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A Case Where The Original Truly Is The Best
To say that some of us are snobs for viewing Coupling US as utter rubbish compared to the brilliant Coupling UK, is to say something completely unfounded and untrue. It is true that a large portion of the original script was used in the pilot of Coupling US, but the fact that the less-than-mediocre entrance of the US version was excruciatingly unfunny had more to do with the setting, the actors and the idea than the actual script. Please - for viewers who have seen the US version and not the British Coupling - take note: You can have the funniest lines in the world, but if they are delivered by an actor who has no grasp of the character the lines were intended for, has no comedic depth and is a mere imitation - not even a shadow - of the original character, those very same lines that you once found hilarious can suddenly be rendered lame and unoriginal. A sitcom is not only successful because of the funny lines produced during the show, but also by how successful the actors are at conveying those lines. And the actors themselves need to have some likability too. Sadly the US version falls short in every possible way. Many people have commented on how the actor playing Jeff has really disappointed fans by turning such a side-splittingly funny character into a teeth-grindingly inferior joke. But it doesn't end there - almost the entire cast is misplaced and unsuited for the characters they are portraying. Perhaps the British actors have outdone themselves to such a degree that they cannot be re-cast to the satisfaction of Coupling fans. But then, why should they have to be? The original was truly the best and I see no reason why it should have been remade. Edited perhaps, to fit into US time slots, but to be remade entirely is completely unnecessary and an all-round bad idea. The proof is in the pudding - if you don't believe me just have a look at how much this version of Coupling scored on the user rating.
Another thing that gripes me is the misconception by people who have only watched the US version, that this show is a cheap imitation of Friends. I can't stress enough how absolutely misguided this perception is! The original Coupling has three things in common with Friends - there are six central characters, three of them are women and three are men, and the show revolves around relationships. That's about where it ends. In Coupling, sex is discussed much more openly and at times, at length. If this puts you off, then read the tagline of the original Coupling - "It's better than foreplay". This show is about sex and if that offends or bores you, then don't expect to enjoy this very much sex-orientated sitcom. Friends would be more to your tastes then, obviously.
The argument that the Coupling characters are imitations of the Friends characters is also untrue. If you watch the original Coupling you'll notice that the characters are very well rounded off. I'm not saying the Friends characters weren't, but to say that Jeff is like Joey, Jane like Phoebe, etc. is nonsense. The characters in Coupling have more depth than the US pilot would have you believe. As writer Steven Moffat mentioned in an interview, his characters are people of extremes. Jeff and Sally are both, for example, extremely paranoid people. Jeff worries over every problem he might encounter, stresses over it, names it, numbers it, and ultimately falls victim to it with hilarious results. Sally is paranoid about her beauty, her age, her weight, her relationship status, what she wants in a man, how she wants to world to see her man, etc. Then you get Patrick and Jane, both extremely confident people. Patrick is a pioneer of supreme confidence, he has had many sexual encounters, he rarely if ever dwells on the possibility that things may go wrong and he is always pursuing his next sexual conquest. Jane, who is a self proclaimed bi-sexual and bi-vegetarian, is also a very confident person. She's sexually confident and romantically in a world of her own. A world where she imagines that she holds the key to the heart of a certain pizza delivery guy even though she has never met him. A world where she is only threatened by the concept of having to compete with God for a man's love. Then there is Steve and Susan, perhaps the most normal of the lot. They're trying to build a relationship in between the hilarious events and people that make part of their life and we have fun watching them do so.
In short, these characters are well developed. Not only that but their personalities drive the show. The situations they find themselves in are because of the type of people they are. For instance Jeff only finds himself in a situation where he pretends to have a wooden leg in order to date a hot woman, because his terrible communication skills allowed him to say, in a moment of panic, that he had is leg amputated. Similarly Patrick's confident, sex-driven character helped along the first break-up between Susan and Steve, thanks to his cupboard of love.
That's the beauty of the original Coupling. The characters, the lines, the actors, the setting - it all just clicked beautifully into place. To try and remake this in a different setting with the same lines was a terrible idea to begin with. And to compare it with Friends even more so, considering that the original Coupling was vastly superior in terms of situation comedy and in terms of character likability.