Picks and Pans Review: Coupling

updated 10/06/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. ET)


What's love got to do with it? Absolutely nothing. This new sitcom seems dedicated to sex without emotion—unless embarrassment counts as an emotion.

Steve (Jay Harrington) is a bit embarrassed to be engaged in sexual activity with Jane (Lindsay Price) in the ladies' room of a cocktail lounge, but only because Susan (Rena Sofer), with whom he'd rather be getting it on, walks in at the wrong time. Steve and Jeff (Christopher Moynihan) are slightly abashed to be sexually aroused by Jane's broad hints of lesbian lust for Susan and Sally (Sonya Walger), but only because they're all attending a funeral at the time.

Coupling, based on a British hit, clearly wants to be Friends only bolder. But the characters are dislikable, the farce is strained, and the show's mind has just one track. "Does your penis do all your thinking?" Susan asks Patrick (Colin Ferguson). In this circle of friends, that would make him an intellectual.

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