Coupling - The Complete Seasons 1-4
DVD | Box Set
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Coupling: The Collection (DVD)
More SEX please, we're British! For lovers who want a complete comedy experience this Valentine's Day, BBC Video will provide it with Coupling: The Complete Seasons 1-4. Containing every episode of BBC's naughty, outrageously funny comedy sensation, this 7-disc box set will provide so much hilarity, people will forget they meant to pop the question. Individual seasons are also available separately.]]>
This witty, instantly addictive British series could also be called Chaps or Squelchy in the City. Coupling charts the tangled sex lives of a close-knit group comprising "exes and best friends": womanizer Jack, hapless nice guy Steve, "strange and disturbing" Jeff, uninhibited Susan, neurotic Sally, and manipulative Jane. Coupling may inspire feelings of déjà-view. The obvious frame of reference is Friends (Steve and Susan are the Ross-Rachel equivalent), but this series also echoes Seinfeld in its coinage of catch-phrases (although it's doubtful that "the boyfriend zone" will replace "master of your domain") and plotlines (in episode one, Steve tries to dump Jane, who refuses to accept). But Coupling has its own fresh and provocative takes on relationships. At one point, a furious Susan discovers that Patrick not only had a videotape of the former couple having sex, but that he also taped over her.
Steven Moffat's second season is a brilliant consolidation of all those neuroses, small deceits, obsessions, and personality tics that struck such a resonant chord when Steve, Susan, and their four friends were first unleashed on us. Comparisons with Friends itself are tiresome and lazy: Coupling is an intrinsically British comedy that picks apart the trivial and the mundane in everyday relationships and takes them on surreal journeys, leaving the participants hilariously bemused and rarely any wiser. Its success is due to the magical combination of Moffat's very funny scripts and the talents of six extremely likable actors, including Jack Davenport (Steve) and Sarah Alexander (Susan). But it's Richard Coyle's Jeff whose sexual fantasies exert a compelling fascination that will really keep you watching in disbelief. Breasts, bottoms and pants are the basis for most of the conversational analysis when these friends get together as a group, as couples, as girlfriends, or as mates, invariably becoming metaphors for the state of a relationship or situation. Individual viewpoints and terrors are explored through respective memories of the same event and what-if scenarios. Chain reactions inevitably ensue, fuelling comedy that is based almost entirely on misunderstanding.
The third series of Coupling, first aired in 2002, takes fans into new realms of engaging surrealism. The men are constantly in pursuit of a basic grasp of the "emotional things" that make women behave the way they do. The women analyze everything to death. But thanks to Steve Moffat's scripts, tighter and quirkier than ever, these characters are living, breathing human beings rather than cynical ciphers for comedy stereotypes. The performances are as strong as you'd expect from an established team, with actors such as Jack Davenport, Ben Miles (unreconstructed chauvinist Patrick), Sarah Alexander, and Kate Isitt (neurotic Sally) wearing their roles like second skins. But in the surreal stakes, it's Richard Coyle as Jeff, wondering aloud what happens to jelly after women have finished wrestling in it, and Gina Bellman as Jane, musing on the importance of a first snog in identifying what men like to eat, who really raise the laughter levels. All things considered, this is superior comedy for all thirtysomethings--genuine and putative.
Series 4: Feel free to insert your own "four-play" joke, or for that matter, your own "insert" joke. Sex is still topic 1 for the intertwined group of "exes and best friends," but in this pivotal season there are momentous "relationship issues" that will upend all their lives (insert your own "upend" joke while you're at it). Susan is pregnant, inspiring in Steve nightmares about his own execution and unflattering comparisons of the birth process to John Hurt's iconic gut-busting scene in Alien. Missing in action is the Kramer-esque Jeff (although he makes something of a return in the season finale). Joining the ensemble is Oliver, who is more in the Chandler mode as a lovable loser with the ladies. These inevitable comparisons to "Sein-Friends" are no doubt heresy to Coupling's most devoted viewers. Indeed, this series does benefit from creator and sole writer Steven Moffat's comic voice and vision. He provides his ever-game cast some witty, funny-'cause-it's-true dialogue, as in Oliver's observation that "Tea isn't compatible with porn." This Britcom is also less inhibited in language and sexual situations than its American counterparts. In the cleverly-constructed opening episode, in which the same "9-1/2 Minutes" are witnessed from three different perspectives, Sally and Jane can do what was left to the imagination when Monica and Rachel offered to make out in front of Joey and Chandler. The birth of Susan and Steven's baby ends the six-episode season on a satisfying and surprisingly moving grace note. A bonus disc takes viewers behind the scenes with segments devoted to bloopers and interviews with cast and crew.
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Top customer reviews
The characters are incredibly well done for a TV series. Every one is fleshed out superbly, has their own personality and history and feel like one of your friends, you know them so well. There are no characters that steal the show, it is an entire ensemble and all have their dedicated episodes that delve into their own peculiarities.
The comedy is second to none. I have not EVER watched anything else that made me laugh as much as this show. Not just once or twice, but non stop through the episodes. There's an insane amount of wit in every episode, both high brow and low brow. I can't think of any series that makes me laugh out loud so often, regardless of how many times I've seen it.
There are only four seasons, so it's a bit of a double edged sword, You wish there were more, but you're glad that they stopped before it jumped the shark, since they lost one of the main characters in season 4, and you could see how the show suffered for it compared to the first couple seasons.
It doesn't matter what your status in life is, there's humor in here for all.
If you haven't seen it, you must. This has to be on everyone's bucket list, it's that good.
So, when I tell you that I laughed, loudly and hard, several times per episode, know that this was no small miracle.
I understand the comparisons to Friends and Sex and The City, but this show beats them, hands down. The writing is clever and intelligent and the characters only become more likable as their quirks are revealed.
Of interest are the characters of Sally and Patrick. She's youth-obsessed and vain. He's a serial womanizer with a closet, AKA The Cupboard of Patrick's Love, to prove it. And they end up, both of them, being touching in a way that Ross and Rachel -- hype aside -- never managed.
Several episodes are either framed in a non-linear manner or are revisited from multiple points of view. I know this has been done before, but rarely to such wonderful effect.
The last season is weakest due to the loss of the character of Jeff, but the overall quality of the whole series makes it impossible for me not to give it the highest allowed rating.
This is what television comedy can and should be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this whole-heartedly to friends.
This cutting edge comedy that isn't afraid to traverse the rocky terrain of sexuality, friendship, and dating in today's world is pretty much what I wish "Friends" had been. It is adult, satisfying, awkward, painful, and laugh-out-loud funny! The acting is superb, the characters are quirky but lovable, it's easy to relate to them (I see myself in Sally!), and the situations they get into are ludicrous. I love when they show the different perspectives between men and women and the misunderstandings that occur therein. I also love the candid boy-talk and girl-talk segments. Despite how over-the-top it can be, I actually find it to be more down-to-Earth and realistic than "Friends" ever was--and certainly more satisfying. After watching this, "Friends" seems watered down and boring (in short, very American in terms of appeal, whereas Brits are a little more edgy).
I docked a star for the fourth season because the show really suffered, in my opinion, in two key areas: Jeff (who was my favorite character!) left the series. The interaction became forced between them all, the chemistry was gone, and the new guy didn't have the nearly charm that Jeff did. It just didn't work. Additionally, I was lost when Susan became pregnant because I can't relate to, nor do I have any interest in, story lines like that; more so, it felt untrue to the show, which is about coupling and adult relationships, not babies and homemaking. It's one of the only British shows where I feel they committed the cardinal sin many American TV shows commit--it went on too long.