Coupling: Collection [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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This witty, instantly addictive British series could also be called Chaps or Squelchy in the City. Coupling charts the tangled sex lives of a close-knit group comprising "exes and best friends": womanizer Jack, hapless nice guy Steve, "strange and disturbing" Jeff, uninhibited Susan, neurotic Sally, and manipulative Jane. Coupling may inspire feelings of déjà-vu. The obvious frame of reference is Friends (Steve and Susan are the Ross-Rachel equivalent), but this series also echoes Seinfeld in its coinage of catch-phrases (although it's doubtful that "the boyfriend zone" will replace "master of your domain") and plotlines (in episode one, Steve tries to dump Jane, who refuses to accept). But Coupling has its own fresh and provocative takes on relationships. At one point, a furious Susan discovers that Patrick not only had a videotape of the former couple having sex, but that he also taped over her.
In Steven Moffat's second season, theres a brilliant consolidation of all the neuroses, small deceits, obsessions, and personality ticks that struck such a resonant chord when Steve, Susan, and their four friends were first unleashed on us. The success of this is due to the magical combination of Moffat's very funny scripts and the talents of six extremely likeable actors, including Jack Davenport (Steve) and Sarah Alexander (Susan). But it's Richard Coyle's Jeff whose sexual fantasies exert a compelling fascination that will really keep you watching in disbelief. Breasts, bottoms and pants are the basis for most of the conversational analysis when these friends get together as a group, as couples, as girlfriends, or as mates, invariably becoming metaphors for the state of a relationship or situation. Individual viewpoints and terrors are explored through respective memories of the same event and what-if scenarios. Chain reactions inevitably ensue, fuelling comedy that is based almost entirely on misunderstanding.
The third series, first aired in 2002, takes fans into new realms of engaging surrealism. The men are constantly in pursuit of a basic grasp of the "emotional things" that make women behave the way they do. The women analyze everything to death. But again thanks to Steve Moffat's scripts, tighter and quirkier than ever, these characters are living, breathing human beings rather than cynical ciphers for comedy stereotypes. The performances are as strong as you'd expect from an established team, with actors such as Jack Davenport, Ben Miles (unreconstructed chauvinist Patrick), Sarah Alexander, and Kate Isitt (neurotic Sally) wearing their roles like second skins. But in the surreal stakes, it's Richard Coyle as Jeff, wondering aloud what happens to jelly after women have finished wrestling in it, and Gina Bellman as Jane, musing on the importance of a first snog in identifying what men like to eat, who really raise the laughter levels. All things considered, this is superior comedy for all thirtysomethings--genuine and putative.
Then we get to series four - feel free to insert your own "four-play" joke, or for that matter, your own "insert" jokes! Sex is still topic one for the intertwined group of "exes and best friends," but in this pivotal season there are momentous "relationship issues" that will upend all their lives (insert your own "upend" joke while you're at it). Susan is pregnant, inspiring nightmares in Steve about his own execution and unflattering comparisons of the birth process to John Hurt's iconic gut-busting scene in Alien. Missing in action is the Kramer-esque Jeff (although he makes something of a return in the season finale). Joining the ensemble is Oliver, who is more in the Chandler mode as a lovable loser with the ladies. These inevitable comparisons to "Sein-Friends" are no doubt heresy to Coupling's most devoted viewers. Indeed, this series does benefit from creator and sole writer Steven Moffat's comic voice and vision. He provides his ever-game cast some witty, funny-'cause-it's-true dialogue, as in Oliver's observation that "Tea isn't compatible with porn." A bonus disc takes viewers behind the scenes with segments devoted to bloopers and interviews with cast and crew.
This Britcom is less inhibited in language and sexual situations than its American counterparts. In the cleverly-constructed opening episode, in which the same "9-1/2 Minutes" are witnessed from three different perspectives, Sally and Jane can do what was left to the imagination when Monica and Rachel offered to make out in front of Joey and Chandler. The birth of Susan and Steven's baby ends the six-episode fourth season on a satisfying and surprisingly moving grace note.
On average, men and women think about sex every six seconds. Shorten that to every second, and you've got Coupling. It's more than just a one night stand! When a couple gets together, it's never just the two of them - they also bring baggage - and Susan (Sarah Alexander) and Steve (Jack Davenport) are no exception. Their baggage is a crowd of best friends and exes who talk about all aspects of sex and relationships on their never-ending quest to find true love.
Coupling has been honoured with the prestigious Silver Rose of Montreux, Best TV Comedy Award, and was a winner at the 2003 British Comedy Awards. --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
The popular BBC comedy Coupling is included here in its entirety. The naughty, outrageously funny show follows the adventures of Steve (Jack Davenport), Jane (Gina Bellman), Susan (Sarah Alexander), Sally (Kate Isitt), Jeff (Richard Coyle), and in later seasons, Ben (Patrick Maitland) -- all in various states of relationships -- as they get caught in hilarious and often embarrassing situations. --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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