Coupling - Seasons 1 & 2 (2000-2001)
'Coupling' is sort of like Friends, only with all the sentimentality and friendship stuff taken out and all the sex and relationship stuff taken up to 11. Oh, and it's British, not American. Created and written by Steven Moffat, the half hour show chronicles the escapades of its thirty-something main characters to hilarious effect. They are a diverse bunch of oddballs who are brought together under bizarre circumstances in the first episode.
The show often divides a story between the men and the women, usually recounting events from both their perspectives. It is incredibly funny, full of ludicrous and improbably brilliant situations. Moffat's writing is terrific, deftly balancing the puerile and silly elements with the more mature elements, and the dialogue is very sharp with each character having a distinctive and memorable voice (my favourites are without a doubt Jeff and Jane). The performances are great overall, though I feel the guys come off a bit better than the girls (Jane excluded). Sarah Alexander's performance as Susan in particular is sometimes weak, with her lines often sounding unwieldy. Richard Coyle as Jeff is the complete opposite though, with every line uttered to perfection, and the rest of the cast is almost as good.
In short, 'Coupling' is brilliant and absolutely worth the time, though I must confess that the constrained subject matter doesn't always lend itself to watching episodes at a stretch as it can sometimes feel a tad repetitive. That's just a very minor quibble though. I'm now keenly anticipating watching the remaining two seasons, and hopefully will have the time then to write a more cogent review*!
* I finished watching this over a month ago, and only got around to blogging about it today!