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Introbuction
Coupling is the relatively new series from BBC 2. Before I start this review I want to point out that I had never seen this series before I had the chance to review the DVD. Coupling was first transmitted on BBC 2 on the 12th May 2000. The first season consisted of 6 episodes which all have a running time of 30 minutes.

Coupling : The Complete First Series
Plot
Coupling is billed a young persons comedy programme. All cast members are between 20 and 30 and have a regular meeting point (a bar). Does this seem familiar to anyone? Well you would be right in guessing that this sounds identical to the long running American comedy programme Friends. Coupling is set in London and follows the relationships of 6 friends. Well I say friends but in the first series the characters do not know each other. However gradually as the series progresses they are brought together. To even up matters there are three male (Steve, Patrick and Jeff) characters and three women (Jane, Susan and Sally). The men talk about things like porn videos and lesbians whilst the girls talk about the size of their men’s private parts! I would describe coupling as more of a programme for adults rather than the younger audience which Friends targets. The reason for this is down to the nature of many of the jokes and the storylines. Coupling tackles the sexual side of people’s relationships. A lot of the jokes are very rude but funny nevertheless.

Here is a brief description of each of the episodes on this DVD:

Episode 1: Flushed.

The first episode introduces us to all the characters. It particularly focuses on Steve who is trying to dump his girlfriend Jane. He finds it incredibly hard because each time he bucks up the strength to dump her she suggests having sex. What makes Steve even more determined to dump Jane is that he fancies Jeff’s work colleague Susan. During one of his attempts to dump Jane, Steve finds himself in an embarrassing situation in a ladies toilet. The episode ends with all 6 characters having a meal in a restaurant. Episode one is a good start to the series.

Episode 2: Size Matters.

Episode 2 follows on quickly from the first episode.  Steve and Susan are now about to have their second date for which Susan has agreed to cook dinner. The lads start talking about what Susan is after from the date. Meaning men they obviously get it hopelessly wrong!

Episode 3: Sex, Death and Nudity.

Episode 3 revolves around Jane’s Auntie’s funeral. Jane hasn’t told any of her family that she has broken up with Steve. Jane invites Steve to the funeral and tells him that he must pretend they are still a couple. Obviously this annoys Susan who decides that she is going to the funeral as well. In the end the 6 main characters all end up going to Jane’s Auntie’s funeral. During the episode we get introduced to the giggle loop, which is an idea the lads thought up. The lads also get themselves into a spot of bother when they suddenly get aroused! This is one of the rudest episodes so far and shows why the DVD has a 15 certificate. A must see moment in this episode is when the guys play Reservoir Dogs

Coupling : The Complete First Series
Episode 4: Inferno

This episode focuses mainly on the growing relationship between Steve and Susan. Steve arrives home from work to find Susan cleaning his flat. This seems odd in itself but what worries Steve more is the fact that Susan has been using his video recorder. Confused? Well Steve have certain private videos, which he would prefer that Susan didn’t see. Susan suggests a dinner party at Steve’s with the intent of embarrassing him. The episode ends in a classic moment when Steve stands up and gives a speech on why porn videos are good for you. A very funny moment and probably one of the highlights of the series.

Episode 5: The Girl With Two Breasts

This episode deals with Jeff and his infatuation with a girl he meets in the bar. It is very funny seeing Jeff, who is a Welsh guy, trying to chat up an Israeli girl who doesn’t speak a word of English and is about to return to her home land. Jeff attempts to ask her out anyway.

Episode 6: The Cupboard of Patrick’s Love

This is the last episode in the series and is probably my favourite. We get introduced to Patrick’s secret cupboard. In the cupboard Patrick stores secretly recorded tapes of him making love with all his girlfriends. Susan has her own special tape, which Patrick keeps. This obviously makes Steve jealous and he embarks on finding out what Susan does in the tapes. This episode is probably the funniest in the series and is also probably the rudest in the series. My favourite line in this episode is by Jeff when he says 'I love the word naked, it's brilliant isn't it, 'naked'. When I was a kid I used to write the word naked on a bit of paper hundreds of times and rub my face in it'.

Video
Well this DVD is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The picture is actually very good for a BBC release. There appeared to be very little damage to the print, which is understandable due to the date of the series.

Coupling : The Complete First Series
Audio
The disc has an English Dolby Digital (2.0) Stereo soundtrack. This may sound rather poor for standards these days but actually it is perfectly acceptable for this disc. The series has no music and very few background noises so all the soundtrack needs to deal with is dialogue. Therefore the soundtrack on this disc does the job it needs to and nothing more.

Extras
This is probably the shortest review I have written about the technical side of DVD release. To be honest on this disc you get the episodes and that is basically it! Owners of any of the other BBC releases will not be surprised by that comment. I have quite a few BBC DVDs and all you get are the standard episodes.  This is enough in itself though as the DVD has a running time of 174 minutes.

Overall
Overall fans of Coupling will not be disappointed with this disc. The transfer is perfectly acceptable and all the episodes are available on the world’s best format. Don’t expect a feature packed release and you will be happy. Before reviewing this disc I was expecting a poor version of Friends but as I watched more episodes I found myself enjoying them immensely. Coupling is funny, sexy and clever. If you have never watched an episode of Coupling go out and buy this release, as you won’t be disappointed.  I am already looking forward to the second series, which will hopefully be released soon.


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