Coupling

"I've got the key to the gates of paradise... but I've got too many legs!"

One of many - hundreds, literally - of fantastic quotes from Coupling (the majority from the mouth of Jeff), a turn of the century situation comedy written and created by Steven Moffat (he of Dr Who Fame) which lasted for four series. Three of which were glorious and the fourth...well we'll get to that.

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Coupling started on BBC 2 in the year 2000 and was described by the press as the UK's answer to Friends. Friends is a memorable and classic sitcom but Coupling had the belly laughs which built to a crescendo from the very opening moment of any episode and quite frankly is in a different league. See Lesbian spank inferno (below), for instance. In series one we were introduced to the giggle loop, whereby you think of something funny, suppress it, but in doing so it only makes you want to laugh harder. This typically occurred in a completely unacceptable environment - the funeral of a dead aunt, perhaps - but can be applied to an episode of Coupling just as easily, but instead of suppression of a laugh, it would be there from the start and then just continue and get louder for the duration.

"You know what they say: If music be the food of love, then masturbation is just a snack between meals."

Six main characters, 3 men and 3 women. You have the crazy lady (Jane), the neurotic lady (Sally) and the sexy/stylish/confident lady (Susan). They're all sex mad. Jane is quite possibly bisexual. You then have three men. The thick, well-endowed sex fiend bloke (Patrick), the nerdy funny guy who can't get anywhere with women (Jeff) and the normal, middle of the road everyman (Steve). Pretty standard fare. But the genius was in two things:

1) The situations
2) Jeff


An example of some classic situations:

- The group of friends end up around the table at a dinner party along with the Jane's therapist. Steve knows his girlfriend Susan saw his porn video in the tape player, Patrick thinks the therapist is a lesbian, the therapist thinks that Patrick is gay and Jane says she's a vegetarian at a lamb based dinner party and is upset her Steve never told her he loved her but he has told Susan. Pure farce!
- Jeff meets a beautiful lady but neither understand the other's language. We see the conversation from his viewpoint, and then from hers. Both are attracted to the other but only one of them understand this. Cue hilarious misunderstandings!
- Jeff meets a gorgeous lady on a train and it turns out she and her flatmate would love for him to join them for some 'lingerie modelling'. Thing is, he has only got this far by not dispelling the misunderstanding that he has only one leg.

"Having a bottom is living with the enemy. Not only do they spend their lives slowly inflating, they flirt with men while we're looking the other way."

A common aspect of the above which you may have noticed is Jeff. Jeff is quite possibly the greatest comedy character ever written. He invents most of the terms people remember from Coupling such as the unflushable (girlfriend who won't take no for an answer), the aforementioned giggle loop, the melty man (erectile dysfunction), the sock gap (below) and more. He always pipes up with random interventions such as repeating the word gusset over and over and embarrasses himself in public (for example running into a wine bar still wearing the gimp mask he was using with his girlfriend in the bedroom...because he rushed out to find aids to obtaining the key to the handcuffs she recently swallowed and entirely forgot he was wearing it!). Absolute genius.

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The whole show is. It's easier to understand what I mean by sharing some clips:





Hopefully these two clips have inspired you to go out and hunt down each of seasons 1-3 on DVD. There were 4. The fourth lost Jeff (onto pastures new) and replaced him with what was nominally a similar character but who just didn't work out. It's not bad, but compared to the first 3 series it is just a few steps down in quality. Make your own choice here - but I absolutely encourage, nay, implore you, to watch series 1-3. Over and over and over again. Enjoy!

"It's a scientific fact that if you say "naked" three or more times, to any man, he has to cross his legs."

P.S. I am choosing to ignore the American version...

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