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Just finished watching the Coupling pilot episode (US version)


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#1 of 18 Huzefa

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Posted July 12 2003 - 08:07 AM

Here are a few thoughts:

There are a lot of similarities here between the US and the UK version; right down to the sets and the scripts. But even with these similarities, there are still a lot of differences. There was one scene in the ladies room between Steve, Jeff and Susan that I do not remember happening in the UK one, but was still hilarious. The timing on some of the jokes seems to be just a little off (For eg. Jeff explains the porn buddies thing too quickly to Susan, without even giving Susan a chance to ask what the heck that is). Also, the actress playing Jane doesn't do a very good job. She doesn't act like the Jane from the UK version, and in fact in some scenes it really looks like she's looking over Steve's shoulder (maybe at cue cards?). If I were to replace anyone, it would be her.

As for the guy playing Patrick, they've done a good casting job here. He is just the right amount of arrogant and funny. The same goes Rena Sofer(Susan) and Sonya Wagner(Sally). As far as the actor playing Steve, in some scenes he actually felt like the Steve from the UK version except his facial expressions don't really match the words coming out of his mouth.

As far as the gags go, some are just not that funny because I don't believe they can transfer over from the English culture to the American one. Like when Jeff says stuff like "Excellent!... or Diabolical!... " it feels staged because nobody uses words like that in the normal course of events. That's just my opinion though.

The show has definite potential. I think they ought to stay away from scripts that the UK version has and start fresh. That would limit the comparisons between the UK and US version as well as not bind them to anything. The jokes that are added into this American version are actually pretty funny. It's just the British jokes that don't transfer over too well. They have also tamed the language in the US version; lesbian became bisexual and so forth. I wish it was going to be on HBO or something.

The theme song is the same as the one in the UK version; except it's sung by some soft rock band whose lead singer has this incredible hoarse voice. They really need to can that band, and just go with somebody else.

By the way, this is the second version of the pilot. The first one had Breckin Meyer as Steve and Melissa George as Susan. I think Melissa George would have done great as Jane; hope they bring her back.
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#2 of 18 Don Black

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Posted July 12 2003 - 09:21 PM

I keep seeing these promo clips on NBC and can't see for the life of me why they aren't using the UK cast. Especially when using the same plot lines... It seems arbitrary and rather isolationist. Americans can't understand British comedy? C'mon... Thanks for the review though. I agree with your recommendations. Out of curiosity, how did you see the episode early? Insider?

#3 of 18 Ray H

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Posted July 14 2003 - 09:01 AM

Funny. This weekend I just fell in love with the British show. I've been watching it for a while, but just this weekend I realized how great it was.

Having seen some promos for the US one, it just feels all wrong. Characters obviously don't look the same, but altogether the US version just looks lame. Maybe it's just the British charm I fell in love with. Also some of the comic timing from the UK version seems to be lost in the US one. I'll give it a try, but I can't say it'll be easy. Especially since it looks like it'll just be following the UK version's scripts for the most part. That may make it seem like a cheap imitation rather than anything special. Posted Image

I think it may be too late to replace anyone on the US show though. I think Melissa George would've made a better Susan probably just for the fact that she's blonde like the UK one was.

Any word on a 4th season of the UK show?
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#4 of 18 Bill Street

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Posted July 14 2003 - 09:31 AM

Is that "soft rock band whose lead singer has this incredible hoarse voice" by any chance the band Cake? There version of Perhaps, Perhaps, really rocks on their CD...

I've seen the promos and I'm worried about the American version, but I will keep an open mind till I start seeing episodes...

I'm certain there will be a Season 4 on the UK show, but I don't know when it will be released.

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#5 of 18 Huzefa

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Posted July 14 2003 - 10:48 AM

I've never heard of the band Cake; it might as well be them for all I know. It doesn't say in the credits either. Like I said before, if we didn't have the UK version to compare to, the show would seem a lot better.
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#6 of 18 Brian Kidd

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Posted July 15 2003 - 04:18 AM

It made sense in the 1970's, when the US wasn't able to see UK shows easily, to remake British shows with US casts. ALL IN THE FAMILY and SANFORD AND SON come to mind.

Now that we have BBC America, there really isn't any need for it. The originals are available and are developing an audience on their own. It's insulting to the American people to believe that we can't watch anything without an American accent. It's almost as silly as when I see foreigners on the news who are speaking perfectly intelligible English but the American Media feel the need to add subtitles.
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#7 of 18 Chris Lockwood

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Posted July 15 2003 - 06:15 AM

> Now that we have BBC America, there really isn't any need for it.

How many people get that channel? It's not on here.

#8 of 18 Huzefa

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Posted July 15 2003 - 06:22 AM

Both Dish and DTV have it. I'm sure it's available on all digital cable packages (if not the basic cable ones).
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#9 of 18 TheLongshot

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Posted July 15 2003 - 06:49 AM

Anyways, you can see Coupling on PBS, at least in this area. That's where I saw it originally.

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#10 of 18 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 15 2003 - 06:56 AM

Quote:
Americans can't understand British comedy?
More like don't enjoy itPosted Image

#11 of 18 Michael St. Clair

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Posted July 15 2003 - 07:26 AM

The remake doesn't bother me in the slightest. I'm sure most of those involved with the brit version are happy making six episodes every year or so, but that simply does not fit our broadcasting model here...a remake is the only way to go for the major networks.

It's not like the UK show is being canceled for this to be made, so we aren't actually losing anything. And if the Coupling remake is half as good as the original, it will still be better than whatever crap would have likely been greenlighted in its place.

If you don't like it, ignore it, don't watch it, and all is the same as it has ever been.

#12 of 18 MickeS

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Posted July 15 2003 - 09:10 AM

I've never seen the show, but is this supposed to become NBCs replacement for "Friends" when that show ends after next season?

It seems like a "Friends" ripoff almost based on what I've read.
/Mike

#13 of 18 BrianB

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Posted July 15 2003 - 10:26 AM

Quote:
It seems like a "Friends" ripoff almost based on what I've read.

The British original is way way better than Friends and calling it a ripoff really doesn't do it justice at all - it's much smarter, funnier, better acted & well, realistic almost despite the incredibly funny situations in it - the characters are just more human.

The US pilot I watched last night is far far from being as good as the British original. Jeff is just wrong, as is Susan. The acting is stiff, the comedy timing is off, all which I'd expect to be fixed by the time a real series came along. Some of the dialogue changes (from memory) worked well. The lesbian to bisexual line change was pointless - more accurate, yes, but pointless.

Dialogue wise, content wise, it's crying out for HBO.

But it just seemed... pointless... when compared to the British first episode... I watched "Jane And the Truth Snake" right after it, and it just was so much more "together" (which is to be expected from a long running show obviously)... We shall see.
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#14 of 18 Jesse Blacklow

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Posted July 16 2003 - 02:41 AM

I might find my remote drifting to this abomination out of morbid curiosity, but I'm trying to squash the impulse early.

What I find amazing is not only are they basically gutting a hilarious British series available free on PBS or with digital cable, but they're ignoring another truly funny series that's already on right after Friends. Of course I'm talking about Scrubs, which deserves to lead off MSTV now and forever. Zucker is so eager to keep Friends on (even thought the cast and writers are both stale) or come up with a schlocky replacement that he's willing to blind himself to the only intelligent comedy on his network. Let's hope US Coupling fails and he sees the light.

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#15 of 18 Paul Mason

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Posted July 16 2003 - 04:31 AM

If it's any consolation to you guys it's a two-way street. I've seen British attempts at Married with Children, Golden Girls, That 70s Show and most recently Scrubs - all of which were pretty awful.

#16 of 18 Huzefa

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Posted July 16 2003 - 04:41 AM

British Scrubs? What's the show called? Can we get it on BBC America?
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#17 of 18 BrianB

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Posted July 16 2003 - 06:49 AM

Quote:
Can we get it on BBC America?

No.
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#18 of 18 Paul Mason

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Posted July 16 2003 - 11:11 PM

Trust me, you don't want it.





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