on 16 October 2001
All of a sudden my late night TV viewing habits have shifted from Leno and Letterman to a curious never-heard-of-it-before sitcom about a sextet of "Friends", 3 female, 3 male (hmmm, sound familiar?). The show (series 1) started airing 11:30pm for 6 nights last week, on BBC America, and is about as well written and funny a program as ever there was. And I am hooked.
As a native New Yorker, grown tired years ago of "Friends" (I cringe when having to witness the show's Hollyweird depiction of a NYC street scene, replete with stereotypes that disappeared when Elvis was in knee-pants), "Coupling" is a clever, well-performed and hilariously entertaining breath of fresh air.
on 25 September 2001
This is the best sitcom on TV at the moment by far. Try to explain it to someone who hasn't seen it and you won't be able to explain why you were creased up in pain from laughing.
It's a bit like Friends meets a Whitehall farce with a generous dash of weirdness thrown in (ever seen Spaced ?), the type of weirdness that reflects real life, the things we do which are not spoken of !!
Still, while series one is fantastic, the first episodes of series two are even better. I can't wait for them to come out on video. Then I'll have to prepare for weeks before I can bring myself to watch episode one again !!!
on 2 February 2007
I remember when the series launched on the Beeb with many comparisons made to Friends. Yes, it is about 3 men and 3 women, but there the similarity ends. For starters, every episode is FUNNY!! I've never bought a dvd of a tv series before, but this has been played to death. It is so perceptive of male and female insecurities (the sock moment, women's bottoms having a growth cycle of their own ...), the different ways men and women can perceive the same event, in fact the different ways different people can perceive the same event. Steve trying to wriggle out of his porn viewing habits by describing Lesbian Spank Inferno as a liberating tale of a female film collective makes me weep with laughter, even on the umpteenth viewing. Series 2 to 4 will soon be coming to a dvd player very near me!
on 16 February 2002
One of the best series the BBC has shown in years. Every episode guides us inevitably into a ridiculous situation, and yet it always seems so natural that these characters would get into such a mess.
Situation comedy at its best.
on 1 June 2004
Simply fantastic and so much better than the simplistic and straight-forward Friends. Britain has hit back with a witty and hilariously absurd comedy about six mates and their relationship traumas. The characters are so well crafted - from the intensely insecure Sally to the bizarre but well meaning Jeff, not mention quite possibly the most insane and self-obsessed person on the planet, Jane. This had my friends and I falling about on the floor with laughter. Already seen series 2 & 3 and they don't disappoint. Pure genius. Favourite moment has to be Jane's impression of a lamb during a dinner party.
on 28 August 2001
Just when it seemed that the US had the ensemble sitcom market bubble-wrapped, along came 'Coupling'; at last, a British effort that had the guts to be positive, that eschewed the tired female cynic / male cretin dynamic, and recalibrated the funniometer along the way.
Centred conceptually around the complex inter-relationships of six friends, and physically around their favourite bar, the series contains countless sharp observations on sexual politics while sensibly focussing on laughs first and issues second. Central to the appeal of the show is the glee which writer Steven Moffat takes in his characters; the anarchically unhinged Jane; the obsessively analytical Geoff, whose whacky theories, and their frequent self-fulfilment, form a recurring theme; the shallow Patrick, the nervy Sally, the unnervingly forward Susan and the struggling nice-guy Steve. You've seen them all in your local, and these distillations are so skillful you'll swear you've met them in person.
The six episodes on this DVD serve to set a style and lay a foundation for a series which could run and run. From the terrors of the Sock Gap, through the trials of the Giggle Loop, to the sheer audacious brilliance of staging half an episode in Hebrew just to get a cheap tit gag, "Coupling" Series One will have you pounding on Moffat's door simply demanding more.
on 16 January 2011
At first glance, "Coupling" had all the signs of being a British re-working of 'Friends'. That alone was enough to put off some friends of mine, who consequently missed out on one of the most original and eye-wateringly funny sit-coms of the 21st century. Leave aside the three guys/three girls demographic, and Friends is to Coupling as mechanically recovered meat is to prime steak.
Hopefully those who've since had their eyes opened by Steven Moffat's reawakening of both Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes will look at this series with new eyes. Coupling, at least in its first 3 series, is nothing short of brilliant. I don't think any other individual writer has ever produced such a jaundiced yet recognisably accurate - and blissfully funny - take on romantic relationships. Moffat's writing has some outstanding strengths, the first of which is satirising the absurd rationalisations we create for our unconscious behaviour. It's only now, a decade after this series first appeared, that I can recognise that I do, indeed, have my own Nudity Buffer. Beyond that is his unique skill at depicting the same situation from different viewpoints - nowhere better displayed than in the stand-out episode from this first series, 'The Girl with Two Breasts". Re-watching it after a couple of years, the tears of laughter were flowing long before the forgotten punchlines of "I was expecting Shadayim", and "All he was doing was running round the El-Al check-in desk shouting her name" reduced me to a gibbering wreck. And if none of that makes any sense, all I can recommend is that you check in to the Giggle Loop and give Coupling a spin. You won't regret it.
on 27 March 2002
The entire series is very cleverly written and beautifully performed.
Jeff is a comedy classic - the sock-gap, female body parts multiplying in his head - the man is a paranoid genius. Steve is everyman - we've all been there, we can all identify with him - his explanation of Inferno strikes a particular chord. Patrick - well, what can you say about Patrick? We all wish we were Patrick.
The girls are fantastic as well - Susan is gorgeous, Sally has issues and Jane is - well, Jane is Jane.
It's impossible to choose a favourite episode - each is a mini-classic. The Reservoir Dogs scene is particularly memorable, and of course "anyone can have a dead aunt".
Buy this DVD - tell your friends to buy it!
on 1 September 2011
So are you bored with current offering of "funny" TV shows? If so and you want to discover an oldie but a goodie, this is the show for you.
Follow the hilarious lives of 6 sarcastic and witty brits doing not a lot, but making you laugh with their ridiculous commentaries on friends and dating from the men vs woman stand point. If you're not hooked by the end of the second episode I'd be surprised. The show is made up of a cast of 6 - 3 men 3 women which yes is very "friends" like, but I have to say I think that's where the similarity ends for me. I think it'a well worth watching and judging in it's own right and shouldn't be written off as a British version of Friends.
Susan and Steve will make you laugh as they tip-toe through the perils of a new relationship. There's Sally the youth obsessed liberal, Patrick the womanising tory, Jane who can only be described as insane, and finally Geoff. Geoff has to be my favourite character, watch the series and then tell me his theories on "giggle loops", "porn buddies", and "nudity buffers" didn't make you laugh. He lives in his own little universe of strangeness (but in many cases is only highlighting something you've thought about at least once in you life).
on 25 October 2002
Friends is good and there is no point in denying it. However much we deride the latest series or two in comparison to the earlier genius of the writers, it is still very good. It has also often been the case that British attempts to follow in the footsteps of, and take advantage of, American success has failed dismally. Not so with Coupling - at last. In fact, it is more than possible that in some senses, the British effort surpases recent offerings from the other side of the pond. There is a sharpness to the wit and observation pervading the insightful writing that sometimes, just sometimes, one wonders what we ever saw in Friends. Davenport is the crucial straight man and although he is doubtless sometimes amusing, he is mainly the foil to the others. However, without him the series does not work. Sure, Jeff is funny in a kind of 'don't sit next to him on a bus' sort of way, but without the straight-laced Davenport, there is no real sense to what he is saying - indeed, frequently it is Davenport's reaction to his inane (and insane) ramblings that provides the hilarity.
The insight, from a male point of view, into the female psyche is gloriously paralleled by the fact that all three - Alexander and Bellman - in particular are stunning to look at. Is that all they offer though? Hell no! Blow for blow, there is as much in the way of romantic chicanery provided by them as the lads, and it is testament to the writing that they all six interact so well. So much of it is just too close to home for comfort that it has you reaching for the mobile furiously texting those at the top of your address book (hence the title of this review). Frankly, it couldn't be better.
Stereotypes abound, but that is probably why it works. None of us are any of the characters - we are all degrees of each one.
Funny? Very. Insightful? That's why it's funny. The only problem: Why the hell did they only make six...