Six best friends talk about all aspects of sex and relationships on their never-ending quest to find true love.Six best friends talk about all aspects of sex and relationships on their never-ending quest to find true love.Six best friends talk about all aspects of sex and relationships on their never-ending quest to find true love.
The cast chemistry is amazing. The archetypes are extremely identifiable, even over here, which is why the series translates so well. In comedies the subject of sex is often treated adolescently, and it's true that the characters in "Coupling" have some childish, "American Pie" reactions to sexual politics, but they're still, clearly, adults. As with "American Pie," there's a big heart behind the hormones and phermones. But the gags in "Coupling" are brilliantly written and executed. The writers don't take the easy way out; the bawdiness of their humor is cut with intelligence and a really, REALLY great sense of left-field punch lines. Maybe naysayers have to wander through the bereft nature of many American sitcoms to understand why "Coupling" is so appreciated by a cult American audience, but it's the real deal.
Episode 4 of Season 1, called "Inferno," contains an extended monologue in which an embarrassed male character attempts to outline the plot of a lesbian porn film. He is forced to defend his affection for the stuff by being asked to give a cogent plot summary. He's squirming under this challenge -- he's got to defend his proclivities, maintain a balance between self-defense and self-effacement, and STILL intellectualize the plot of the film enough to prove he's smart enough to rise above it. This whole sequence is, possibly, the best-written and funniest 5-minute quasi-monologue ever to be televised.
"Coupling" takes a traditionally pubescent subject matter, the puerile male fascination with sex, opposes it with the progress of rational thought, and is extremely funny in the process. Lots of US sitcoms (and some UK ones) are lucky if they get one horse laugh from the viewer every three minutes. "Coupling's" ratio is more like one horselaugh every thirty seconds. It's that good.
(I never saw the NBC version of this show, incidentally, and have no interest -- apparently it sucked. I can understand why someone would want to use the BBC version as source material, though.)
- Feb 24, 2004