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

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 .

BuzzFeed: "The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now"

The CBS legal drama, now in its sixth season, continually shakes up its narrative foundations and proves itself fearless in the process. Spoilers ahead, if you’re not up to date on the show. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now," in which I praise CBS' The Good Wife and, well, hail it as the best show currently on television. (Yes, you read that right.) There is no need to be delicate here: If you’re not watching The Good Wife, you are missing out on the best show on television. I won’t qualify that statement in the least — I’m not talking about the best show currently airing on broadcast television or outside of cable or on premium or however you want to sandbox this remarkable show. No, the legal drama is the best thing currently airing on any channel on television. That The Good Wife is this perfect in its sixth season is reason to truly celebrate. Few shows embrace complexity and risk-taking in t

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it