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September 26, 2003

Coupling vs. Coupling

I saw the NBC version of the comedy Coupling tonight. By a weird coincidence BBC America had the same episode on earlier in the original British version! And yes, about 75% of the script was same, word for word. It was really weird watching Americans behave like they were...British. Perhaps watching the British version totally ruined it, but I kept thinking that the American actors were trying to channel the British characters (down to the ticks and mannerisms). I guess the nearest analogy is the complaint that the kids on Dawson's Creek were bizarro world versions of real teenagers-I just felt like the banter was somehow un-American. I'm sure this is partly (all?) due to the fact that I've seen the British series in multiple episodes, so any photocopy will be a pale imitation.

I don't think the show works, it's not really funny and tries too hard. It'll get cancelled next season if not this season. On a few more important points-they converted some cultural references-so some of the things that mystified me in the original series made sense all of a sudden! Also, it seems that the American actors have a wider range of appearances than the British ones do. The American "Susan" (lead female character) is Jewish, while Jane (sexy shallow sluttish friend) is Eurasian, but additionally, the American "Jeff" is more plain & slobby than the British original, while Sally-USA is far more leggy and sensual than Sally-England (Sally-USA is actually played by an English actress). All in all, the American actors are probably somewhat better looking, and Sally & Susan are noticeably more svelt (and Rena Sofer doesn't have alien eyes!).

Pictures of all the actresses below....

Americans on top, Brits below....
Susan Jane Sally

Posted by razib at 12:42 AM

Hey Peter, where are the really hot British chicks you were talking about? Maybe these aren't the most flattering pics and none of them are unattractive, but none of these British chicks seem like they'd make it in Showbiz- unless they can act like Meryl Streep or sing like Christina Aguilera.

Back to the Yanks:
Rene Sofur in her prime on Melrose Street was one of the most perfect women- certainly at least one of the most perfect brunettes- I've ever seen. GC, forget your IQ mumbo jumbo, let's just figure out a way to clone/ GE Sofur's body and facial features on any girl/ female zygote who could use them. This pic isn't the most flattering, unfortunately. I think age may be catching up to her- her eyes are still remarkable IMHO, however.

It's not that I think Jane is unattractive. She's pretty. But in this pic she looks pretty in a wierd way- like she's a cat or something. I would have gotten somebody really sultry, like Kelly Hsu. But then again, Kelly is probably doing a movie or something.

Sally's pic is just face shot. But, she looks like the best bet here. If her body is at all anything, she's a badass for sure. I guess I got to take back what I said earlier- since she's apparently a Brit.

Posted by: R at September 26, 2003 01:32 AM

i had a hard time getting pictures of the british women. i agree about rena sofer-she is one hot rabbi's daughter (orthodox!). the british susan looks like an alien-though in the range of attractive aliens, jessica simpson is the best looking alien out there.

Posted by: razib at September 26, 2003 01:38 AM

Speaking of age and white women regarding Rene Sofer. I wonder if she uses sunblocker. To all pale skinned White women out there, photoaging is the number one cause of aging and you all don't have any melanin to lose- so use sunblocker every day.

There's really been a drop off based on this pic and Rene in her prime. I cannot attribute it to anything else but living young and WHITE in LA.

Posted by: R at September 26, 2003 01:45 AM

I hear from MTV Cribs (or something supposedly on MTV) Jessica and Nick are already starting to have marital discord. What idiots in this day and age get married that young? This guy could have been doing a Jessica look a like every day with his money, fame, youth and looks. My guess is that he'll get bored with perfection in a few years and start cheating on her, if he hasn't already done so.

To relate it to this post, Rene in her prime could have gone toe to toe with Jessica. It would have been a close bout though, and I don't know which species would have won.

Posted by: R at September 26, 2003 01:52 AM

nick is almost thirty (in november)-so he's not that young. at 23, jessica isn't old, but she's not super young.

Posted by: razib at September 26, 2003 02:02 AM

I'd definitely go for British Susan & Sally and American Jane.

Posted by: Ken at September 26, 2003 08:44 AM

why are US actors and actresses so bland? do they grow them in vats?

Posted by: fredrik at September 26, 2003 01:15 PM

I share Frederik's opinion - the women of Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - nothing remotely sensual about these women. The amount of makeup they have to cake onto Lisa Kudrow (the 40 year old Friend) is just too much. I'm starting to think even their looks are subject to a test marketing group.

Posted by: KXB at September 26, 2003 07:39 PM

The British 'Jane' is Gina Bellman, Gina is Jewish, though in the British Coupling this is never a factor as far as I know.

The US version girls may be more perfect and pretty but the Brit girls are more like real people you might actually meet.

Posted by: Matt at September 29, 2003 04:03 AM

The British "Susan" photo is very unflattering she usually looks much much more appealing. The aesthetic diffence is fundamentally about actress who look on the box like unbelievable incredible beauties who man fantise about and women who are like the more atracie women men and women actually know. Incidentally the first 2 photos haven't come out properly

Posted by: anon at September 29, 2003 08:07 AM

But the British actresses not being perfect is part of the appeal! I had to turn off the NBC version, but I think they cut all the jokes about Sally resolving only to flirt with available men because she only had a limited amount of elasticity left... and Susan being told by absolutely everyone that she really needs a facial (and that Sally has a running tally of all her wrinkles).

The thing I missed most in the American actress' version of Susan is the smirking. The British one gave most of her lines in the bar with this amused smirk... and the American one was sincere... and completely missed the joy.

Posted by: Pirate at October 1, 2003 05:32 AM

I'm amazed that even the country which expectorates "Sex in the City" is so hard up for comedy that it has to convert a piece of crap such as "Coupling". It was only a tired imitation of a trite US "swinging singles in the Smoke" format anyhow, and it got practically no ratings or attention in UK. Moreover, the ageing biddies our version employed are far from representative of the flower of rising thespian womanhood, for which google on (inter alia) Keeley Hawes, Claire Goose and Christine Stephen-Daly.

Posted by: WJ Phillips at October 1, 2003 08:47 AM