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Coupling – It Doesn’t Suck

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Moxie and I both worried this summer if a US version of Coupling would fall on its proverbial face. Well in my opinion, as a serious fan of the UK version, the NBC version acquits itself well. Here’s why:

Steve – Jay Harrington as Steve brings is the emotional center of the show. Versus Jack Davenport’s Steve the US version is played as a little less bumbling and a touch less pathetic. I think I may enjoy the Steve character more in the US version.

Susan – Reena Sofer is as good as the very sexy Sarah Alexander in the role of Susan. It’s a good thing, as the Susan character as written can get a bit annoying.

Sally – Sonya Walger in the part played by Kate Isitt in the UK version is a work in progress. The first episode is not a good “Sally” episode. Isitt is at her best when obsessing about body parts and their endless and futile fight against gravity. Walger has yet to show anything, but the jury is still out.

Patrick – Colin Ferguson in the US version is not as funny as Ben Miles in the UK version, but he looks more the part of the deeply self obsessed himbo.

Jane – Lindsay Price plays the part very well. Gina Bellman in the UK version plays it ditzy as well, but Price came off just as well.

Jeff – Unfortunately Christopher Moynihan as Jeff, played in the UK version by Richard Coyle is a disappointment to anyone who is a fan of the British version of the show. There is almost no way to describe what Coyle’s Jeff adds to the show. As delivered by Moynihan, Jeff’s lines which are the backbone of the UK versions humor come off flat.

So leave the Friends comparisons for the blow hard critics. Any fan of the UK version should be comfortable in the US version. It’s not as good, but it’s not a disaster. It will be interesting to see how long they stick with the Steven Moffat scripts from the UK version. Once we see new material then the debate as to the merits of the US version can begin. Original material will appear in the first season of the US version.

Cross posted at Wizbang.

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About Kevin Aylward

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Must-disagree TV…

    I’ve never seen the UK version, and I don’t have cable. But on the basis of watching the US version last night, I have to say that IMO, it was lame, crude, and worthless. In short, to me, it sucked.

  • Eric Olsen

    I would say “lame, crude, and worthless” do add up to “suck” in my calculus – perhaps even “suck out loud,” or, in extremis, “sucks dead rats in the gutter.”

  • The Theory

    my big questin is “Why?” Why have this show? Yeah, it’s great watching our society morally spiraling quickly downhill.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Yeah, yeah, but even worse, the show is not funny.

  • The Theory

    what? it’s supposed to be a comedy!?

  • http://wizbangblog.com Kevin

    Well NBC does have a less than stellar history in the 8:30 and 9:30 timeslot. Anyone remember “The Single Guy” or “Jesse?”

    There are episodes of the UK version that compare favorably to Seinfield or Friends at their best. The pilot episode (in both the UK and US versions) is not one of them.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    I’ll chime in here too, having watched last night’s episode with an expression of disbelief on my face: this is what all the hoopla was about? I can’t say I’ve seen the British version, but if the US version is as similar as everyone is saying, I can’t see how it would be even remotely better. This was awful TV.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    I can’t take credit for this phrase, but it is perfect for “Coupling”: Must-flee TV.

  • The Theory

    must flee to believe…

  • SFC SKI

    As I feared, the US version was inferior to the British version, no surprise, some things just do not translate well. I guess I will be buying the DVD’s of the British version.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    Pretty stupid post in retrospect, huh?
    Coupling sure did suck.

    I haven’t really seen what’s coming up for the fall that you root against and hope to fail, but Coupling was definitely one of those obnoxious, over-promoted, super-white, super-chirpy bimbo/mimbo casted, pieces of crap that hid behind being a remake of a tawdry British TV show in order to gain some semblance of credibility. Didn’t work with the critics or the public. Plus it was a Friends wannabe show cast in Chicago, which was even more horrifying to me. If I saw smug, annoying, unfunny yuppies like that in any club or coffee house I went to, I’d give them a dose of reality. These kinds of shows are for boring people who don’t have friends or lives who imagine that real people actually say such idiotic things and have such tiresome sexual and social “adventures.”

    Oh, I’m rooting against The Benefactor on ABC. I like the Dallas Mavericks, but Mark Cuban is hella annoying on those promos and seems way too into being on TV as a rich douchebag. Trump’s bad enough with his “you’re fired” “cobra” nonsense. The best thing I can say about The Apprentice is that it spares us the horror of yet more “original” NBC comedies that will fail after two weeks on Must See Thursdays. Anyone who thinks Brecken Meyer from Inside Schwartz was a talent deserves their falling ratings. I don’t need to root against Hawaii and its constant advertisements since it will fail on its own merits. I have a feeling I might really, really hate Bobby & Jack on the WB or I might grudgingly like it, but the reviews say it’ll be good. Either way, I won’t be watching it more than once or twice. Lost seems like an interesting premise, but not interesting enough for me to watch.

    Everyone welcome JLo to the third ring of celebrity career decline hell, the multiple guest spots on Will & Grace. Thanks, Gigli.

    Speaking of career decline, the promos for the new Jane Pauley promo are horrible. She talks about how she’s crazy in them (she’s struggled with manic depression the past few years) and she seems really akward and bizarre for that format. I don’t really understand how her media career could collapse like this, but her show will fail miserably (as will Tony Danza’s, but everyone expects him to fail).

    Anyone who talks or writes about the return of scripted TV and the phasing out of reality TV is quite obviously wrong if you look at the upcoming season. All the “new” scripted TV dramas are basically spin-offs or rip-offs of the Law & Order/CSI-style crime dramas (almost as boring as the medical genre). There are very few new sitcoms and the ones that will premiere this fall will almost all certainly fail.

    Fox continued its interesting strategy of testing its high-risk new shows in the summer to see which ones would survive. I do like Fox’s Method & Red even if Quintuplets is an abomination that must drive Andy Richter crazy.

    The ratings for Joey aren’t at the level of Friends but they were respectable for its premiere:

    http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,14909,00.html?tnews

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/11/arts/television/11rati.html
    ‘The early results had several network executives worrying that the trend toward generally lower ratings might be only increasing, despite scrambling their playbooks to push back cable.
    “It’s still early,” said Jeff Zucker, the president of NBC Universal Television. “If we look back in three weeks, and these are still the numbers, then I think everybody is going to be concerned.”
    But he added, “I have been saying to people that we may have to recalibrate what success is.”
    […]
    Mr. Zucker noted that last January “The Apprentice” had the advantage of following “Friends” on Thursday night. He said the show had been only “a little short” of expectations.
    “I’m not disappointed,” he said. “Look, these are good numbers, not great numbers, but good numbers. In this day and age, I’ll take good numbers.”‘

    http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=284483&category=&BCCode=&newsdate=9/11/2004
    “NEW YORK (AP) — Based on its series premiere, Joey Tribbiani is missing a few viewers along with his “Friends.” An estimated 18.6 million people watched the first episode of “Joey” Thursday, the spinoff of “Friends” that NBC was counting on to keep its Thursday night lineup strong, according to Nielsen Media Research.

    That’s lower than any original episode of Matt LeBlanc’s old series drew last season, including the 24.5 million people who saw the season debut.

    NBC notes that “Joey” gathered the largest audience among the advertiser-friendly 18-to-49-year-old age group of any other entertainment show since May. It was also the best-rated 8 p.m. comedy premiere for NBC in 14 years.

    Yet given that NBC promoted the series heavily during the Olympics and its chief Thursday competition, “Survivor,” hasn’t started the season yet, it seemed the number would have been higher, said Marc Berman, a television analyst for Media Week Online.

    “I can’t imagine they’re all there (at NBC) jumping for joy,” he said.

    “Joey” should settle in to being “a respectable hit, but it won’t be a breakout hit,” he said.

    The ratings compare to last season’s premiere of CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” which drew 18.4 million viewers.

    If he looked at Thursday night’s numbers, Donald Trump’s job security may not be that much better than the ambitious contestants he’s putting on the firing line.

    The debut of “The Apprentice” for its second season was seen by 14.1 million people, Nielsen said. That’s the lowest number yet for the business game, down from the 20.7 million average for the first season and the 18.5 million who saw the first episode ever.”

    We’ll have to see where Joey’s ratings go the next few weeks, but it’s interesting to note that the ratings for The Apprentice were significantly down. I think people may be getting sick of Trump.

    That is all.

  • Kieran

    can i just say that i am from the uk and the british version of coupling is brilliant.
    it is british humor and me and other people said that amarican actors could not pull it off as well (no offence) but please dont slag off the uk version if you havent seen it and if you have and dont like it you dont understand it.

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