- Ted Lasso -The 'Ted Lasso' Christmas Episode Is Actually Just A Remake Of 'Love Actually'
It's Christmas in August for Ted Lasso and the AFC Richmond gang in the fourth episode of Season 2, "Carol of the Bells." Spoilers ahead. Although it's customary for a holiday TV special to have a few nods to some classics, the Ted Lasso Christmas episode went all-in on Love Actually. Yes, the stop-motion animation in the theme song honors the Rankin/Bass holiday movies. Jamie misquotes A Christmas Carol. Keeley has the A Christmas Story leg lamp. And Ted watches It's a Wonderful Life. But the real star on top of the tree was Ted Lasso's homage to Love Actually.
With Ted Lasso sharing the same city as the 2003 star-studded Christmas movie, the parallels were right there. But famous people ringing the doorbells of London homes wasn't where the Ted Lasso connections to Love Actually began or ended. There may be no epic race for your love at Heathrow Airport in the episode, but here are the eight ways (eight is a lot of legs, David) that Ted Lasso gave Love Actually a 2021 remake. Take that, Red Nose Day! (Err, well, don't "take that"... the reunion for Red Nose Day Actually was done for a very good cause actually.)
Keeley & Mia Wear Red Lingerie
Keeley didn't dress as a sexy devil for her work party (still questioning that outfit choice 18 years later, Mia), but she does don some red lingerie for her canceled Sexy Christmas party and her getup wasn't dissimilar to Mia's undergarments.
Phoebe & Sam Are Sad About Unexpected Things
Phoebe is all sad and one wouldn't be off base to assume that it's because she can't spend Christmas with her mom, right? Well, turns out she's upset that a boy in school was mean to her about her bad breath. Sam is all sad and one wouldn't be off base to assume that it's because he can't spend Christmas with his mom, right? Well, turns out he's upset that a girl in school he likes doesn't know he exists.
Roy & David Go Door-To-Door
Roy brings Keeley and Phoebe to his "stupid posh neighborhood" in search of a dentist. They ring doorbell after doorbell (with some additional doorbell backup from the other characters) until they find a dentist on their tenth try. Hugh Grant's prime minister brings along his driver to ring doorbell after doorbell to find Natalie at the "dodgy end" of Wandsworth. Londoners are shocked to see the prime minister and footballer Roy Kent on their doorsteps at Christmastime. But unlike the PM, Roy Kent is not down to sing "Good King Wenceslas."
Bernard & Bernard Are Jerks
If you watch a lot of Richard Curtis movies, you may have once uttered the same line as Roy, "Who the fuck is Bernard?" Well, the legend goes that screenwriter Curtis once dated the wife of Conservative Member of Parliament Bernard Jenkin. To get back at him for stealing his girlfriend, Curtis has inserted a much-maligned character by the name of Bernard (pronounced as Ber-nerd by those Brits) in pretty much all of his scripts. For Love Actually, Emma Thompson's Karen has a "horrid son" named Bernard. So, of course, Phoebe's mean Secret Santa who tells her that her breath is bad is none other than Bernard.
Trafalgar Square & Trafalgar Square Are Decked Out
Ted Lasso isn't known for its postcard shots of the city, but for "Carol of the Bells," Trafalgar Square is shown decked out in holiday spirit as it was in Love Actually. There's also festive shots of Tower Bridge on the River Thames in Ted Lasso, and the Thames is a place that Daniel, Sam, and Mark are known to hang around in Love Actually.
Rebecca & Billy Mack Skip Elton John's Party
Rebecca is supposed to go to a Christmas party at Elton John's but skips it to be with her team's manager (or, head coach) Ted. Billy Mack is supposed to go to a Christmas party at Elton John's but leaves early to be with his manager Joe. While Rebecca may never get to see Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig have sex, at least Billy Mack and Joe got to watch some porn together. Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen indeed.
Phoebe & Mark Hold Cards
In case you thought all of the Love Actually references were mere coincidences up to this point, Roy seals the deal when he hatches the plan to have Phoebe hold up cards with words written in sharpie to send a message to Bernard like Mark does to profess his love to Juliet. Bernard's dad utters Peter's line, "Give 'em a quid and tell 'em to bugger off." Phoebe gives the double thumbs up that Andrew Lincoln does. And though I couldn't confirm 100% if it was the same exact Pre Teens' version of "Silent Night" that plays from Mark's boombox, the version Roy plays on his iPhone is damn near close enough... enough now. (And yes, I will make this "enough now" joke every time a TV show references this Love Actually scene.)
Rebecca & Joanna Belt Out Christmas Songs
Not everyone likes carol singers (looking at you, Bernard's dad and Peter), but is there any better way to spread Christmas cheer? Buddy the Elf sure doesn't think so. So Rebecca accompanied by Ted on percussion belts out "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)." In Love Actually, Joanna accompanied by Sam on percussion belts out "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Hannah Waddingham and Olivia Olson both can really sing, so why not? And it doesn't hurt that Mariah Carey covered "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on her 1994 Christmas album too.
As Hugh Grant says in the movie, Love Actually is all around... at least in Ted Lasso. Now, I'm only left wondering how the Ted Lasso writers resisted introducing a niece or nephew for Jamie Tartt so the child could proclaim, "I hate Uncle Jamie."
Images: Apple TV+, Universal Pictures