The BBC’s Coupling

Think of this as practice for techniques other than the exposure of a great television program(me).

I year or so back I became absorbed by a BBC America “Coupling” marathon. In the middle of a work day I sat down to eat a late lunch at my in-laws–where the TV is always on–and began flipping channels. I probably watched three episodes and could have watched more. I returned to work vowing to find that show when I got back home.

Last week I remembered that vow and fired up the search and record feature on the satellite to accomplish my aging goal.

I’ve either heard or read that “Friends” was based on, derived from, or just often compared to “Coupling”. I can see how either of those first two might be true and I can understand why the last certainly was true. My simple opinion is that the British program was both more and less what the American one was.

The first five shows I’ve seen were more extreme in their sexuality. I guess in Europe they can get away with just a touch more than we can here. Friends limitations forced very topical crude humor when it came to sex. [place examples from episode here when you think of some]. Coupling’s story propelling dialogue is what I’ll call intellectually bawdy. Maybe it’s just the accents. Maybe it’s just that I’ve watch so few episodes in comparison. That’s just my take on it.

Coupling’s characters are less than Friends. Stylized and compartmentalized characterizations mark American sitcoms’ mainstay. If Joey is a womanizing playboy in season one, he’ll be one in season eight. Along the way he may have become more lovable, but he won’t have become more like Chandler or Ross. Coupling’s characters are already more like each other than we are used to here in the States. While you can make out the general distinctions between the three male characters, there doesn’t seem to be any rule why one can’t be as sarcastic or as athletic or as kooky as another is the plot calls for it. In all that they still maintain enough of a distinction that the roles aren’t interchangeable.

Word count: 345
Day 191