All the When Harry Met Sally references in Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso season 2, episode 5. Image courtesy Apple TV+
Ted Lasso season 2, episode 5. Image courtesy Apple TV+ /

The will-they-or-won’t-they format is a tried and true romantic plotline that is guaranteed to make even the most jaded rom-com fan into a hopeful romantic. And, well, one of the central storylines in Ted Lasso has always been the push and pull relationship between one perpetually positive Ted Lasso and one spectacularly surly Roy Kent.

NOTE: Spoilers for Ted Lasso S2E5 episode “Rainbow” follow. Get your biscuits on outta here if you haven’t seen it.

Right from the jump in the pilot episode, Ted (Jason Sudekis) and Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) knew that they had to just win Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein), aka: the superstar football player, aka: the esteemed captain of AFC Richmond, over. And by the time Roy had finished reading A Wrinkle In Time, he was pretty much there. But then he left the team and lost touch for a while. Yet, we all knew. We all knew his glorious return was inevitable. Return he did, in spectacular fashion.

Halfway through the fifth episode of the second season, the will-they-or-won’t-they relationship paid off, and the Ted Lasso / Roy Kent bromance earned its fairy tale ending.

So it was absolute perfection when the episode containing mother f*ckin’ Roy Kent’s return was a celebration of rom coms, allsorts. Ted kicks off the episode by talking about his theory of “rom-communism”, or the belief that everything will turn out okay in the end. The team unabashedly shouts out their favorite rom com mainstays.

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan (sigh!), Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant (swoon!), Drew Barrymore, Matthew McConaughey, and the three… no, four, Kates are applauded. Sam Obisanya extolls the virtues of Renee Zellweger’s physical comedy, and then Dani Rojas pipes in with a late – but very welcome – addition of Jennifer Lopez.

We stan a group of athletic dudes who know their rom coms.

But the episode takes direct inspiration from one of the best rom coms of all time: When Harry Met Sally. It’s two hours of crackling dialogue, beautiful cityscapes, and Carrie Fisher as the best friend who also gets her man. It’s sheer magic.

NOTE: At the time of this article’s publication, When Harry Met Sally was available for streaming on HBO Max. Enjoy, friends.

Ted Lasso season 2, episode 5. Image courtesy Apple TV+
Ted Lasso season 2, episode 5. Image courtesy Apple TV+ /

While the episode is peppered with references to other rom coms, the imagery and quoteable dialogue from When Harry Met Sally steals the show. Here are all the references to the iconic 80’s classic.

One – The Fade In. Okay, maybe this one isn’t lifted from When Harry Met Sally exactly, but Ephron often uses the fade in paired with a classic tune from the 60’s to set a dreamy tone for the rest of her films.

Two – THE Line. When Ted meets Roy at his favorite kebab place, he casually tosses off the famous line, “I’ll have what he’s having” to the shop owner. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see Roy or Ted fake a big “O” before the line delivery, but we’ll give them a pass.

Three – The Bombshell. After a night of inspirational football in Roy’s old neighborhood, Ted approaches Roy with his intentions. He says, “But I came here tonight because when you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life coaching with somebody, you want the rest of your life to begin ASAP.” It’s a bit tweaked from the classic declaration of love that Harry woos Sally with on New Year’s Eve, but it’s still effective. Well, not on Roy. At least… not yet.

Four – Musical Inspiration. “L-O-V-E” performed by Nat King Cole plays over the intro to Richmond’s stadium, much like it played in a pivotal scene in When Harry Met Sally.

Five – Confessionals. As “L-O-V-E’ plays over fans settling in before the game, the camera pans to an older couple who proceed to look directly at the camera and tell the story of how they met and fell in love. Way way before confessionals were a thing in reality shows, screenwriter Nora Ephron used this device to underscore the varied and magical nature of love throughout the film. When Harry Met Sally did it first, kids.

Ted Lasso season 2, episode 5. Image courtesy Apple TV+
Ted Lasso season 2, episode 5. Image courtesy Apple TV+ /

Six – Running to the Venue. The climax of When Harry Met Sally sees Harry racing through the streets of New York City just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. He can’t get a cab, so he cardios his way across the island. In a burst of inspiration, he’s realized that he loves Sally, and he wants to be with her ASAP (see aforementioned Ted quote in No. 3).

Well, samesies with Roy. Only his realization is that he loves football and absolutely everything that comes with it. He’s no longer content to be a talking head, so he rips off his microphone and makes his way to to the team. A bad knee prevents him from sprinting the whole thing, Harry stylez, but he meets some colorful characters and gives a young football fan a thrill of a lifetime along the way.

Seven – Ted’s Double Take. Ted does an excellent doe-eyed Meg Ryan here as his lovely lashes pass over Roy as he enters the stadium, and then, when he realizes what he’s seeing, he snaps back to attention, eyes wide and heart open to his old friend.

Related Story. 5 Reasons Why Roy Kent Is A Revelation On Ted Lasso. light

Ted Lasso releases new episodes every Friday on Apple TV+.