the canon

A Guide to They Came Together’s Rom-Com References

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Alliance Atlantis and Miramax, Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate

Michael Showalter and David Wain’s They Came Together is meant to be a parody of romantic comedies — that’s comedies, plural — but its premise is even more specific: A candy store competing with a larger candy conglomerate, a man and a woman who initially hate each other, a severe Upper West Side fetish (and the rest of NYC being a “character” in the film). Yes, they’re doing You’ve Got Mail, and practically every big ha-ha moment is AOL-related; there’s even a Starbucks dis. (“Whatever happened to good ol’ regular coffee?” Paul Rudd’s character, Joel, asks. Here’s the You’ve Got Mail equivalent.)

We are okay with this, since You’ve Got Mail is a Nora Ephron classic and deserves to be parodied ten times over. But before you dash off to watch the original, here are the rest of references we were able to place. (This list can double as a What to Stream: Rom-Com Edition, if you are so inclined.)

The two are initially set up on a blind date for a Halloween party, and after it doesn’t go so well, Molly (Amy Poehler) overhears Joel (Paul Rudd) saying some not-so-nice things about her. Much like in Bridget Jones’s Diary:

After a bad first impression, the two run into each other again at a used bookstore. Much like in When Harry Met Sally:

(Because we all know Nora Ephron wrote the best rom-coms, there’s also a slew of When Harry Met Sally references, including: Molly’s food-ordering style, Joel and his bros discussing the women in their lives at a sports event, playing Charades at a holiday party; Joel even jokes, “I’ll have what she’s having.”)

There’s a falling-in-love montage. Much like in About Time, Crazy/Beautiful, Notting Hill, Definitely, Maybe, or [insert your favorite rom-com]:

There’s a trying-on-clothes montage. Much like in Pretty Woman, Sex and the City, 27 Dresses, The New Guy,The Sweetest Thing, or [insert your favorite rom-com]:

Joel learns that Molly not only lives with her sister, but also has a young kid. Much like in Jerry Maguire:

(There’s also another connection to Jerry Maguire: Joel’s dream is to open a coffee shop called Cup of Joel, and Molly is the only one who supports him.)

Molly has super-racist parents. Much like in Fools Rush In (although, admittedly, these two weren’t actual Nazis):

Joel visits his bubbe for love advice, and they linger on a man selling pickles from a barrel in front of her brownstone apartment. Much like in Crossing Delancey:

Molly’s about to marry a man she doesn’t love. Much like in It Happened One Night, The Wedding Singer, Made of Honor, and The Graduate (to name a few):

Molly tells Joel that if she’s ever about to get married but doesn’t want to do it, she’ll go the Brooklyn Promenade. He remembers. This happens, albeit with the Empire State Building, in Sleepless in Seattle:

And they live happily ever after! Just like in every other rom-com.

They Came Together’s Rom-Com References