Clea DuVall’s ‘Happiest Season’ Makes Holiday Rom-Com History

Happiest Season poster
Clea DuVall’s ‘Happiest Season’ Makes Holiday Rom-Com History

It’s no secret that popular rom-coms stay away from featuring LGBTQ characters in the main storyline. There’s the stereotype of the gay best friend or the lesbian roommate, but hardly ever do we see a different kind of love story in the spotlight. Writer and director Clea DuVall decided to break that stereotype and tell a beautiful lesbian story front and center with her latest movie, Happiest Season.

How Happiest Season Made History

Actress Kristen Stewart (left) and Mackenzie Davis (on the right) in a scene from Happiest Season
Clea DuVall’s ‘Happiest Season’ Makes Holiday Rom-Com History

Happiest Season was written by Clea DuVall and stars prominent LGBTQ actress, Kristen Stewart, telling the story of a lesbian couple in a Christmas movie. Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy is also part of the production. DuVall has long been open about her orientation, and she even played in But I’m a Cheerleader, an LGBTQ comedy from 20 years ago, and more recently in Veep.

The Movie Represents an Underexplored Romantic Experience

Writer/Director Clea DuVall
Clea DuVall’s ‘Happiest Season’ Makes Holiday Rom-Com History

DuVall says that a big reason for wanting to make this movie is because growing up and being a fan of holiday rom-coms, she never saw her experience represented in that movie genre. So, she decided to create the movie she always wanted to see. It took some time to make it happen, including DuVall transitioning from acting to directing and writing, but she eventually got to do it.

Dan Levy (right) and Kristen Stewart (right) on the set of Happiest Season
Clea DuVall’s ‘Happiest Season’ Makes Holiday Rom-Com History

Happiest Season tells the story of Harper (Mackenzie) taking her girlfriend Abby (Kristen) to her family over for Christmas. So far so good, until Harper tells Abby her family thinks she’s straight. Will Abby handle pretending to be straight? In true best friend fashion, Abby’s bestie John (played by Dan Levy) shows up to remind her every person’s coming out story is incredibly personal and it takes time to get the courage to do it. Will they get their happy ending? Only one way to find out!

30 Bizarre Rules to Follow While Attending ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’

Since its inception back in 2003, The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been one of the most popular daytime talk shows across America. So, we only thought it would make sense to compile this list of bizarre rules that the audience is required to follow.

Get Excited!

The selected would-be live audiences of The Ellen DeGeneres Show are taken to a special place called the ‘Bungalow.’ But, don’t get your hopes up too high! You can only be chosen among 50 invitees if the crew is satisfied with your ‘visible’ excitement about your trip to the show.

Get Excited!

Top Secret Information

As regular followers of the show, the invitees generally have an idea of what they’re going to get while attending the popular show. However, the episode is likely to have at least one or two elements of surprise for the audience members.

Top Secret Information

The key top secret information is about the famous faces sharing the sofa with Ellen on that day. The host and the producers maintain stringent rules to not leak any info about the guests. Plus point? The collective gasps of amazement are completely genuine!

Selling Tickets Is Forbidden

Money can’t buy everything! To ensure that fans from all backgrounds get the chance to see her in action, Ellen doesn’t allow the general sale of her show tickets. So, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a ticket or two, don’t even think about making a quick buck off of them.

Selling Tickets Is Forbidden

In front of the studio gate, the ticket holder must correspond to the details that appear on their ticket. Producers are also strictly barred from even auctioning show tickets for good causes.

Non-Refundable Travel Expenses

Because tickets to the show are free, you have to win a lottery to get them. And so, if you’re lucky enough to get an Ellen Show ticket, it’s obviously a huge disappointment if the show gets canceled. If this happens, not only are you missing out on the show but you’re also pretty strapped for cash.

Non-Refundable Travel Expenses

That’s because, when an episode gets canceled due to unavoidable circumstances, the show doesn’t reimburse the fans for any travel expenses. It may not particularly affect the L.A. locals, but for those who boarded a plane by spending a small fortune, it’s a hard knockback.

You’re on Your Own

Every hopeful audience member isn’t lucky enough to live within a short drive of the Warner Bros. Studio. Many of them have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to appear on the show. If you belong to the latter category, don’t expect any advice on accommodation from the show’s team.

You’re on Your Own

Here, finding your own overnight accommodation nearby is your headache — and your headache alone. Instead of providing any suggestions or recommendations, the official website simply advises prospective audience members to search hotels using area zip code 91522.

No Under-Age Guests

Obviously, every fan of The Ellen DeGeneres Show can’t be accommodated in an episode taping. Particularly, if you’re under 14 years old, the only way for you to enjoy the show is from your home.

No Under-Age Guests

It turns out that young teens are only allowed to attend, as long as accompanied by someone aged 18 or over. Sneaking into the recording isn’t necessarily the best idea for youngsters as they’ll need to bring along official legal documents proving that they’re of age.

Prior Notice From Audiences With Special Needs

The multi Emmy-winning show takes pride in being an inclusive platform for audiences from all walks of life. Still, fans with special needs or certain requirements have to notify the show organizers at least two weeks beforehand to give them advanced notice.

Prior Notice From Audiences With Special Needs

While this may sound quite strange, it does make sense — as the show organizers most likely take this measure in order to ensure necessary arrangements for those that require it.

Early Arrival

Getting the opportunity to appear on the show is a lengthy ordeal. Even more so, you’re not always lucky enough to get your hands on a guaranteed ticket. And if that’s the case, a standby ticket is your only option — so you better cross all your fingers and toes!

Early Arrival

In order to get your hands on a standby ticket, you have to get to the studio super early. The studio opens up at 9am, and the standby tickets are distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis. Taping then starts at 12:30pm, so prepare yourself for a long day!

Make Room for Freebies

It’s better to pay a visit to your nearby car rental before your trip to The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Why? It’s all about the freebies! Audience members are advised to arrive to the studio in the largest cars possible, particularly for any special episode.

Make Room for Freebies

The attendees of the 2007 Mother’s Day Special episode left with heaps of gifts — including strollers, high chairs, car seats, and even an Amazon Echo! Got any better ideas in mind to shlep all these presents back home? Rent yourself an SUV!

Lining Up Outside

In order to create an air of anticipation, the show producers like to make the hopeful fans wait outside the studio for several hours, irrespective of the weather! You can’t skip the queue, even with a guaranteed ticket.

Lining Up Outside

Thankfully, Los Angeles is not particularly a rainy city — but still, if there’s a sudden shower, the nearby eateries provide refuge. There’s no guarantee to get back your early position in the line, though!

Gift Checking

Like any other celebrity, Ellen DeGeneres also often gets showered by her fans. But, while attending the show, if you want to deliver any gift to the host, your gift first has to be passed by the official security check.

Gift Checking

Striding up to Ellen to show your admiration or a request for a quick celebrity selfie, is also almost impossible in the show. The time constraints and the number of attendees don’t often permit the show producers to entertain individual fans on the set.

Use of Metal Detectors

If it can’t pass airport security, it’s not allowed in WB. This is not just a mere exaggeration about the Warner Brothers Studio, but a true fact! It’s not only your gifts or bags, but the entire ‘you’ will be checked thoroughly before making a pass through the studio gate.

Use of Metal Detectors

Maintaining the airport security reference, the prospective audience members have to undergo several security measures before stepping into the studio. Walking through a metal detector checking is a must for everyone entering the premises.

No Autographs

In this age of selfies, autographs are relatively old-fashioned. But, it’s a relief for any camera-shy fan and for introvert celebrities too! Still, that’s not the case for Ellen DeGeneres. It’s tough luck to get an autograph or selfie out of her, as she seldom gives them out.

No Autographs

The reasons cited behind this are lack of time and the size of the audience. Also, the star host doesn’t ever engage in any physical contact with any audience member — no matter how far the show delivers a good touchy-feely vibe.

Chewing Gums Are Prohibited

Before you get past the studio door, your belongings undergo a thorough check for any sinister items, and for chewing gum! That’s right — popping some gum in your mouth during the show is a major no-no.

Chewing Gums Are Prohibited

The foremost reason behind this is, a gum-chewing shot doesn’t appear attractive on the screen. And, of course, the disgusting but common habit of sticking the used gums under the seat can cause havoc for the cleaners.

No Munching

Munching snacks while enjoying a show is a tempting idea. But, that’s not the case for those attending The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Audience members are strictly forbidden to bring any kind of snacks or beverages with them on the set.

No Munching

Foods are allowed in the lines outside, and several restaurants close to the studio are at your service. However, you have to keep your hunger in check during the shooting process. Do you think Ellen is going to appear with pizza boxes again? Think again!

No Knitting Needles

If you fancy some knitting to beat the boredom of waiting, then you’re out of luck. The Ellen DeGeneres Show strictly forbids the carrying of any knitting needles with you into the studio.

No Knitting Needles

The official website also warns prospective audience members not to bring any kind of sharp objects like knives and scissors. Weapons of any kind, even self-defense sprays, are also not permitted inside the studio periphery.

Recording Is Strictly Forbidden

It’s common for the lucky invitees to document their experiences on the show by themselves. You obviously can post an Instagram story or a Facebook live stream to make others jealous! But all of those have to start and end completely outside of the studio.

Recording Is Strictly Forbidden

Cellphones are allowed in the set, as long as they remain switched off. Producers have reportedly confiscated several mobiles, which were in use during the taping of the show. Any kind of standalone camera also is barred from studio entry.

Dress Codes

Expectedly, the show implements some major fashion rules for the audience members. There’s a complete ban on all-white and all-black attire for the fans. Also, color-coordinated outfits worn are always frowned upon.

Dress Codes

It may be because the producers don’t want to let the attention taken away from the host and the celebrity guests, even in a single frame. Also, the invitee audiences are encouraged to buy Ellen-themed clothes from the backstage hangout called ‘Riff Raff Room,’ but are barred from sporting them on camera.

No Shorts or T-Shirts

Laidback casual attire isn’t allowed in the studio, no matter how hot the weather is. Specifically, t-shirts and shorts are restricted.

No Shorts or T-Shirts

Just as the clothing with brand logos or any official merchandise, a few specific accessories are also barred in the show. For the fact, anybody sporting a summer hat or wearing a casual pair of flip-flops won’t make it past the entry gate of the studio.

Dress for the Occasion

If gothic fashion or sleek monochrome is your style, then you’ll probably be turned away from the set. Considering that the show is all about positive vibes, the audience members also need to dress accordingly.

Dress for the Occasion

That’s why full-black or full-white attires are often frowned upon by the show producers. So, make sure to dress to impress! If you clean up well and wear your most colorful outfit, you’ll have a greater chance of getting in.

Just One Freebie

For true fans, just getting the opportunity of attending The Ellen DeGeneres Show is reward enough. But, the host still gifts her fans a souvenir to treasure. If you get cheeky and try to take more than one item, though, there will be consequences!

Just One Freebie

On one occasion, one greedy audience member was discovered attempting to bag several pieces of souvenirs. Ellen ended up calling this person out by airing the actual footage of the fan caught in the act.

Separation on Set

If you’re planning to attend The Ellen DeGeneres Show with your friends, families, or partner, you may be out of luck! While some get fortunate, the seating arrangements are actually quite strict so there’s no guarantee you’ll be seated next to your loved ones.

Separation on Set

Audiences are allocated a numbered ticket per head into the ‘holding area,’ which dictates the order one should enter on the set to take their seat. So, there’s a chance that the members of a group will be seated in different rows.

A Front Row Must

The front row is coveted for any show. And in the case of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, it’s the ‘dance row.’ But, knowing a few moves or even being the biggest fan is not enough. You apparently need to know the current US Hot 100, and the producers make sure of that during backstage interviews.

A Front Row Must

The first row audiences have to give double effort when Ellen dances through the rows to make her entry. Along with busting their best moves, the dance row audiences need to sing along the hit number playing.

Busting a Move

If you like your show relaxing on a couch in a laidback mood, it’s better to stay at home! Because The Ellen DeGeneres Show will offer you anything but that. The show practically demands the live audience to tap their toe so often that it can get exhausting!

Busting a Move

So, the ticket holders are likely to spend much more time on their feet standing or breaking a leg than relaxing on their seats. So, if you consider yourself shy and dread dancing, well, turn on your TV or sit before your screen instead.

Celebrity Dance

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is not all about encouraging the audience to show off their best moves. The celebrity guests also are not spared from this particular demand. And it can happen even after the camera pauses!

Celebrity Dance

Not only during taping, but also within the 30 seconds pauses for commercial breaks, the celebrity guests and the audiences alike often are asked to dance along. If the guests oblige, which generally they do, you can have that once-in-a-lifetime moment of seeing your favorite celebrity busting some awesome moves before you.

Devising the Dance Moves

It’s already a well-established fact, that dancing takes a big chunk of the time, mainly for the audience members. But, there’s more! According to a News.com.au article, the fans are even encouraged to play the role of choreographers during the filming.

Devising the Dance Moves

The report revealed that the warm-up guys actually asked each row of the audience to come up with their own dance moves and then perform the routine in unison. It’s not surprising that everyone was not very keen on the idea.

Choreographed Clapping

We all know that the actions on stage are obviously scripted and choreographed. But, the spontaneous clapping, hollering, and occasional whooping into a frenzy by the audiences? Well, all of that is choreographed, too!

Choreographed Clapping

In each episode, the audience is told about exact timings and ways of their seemingly natural reactions, by a designated staff member of the show. So, the attendees essentially had to be prepared to follow the directions closely.

No Shout-Outs

Along with choreographed clapping and monitored whooping, there are several other factors of audience participation. Though the audiences are asked frequently to dance like no one’s watching or holler like cheerleaders, they can’t do everything their hearts desire.

No Shout-Outs

While the fans are encouraged to be as vocal as possible when the host and her celebrity guests enter or do any act, they will face serious trouble if they can’t control their impulses. Screaming things or shouting out loud, no matter how complimentary, is a major no-no in the show.

Playing the Games

And Ellen DeGeneres sure loves her games! In the episodes, she often encourages audience members to come up on the stage and take part in various games like Aw Snap, Blindfolded Musical Chairs, and more. But, it’s not entirely what it seems!

Playing the Games

Unsurprisingly, the comedian only wants those willing participants. So, when you see that a particular crowd member is chosen randomly for any game, it’s just because they already have impressed the producers with visible enthusiasm and excitement, during a behind-the-scene interview process.

Catching a Chill

You may think of the studio to be like an oven for the array of bright hi-power lights used throughout. But, this can’t be further from the truth! In reality, the studio feels more like a freezer, with a possibility to catch a chill instead.

Catching a Chill

It’s advisable to attend the show wearing as many layers or thermals as possible, to battle the constant high air-conditioning. Still, it may come as a relief at times when you’re frequently asked by the warm-up guy to bust a move!