Skip to main content

Ever Wonder What the Hell Went Wrong with NBC's "Coupling"?

I loved the UK Coupling. Still do. Everything about the series, from co-creator Steven Moffat (who's been popping up with more than a few Doctor Who writing credits to his name lately), was absolutely brilliant, from the hysterical and taut writing to the memorable characters. I own the DVDs and have watched them repeatedly.

So what exactly went wrong with the US adaptation of Coupling, which aired on NBC back in 2003 and never became the Friends-sized hit Jeff Zucker and NBC hoped it would?

TV Week's James Hibberd has the story, from Moffat's own mouth. It's only a paragraph but it's blunt and to the point.

My favorite bit: "If you really want a job to work, don’t get Jeff Zucker’s team to come help you because they’re not funny."

Touché, Steven, touché.

Comments

TxGowan said…
I too really love the original and wanted this to work so badly but instead it was just bad. Leaden, I think would be the proper term.

It's not surprising that the network munged it up, though. Isn't that always the case? "Do less story arcs and more standalone episodes", "How about a funny sidekick?", "They should have a baby this season!"....all probable notes from the network that eventually sunk a show.
Anonymous said…
More than anything one other thing I think what truly killed the Americanization of Coupling was that the only changes in the first six episodes where to Americanize the language used and and the cast.

From the reports at the time the original scripts, which never made it to air, where supposed to be truly funny. Some of the original scripts likely should have been scheduled earlier in the run.

Two other contributing factors where NBC calling this the new Friends and that the original Friends was still on the air.

As How I Met Your Mother is proving now the general Friends formula can be duplicated however you are going to have a difficult time gettting the same sized hit again, even if your show is truly brilliant.

When Coupling came to NBC people were not ready to accept a new group of friends into their tv viewing schedule.

Lastly, the Gen X audience that may Friends a hit was not the young 20-something just starting out are their own anymore. They were more like Chandler and Monica at the end opf Friends, buying a house and looking to start a family. There were a lot fewer 20-somethings then to make the huge audience that Friends appealed to.

The entertainment market has truly changed now so it will be incredible difficultfor another show like Friends to ever happen.
Vance said…
I saw a later ep that never aired and wasn't a direct copy of the original (which to this day is one of my all time favorite shows), and it was a lot funnier. At first I blamed the actors for comedic timing but they were actually pretty good in the original episode (I think it was 7 or 8). Either way, since I hate Jeff Zucker too, I won't stop Steven.
Anonymous said…
Ouch!

Popular posts from this blog

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous seas

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

Me Want Food: Jenna Gets Famously Fat on "30 Rock"

I don't know about you, but I've already ordered my "Me Want Food" t-shirt from the NBC store. Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Jack Gets in the Game") was, in my opinion, one of the strongest of the series and has officially pushed the zany comedy into the realm of Arrested Development : deftly plotted and intricately layered, with so many jokes piled atop of jokes that it requires several viewings in order to catch them all. While at its heart, 30 Rock is a workplace comedy, it's left that narrow pigeonhole behind to become a witty example of how intelligent and taut humor can work (and flourish) on television... and exist in harmony with hilarious throwaways like the Thriller -inspired Werewolf Bar Mitzvah music video that would have done the AD crew proud. I want Will Arnett to appear on this series whenever possible. His gay exec Devin is hilarious, manipulative, and has an inexplicable weakness for Kenneth the Page, but he claims to have