Thursday, November 7, 2013


10 Years, Actually: Billy & Joe, Juliet & Mark

This is part of a week-long series celebrating the tenth anniversary of Love Actually.

Billy and Joe’s friendship was better than ever post-”Christmas Is All Around.” They both smiled more. They laughed more. They hugged more. Sure, they spent time apart—they hadn’t lost their sex drives yet—but, for the most part, their lives were lived as one, and their careers were all the better for it.

Billy’s 2005 single “May December” (about a woman named May December) was called the song of the summer in the UK. His holiday follow-up “December May” (about a woman named December May) was the Christmas number one single. Life was perfect, actually. It was actually perfect.

The next summer, Joe picked Billy up at his flat early one particularly hot and muggy morning. He was to be photographed for GQ at a studio just outside of London. “I don’t understand why I do these things,” he said to Joe as the pair zoomed down the highway. “Oh wait, the money.” As they shared a laugh, the radio began to play something uncharacteristically cheery. “Christmas Is All Around.” On a summer day. At 6:00 in the morning.

“Sounds like someone fell asleep at the board,” Joe said.

“I think it’s lovely,” said Billy before singing along, and Joe wasn’t far behind. Within seconds, they were both belting out the worst Christmas song ever recorded.

“You know I love Christmas, I always will.”

“My mind’s made up, the way that I feel.”

“There’s no beginning, there’ll be no end.”

“‘Cause on Christmas, you can depend.”

They didn’t even see the car that hit them.
Juliet and Peter’s baby was born before the next year's first snow fell. Peter insisted they name him Mark, but Juliet protested: “What about Jamie?”

“I hate the name Jamie,” Peter said.

“What about Colin?”

“Now Colin I like.”

By the time Colin was walking, Mark had started coming by less and less and his poster boards were a distant memory. In Peter and Colin, Juliet had more love than she could ever know what to do with.

Over the next few years, Mark threw himself into his work. He was happy there, and with every new project, the pedestal on which Julia stood chipped away. Before long, it had all but disappeared. He did, however, continue sending birthday cards and letters and emails, but the visitations were few. Once a year, but never at Christmas. He spent that holiday by himself, usually at the Chinese restaurant down his block.

One Christmas, while enjoying a particularly delicious plate of beef with broccoli, someone tapped on his shoulder.

“Do you mind if I borrow your soy sauce?”

Even after she moved to his table, he couldn’t figure out why he recognized her. They talked like old friends and laughed like older ones. “You know," she said. "Today’s actually my birthday."

“Oh, well, happy birthday and merry Christmas. I don’t believe I caught your name.”

“Dido," she said. "It’s Dido.”
Previously: RufusSarah & Karl, Jamie & AureliaColin & Harriet, Daniel & Sam

Bobby Finger hopes you know how excited he was to learn that Dido was born on December 25th.

31 Comments / Post A Comment


I am enjoying this series so effing much. Even if some are unnecessarily tragic. To me you are perfect.

On the edge of my seat waiting for porn couple story.


I actually gasped aloud, "NO!" at Billy and Joe. WHY MUST YOU BE SO CRUEL


@yeah-elle I did the same thing and yelled and cried!


@yeah-elle Not cruel! It's like the ending of The Unbearable Lightness of Being--they died happy and together!
(Not sure I buy it either but it's comforting!)



I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

You killed them, Bobby Finger. You took from us what was good and sleazy and bro-riffic, and I can't help but love you, still.

I'm so glad Mark found Dido; every time that song comes on, I see an image of him zipping up his turtleneck sweater (??) and fast-walking.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose He needs to wear one of those on Walking Dead.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose DIDO. They're meant to be.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@likethestore I mean, things really went downhill for him once he went to the states. I'm assuming this takes place after he gets a boat out of zombie hell - it just really shows that he is a good guy because he still wrote to birthday cards and emails despite being really "into his work," as Bobby says.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose something about that zip made me think the actor caught himself in it, but got through the take.

Last comment! Covering Billy's black leather suit with white latex paint was so freaking inspired! Very rock and roll.


NOT COOL, BOBBY FINGER. I wasn't ready for that.


Emma Carmichael

@meetapossum Framing this.


@Emma Carmichael Me too. Who made it? I LOVE the drawings.


@planforamiracle I've seen it on Tumblr a lot. I did a cursory Google search to find the original artist, but no luck :(

Any One Ninja Plot

We should all die such lovely poetic deaths full of love and nostalgia.


You can't kill off Billy and Joe and then expect immediate forgiveness just because you bring Dido into the mix, Bobby Finger. But the Christmas birthday detail...good work.


When I first saw Love, Actually I was pretty young and I did not understand that the Billy & Joe plotline was NOT about them discovering their gay love for each other. Uh, until now?


@tulliola The author is dead! Who says they aren't boning? (I also have been similarly confused)


@tulliola no, musicians are in a different space. Unless they're Fleetwood Mac.




Miss Ursula

No, no, no. There's no beginning, there'll be no end/'cause on Christmas you can depend


I am sitting here in my work cubicle trying to suppress my laughter at that last line.

Mark + Dido = OTP


I cant stop laughing. That was a cruel cruel twist that I will love you forever for giving us. Joe + Billy 4eva.


December May- someone saw '500 Days of Summer."


Oh, Emma, what will tomorrow bring? Steeling myself against Joni Mitchell -provoked tears.

You guys know it's on Netflix Streaming?


@Myrtle Kind of disappointed we didn't get a Joni-centered one in honor of her birthday yesterday!

Sea Ermine

@Myrtle Nicole and Mallory did a nice Joni tribute over at The Toast!



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