The original Signed, Sealed, Delivered film was, as the primary promotional graphic reflects, the tale of how Shane met Oliver, and the first letter she, Oliver, Norman and Rita delivered together. Because Shane was the driving character in this original film, particularly in the way that she "clashed" with Oliver throughout in pursuit of delivering the letter, Norman and Rita didn't make the original poster, even though Kelly and Charlie did.
Oliver and Shane remain in the forefront of most of the posters to come, the only exception being the most recent, which we'll discuss later.
The series poster acts as the template for each of those that follow. It features each of the four main characters, with Oliver at the forefront and in clear possession of a letter, Shane not far behind. Norman's placement behind Oliver, and Rita's behind Shane sort of signifies the mentor role that Shane plays for Rita and Oliver plays for Norman, which we see throughout the course of the series.
Also, note that Shane and Oliver match to some extent, the turquoise blue a common thread in their wardrobes. It's a subtle, but nonetheless important visual reminder of something tying them together. Rita and Norman remain in a state of not matching and remaining in the foreground up until the poster for Truth Be Told, as you'll see in a minute.
If you look really carefully at this poster as compared to the previous one, and if you've seen even one of the promotional photos from the first season taken inside the DLO, you'll know immediately that this is a photo-shopped compilation of some of that content. As a result, some of the meaning this poster could have conveyed about the content of this film, at least besides it taking place at Christmas, is lost.
Do note, however, that each couple is placed next to each other, which is consistent with the two story lines that took place for each pair.
All I can say is thank goodness they invest in better promotional posters from this point on!
What's interesting about this poster apart from the rest is that, for the first time, someone other than Oliver is in possession of the letter. We all know the reason behind it, as it's Oliver's letter to Holly, which Shane was the one to find. But the letter also signifies who it is that bears the burden of whatever the letter entails. You'll remember from my review of FPWL that it was Shane's love for the people around her that drove a lot of her actions during the film. And from her expression on the poster, you can see in her eyes the conflict she faced in the film.
I also find it interesting that Shane and Norman share one side of the poster, where Rita and Oliver share the other. Shane and Norman spent a majority of the film on the outside of their respective love triangles looking in, only to have the conflict for both parties reconciled in the final minutes.
Notice also that this is another poster in which she and Oliver match, look closely, and you'll see Shane's distinct shade of purple represented in his tie. It gives the appearance of being subconsciously in sync. Again, Rita and Norman are distant from each other and don't share a color.
Now for the interpretation you've all been waiting for: the poster for Truth Be Told!
This poster turns the formula for all the previous posters on its head.
First of all, Norman, letter in hand, and Rita are front and center, suggesting they may be the ones taking the reins this time around. Maybe it's just me, but I think Norman and Rita both look pretty darned excited about it, too.
But notice also that this means Oliver might be taking a literal and figurative step back this time around. Could it be because Papa O'Toole is in town? And what's with this new distance between he and Shane that hasn't appeared in any posters since the series began? Each is lined up behind their "mentee," so it could just be a coincidence, but it's one worth keeping an eye on just in case there's something more to it.
Also note how Rita and Norman have jumped on the matching bandwagon at the exact moment Shane and Oliver have jumped off. Norman's plaid shirt sports a distinct stripe in the hue of Rita's blue dress. Now, for the first time in the series, Shane and Oliver are not only far apart from each other, they don't match, almost identically flipping roles with Norman and Rita.
Don't take this as a sign, however. Just as Rita and Norman remained distanced visually since just about the beginning, remember they came together in the series rather suddenly. The same could very well hold for Shane and Oliver in some form or another!
Waiting For "The Impossible Dream" Poster,