks.  

The Sister Swap films were years in the making

After fans and other celebrities started tagging Ashley Williams and Kimberly Williams-Paisley in Dan Harmon's post, the sisters opened up about their "Sister Swap" experiment, revealing that the films were years in the making. "We wanted to do something outside the box for the genre but also stay in the genre and my sister came up with this brilliant idea of two films that take place in the same time frame and sometimes overlap," Williams-Paisley commented. The actress continued by saying it took the sisters years to crack the code on the "Sister Swap" films before Hallmark gave the undertaking the green light. 

Executive producer Neal Dodson (who is married to Ashley Williams) also chimed in, giving insight into the production. "We had one editor and edited them in tandem," he wrote. "They share 9 scenes, with different edits to those scenes that favor whichever sister's movie it is." 

After learning about the Hallmark Channel production(s), Harmon couldn't help but point out how monumental and interesting the "Sister Swap" concept is, describing it as "cinematically unprecedented." Honestly, there's no reason not to be impressed with what the Williams sisters have done with "Sister Swap." 

"Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday" and "Sister Swap: Christmas In The City" can be streamed on Hallmark Movies Now.