NBC Coupling Hysteria

I want to talk about the NBC remake of Coupling. Not about how short-lived it was, nor how massively over-hyped it was – nor about the folly of taking the UK scripts and simply tearing out seven or eight pages. I want to talk about this preview article in the New York Post.

It’s worth reading the whole thing, but I’ll quote the relevant parts as we go.

The piece was written over a month before the show aired, and was based on a preview tape that NBC had been sending around. Now, it’s worth noting that the network was marketting Coupling as a saucy, racy, sexy, inheritor of Friends‘ mantle. This image should tell you what you need to know.

I’m not sure it warrants this opening line in the preview in the Post though.

NBC has finally done it – it has created a show so raunchy I can’t even describe the dirty parts without violating the standards of this newspaper.

Steven Moffat took to the message boards after the show was cancelled (after four episodes I think), and said this:

US Coupling … promoted as the new Friends by NBC (we asked them not to), promoted as the sexiest show on TV by NBC (we begged them not to) promoted as the “show you’re all talking about” by NBC (no one had seen it, how could they be talking about it???).

NBC affiliates in Utah and Indiana refused to air the show at all.

Still, none of this really justifies the NY Post assertion that –

That seems to be the point of Coupling – that these six acquaintances would each wind up pairing up or even tripling up, quadrupling up, quintupling up or, heaven help us, sextupling up (no pun intended) until the possibilities for new combinations had been utterly exhausted.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t expect the sexy six to take a sextuple tumble until at least the November sweeps.

Austin Smith seems to genuinely believe that the series was going to descend into a Bacchanalean on-screen orgy.

Shame it got cancelled so soon.

The huge failure of the show cast a dark shadow over NBC’s next big UK import that was in the pipeline, The Office.

But that did alright in the end.

Even though the staff didn’t get nekkid and sweaty all over the desks.

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