Few shows have been so perfect at just the right time. In the middle of a pandemic with a divided country and racism rampant in the headlines, here comes Ted Lasso to offer us a better way. Ted encourages us to have faith, to “be like a goldfish,” to be curious instead of judgmental, and to believe in communism – “rom-communism;” the idea that everything will work out in the end. “Now, it may not work out like you think it will or how you hope it does, but believe me, it will all work out.” It’s just the prescription our souls need during this troubled time – a show filled with hope and optimism as Ted puts it in the “middle of the dark forest.”
At least that’s the way Ted puts it in one of the best episodes of Season Two so far, “Rainbow.” There have been other odes to romantic comedies in previous episodes, the most striking perhaps was the scene stolen from Love, Actually where Mark comes to Juliet’s door with cue cards to express his unrequited love for her. This time round, Phoebe, along with her Uncle Roy Kent and Keeley come up to Secret Santa Bernard’s house for a little visit. But this episode is chock full of comedy references including, but not limited to When Harry Met Sally, Jerry Macguire, Notting Hill, The Princess Bride, and Love, Actually.
Here are the ones I found. I would love to know from you what I missed. There are lots of rom-com tropes you could attribute to pretty much any film in that genre so these are just the ones that are pretty blatant.
Rebecca on Bantr: So reminiscent of You’ve Got Mail, a Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan film (referenced by Ted in the review room with the players) where two people are having a romantic correspondence via email without realizing they already have a relationship in person. But who is it she is having a relationship with? It’s hinted that it’s Ted himself! In an earlier Season 2 episode, Ted even mentions how cool it would be to find his true love on the app. I hope it is.
Ted and Roy at the Kebab Place: “I’ll have what he’s having.” So obviously a direct reference to When Harry Met Sally
Ted and Roy walking down the street: There’s a rapid fire of iconic rom-com quote variants here. When Harry Met Sally – “I’m sorry Roy, but I came here tonight ’cause when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life coaching with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start ASAP.” Jerry Macguire – “You complete our team.” Notting Hill – “I’m also just a coach, standing in front of a boy, asking him if…” (Ted doesn’t finish but you can bet he was going to say something like “he’ll coach with me”). The Princess Bride – “As you wish.” Even the scene is reminiscent of Harry and Sally walking down the tree lined street together.
Older couple in the stands: Again, another When Harry Met Sally reference just like the vignettes that break up scene changes in the movie. But this is a two-fer because they directly reference Titanic also.
Roy leaving the Sports Saturday set: Sleepless in Seattle comes to mind for me when Meg Ryan looks out and sees the Empire State Building and realizes she is about to let a chance at true love pass her by so she leaves her boyfriend and says “I have to go,” just like Roy tells Jeff.
Roy running to Nelson Point: A mix of maybe every rom-com ever? When Harry Met Sally – when Harry runs to find Sally; Notting Hill – when William takes multiple transportation to make it to Anna’s press conference
Higgins waiting for Mrs. Higgins: Another Love, Actually reference. Even the camera filter is the same as the one they used at the airport to show people reuniting
Roy and Ted on the pitch: “You had me at ‘coach.'” – Jerry Macguire. Enough said.