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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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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.
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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.
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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 !!!
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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!
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on 9 August 2002
Dialogue as well-crafted as "The West Wing", timing every bit as good as "Friends"... this is a wonderful six-episode DVD which you'll watch again and again. Great writing -- a winner because it's so well-observed and cuttingly funny, as well as fantastically acted. Forget Bridget Jones -- this is what young Londoners' social lives are really about. Just funnier. Can't wait for Series 2! The only slight niggle: the DVD only contains the six episodes, with no extra features.
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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.
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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...
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on 18 September 2001
Coupling is incredible. Never before have I laughed so loud at a sitcom, but there were moments where I had to put my head in my hands just so noone could see I was laughing so much I was crying. The best moment has to be the finale of the episode in which Jeff explains the Giggle Loop, perhaps because the rest of the cast is laughing as much on screen as you are off it, only they are at a funeral. Some of the insults Steve aims at Jeff are inspired, and definitely should be remembered for you to use on your friends every now and then. While amazing, it is not quite as special as the second series. It will still be the best video you buy this year.
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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!
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on 6 January 2003
I watched all six episodes of the first series of Coupling last night, seeing it probably for the fifth time. This is truly classic comedy, ranking (for me) together with Fawlty Towers and Red Dwarf as the best British comedies ever. I find it better than Blackadder, which is too mannered to bear repeat viewings.
The first series is mainly about Susan, Steve and Jeff - the other characters are less well developed. This is no bad thing - there was plenty of room for development in the 2nd and 3rd series, which were also very good, and all of the principal characters subsequently took centre stage.
This first series contains many, many very funny moments, often - though not always - provided by Jeff. Jeff is a distillation of the fears and inadequacies of the human male, ruled by his Freudian sub-conscious. Although he is quite nutty, you always understand where he's coming from, and his madcap theories will strike a chord time after time. Steve is the normal bloke of the male trio, but has his own quirks, and Susan is sassy and sexy (and, quite frankly, one of the most gorgeous women ever to have graced my television set!).
I suspect that this series appeals more to men than women, and reveals more about the male psyche than the female. The characters are not realistic, but (when they are developed) are very comical distillations of peoples sexual attitudes and behaviour. And who needs realism anyway? I'd rather have three hours of delightful comedy with a sexy edge.
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