If I were to bring up the show Coupling to other Americans, what would come to mind to most may be the short-lived NBC bomb which ran for only 4 episodes back in 2003. But the version I’m referring to is the much better original British one, which is based on the relationship between creator Steven Moffatt and producer Sue Vertue. I first saw this on one of the PBS stations here and loved it.
This show revolves around the blossoming relationship with Steve Taylor (Jack Davenport; people in the US will probably remember him best for Pirates of the Caribbean) and Susan Walker (Sarah Alexander). There‘s also Susan‘s best friend Sally Harper (Kate Isitt), her ex-boyfriend Patrick Maitland (Ben Miles), Steve’s best friend and co-worker Jeff Murdoch (Richard Coyle; seasons 1-3), and Steve‘s ex-girlfriend Jane Christie (Gina Bellman). Coyle left after season 3 and a new character, Oliver Morris (Richard Mylan), took his spot.
What really made the show work was how the humor was done. It wasn’t an overt style of joke telling, but the writing in itself was still very enjoyable, and the situations themselves were comedic. One of my favorite scenes on this show has to be from episode 4, when Steve rants about seeing pornography and why he shouldn't be embarrassed about it. I haven’t seen the fourth season yet, but I can imagine why fans might have been upset with Richard Coyle’s departure; he had some of the best dialogue.
I always thought it was rather unfortunate about the NBC version. I remember being disappointed in it, especially since the creator of the British version was involved. It was also really miscast. I guess in the end though it was for the best, because some of what really worked on the British version would most likely never work here, especially in a post-nipple-gate world.
The pilot episode, "Flushed," can be found here.
Coupling, my online pick of the week!