The British classic Coupling has this...masterclass...in how to construct a joke.
- This line:
Jeff: I've got the keys to the gates of paradise...but I've got too many legs.
- The best example is the episode "The Girl With Two Breasts". There are several laugh-out-loud moments through the episode, but the entire episode is just one great big lead-up to the line "Sorry... I was expecting Shadayim."
- There are several episodes in which a primary joke runs the entire time (or at least is repeatedly mentioned) only to come to an hilarious (and sometimes expected, but never enough to ruin the joke) climax. Other examples of this would be the episodes ending in "I am Giselle!" and "Ohhh... Jeffrey!"
- Muriel, Jane's Cool Old Lady aunt, only had a handful of lines in "Sex, Death and Nudity," but most were hilarious.
Jane: Isn't that [eating before a funeral] a little unusual?Muriel: I'm hungry now. Anyway, I never liked the bitch.
Muriel: (Turns to coffin) Sausage roll, Margaret? (Beat) Oh, no, you're dead.
- and later... rather smugly...
- Jeff's basically a walking CMOF. We mustn't forget his running into the bar, not realising he's wearing a gimp mask, either:
Jeff: I suppose, thinking about it, this is why they were so helpful at the chemist's. And crying. And didn't charge me.
Steve: You're choking the chicken.Patrick: You're strangling the python.Jeff: You're shaking the caravan, Jeffrey. (cue stares) Sorry, it got away from me a bit there. Family holidays, eh? God they went on a bit, didn't they?
- Jeff's ability to blurt out the most incredible craziness and shock his [very] open friends is simply amazing. His reveal with Steve at the Sperm clinic was gut busting, not to mention his explanation of suffering 'lower whiplash'. Or the scene immediately following the captain subtext scene where his subconscious spoke only in one- or two-word exclamations like "Cleft. Gusset. Bicycle saddle", only to keep doing it after the 'auto-translate' was disabled. Or unintentionally stripping totally nude while dancing in front of all his colleagues and his mother! Or:
- In a similar vein, when he gets a bit caught out in acting out his embarrassing moments from childhood, "Jeffery, Jeffery, you're vibrating the light fittings!" But really any of his moments of Digging Himself Deeper could probably count.
- In particular, the Bucket of Ears ramble (former Trope Namer for Digging Yourself Deeper, no less). Completely brilliant lunacy.
- This happens so much that there's a moment where Jeff isn't present, but James comments that "For some reason I'm seeing you in a nurse's uniform." Steve replies "Thank you Jeff, that will be all!" When the others stare at him, he says "He's not here, is he? Oh God, I've internalized him..."
- "I'm full of sperm!" (Wow, it's no wonder the show only lasted one season after Richard Coyle left, is it?)
- Steve hilariously trying to explain the complex plot of "Lesbian Spank Inferno", culminating in a massive rant detailing how the entire history of human achievement was all in order for men to get a better look at women's bottoms.
"And frankly ladies, I'm not sure how offended you really ought to be."
- We Are Men (part of Steve's monumental Bathroom-as-Fortress-of-Solitude explanatory effort)
Steve: We are men. We are different. We have only one word for soap. We do not own candles. We have never seen anything of any value in a craft shop. We do not own magazines full of photographs of celebrities with all their clothes on. When we have conversations, we actually take it in turns to talk. We have not yet reached that level of earth-shattering boredom and inhuman despair where we would have a haircut recreationally. We do not know how to get excited about really really boring things, like ornaments, bath oil, the countryside, vases, small churches. I mean, we do not even know what, WHAT in the name of God's arse is the purpose of potpourri. Looks like breakfast, smells like your auntie.
- Jeff's blindfolded striptease in front of his colleagues, friends, and parents...which is followed by his first sexual encounter in the series.
- Also from Jeff. (Jeff's lost the key to some handcuffs. He's at the bar, explaining how things go down.)
- A chain of three — the "Captain Subtext" scene leads to Steve's rant on the mysterious nature of cushions ("What are they? Pets for couches?"), leads to Susan's one line defusing of the whole thing;
Steve: So, tell me—what possible reason would I have to sit on one of these?Susan: Because, if you pressed it firmly against your bottom it might stop you from talking!
- The giggle loop. (It's not really a loop, is it? It's more of a stack.)
- Eh. It's represented with a stack but it's a feedback loop; you try not to laugh, think about how awful it would be for you to laugh, try harder not to laugh, and eventually either time runs out or you bust a gut.
- "I'm not pregnant! It's a miracle! I have shagged and shagged and shagged, and all the little bastards missed!"
- "Susan The Happy Trotting Elf"
- The scene where Julia tells the girls about an encounter she had in the stationary cupboard with Jeff. We see a flashback that leads to a very awkward kiss, with Jeff rather cruelly criticising her breath, her teeth, etc. Julia then clarifies that it was an Imagine Spot, explaining why she didn't kiss him. We then cut to Jeff's own Imagine Spot of what he thought would happen, which we just know will be more extreme. And it doesn't disappoint:
Patrick: That's what you thought would happen if you kissed her?Steve: You think if you kiss a woman, your mother will emasculate you with a miniature guillotine?
- Patrick's attempts to keep Sally from watching his sex tape with Jane. First he locks his video cupboard and removes the tape. It takes her a second to deduce that he locked the tape outside the cupboard. Then she finds it in the video player where he was going to tape over it — but forgot to press record. The she demands to look in the cupboard in case there's a second tape. He tells her that as soon he heard her coming he locked the cupboard and threw the key out the window. She points out that since the cupboard is always kept locked, he actually unlocked it.
Patrick: Look Sally I'm trying to think on my feet here!Sally: I know! It's like watching a whale knit!
- Patrick's story about unwittingly dating twins for a month. Not only were they not pretending to be the same person - "I kept wondering why she kept changing her name!" - they weren't even identical twins!
- Another classic Jeff moment:
Jeff: Jenny Turbot....the worst phone call I ever made. It was my final year at school and there she was — Jenny Turbot. It was like she came to life, like, from one of my magazines, as if all the candles and chanting had finally worked. I'd never seen a woman that gorgeous fully dressed. Clothes looked wrong on her somehow. As if she'd developed a fault. I fell completely in love with her. Totally. I knew she was the one. Everyone else called her the school bike, said she would put out for absolutely anyone...but it wasn't just that. And I got her number, right? It took me ages but I got it. I remember it was on a little scrap of paper. The Turbot's actual phone number! That little scrap of paper gave me the best time of my life. A month of complete sexual bliss. In the end, I had to phone her before it fell apart. She knew who I was! She remembered me. No one ever remembered me, but the Turbot, she remembered. And we were just chatting away, and it was easy, and I just asked her out, I just did it. An actual date.Patrick: So what went wrong?Jeff: Well, her ex suddenly turns up again doesn't he? Barry. Barry the Bastard. Before you know it they're shagging away like maniacs. I kept asking her out, obviously. I pleaded. But she was too busy with all the endless shagging. So, in the end, I just had to hang up.Steve: She was having sex with the guy while you were still on the phone?Jeff: Actually, I think the phone was involved.Steve: Oh dear God.Jeff: That was as close as I got to Jenny Turbot: I was a sex aid for her and Barry the Bastard. I counted it as half a point.
- Jane and the Truth Snake. After being sacked from her job as a traffic reporter for convincing drivers to take a moment of meditation while driving Jane gets an idea that she will become a children's show host. She then develops the character of Jake the Truth Snake who is willing to tell the truth about everyone, including Jane. Leading to her having an argument with her own right hand.
- Circus of the Epidurals: Everybody ends up at Susan's ante-natal class, which ends up being led by Jill, the therapist from Inferno. All of the call backs to that episode were hilarious (even the extras in the background were laughing.)
Jill: I understand Jennifer is happy for friends and relatives of the couple to come along to this session, and I'm happy too. As long as it doesn't develop into some kind of... (sees Steve and recognizes him) Lesbian Spank Inferno.Susan: I thought you were a therapist.Jill: I moved on from therapy after your friend Jane. [...] I knew then to get out of therapy and never find myself in the same room as that woman and her pathetic delusions again.
Jill: (to Jane) Well, you seem healthy. So much for Voodoo.
- (Jane enters, with a pillow on her stomach, pretending to be pregnant .)
- The Melty Man Cometh, Patrick's interactions with "The Melty Man", the mental, Darth Vader-esq, Anthropomorphic Personification of The Loins Sleep Tonight, moments before he's about to consumate his relationship with Sally. He is encountering "problems", until it's revealed it's all due to his repressed, genuine feelings for her...
Patrick: What? I care for her? That's what all this is about? It's just because I like her?The Melty Man: You didn't know that?Patrick: No!The Melty Man: Oh...Bugger.
- What happens when you put three geeks together in dark suits? The re-enact the opening credits of Reservoir Dogs in slow-motion, of course.
- Another classic Jeff tangent: During a discussion about nudity on television, he reveals that the connotation between television and nudity when he was a child led to him becoming aroused whenever it was switched on ("Even if it was just the news or Doctor Who") and that one afternoon he "lost control" in front of his whole family and "completely wrote off the television".
Steve: Sorry... so you're telling us that, as a young child and despite the obvious electrical dangers, you sexually assaulted the television set. During Songs Of Praise?Patrick: Is... is that what happened to your hair?
- The U.S. version had some funny moments as well, particularly the episode "Dressed", where Jane is invited over to a guy's apartment and thinks it will just be the two of them, so she wears a trenchcoat with nothing underneath, and when it turns out all his friends are there, Jane has to make excuses to keep her coat on, she desperately tries to get a little girl to steal a dress for her by giving her the coat which fails miserably and hilariously, then Jane finally gives up and casually walks in front of the guy and his friends while completely naked, puts on another coat and leaves, her complete lack of embarassment and the guy's reactions is what really sells it.
- Note that this is scene-for-scene lifted from the original.