“Coupling” on US TV

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Society
September 24th, 2003 • 12:46 am

Apparently, a couple of TV stations in the US have decided to drop the new US version of the hit BBC2 sitcom Coupling.

The reason? The show’s racy sexual content “pushes the envelope well beyond the boundaries of our community’s standards”.

I’ve talked about this SHOW before and about the fact that the US version was already likely to be a watered-down version of the UK original. I guess this incident just confirms that a significant section of the US population still has a major problem with sexuality.

Remember that this is a SHOW that doesn’t even have nudity, let alone explicit sexual images. All the sexuality is suggested or described explicitly in the dialogue. I haven’t seen the US version, but I suspect that the sexual explicitness of the dialogue is not as high as it is in the UK version.

Yet, you get letters from outraged viewers, such as the following:

I feel that the media, especially TV, have overstepped their ethical boundaries by broadcasting shows of this nature (mainly sex, infidelity and explicit violence) during primetime television viewing,” wrote Ardys Dublinski in a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper.

So, once again, explicit violence and explicit sexuality are put in the same bag, as if their immorality were the same. (There’s no violence, sexual or otherwise, in Coupling.) And once again, sexually explicit dialogue and sexually explicit images are put in the same bag, as if they were the same.

America really needs to grow up. There’s nothing shocking about this show. It doesn’t push any envelopes — except maybe for the levels of caricature and absurdity that can be achieved within the constraints of a pseudo-realistic sitcom.

What is really absurd is that America lets its kids watch movies with horrendous levels of explicit, graphic violence (stylized or not), yet they can’t even tolerate a few crude jokes that ultimately make fun of those characters who tell them.

One wishes for a modern, sexually enlightened, violence-free society. I guess we still have a long way to go.

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