Coupling – Season 1
It’s been a very long time since I have seen BBC’s Coupling, one of the best series the UK channel has ever done, but I was still reminded of it from time to time thanks to Amy’s posting of Youtube clips featuring any of the characters. I revisited the first season a few weeks ago and… guess what? It’s still outstanding to watch!
Season 1 showcases the relationships and friendships between 6 friends, but its main storyline deals with the relationship between Steve Taylor (Davenport) and Susan Welker (Alexander). And the way they became a couple is filled with exes, lots of conversations about sex and it’s downright hilarious.
Coupling begins when Steve is trying to break up with his then-girlfriend Jane (Bellman) after he meets Susan, whom accepts going out with Steve on a date. When they go out on their first date, all their best friends and exes somehow show up at the restaurant. Not only Jane showed up, but three other persons show up: Susan’s best friend Sally (Isitt), her ex Patrick (Miles) — who Sally crushes on after Susan talks about their sex life — and Jeff (Coyle), who not only works in the same office as Susan and had a disastrous one-night fling with her, but he also happens to be Steve’s best friend.
The setup above might seem like it’s kind of a mess, but Susan sums it all up by saying that the six of them are a couple, their two best friends and their two ex’s. Anyways, Steven Moffat’s excellent writing for the pilot, Flushed, does a masterful job at building up the events leading up to Susan and Steve’s first date through the conversations between all of the characters that leads to a grand collision at the restaurant where the date takes place. And later on, despite the awkward moment, everyone ends up being friends and grow up together while dealing with life situations.
While it’s inevitable to compare Coupling with the likes of Friends (the premises of both shows are similar), Seinfeld (because of the setup regarding awkward situations) and Sex and the City (adult humor and sex use), Coupling still feels like it’s a “one of a kind” show, and a very fresh one for the time in which it premiered… and constantly hilarious if I may say so. Moffat’s writing feels closer to Seinfeld in the way how storylines and punchlines are structured on every episode and tied together by the end. But unlike Larry David’s show, Coupling is mostly driven by sex at all (if not most) times. It isn’t shown like in cable shows such as True Blood, Californication and Secret Diary of a Call Girl, but Coupling earns the sex tag (and rightfully so) because most (if not all) of the dialogue is sex-driven and dirty, just like the characters themselves.
Sex aside, many of the plots involve misunderstandings, revelations, futile attempts at dating (mostly by Jeff), and hilarious conversations that take place when it’s just the guys, just the girls or all of them together. Coupling‘s biggest strength in Season 1 is seen in the stellar writing, which smoothly fleshes out the interactions, personalities, insecurities and outright insanity of the characters. However, it’s the actors that make the show work like a charm. All of them are good-to-great, but Richard Coyle as Jeff stands out stronger than everyone else because his character is totally outrageous, yet sweet enough to not come across as despicable when it comes to his sexual pursuits. Jeff’s greatest moment in Season 1 takes place near the end of the season (The Girl with Two Breasts) when he tries to hit on a girl who only talks Hebrew. The end result is hilarious, but it’s also the kind of thing that is nearly impossible to pull off in any tv show.
Anyways, if you haven’t seen Coupling yet, go ahead and take a peek at Season 1. You won’t regret it one bit.