Christmas is a time for warm and fuzzy feelings, which is why Channel 4’s festive version of First Dates is always an absolute must-watch.
However, while we were expecting romance, we assumed it would take place between the diners – not the waiting staff.
Waiter Sam Conrad, as stalwart fans of the show will already know, has, for a very long time, harboured secret feelings for his colleague, CiCi Coleman.
Time and time again, the cameras have zoomed in on him staring across the restaurant at her with a wistful expression on his face – and, while CiCi may not have realised that her BFF had a thing for her, maître d' Fred Siriex certainly did.
“Don’t worry,” he advised his employee, as they watched CiCi giggling with a new member of the waiting staff. And then the self-confessed love guru proceeded to confuse Sam with a near-nonsensical metaphor about horses, studs, and true love conquering all.
And, no, we didn’t understand it either, Sam – don’t worry.
However, during the First Dates at Christmas episode, it seemed as if Sam was tired of sitting on his feelings. Especially as CiCi, who has always been unavailable up until this point, had just confirmed that she split from her boyfriend earlier in the year…
More importantly, CiCi went on to admit that she has finally worked through her heartbreak, and is now looking to find someone new.
Taking inspiration from Love Actually’s most iconic scene (yup, we’re talking about Andrew Lincoln flashing Keira Knightley those cue cards), he set about telling her the truth – without hope or agenda, just because it’s Christmas.
“To me, you are perfect,” he told her, via the medium of a handwritten card.
Leaning back to take in the message, CiCi looked a little taken aback by her pal’s confession – but then, when she realised what her pal was telling her, she was suddenly overcome with emotion.
Cue the duo – clad in cheesy festive knits and paper hats – leaning in for a hug in front of the cameras.
Unsurprisingly, viewers at home went wild for the heart-warming scene.
One viewer tweeted: “Loving the love actually #FirstDates ending, my heart of ice is really struggling not to melt right now.”
Another added: “Hands down more excited about Sam's Love Actually moment than any other match on the show. #FirstDates.”
“To me you are perfect.. my heart just broke watching tonight's @FirstDates .. there's no better time to channel love actually than at Xmas,” wrote a third.
“When the waitress from @FirstDates gets to live the scene from love actually and my date for the night is garlic bread,” quipped another.
Overall, everybody agreed that the sweet moment had been the best part of the entire show – and they all crossed their fingers that this confession would have a far happier ending than that of Love Actually’s Mark and Juliet.
To be honest, it’s off to a good start; at least CiCi isn’t already married – and, thank goodness, Sam hasn’t been creepily filming her for years to create his own secret tape of CiCi moments.
We guess we’ll have to wait until the series returns next year to find out if the pair are going to remain ‘just
good awesome friends’, whether they intend to pursue the romance that viewers have been hoping for, or, you know, whether it was just a sweet segment they were asked to film by Channel 4 bosses.
Either way, there’s no denying that the scene was every bit as heart-warming as a glass of mulled wine. Merry Christmas.
Images: Channel 4