The United Kingdom breathed a collective sigh of relief this week, as the dawning of the winter holiday season allowed the population to turn its attention toward the true reason for the season: an excuse to watch Love Actually. This cultural sentiment has led to the common sight of estrogen-fueled viewers glued to their couches in a state that can only be referred to as cathartic stupor. Afflicted victims of this epidemic are often surrounded by Cadbury wrappers, clutching the hand of their significant other whilst their attention is fixated on the television— leaving their partners wondering just when exactly Liam Neeson is going to go save his daughter. Spoiler Alert: he doesn’t. To disturb a sufferer during a viewing session of the film can have extreme side effects, including incessant bawling and wailing. However, the riskiest move one can make in the vicinity of a victim is to suggest that other Christmas films, such as The Holiday or It’s a Wonderful Life are much better films, whilst Love Actually is (actually) overrated and fairly predictable as rom-coms go. Thus far, there have been no reports of anyone surviving that move.
The scientific community has long pondered this phenomenon. The initial signs of this epidemic were clear; as consistent with previous years, Tesco had experienced an abrupt surge in the sale of both rosé and tissues at the beginning of the festive period. After careful studies conducted over the past thirteen years, a consensus amongst researchers has finally been reached as to why the film is so popular. Evidence cites both Colin Firth’s luscious curls, as well as the eerie allure of a young, clean-shaven Rick Grimes, from the days before the planet was engulfed in the gruesome universe of The Walking Dead.
The film is far from flawless, it’s like a car crash, or a trashy reality TV show - The world simply cannot look away, because the benefits of the film’s emotional purge far outweigh its problematic implications. Critiques of the film include: “That brunette girl isn't even fat”, “Who would cheat on Emma Thompson”, and “…Is that Mr. Bean?” These factors, however, do little to dissuade the loyal legion of Love Actually devotees from their annual crawl out of the woodwork. They stick on the DVD to fuel up on their yearly dose of emotional manipulation, before calmly returning it to the back of the cupboard until next December.
The only realistically applicable lesson of the film being that if you are British, going to America will get you laid. This is an indisputable truth. It will definitely work, especially in rural areas where there is little exposure to foreign culture. To them a British person is akin to a rare exotic bird one would expect to see on the discovery channel. A rare, exotic bird that they just want to fuck. To America, any male with a British accent is immediately equivalent to Jude Law, Jamie Dornan, and Orlando Bloom, even if in reality you’re actually just a glorified Simon Cowell, with the charisma and emotional range of a damp flannel. The accent blinds them to this - so grab your suitcase full of condoms and book that flight to Wisconsin asap!
Interestingly enough, the rom-com shockwave of holiday oxytocin has never quite reached St Andrews. Despite much discourse over the reason by which the small seaside town is consistently spared, it seems that is may be attributed to exam season and the common sentiment among many students of the University; “We already see enough of Hugh Grant here anyway, who gives a shit.”