27 September 2003 | jmatrixrenegade
Someone already gave an excellent breakdown of the American cast and how they are inferior to the original. It is not that American remakes can't be done ... "Three's Company" was basically a remake of a British show, and when I caught it on air, I was not impressed ... the American version was better. Perhaps perhaps perhaps it was just because it didn't translate well. Still, it shows that just because you remake a show doesn't mean it is necessarily bad. On the other hand, maybe the key is that the show was translated to American tastes, just as "Coupling" itself took "Seinfeld" and "Friends" and translated it into a form the British could recognize. If so, this remake is a bad translation.
It might be unfair to base this on one episode, but the problems do seem too basic to ignore. First off, the show was much more forced than the original, and had an annoying laugh track that just made it worse. The original is peopled with characters fascinated with sex but still in some sense sympathetic and human. The remake seems to be peopled with sitcom actors. All too stylish. The original was often hilarious but often restrained as well ... the remake, perhaps showing its American style, was less restrained. And, the original took place in Britian, but wasn't so "British" that was bothersome ... in fact, its British touches gave it some flavor. This takes place in Chicago, but the show has to put a sign in the bar with "Chicago" in it, since w/o that you'd have little reason to know these people lived there. Perhaps, the locale will be taken advantage of in the future, let's see.
The original was influenced by the properness of the British symbolized by Steve, who forever seems to be uncomfortable. The fact is that this is easily translated to America ... the fact is that many men here are uncomfortable with sex, fascinated and mesmerized by it, but deep down uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. It is human nature and if handled properly, could be the basis of a great comedy. The problem is that American sitcoms have gotten in a rut in which sex is so easily handled and tossed about, so that a more restrained show (especially one following the madcap "Will and Grace") would be deemed too much of a risk.
I will tell you what a risk is ... a nearly verbatim remake of a great show, one which many viewers could access for themselves, that is quite inferior to the original, but is so overhyped that expectations are rather high.
PS In the original, Steve and Jane dated for years, but here, it was changed to one year. Perhaps, this is a symbol of the cheapening of the show ... in an American sitcom, one could not be together THAT long. Also, the original had a joke comparing their relationship to a husband driven to homicide ... the remake used a "Titanic" joke. Not quite the same image!