Coupling

(posted by asta)

This is a tangent on Gordon’s thought-provoking post (and TD reader comments) just below. Ok it isn’t really, it’s just an excuse to happily splash about in the shallow end of the pool.

I watch a lot of tv, and living in Canada, I get to choose from the best of three worlds- British, American and Canadian productions. I get programming from France too, but the French don’t understand television, are unable to claim it as their own creation, and so are doing their very best to destroy it altogether with shabby Vegas rip-off variety hours and deep discussions by obscure intellectuals on the significance of dryer lint. So we’ll forget about them, ok?

Each country excels at different types of programming.
Canadians are crackers at documentaries and anything having to do with Anne of Green Gables.

The Americans have the rest of the world beat when it comes to crime, guns, blood or death.

The British own period pieces and explorations of class differences. I also think Brits produce the best comedies.
There I’ve said it. Reams have been written about the difference between the British and American senses of humour and how Canada fits somewhere in the middle ( twas ever thus). I don’t care. When BBC Canada was made available on digital cable I was first in line, so I can say with full conviction the American ‘Coupling’ was excruciatingly awful and deserved to be yanked from NBC’s schedule. Why?

Casting and the inability of the actors and/or directors to understand the material (the American version aired with verbatim scripts. The only changes were of the beer vs. pint variety). And it’s not just them. The critics didn’t understand the show either.
A quote from a pertinent paragraph:

All six “Coupling” characters suffer from an overconfidence and self-centeredness that renders them virtually unable to converse with anyone else, except to make reference to the great sex they’re having or could be having. Perhaps the promised edginess of the series is that the trivialization of sex is something American audiences are still uncomfortable with.

Americans want to be loved. They want all characters to be realistic and sympathetic. ( As if any sitcom character is realistic) It’s in the delivery—

When Gina Bellham – UKJane says,” He works in pizza delivery, which just answers all your prayers, doesn’t it? Man, motorbike, has own food.”, she’s speaking from her tiny little heart. When Lindsay Price-US Jane speaks, it’s with tongue firmly planted in cheek – a ‘hey I’m not this shallow and stupid I’m just having you on’. Falls flat.

Likewise every other cast member. Chistopher Moynihan( US Jeff) acts as if he doesn’t understand the meaning of the words he utters. Richard Coyle (UK Jeff) understands every word. He’s thought about these things. It’s taken hours, sometimes years for him to make sense of the world around him. He knows he’s still confused about a few things, but he figures he’s making progress on such topics as breasts and brains.

“I don’t mean individual brains, obviously… I mean, not a brain each. You know, I like intelligent women, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere… I think breast brains would be over-egging the woman pudding.”
I’m just saying.

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