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Coupling
Coupling title card.jpg
Coupling intertitle (series 1 – 3)
Format British sitcom
Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Martin Dennis
Starring Jack Davenport
Gina Bellman
Sarah Alexander
Kate Isitt
Ben Miles
Richard Coyle
(Series 1 – 3)
Richard Mylan
(Series 4)
Opening theme "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps"
(Vocals by Mari Wilson)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 28 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Beryl Vertue
(series 1 – 3)
Geoffrey Perkins
(series 1 – 2)
Sophie Clarke-Jervoise
(series 3 – 4)
Producer(s) Sue Vertue
Running time 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two (Series 1 – 3)
BBC Three (Series 4)
Original run 12 May 2000 – 14 June 2004
Chronology
Related shows Joking Apart
External links
Official website

Coupling is a British television sitcom written by Steven Moffat that aired on BBC2 from May 2000 to June 2004. Produced by Hartswood Films for the BBC, the show centres on the dating and sexual adventures and mishaps of six friends in their thirties, often depicting the three women and the three men each talking among themselves about the same events, but in entirely different terms.

The series was inspired by Moffat's relationship with producer Sue Vertue, to the extent that they gave their names to two of the characters.

The show debuted to unimpressive ratings, but its popularity soon increased and by the end of the third series the show had achieved decent ratings in the UK. The series began airing on PBS stations and on BBC America in the United States in late 2002 and quickly gained a devoted fanbase there as well. The show is syndicated around the world. An American adaptation of the sitcom was briefly produced in 2003.

Contents

Production

Inception

Moffat had used the breakdown of his first marriage as inspiration for his 1990s sitcom Joking Apart.[1][2] Retaining this semi-autobiographical trend, Coupling was based on him meeting his wife, Sue Vertue, and on the issues that arise in new relationships.[3]

According to an interview with The New York Times, Moffat met Vertue at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in 1996.[3] Vertue had been working for Tiger Aspect, a production company run by Peter Bennett-Jones. Bennett-Jones and his friend and former colleague Andre Ptaszynski, who had worked with Moffat on the sitcoms Joking Apart and Chalk, told Moffat and Vertue that each fancied the other. A relationship blossomed and they left their respective production companies to join Hartswood Films, run by Beryl Vertue, Sue's mother.[4] After production wrapped on Chalk in 1997, Moffat announced to the cast that he was marrying Vertue.[5]

When she eventually asked him to write a sitcom for Hartswood, he decided to base it around the evolution of their own relationship. Drunk one evening, he went into her office, wrote the word "Coupling" on a sheet of paper and told her to ask him about it later.[3]

The couple formed the basis for the main characters Steve and Susan. The four other characters are Steve and Susan's best friends and last ex-relationships (one of each for both Steve and Susan); they represent the extremes of confidence and paranoia between the sexes when it comes to relationships. The two main characters are left to negotiate their own relationship as illuminated by these extremes. The fourth episode, "Inferno", was written shortly after Vertue had found a similar tape in the VCR, although Moffat added the 'spanking' element to the script as he "didn't think the real tape was quite pervy enough.'"[3]

Writing

According to Vertue, Steven Moffat wrote at the top of their house. Once he finished a script she read it two floors away so that he could not hear her laughing. The producer says that his first drafts were "pretty much ready to shoot".[6] She did not give him many notes; she would tick all of the places where she laughed, and then he revised the script accordingly.[6]

The humour of the show, according to Moffat, is in the context. He says that there are "no jokes per se" and if they did put jokes in, they were normally taken out because they did not work. He found writing the show difficult at first because he was writing his own voice six times over, with none of the characteristics and inflections of the performers to inspire him.[6]

The use of techniques that are unconventional in sitcoms, such as split screen and non-linear narratives were not originally intended.[6] The first series episode "The Girl with Two Breasts", in which half of the episode is in Hebrew,[7] proved so popular that they tried to do something similar every series. Moffat says that the simplicity of the setting encouraged an "epic, ridiculous way of telling an ordinary story."[6] The opening episode of series three, "Split", uses split screen to simultaneously depict what happens with Steve and Susan after separating.[8] The series four opener, "Nine and a Half Minutes", depicts the same events in the bar from three different perspectives.[9]

Rehearsals

Rehearsals for Coupling took place in a church hall off Kensington High Street.[10] British sitcoms, unlike their American counterparts, usually cannot afford to occupy a studio facility for the entire run.[6]

The actors received their scripts on Friday mornings. They had a read-through, the timing of which usually resulted in Moffat cutting minutes worth of material.[6] Director Martin Dennis worked out the camera script on Saturday afternoons. After a day off on Sundays, the sets were erected for a producer's run on Mondays, and then a technical run on Tuesdays. Much of Wednesday was spent camera blocking, a process which regularly over-ran at the expense of a dress-rehearsal.[6]

As the actors became familiar with the material, they would sometimes expand a joke. However, according to Moffat, this could complicate a joke too much for an audience coming to the material for the first time.[11] Martin Dennis, according to Moffat, regularly told the actors, "You know that funny thing you're doing? Don't do that."[11] The director encouraged them to deliver lines as well as in the read-through.[11]

Recording

All of the location sequences for each series were filmed in London in the first week of each production block. As Moffat was generally late delivering the final few scripts of each series, those episodes contained no location material.[10] The exterior shots of the bar were filmed in Clerkenwell in the first series. After a nearby Thai restaurant complained that filming was disrupting their business, a street just off Tottenham Court Road was used from series two.[10] The house in which Moffat and Vertue lived at the time was used as the exterior for Steve's flat, with the surrounding area used for other sequences.[11]

Episodes of Coupling were filmed in front of a live studio audience at Teddington Studios in London

Episodes were mostly filmed in front of a live studio audience at Teddington Studios in South West London on Wednesday evenings. Sue Vertue says that the live audience reinvigorated the company because no-one had laughed at the material for a few days as everyone knew it so well.[6] The performers were introduced to the studio audience by the warm-up comedian, who also updated them about any important plot detail, and entertained them while cameras and sets were being repositioned. Rob Rouse fulfilled this role for the fourth series.[6]

Material that was technically difficult was filmed the day before the recording with the live studio audience. An example would be a dinner-table sequence, where some characters would be filmed against the fourth wall, rather than the often-used contrived method of cramming everyone together around the proscenium. Readjusting the set and refilming against the fourth wall would have been too time consuming.[6] However, the absence of the studio audiences made it more difficult for the actors to judge the timing of the laughs. For instance, Moffat says that this prevented Gina Bellman from "milking" a particular laugh in the episode "Dressed".[11][12] The sequences were tightened in the editing process once the scenes had been played to the studio audience.[10]

Despite some critics' comments, all of the laughter in Coupling was from a genuine live studio audience.[10] Although artificial, canned laughter was not used, the laughter sometimes had to be tweaked during the editing process. For instance, the studio audience might laugh for longer than the home audience might be expected to. Also, the audience's laughter decreased if a scene has to go through multiple takes; in these cases the laughter from an early take would be used.[6]

Moffat felt uncomfortable during the studio recording as he felt rather powerless. Sitting in the gallery, he wrote the word 'help' repeatedly on the back of his script. In an interview he says he was aware that their most successful show received the least amount of laughter from the studio audience.[6] Conversely, studio audiences reacted emphatically to his previous studio sitcom, Chalk, yet it received a poor critical reception upon transmission.[4]

Martin Dennis would start editing from the following Monday afternoon. The episodes were then colour graded and dubbed with sound effects and music.[6]

Characters

Coupling is almost entirely based around the antics of the six main characters. Coupling features no recurring characters that last beyond a few episodes. In the series, "the women are mainly confident and sexually quite voracious, whilst the blokes are completely useless, riddled with self doubt and awkwardness."[13] However, in the series, Sally Harper (played by Kate Isitt) expresses enormous insecurities about her appearance, her lack of successful relationships with men, and her dread of aging. Jane Christie (played by Gina Bellman), who appears to be sexually adventurous and more than secure with her attractiveness, is shown to be secretly desperately lonely and expresses insecurity when she brings her supposedly virginal date (played by Lloyd Owen) to the bar, concerned that Susan's charms might distract him. Susan Walker (played by Sarah Alexander), apparently the most "together" of the female characters, is insecure about boyfriend Steve Taylor's previous relationship with Jane.

Steve Taylor (Jack Davenport) Best friend to Jeff, boyfriend/fiancé of Susan and ex-long-term partner of Jane, Steve is skilled at saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. (While dating Susan, an attractive woman asked him if he had a girlfriend and he said 'no' -- "I meant to say 'yes,' and I missed by one word.") His inability to handle pressure often leads to humorous and hugely inappropriate responses. Despite this, Steve has some common sense and often refutes the seemingly ridiculous things Jeff and Patrick come up with. Despite his flaws, he means well but always seems to lose control of the situation. It was revealed in Series 1 and later referenced in other episodes that Steve is incredibly attracted to Mariella Frostrup and will often fantasise about her during sex. No reference is made to Steve's job during the series, but in a DVD commentary, Moffat mentions that Steve is, like him, a writer. At least once per series, Steve goes off on a long rant explaining a difference of perspective between the sexes. In series 4, he has a baby boy with Susan.

Moffat had used the surname "Taylor" for Robert Bathurst's character in his earlier sitcom Joking Apart.

Susan Walker (Sarah Alexander) - Best friend to Sally, girlfriend/fiancée to Steve and ex-girlfriend of Patrick, Susan is one of Jeff's co-workers. Susan is usually very sensible and organised, a fact often resented by her friends Sally and Jane. Susan can be very insecure and often takes this out on Steve. When angry she will generally say "apparently," a habit first noted in the first series episode "Inferno," and henceforth mentioned throughout the rest of the series by other characters. In the series 1 episode "Size Matters" it is implied that Susan views Angus Deayton in the same way that Steve views Mariella Frostrup, even keeping two pictures of him hidden in her bedroom. Steve and Susan's various arguments and differences of opinion make up a majority of the comic exchanges between them. Susan is a successful career woman, speaks French fluently, and takes her work life very seriously. Whilst Susan's job is never directly referred to, she works alongside Jeff, an accountant, and she reveals she has a degree in Economics. In series 4, she has a baby boy with Steve.

Jeff Murdock (Richard Coyle) Best friend to Steve and co-worker to Susan, whom he has dated once. Jeff's constant sexual frustration, ridiculous stories and fantasies about women and sex make up a major part of the comedy. Jeff is terrible at talking to women, often stumbling and unintentionally making up lie upon lie in an attempt to avoid looking stupid. These always backfire on him. He is known for a fondness for the word "breasts", often muttering it during conversations. From titbits he occasionally lets slip, it appears that his problems can largely be traced back to his eccentric and domineering mother (who appears in 2.8, "Naked", played by Anwen Williams). Jeff works as an accountant in an office with Susan, and it is through him that Steve and Susan initially meet. Jeff returns in a dream sequence in Steve's imagination in the final episode, "Nine and a Half Months"; portrayed by Samantha Spiro, "Jeffina" has undergone sex-reassignment surgery whilst living on the island of Lesbos, in a failed attempt to see another woman naked again.

Sally Harper (Kate Isitt) Best friend to Susan (and girlfriend to Patrick by series 4), Sally is obsessed with her own appearance and constantly worries about the effects of aging and life in general on her looks. Her worst fear seems to be of dying alone, but she seems totally inept at relationships due to her frequent paranoia which tends to make her out as a very mean spirited woman. Sally runs her own beauty parlour and is a successful businesswoman, but out of the entire group, she is the most insecure and resentful. A Labour supporter, she finds it difficult to reconcile this with her attraction to Patrick, a Tory.

Patrick Maitland (Ben Miles) Ex-boyfriend to Susan (and Sally's boyfriend by series 4), Patrick has a one-track mind: sex. This gives him a very narrow view of women, but he is great at courting them. Frequent references are made to his rather large penis; Susan nicknames him "donkey" and "tripod," sparking much of Sally's initial interest in him despite her other objections. Although intelligent, Patrick has a habit of saying things without thinking that give the impression that he is rather dense. Two explanations for this given in the series are his own claim that he 'doesn't have a subconscious' and thus 'nothing is going on' in his head and Sally's remark that there's not enough blood in his body for 'both ends' (making reference to his abnormally large penis). He is very good at getting women to bed, and cannot comprehend meeting a woman and not having sex with her. It is revealed in the fourth series that he generally leaves in middle of the night. In one episode it is revealed that unbeknownst to him, a woman from his past made a vibrator from a plaster cast of Patrick's erect penis and marketed as the Junior Patrick; the box clearly has a 10-inch measurement on the side when seen later in the episode. Patrick's love of the ladies often backfires, and the series frequently features story lines about his possessive lovers and ex-lovers. Patrick is a successful businessman and is very competitive with others in the same business, but he does have a vague sense of loyalty to his friends. He collects videos of nights with his girlfriends in his rather large "cupboard of love."

Jane Christie (Gina Bellman) Ex-long-time partner of Steve, Jane is very possessive, and despite breaking up with Steve in the first episode, she never truly seems to let go. Jane has a problem talking to men, often coming on much too strong and appearing desperate or rude to others in her pursuit of a man. Her character also seems to not be too bright, perhaps even disturbed, and is known to be incredibly self obsessed, as shown in a second series episode when a 'subtext detector' shows that the only thing she ever really means when talking is the word "Me". In the fourth series, everyone starts referring to her as being "mad." Jane claims to be bisexual, although we have never actually seen her date a woman. Susan time and again expresses scepticism, so this claim may be a ploy to entice men. However, Susan (for her own reasons) French kisses Jane in the fourth series and Jane seems to be overwhelmed but enjoys it. However, her claim is also successfully challenged by Oliver Morris in the fourth series, where he points out that she is indeed not bisexual. Jane works in a local radio station as a traffic reporter, and is popular mainly due to her flirtatious nature and sexually explicit reports. She was once briefly fired for telling all the drivers to close their eyes to centre themselves and changing the names of streets for her own amusement, among other things, but was re-hired due to her popularity.

Oliver Morris (Richard Mylan) Oliver is introduced in the fourth series and eventually becomes involved with Jane. He runs a local science fiction media store called "Hellmouths" and has been out of a relationship for several months. Oliver often has a very cynical outlook, but is prone to accidents, often making a fool of himself in the process. He is sometimes shown gearing himself up to meet women and have sex by thinking to himself, which the audience can hear. The geekiness of his job is also used for comic effect. Oliver also seems to have inherited Jeff's inability to talk to women, however, unlike Jeff he believes himself to be a ladies man, or in his thoughts word's "a woman-killer, I mean lady-killer...". Oliver has a tendency to use the word 'craziness' frequently in conversations, usually as an attempt to alleviate tension when he starts blabbering.

Other characters

Julia Davis (Lou Gish) appears in five episodes spanning over series 2 and 3. She first appears in "Naked", as the new head of department in the office where Jeff and Susan work. Julia and Jeff soon fall for each other due to their shared inability to hold a reasonable conversation with a member of the opposite sex. Despite overcoming the inevitable troubles with each other, their relationship ends when Julia's ex, Joe, a soldier, returns from the front line believing Julia to still be his girlfriend. After finding Julia chained to the bed in her room dressed in bondage gear, Joe attacks Jeff. In the final episode of series 3, Jeff explains that Julia and Joe have left together to discover their feelings for each other, in Bolton.

Tamsin (Olivia Caffrey) is Oliver's Irish ex-girlfriend, who left him for unknown reasons around six months prior to the beginning of the fourth series, and has since become pregnant by another man, with whom she has now split. She befriends Susan at an antenatal class and is also revealed to be one of Patrick's many ex-girlfriends. Tamsin and Oliver seem to have a sour relationship, as is shown over the three episodes in which she features.

James (Lloyd Owen) appears in three episodes of series three. He hosts the religious programme at the radio station where Jane works, and Jane pretends to have an interest in religion in order to become his girlfriend. Jane is devastated to find he does not believe in sex before marriage, and even more so to find that he had a fervent sex life before finding God, which included a night with Susan. He leaves on a trip to Germany at the end of '"The Freckle, the Key, and the Couple Who Weren't", and returns in "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps", just as Jane is expressing her amazement that the many sexual encounters she has had while he was away have not made her pregnant ("I have shagged and shagged and shagged and all the little bastards missed!"). At this point Jane decides she is better off without him.

Jill (Elizabeth Marmur) appears in an episode of series 1 and once again in series 4. In the first series, Jill is Jane's therapist whom Jane constantly manages to manipulate. She is dragged to a dinner party with Jane in an episode called "Inferno" where everyone assumes she is a lesbian. She witnesses one of Steve's monologues about loving naked bottoms when the subject of one of his videos, Lesbian Spank Inferno, comes up. Jill reappears in the fourth series as a pregnancy specialist; "Moved on from therapy after your friend Jane...".

Episodes

Reception

The sitcom has often been criticised as being a 'British version of Friends.'[14][15]

Four series of Coupling were produced for the BBC. The programme was thought to have ended when the American network NBC began work on an American adaptation, which NBC was reportedly hoping to position as a replacement for Friends. Unlike most American adaptations, this show was intended to be a word-for-word duplicate of the British version, except that it was shortened to allow for the shorter running time of North American 'half hour' shows. The programme was attacked in the press long before the first episode aired, because it was more sexually explicit than typical American television.[3] The US version was cancelled after airing just four episodes. It starred Rena Sofer and Sonya Walger, among others. Gina Bellman, who plays Jane in the British series, made a cameo appearance in the first episode.

In 2004, the fourth series started screening on BBC Three, and on BBC2 a few months later. Richard Coyle, who played Jeff, did not want to continue in the role and therefore quit.[16] He was quickly 'replaced' by Richard Mylan as a new character called Oliver. The BBC approached Moffat about writing a fifth series, but other commitments made it impossible to gather the cast. Moffat moved on to write acclaimed episodes for the revived science fiction series Doctor Who. Many fans of the series were angered that Jeff was no longer in the fourth series, and Richard Mylan has said in interview that it took a long time for people to accept his character.[17]

Steven Moffat provided some short storyline "conclusions" about the eventual fate of the characters on the website Outpost Gallifrey.[18][19]

All four series were released in the UK, US, Israel, Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Portugal, the Benelux countries and Turkey. In India, some episodes were telecast on the BBC and Series 1 is available on VCD.

A Greek adaptation was broadcast on ANT1 in 2007 and 2008.[20][21]

References

  1. ^ Andre Ptaszynski and Steven Moffat, Joking Apart, Series 2, Episode 1 DVD audio commentary
  2. ^ Fool if You Think It's Over, featurette, Joking Apart, Series 1 DVD, Dir. Craig Robins
  3. ^ a b c d e Sternbergh, Adam (2003-09-07). "Selling Your Sex Life". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A03EFD61538F934A3575AC0A9659C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  4. ^ a b After the Chalk Dust Settled, featurette on Chalk Series 1 DVD, ReplayDVD.co.uk, prod. & dir. Craig Robins
  5. ^ Chalk Series 1 DVD audio commentary, ReplayDVD
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Coupling: From Script to Screen", credit: Andrew Kerr, BBC Worldwide Americas. Series 4 DVD
  7. ^ "5. THE GIRL WITH TWO BREASTS 09/06/00". Coupling Episode Guide. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/coupling/episodes/s1ep5.shtml. 
  8. ^ "1. SPLIT 23/09/02". Coupling Episode Guide. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/coupling/episodes/s3ep1.shtml. 
  9. ^ "1. Nine and a Half Minutes 10/5/04". Coupling Episode Guide. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/coupling/episodes/s4ep1.shtml. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Vertue, Sue; Moffat, Steven, Coupling, "Naked", Series 2, Episode 8 DVD audio commentary
  11. ^ a b c d e Moffat, Steven; Bellman, Gina, Coupling, "Dressed", Series 2, Episode 7 DVD audio commentary
  12. ^ Most of Bellman's scenes in "Dressed" were pre-records as she was wearing minimal clothing on set to provide the illusion of complete nudity.
  13. ^ BBC - Coupling - Jack Davenport
  14. ^ "Coupling - The British Version of 'Friends' Only Funny!". http://www.epinions.com/review/mvie_mu-1138336/content_415566171780. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  15. ^ "About nothing... but SEX!". http://turn-u-off.blogspot.com/2009/08/about-nothing-but-sex.html. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  16. ^ "Coupling". BBC -. http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/coupling/news/. 
  17. ^ "Coupling - Richard Mylan interview 2". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/coupling/interviews/richard_mylan_video_2.shtml. 
  18. ^ Moffat, Steven (2006-03-01). "Coupling, PBS and the Pledge Drive of Doom." (free registration required). The Doctor Who Forum at Outpost Gallifrey. http://www.gallifreyone.com/forum/showthread.php?t=70744. Retrieved 2006-03-01. "Sally said yes to Patrick, they got married and are very happy." 
  19. ^ The text of the "conclusions" post is also reproduced on this blog post.
  20. ^ ""Coupling" (2007) > Episode list". IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1141287/episodes. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  21. ^ "Οι τριαντάρηδες του «Κάπλινγκ» στο... μικροσκόπιο" (in Greek). Εθνοσ (Ethnos). http://www.ethnos.gr/article.asp?catid=11416&subid=2&tag=8448&pubid=149203. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 

External links


Coupling (TV series) may refer to:

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Coupling is a sitcom that aired on BBC from 2000 to 2004. It was written by Steven Moffat.

Contents

Series One

Flushed [1.1]

Sally: Remember: every morning your face has slipped a little bit more. Since 30 I have had to put a daily limit on facial expressions. I only ever smile at single men, so I can justify the loss of elasticity.

Jeff: Steve, do you know what I call this kind of woman? You know, the type you "can't get rid of."
Steve: Is this gonna be really tasteless? Am I gonna be ashamed to be your friend?
Jeff: It's a technical term. It's just a harmless expression...
Steve: Hit me.
Jeff: "Unflushable!"
Steve: Turn around, Jeff; walk away!
Jeff: You know, because they keep bobbing around...
Steve: No, no, no, Jeff! GO! GO! ...Don't look back. GO!

Susan: I want you all to know, I intend this breast satirically.

Size Matters [1.2]

Jeff: I mean, where exactly do you take your socks off? My advice is to take them off right after your shoes, and before your trousers. That’s the sock gap. Miss it, and suddenly you’re a naked man in socks. No self-respecting woman will ever let a naked man in socks do the squelchy with her.

Jeff: [drunk] It must be a lot easier being gay. Sex must be a piece of piss if you're gay.
Howard: And why is that?
Jeff: If you're gay, see... if you're gay, masturbation is practice. Y'know, you can have a good old practice on your own, and then later, when you're ready, when you've got the hang of it, you have a go on someone else's. It's a piece of piss.... See, it's different... it's different when you're a straight bloke. When we finally get our hands on the gear, let me tell you, it's not a drill. Gays have their own practice kit, but you don't get any practice women. We're supposed to fly those babies the first time we get in 'em!
Howard: That's a very good point, actually.
Sally: No it's not, it's homophobic, you stupid queer!
Jane: Hello! There's no such thing as homophobia, just people-phobia!

Sally: Patrick, what do you call people you go out with but don't try to sleep with?
Patrick: Men?

Sex, Death and Nudity [1.3]

Jane: I'm not trying to lure you back into bed with my dead aunt!

Patrick: You can’t prevent death with face cream.
Sally: Yeah? That’s what everyone thinks, but no-one’s ever used it in the quantities I do.

Patrick: What's a giggle loop?
Jeff: Don't ask! To know about the giggle loop is to become part OF the giggle loop!

Inferno [1.4]

Steve: I don't know if she has seen the tape. And if she has seen it, what does she think? That I'm some kind of masturbating pervert?
Jeff: You are.
Patrick: We all are.
Steve: True.

Jill: [about the film Lesbian Spank Inferno] How could you possibly enjoy a film like that?
Steve: Oh, because it's got naked women in it! Look, I like naked women! I'm a bloke! I'm supposed to like them! We're born like that. We like naked women as soon as we're pulled out of one. Halfway down the birth canal, we're already enjoying the view. Look, it's the four pillars of the male heterosexual psyche. We like: naked women, stockings, lesbians, and Sean Connery best as James Bond. Because that is what being a bloke is. And if you don't like it, darling, join the film collective. Look: I want to spend the rest of my life with the woman at the end of the table here. But that does not stop me wanting to see several thousand more naked bottoms before I die. Because that's what being a boy is. When Man invented fire, he didn't say "Hey, let's cook!" He said: "Great! Now we can see naked bottoms in the dark!" As soon as Caxton invented the printing press we were using it to make pictures of - hey! - naked bottoms. We've turned the Internet into an enormous international database of... naked bottoms. So, you see, the story of male achievement through the ages, feeble though it may have been, has been the story of our struggle to get a better look at your bottoms. Frankly, girls, I'm not so sure how insulted you really ought to be.

Jane: I'm an emotional vegetarian. I know a lot of vegetarians and we tend to like the same films.

The Girl with Two Breasts [1.5]

Jeff: I need breasts with brains. I don’t mean individual brains, obviously... I mean, not a brain each. You know, I like intelligent women, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere... I think breast brains would be over-egging the woman pudding.

Jeff: Do you know what would be the best way to wipe out all of human kind?... Make all women telepathic because if they suddenly found out about the kind of stuff that goes on in our heads they'd kill us all on the spot. Men are not people. We are disgustoids in human form!

Steve: Well, how'd it go?
Jeff: She's leaving the country, doesn't speak English, I insulted her friend's breasts and she thinks I collect women's ears in a bucket.
Steve: Well, you've had worse.

The Cupboard of Patrick's Love [1.6]

Jeff: You know, when I was a kid, I used to write the word "naked" hundreds of times on a bit of paper and then rub my face in it. It's better than sex.

Sally: "Room in your cupboard for one more"? You said that?
Jane: Yeah. I really thought I'd gone to his house, you know, to "heal our spiritual divide," but it turns out I was just gagging for a shag. Those two are so similar!

Series Two

The Man With Two Legs [2.1]

Patrick: There's one thing I don't get here. You've seen this woman on the train and you find her attractive, right?
Jeff: Yeah.
Patrick: And you haven't had sex with her?
Jeff: No.
Patrick: You see my problem?
Steve: Let me explain, Patrick. Here on Earth, there is a gap between seeing someone you like and having sex with them that we like to call conversation. In Jeff's case, it can last for up to ten years.
Patrick: Are you saying I don't converse? I converse. I talk to women.
Steve: Well, do the women talk too?
Patrick: [pause] Well, they must do.

Jane: I've always wanted to date a gyneacologist. I want to know I'm special.

Jeff: But what about my legs, Steve? She's bound to count them eventually!

My Dinner in Hell [2.2]

Steve: You know what they say: If music be the food of love, then masturbation is just a snack between meals.

[Patrick doesn't realize a sculpture of his penis was actually for a sex toy]
Steve: I think you may have been had, mate.
Jeff: And a lot more often than you realize.

Her Best Friend's Bottom [2.3]

[Steve is relating the fact that he accidentally saw Sally naked]
Jeff: So, how was it?
Steve: It was a bottom... I hadn't seen it before... I wasn't bored.

Sally: Having a bottom is living with the enemy. Not only do they spend their lives slowly inflating, they flirt with men while we're looking the other way.

Steve: What are they [cushions] for?
Store Manager: You sit on them.
Steve: Aha! I see that's where you're wrong! Nobody sits on them. Ok, watch this! Here's the cushion. I'm putting it on the sofa. Now, watch me! I'm sitting down, and what do I do on my final approach? I... [he moves the cushion from the seat] oop! Move the cushion! You see? It's not involved! It's not part of the whole sitting process! It just lies there, it's fat litter! It's a sofa parasite!
Jane: It's... you know, padding.
Steve: Oh, padding! Oh now that's interesting. See, I like padding. You know, if I was, say, an American football player with all those big bastards running at me, I would say, you know, "Give me some of that padding and be quick about it!" You know, if my job involved bouncing down jagged rocks, I would say, "In view of those jagged rocks down there, I'll have some of that padding, thank you very much!" But Susan, Sally, Jane, this... is a sofa. It is designed by clever scientists in such a way so is to shield the unprotected user from the way of skin abrasions, serious head trauma, and of course - [he collapses behind the sofa and reemerges] - Daleks! You lot, trust me girls, trust me on this one, you do not need padding to tackle upholstery! So please, once and for all, tell me, why on Earth you would want me to sit on one of THESE!
Susan: Because, if you pressed it firmly against your bottom it might stop you talking!

The Melty Man Cometh [2.4]

Steve: Should you kiss her now or does that mean you gotta start from the top again?
Jeff: Should you be making noises yet? Is it too soon to grunt?
Steve: [snaps fingers] And then, the killer - out of nowhere, for no reason you can think of, you call her [huskily] "baby."
Jeff: You never called her "baby" before.
Steve: You've never called anyone "baby" before.
Jeff: So why did you just call her "baby"? Suddenly you're starting to blush.
Steve: Now, you're blushing and you've got an erection. No-one's got enough blood!
Jeff: The engines cut. They can't take it.
Steve: Then the Melty Man hits you with his secret weapon.
Jeff: Just one single thought is placed in your mind at this crucial time.
Steve: "Please God! Don't let me lose my erection!"
Jeff: [hand goes down] Pufff.
Patrick: [with terror and disbelief] How do you guys manage to have sex?
Steve: ["duh!" voice] We don't.
Jeff: I haven't had sex in years.
Steve: It's just not possible anymore.
Jeff: We are followers of the Melty Man.
Steve: And you're one of us now.

Patrick: There is no connection between my dick and my brain!

Jane: You know the real way to tell if a man likes you? Have a drink with him, and if he puts his glass down really close to yours, that means he really likes you and something's definitely going to happen.
Sally: You know, I think Patrick does that. I think he does that glass thing.
Jane: Of course, as indicators go, an enormous erection's a bit more reliable.

Jane and the Truth Snake [2.5]

Jane: I don't like to label everything in my medicine cabinet. You'd never have any surprises.
Steve: This week's top tip from Children's Hour.

Jeff: Do you know what arses are, Patrick? Arses are the human race's favourite thing. We like them on each other, we like them on magazine covers, we even like them on babies! When it itches, we like to scratch them, when its cold, we like to warm them, and who among us, in a lonely moment hasn't reached back for a discreet fondle? When God gave us our arses he had to stick them round the back just so we wouldn't sit and stare at them all day. Cause when God made the arse he didn't say "Hey it's just your basic hinge, let's knock off early." He said "Behold ye angels, I have created the arse. Throughout the ages to come, men and women shall grab hold of these and shout my name!"

Jane: I'm reporting traffic, there's bound to be casualties!

Gotcha [2.6]

Steve: Lesbians don't eat people, Susan!

Sally: Did you know that your nose keeps growing all your life? If I don't get married soon, they're going to have to cut a hole in the veil!

Jeff: Steve, you know what the sentence of death is, don’t you? I don’t mean the sentence like in executions and stuff, I mean the scary one... Just five words, Steve. Five little words. "Where. Is. This. Relationship. Going?"

Dressed [2.7]

Jeff: You know what's great about skirts? When a woman's wearing a skirt, you know, you know that somewhere in that room, shifting all the time, there is the VAA: the Visual Access Angle. A clear line of sight back to base camp.

Patrick: [on inventing a fake marriage] What choice did I have? I'm thirty-three, single, with neat hair. Even I think I'm gay!

Jeff: [as Steve is on the phone] What's wrong?
Steve: It's Jane. She's stuck naked in someone else's flat!
Jeff: Naked?
Steve: Completely! She's only got her coat!
Jeff: Can I speak to her? [he takes the phone] Hi Jane, it's Jeff.
Jane: [bewildered] Hi, Jeff...
Jeff: [grins, pauses, then hands the phone back to Steve] Thanks. [he walks off]
Jane: Jeff?
Steve: Um, he's just gone to the loo... might be some time.

Naked [2.8]

Sally: It's a scientific fact that if you say "naked" three or more times, to any man, he has to cross his legs.

Steve: You think that if you kiss a woman, your mother will emasculate you with a miniature guillotine?
Jeff: I know. Mothers, eh? Did you ever find your mother would always appear at your bedroom door at the worst possible time and say 'Oh Jeffery'?
Steve: Well...not being called Jeffery.
Jeff: 'Oh Jeffery' Always so disapointed.

Jeff: I am a prison for sperms. Those poor little tadpoles have been sentenced to life in Jeff Murdock's groin. And let me tell you, that can be a pretty lonely place.
Steve: I'm sure you always... lend a hand.
Jeff: Well, yeah, there's that. But that's not what the boys are wanting, is it? See, they want to think they're going somewhere when they go. I keep thinking about my brave lads all excited on the launch pad, and then suddenly it's "Ohh, no! Daylight!"

The End of the Line [2.9]

Jeff: You know what having a girlfriend is like? Having a girlfriend is like legalised sex.
Steve: Jeff, sex is legal. It always has been legal.
Jeff: You know what I mean, when I have sex with Julia, it's just so... realistic.

Jane: I once went on holiday and pretended to be twins. It was amazing fun. I invented this mad, glamorous sister and went around really annoying everybody. And d'you know, I could get away with anything when I was my crazy twin Jane.
Sally: But you're Jane.
Jane: Kinda stuck. It's a long story.

Patrick: Julia's pants... are they really tiny?
Jeff: You could accidentally swallow three whole pairs in one go!
Patrick: Jeff?
Jeff: Yeah?
Patrick: They spread.
Jeff: What?
Patrick: Pants. They spread, and grow.
Steve: Experts can determine the age of a relationship from pants spreadage alone.
Patrick: You start off with that sexy little thong...
Steve: And one day you're looking at the makings of a decent sized trampoline.
Jeff: [scared] It's not gonna be like that with me and Julia.
Steve: Jeff, Jeff. Before you know it, you'll be sitting on the sofa with Julia, she'll be wearing pants large enough to cover Switzerland, and you'll discover that you're unable to make the slightest movement without her asking, [high-pitched] "Where are you going?" Every time! "Where are you going?" She won't even know she's saying it! It's- it's like you've set off a motion sensor. And then, you'll notice that your house is covered in shoes. [gets up and picks up a shoe] Shoes! Shoes everywhere! Why do they have so many shoes? Do they have extra feet we don't know about? Do they sprout rows of additional feet while we're asleep and gallop around the streets at night shouting [screeching] "WHERE ARE YOU GOING? WHERE ARE YOU GOING? WHERE ARE YOU GOING?"
[Jeff and Patrick stare at him]
Steve: Uh... S-sorry. Dr-drifted a bit there.

Series Three

Split [3.1]

Jeff: Women remember, Steve. It's like they've got minds of their own.

Sally: You've always got to send a man a book when you split up, to prove how you're a caring, giving person, and how they're going to die in a pit of their own filth.

Susan: [Asked by Sally if she wants to talk about her break-up with Steve] Okay... you know what's really getting me mad? My boyfriend... my fiance... the man who, against all my better judgment I actually love... chatted up a woman in a bar. And on the very same day – the very same day – I chatted up a man. Do you see? Do you get it? I'm equally at fault. How can I ever forgive him for that? But, of course, I'm not going to forgive him because... because men – and I don't mean to generalise – are CRAP! They're the human race's only failed gender! Who needs them? And why are they so difficult to keep hold of? Do you think they realise that, were it not for the genetic imperative to populate the earth, they wouldn't get a date? That's one hell of an inducement! "No pressure, girls, but shag one of these or it's curtains for all humankind!" That's harrassment! But you know what? Do you know what's even more crap than men? WE are more crap than men! All those stupid books you guys had and... and these magazines! A hundred pages of "Men are useless bastards" and an article on why you should wake them up with a blow job! Am I alone on spotting the inconsistency here? And these places [beauty parlours] 'cause, for God's sake, don't let them see what we really look like! Just let them enjoy the results; don't let them see how it all happens.
Jane: You know... I went out with Steve for six years...
Susan: No, you didn't. You went out with him for four years. I checked.
Jane: Oh... well it seemed longer.
Susan: Yeah! Yeah! Of course it seemed longer. I, myself, have been going out with him since the 12th century. Or possibly since last week; it's hard to keep track. Because how are you supposed to measure time with the man that you want to spend the rest of your life with? What would make sense? Centuries? Nanoseconds?
Sally: Eggs.

Faithless [3.2]

Steve: Look, it is not scientifically possible for a man to know what a woman wants. Which is very unfair. Because you always know what we want.
Patrick: Yeah, because we always have the common decency to only ever want one thing. And do you ever thank us for making it so simple? Never.

Patrick: [on the phone to Jeff] We have our advisors online.
Steve: [pointing at Susan and Sally] That's you two.
Susan: This is ridiculous! Why does he need us to translate for him? Women aren't a completely different species, you know.
Patrick: [on the phone] Jeff, women AREN'T a completely different species.
Steve: He just needs to find out if it's a friendly drink or a date drink. He'll do friendly but he won't do date.
Sally: Why doesn't he know already?
Steve: Because he is Jeff, and there's no known cure.

Susan: Need any help translating THAT one?
Sally: These are my ovaries
Susan: Please come inside.
Patrick: [on the phone to Jeff] Careful, Jeff, she's packin' ovaries!

Unconditional Sex [3.3]

Jeff: I have a girlfriend!
Wilma: So you keep saying, so why are you here?
Jeff: Well, I-I-I just...
Wilma: She really does exist, this girlfriend?
Jeff: Oh, oh yeah she exists. She's very much an existing person, she's got tons of existence. [beat] Well not too much existence, I don't mean she's huge or anything. She's somewhere between completely imaginary and a truck. If you can picture that.

Susan: I'd like to think that the man I'm going to spend the rest of my life with has a better reason for staying faithful than, "It might be a trick."
Steve: Well, it wasn't the only thing! It was just like the... deterrent.
Susan: The deterrent?
Steve: Well, yeah. You know, like nuclear weaponry. I mean, nobody likes it, but it can help to keep the peace.
Susan: Steve, you've just compared our relationship to the Cold War.
Steve: Which, may I remind you, really lasted.
Susan: So the nature of the bond between us is, in fact, the threat of mutually assured destruction?
Steve: Oh, among many other things.

Jeff: I'm not bad. I've never been bad... I'm fairly new to mild naughtiness.

Remember This [3.4]

Sally: I don't want to look great. I want to look thin.

Jeff: You know jelly-wrestling... which is basically jelly with women wrestling in it... OK, well, think about this. Afterwards, after the wrestling, what happens to the jelly? Because you could sell that. That is a missed opportunity. You could bottle it and sell it... You take the women out first, obviously.

The Freckle, the Key and the Couple Who Weren't [3.5]

Jeff: [Jeff is wearing a leather mask] We were just spending a quiet evening in front of the television. In the course of events I swallowed some of her jewellery.
Steve: You what?
Jeff: There was a swallowage incident. I swallowed an item.
Steve: Right?
Jeff: Now normally when I swallow some of Julia's jewellery...
Steve: No, no, Jeff please. "Normally"... has never been used in the sentence before.
Jeff: Well, you know what it's like when you've got your own actual real-life girlfriend. It's like you got a woman with a nudity switch. Sometimes when she's laying there and she's just so, so totally naked, I can't control myself. I just sort of hoover.
Steve: OK.
Jeff: Obviously now and then in the course of any nudity hovering, you're gonna ingest an item. Now normally, I remain calm, let nature take its course, and in due time slip the relevant item back into her jewellery box.
Steve: I see.

Susan: Jane's breasts scare me. They're like Mickey Mouse's ears. No matter which way you turn, they're still facing you.

The Girl with One Heart [3.6]

Jeff: Sally could be a lesbian! ...It could happen! She could be having a shower maybe. and probably Jane would be there. And she might happen to say, "Jane, could you help me soap my breasts?" "Your breasts, Sally?" "Yes, Jane, it's those tricky undersides." "Oh, I know what you mean, Sally, breasts can be a real dirt-trap."

[Susan has removed the lock from the bathroom door, and doesn't understand why Steve is so upset about it]
Susan: Men and toilets, the love that dare not speak its name. What's that about?
Steve: [slams hand down] We are men! Throughout history, we have always needed, in times of difficulty, to retreat to our caves. It so happens that in this modern age, our caves are fully plumbed. The toilet is, for us, the last bastion, the final refuge, the last few square feet of man-space left to us! Somewhere to sit, something to read, something to do, and who gives a damn about the smell? Because that, for us, is happiness. Because we are men. We are different. We have only one word for soap. We do not own candles. We have never seen anything of any value in a craft shop. We do not own magazines fill of pictures of celebrities with all their clothes on. When we have conversations, we actually take it in turns to talk! But we have not yet reached that level of earth-shattering boredom and inhuman despair that we would have a haircut recreationally. We don't know how to get excited about... really, really boring things, like ornaments, bath oil, the countryside, vases, small churches. I mean, we do not even know what, what in the name of God's arse is the purpose of pot-pourri! Looks like breakfast, smells like your auntie! Why do we need that? So please, in this strange and frightening world, allow us one last place to call our own. This toilet, this blessed pot, this... fortress of solitude. You girls, you may go to the bathroom in groups of two or more. Yet we do not pass comment. We do not make judgement. That is your choice. But we men will always walk the toilet mile... alone.
[pause]
Susan: Would you like me to put the lock back on the toilet door, dear?
Steve: Would you mind?
Susan: You should have asked.

[Jeff solves the toilet door problem by using a wedge to keep the door shut]
Jeff: Area secure, 007.

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps [3.7]

Susan: Have you phoned Sally yet?
Patrick: No.
Susan: Well phone her soon, Patrick. Or, no offence, I'll rip your throat out.

Patrick: Sally, you need someone good enough for you. You don't want some mutton-headed city boy who spends all his time thinking about his cars and his golf clubs. You want somebody who can love you the way you deserve to be loved, the way I want you to be loved. Sally, you need someone who will love you forever, properly. You're my friend, Sally. I want to see you with the best. You need Mr. Amazing, Mr. Incredibly-Superbly-Fantastic...ness. In your heart, I'm sure you know I'm right.
Sally: I don't want Mr. Superbly-Incredibly-Fantasticness, you stupid, stupid arse. I want you.
Patrick: For God's sakes, Sally.
Sally: What? What?!
Patrick: I was talking about me!
Sally: I'm sor – You're Mr. Superbly, Incredibly Whatever?
Patrick: [gesturing to self] Well, yes!

Susan: [after announcing her pregnancy] Time's up, Steve. I think it's time for someone else to be a child.

Series Four

Nine and a Half Minutes [4.1]

[Oliver approaches Susan who is holding a breast pump]
Oliver: Is that yours?
Susan: Yes.
Oliver: Is is specially adapted for really tiny puppies?
Susan: Piss off.

Oliver: Craziness!

Nightlines [4.2]

Sally: Look, when I said have a baby... I didn't mean, I just meant... socially!
Patrick: Socially?
Sally: To tea.
Patrick: Babies can't come round to tea, Sally. They're rubbish.
Susan: Don't say that!
Steve: Hormones!
Susan: Bollocks!
Patrick: Doesn't this all seem a little early?
Sally: Of course it's early, it's far too early! I don't want a baby yet! You gotta get a cat first, see if you're maternal.
Steve: You've already got a cat.
Sally: Well, I'll shave it! See if I still like it!

Steve: You went out and pulled a pregnant woman. What were you thinking?
Patrick: Oh, you know, "there's a nice, compact pregnancy, let's take it out for a spin."
Sally: She had a baby inside her, you insane filth!

Steve: Jane, could you stop doing this? Could you stop just wandering through my front door? Because this is not, repeat not, an American sitcom!

Bed Time [4.3]

Oliver: Do you know how long it's been since I've had sex?
Patrick:Two years.
Oliver:[a little affronted]Seven months.

Steve: Bed theives are operating in your area. Secure all doors and windows and make a large pile of raggy dolls in the centre of your duvet.

Circus of the Epidurals [4.4]

[Steve, Patrick, and Oliver are at an ante-natal class]
Steve: Right, the question of pain relief.
Patrick: Yes
Oliver: Absolutely.
Steve: Sorted.
Oliver: So how are we supposed to pad this out?
Steve: [Looks over at Susan] I suppose we could discuss the diferent methods.
Patrick: Drugs.
Oliver: Yeah, drugs.
Steve: Sorted.

The Naked Living Room [4.5]

Jane: Actually I prefer videos.
Oliver: What?
Jane: I prefer porn in video form, it's more realistic. Do you have any of those?

Nine and a Half Months [4.6]

Patrick: Sometimes a man is faced with the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do. And he only misses by one.

Oliver: Sex is cancelled. Sorry, sex is off the menu. Sorry everyone, we were expecting a delivery about now, but we were let down. Sorry madam, can't fix your sex life today, don't have the parts... okay, forget that last one.

Sally: Did you sleep with Jane?
Patrick: Now, before I say anything that will confirm or deny that fact, yes I did. [quickly realising what he has just said] Damn it!

Cast

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