Actress likes racy 'Coupling' role

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

— Say, Rena Sofer! How do you feel starring in "Coupling," the racy new sitcom that has reveled in publicity (and gotten a good scolding) since NBC announced it last spring?

"Great!" Sofer said. "Eighteen years in this business, and I'm finally on the show that everybody's talking about. Fine! Talk about us! "

Like Susan, her character on "Coupling" (8:30 p.m. Thursday), Sofer is playful but straight-talking. Independent? Sure, "but not afraid to get into relationships," she says, noting with a laugh "I've been married twice" -- in May she wed director Sanford Bookstaver -- "so obviously I'm not afraid of that."

Sofer's attractiveness is an asset for a comedy about six 30ish singles unified by mix-and-match sex and randy repartee.

The show stars Colin Ferguson, Jay Harrington, Christopher Moynihan, Lindsay Price and Sonya Walger as well as Sofer, who said she was thrilled to get the call that a role for her might be available: She already was a big fan of the original British "Coupling," watching it devotedly on BBC America.

The role might work great for Sofer, 34, after years of jobs that never quite launched her: a short stay on "Just Shoot Me"; six episodes on "Ed"; at least one pilot that didn't get picked up; the final season of "Melrose Place"; "Oh Grow Up," a Fox sitcom that quickly bit the dust in 1999.

She was a regular on the daytime drama "Loving," then spent six years on "General Hospital" (where she met co-star Wally Kurth, who became her first husband and the father of her daughter, now 7).

Despite its hitting the jackpot with media attention, the series premiered last month to poor reviews. Many critics called "Coupling" unfunny while some went further, chiding it as tasteless, crass and "maniacally preadolescent-minded."

The show has lots of double entendres. And one entire episode was given over to speculation about the manliness of one of the "Coupling" males. But Sofer doesn't think it's over the top.

"People love 'Sex and the City,' and 'Will & Grace' has pushed the limits tremendously," Sofer said. "Don't tell me that America isn't ready for racy. America is absolutely begging for it!"


AP Photo

Jay Harrington, left, and Rena Sofer appear in a scene from NBC's "Coupling." The racy new sitcom airs at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays on NBC, Sunflower Broadband Channels 8 and 14.