On the Couch is a South African absurdist comedy television series created and produced by Ilse van Hemert with Ja! Productions in which five couples (and a therapist) sit on five different couches in front of their televisions, commenting on the shows they are watching and the issues they raise.
The series premiered on SABC3 on Saturday 11 October 2008, at 19h30. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 2 premiered on SABC3 on Thursday 5 April 2012, at 18h30. It went on hiatus after 13 episodes to accommodate Sketch U Later, which aired from 5 July to 9 August.
Season 2 resumed with Episode 14 on Thursday 16 August 2012, at 18h30, but went on hiatus again after Episode 19 to accommodate Those Who Can't, which aired from 27 September to 1 November.
Season 2 resumed again with Episode 20 on Thursday 8 November 2012, at 18h30. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 26 episodes in the second season.
Depressed? About politics, the economy and crime? Get ready for a positive perspective from On the Couch, in which a group of characters live their lives through their TVs.
On the Couch is not a sitcom, nor a comedy skit show, a drama or a soap. Yet all of these elements are interlaced. Each episode has these different elements interwoven.
Firstly, there is Dr. JT (Jonathan Pienaar), a somewhat odd therapist from Johannesburg's northern suburbs, who comments on the struggles and the triumphs of living in South Africa.
He gives advice – pragmatic or outrageous – on how to survive being human.
Then we meet five pairs of typical South Africans, each sitting on a couch in front of their TVs, and witness scenes unfold from their lives around the topics of sport, money, friendship, marriage, sex, family, vanity, technology, fear, culture, stress, self-esteem, faking, jealousy, addiction, aging and more.
Each of the five pairs on the sofa has a unique approach and their own name.
The skits all have one thing in common: the couch potatoes sit in front of their television, watching sport, Oprah, soapies or any appropriate or inappropriate program. They comment on games, current affairs, politics, people, the human condition and their own lives.
The five Couch Potato couples are:
Kings of the Couch
Rajahs on the Sofa
Sofa Silahlane (meaning "Till death do us part")
Bure oppie Bank (meaning "Neighbours on the Couch")
Kings of the Couch are played by James Borthwick and David Clatworthy (Seasons 1 and 2); the Desperate Couchwives by Makgano Mamabolo and Kate Normington (Season 1) and Vuyelwa Booi and Camilla Waldman (Season 2); the Rajahs on the Sofa are played by Jack Devnarain and Kaseran Pillay (Seasons 1 and 2); the Sofa Silahlane by Tumisho Masha and Caroline Borole (Season 1) and Aubrey Poo and Nqobile Sipamla (Season 2); and the Bure Oppie Bank by Zane Meas and Neels van Jaarsveld (Seasons 1 and 2), joined by Faye Peters in Season 2.
On the Couch is produced by JA Productions, with Ilse van Hemert and Zane Meas as the company directors.
Series exclusive to SABC3
Note: The first 21 episodes of Season 1 aired on Saturdays at 19h30. The show moved to Thursdays at 20h31 from Episode 22, which aired on Thursday 2 April 2009. Episode 23 was pre-empted due by the third cricket ODI between South Africa and Australia on Thursday 9 April, and aired the following week.
Season 1 (26 episodes)
Premiere: 11 October 2008 | Finale: 7 May 2009 | Sat, 19h30 / Thu, 20h31
Season 2 (26 episodes)
Premiere: 5 April 2012 | Finale: 20 December 2012 | Thursdays, 18h30