Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Based on the long-running British TV series of the same name, the NBC sitcom Coupling was clearly designed to fill the gap that was about to be opened by the departure of the network's popular ensemble piece Friends. The difference here was that the sexual shenanigans on Coupling had a lot more edge, and were heaps more complicated and controversial, with a group of basically selfish, unlovable Manhattan thirtysomethings perpetually seducing and/or betraying one another. Steve (Jay Harrington) fell in love with Susan (Rena Sofer, replacing the pilot episode's Melissa George), but was still attached to Jane (Lindsay Price). Susan was the ex-girlfriend of Steve's best friend, Jeff (Christopher Moynihan), and also of Patrick (Colin Ferguson). As for Patrick, he currently carried a torch for Susan's best friend, Sally (Sonya Walger, replacing the pilot's Emily Rutherfurd), and on and on and on it went. When it debuted on September 25, 2003, Coupling became something of a cause célèbre, with a number of special-interest groups complaining about the frankness of the series' sexual scenes and situations; critics were not as bothered by the series' raciness as by the fact that it failed to live up to the standards of the British original.