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:
(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 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 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.