Monday, July 17, 2006

The Brits do it better

Pretty much the only TV I can tolerate is sitcoms. The best ones in India were on DD before the invasion from the skies - Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Dekh Bhai Dekh...). Then of course there was STAR, and Dharma and Greg was a personal favorite (though people preferred F.R.I.E.N.D.S.).

Now, of course, Seinfeld rules. The "serial about nothing" never ceases to amaze me with its nuanced observations on the things that make us tick (and tick us off). My limited TV viewing has been restricted to these, along with my slacker animation favorites, The Simpsons and South Park.

The Beeb they say has a rich treasure trove of particularly good comedy serials. Ramanand keeps mentioning them, and I'm a bit envious of the Pune crowd for easy access to the British Library. (I could go on Netflix, I guess, but why I haven't yet is a long story for a different day). A chance viewing of Coupling at a friend's place this week only piqued the curiosity more.

I haven't laughed this much in a while. "Laughing till my insides hurt" took on a whole new meaning with this slightly off-color take on the love lives (or lack thereof) of a bunch of single friends. There were flashes of insight that made me cringe, and universal truths that had me nodding my head in agreement ( if only I could stop laughing...).

Highly recommended.

Note: For those of you with a high-end Comcast cable package, Coupling is available "On Demand" in the TV-> BBC America section.


Ramanand said...

They do, and with ease. The temptation to club Coupling with FRIENDS is almost immediate, but that's only before you've watch your 1st episode. The writing gets progressively brilliant.
Given that both sitcoms have a sort-of-similar setting, you can compare the relative merits of the American comedy-by-committee method vs. the lone writer (or at worst, two of them) building great stories and situations in a typically British mix of repressed comedy.

BTW, the Irish don't do it too badly either - as befits traditional members of the comedy club. I'd recommend "Father Ted" ("The IT Crowd" is by the one of the persons behind it -I've heard it's good too and current, so if you happen to see it, lemme know.).

CAR said...

And have you seen "The Office"? It was originally done on BBC before it was remade with an American cast. However the british version is invariably better. Sometimes, PBS brings a few episodes over.

Ajay said...

I'll give your recommendations a shot. The episodes of Coupling I saw were from Seasons 2 and 3 though.