Friday, September 26, 2003

Dear Mr NBC

I feel compelled to write to you having seen the much-publicised premiere of Coupling last night. Admittedly I didn't devote 100% of my attention to it as I was trying to have a conversation with someone else at the time. However, from what I did see, I can only conclude that you totally failed to pull off a decent imitation of what was originally a totally hilarious show. Why did you bother? Surely you could have saved yourself a lot of money by just showing the BBC version of Coupling on your network. I would imagine that the broadcast rights are cheaper than recreating the program from scratch?

I was pleased to see that you kept in some of the original dialogue but was very disappointed that you made a number of changes (presumably to cater to the American market), which added nothing to the UK version. I suppose the average American has no knowledge of the Crippens but to replace that (highly amusing) part of the show with reference to the Titanic was less than clever. The point of the Crippen reference was to demonstrate that relationships don't always work. The Titanic is about a ship sinking...there is NO relationship humour in that story.

The character Jane only works because she is a totally outrageous, highly-sexed and outspoken individual. One of her key traits, bought out in several of the original episodes, is her lack of underwear. Last night, Jane was clearly wearing a bra...something the original Jane would never do! I totally fail to see how the addition of such a garment adds anything to the US version. Are you worried that you would start a trend of women walking round without adequate support?

Maybe I missed it but why did you take out the "unflushable" references? Please don't tell me that's too much for your viewing public. I suppose "toilet humour" appeals more to the UK market but are Americans really so sensitive that they wouldn't approve? Perhaps that also explains why you had to add the section about Jeff running round in search of a condom (in the original Steve is searching through his pockets for change for the condom machine when Susan walks in). I will admit that there was one new line in your version that I found funny...."I might not know him but I know why he wants the condom".

What happened to Susan's facial? Was it cut for time purposes? This American obsession with shortening programs to allow for more commercials is appalling. No wonder most of the country is suffering from ADHD.

Do Americans not understand irony? The showing of the breast was meant as irony....but that clearly was too complicated for Susan who totally skipped over it. I have to confess it could have been satire in the memory fails me on that particular point. Perhaps you could add a little dictionary at the bottom of the screen so that viewers can learn the meaning of "complicated" words as the cast speaks them?

All in all, I was highly disappointed and won't be tuning in for any more episodes. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery....I'm not sure what last night was? If you were aiming to increase your viewing figures, you probably succeeded...but only because the majority of the viewing public knows no better. To them, I say check out BBC America and you'll soon realise what drivel the US networks are feeding you.


Bored of Bad TV


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