American excess

Coupling stays rude for US remake

The American studios remaking Coupling have promised to keep in all the drinking, smoking, sex and bad language.

Many British sitcoms - from Absolutely Fabulous to Men Behaving Badly - have fared badly in transatlantic translation as nervous network bosses tone down the characters' excesses.

But NBC - which is making a pilot in the hope of finding a hit comedy to replace Friends - is keen to maintain the spirit of the original.

Writer Steven Moffat said: "At the moment they want it to be very like the British show, with all its bad language and post-watershed rudeness. I'll be interested to see how it develops."

But he insisted the show is a different proposition from Friends.

He added: "As far as the comparisons with Friends are concerned, there's a central relationship and its satellites of best friends and ex's which happens to add up to six people - but Coupling is a boozier, smokier, more shag infested series, and very British in that sense.

Moffat has written 22 episodes for British TV, based on his relationship with wife Sue Vertue, the producer of the show. He even named his main characters Steve and Susan.

He said: "I have described the series as being 'my life as told by a drunk.' Like most writers, I write about what has happened to me as that involves the minimum amount of research.

"The series involves three super-confident and three super-terrified people. Sue is very confident in the way that Susan is and I'm very crap in the way that Steve is.

"When writing comedy, you have to have the confidence to believe that there is only one type of relationship in the world, and we are all having it; that all men behave in the same way and so do all women; I fill the script with universals, and people seem to watch.

"I like to keep the audience guessing which bits are autobiographical.

"There are a number of things that are deeply embarrassing and really did happen - not just to us, but to members of the cast and our friends too. "

The third series of Coupling returns to BBC2 on Monday.

Meanwhile, Moffat is working on his first feature film Me Again, starring Bruce Willis, to be shot in the US next spring.

Published: 19 Sep 2002

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