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.
On the Couch sees five pairs of South Africans caught on camera in front of their TVs. Ten couch potatoes watching sport, news, their favourite soap or any other appropriate or inappropriate programme.
They comment on the game, current affairs, politics, celebrities, their lives. They veer from the sublime to the ridiculous, sometimes absurd and sometimes uncomfortably accurate. They inadvertently reveal their secrets. They invent ingenious ways of surviving.
Almost all the action takes place on five different couches in five different homes in one neighbourhood in a city somewhere in South Africa.
Every episode examines a different theme or subject, like: Beauty, Fears, Environment, the End of the World, Lottery, Ball games, Funerals and Holidays. The couch pairs seem to have no link with each other, apart from the fact that they all go to the same therapist: Dr JT.
Dr JT is a benevolent, wise, and disarmingly direct therapist. He comments on the struggles and the triumphs of the five pairs of South Africans. He has his own issues and struggles with his family.
He gives advice - pragmatic and outrageous - on how to survive the problems of being human.
On the Couch is produced by JA Productions, with Ilse van Hemert and Zane Meas as the company directors.
The five couch potato pairs - and their psychiatrist - are:
Played by Jonathan Pienaar
The Kings of the Couch
Played by James Borthwick
and David Clatworthy
The Kings of the Couch are two grumpy middle-aged old men, Willy (James Borthwick) and Arno (David Clatworthy). The Kings of the Couch hang out in front of the TV watching sport, or any other programme that they encounter by chance while waiting for their game.
Willy is retrenched. He is cynical and pedantic. Mr. Know-it-all, Seen-it-all. He thinks nobody can pull the wool over his eyes, but constantly assumes everyone is trying to do so.
Arno, in middle management, tends to take everything at face value, while Willy is suspicious of everything. Constantly bickering, they unravel the universe. Neither can imagine a world without sport... or each other. The Desperate Couchwives
Played by Vuyelwa Booi
and Camilla Waldman
A young black society woman and her not quite so young, white, fellow soapie addict; the first a complete hedonist, the second a... well, a desperate housewife.
Lulama (Vuyelwa Booi) is in love with life. Not much fazes her. She is a feminist when it suits her, but sees no problem with living the life of a lavishly kept woman. She flirts shamelessly. She has a very healthy self esteem. She could be accused of being shallow, but never of being stupid.
Rosie (Camilla Waldman) is desperately trying to do the right thing. She avidly follows every new bit of advice on how to be a better mother, better wife, better South African. She's politically liberal in a romantic, lets all practice ubunthu, sort of way.
She's too earnest and therefore an easy target for fun. She could be accused of being flaky and at times even naïve, but never insincere. The Rajahs on the Sofa
Played by Jack Devnarain
and Kaseran Pillay
Two Indian cousins who live and work together in the family funeral business; one pompous and super efficient, the other blissfully unaware of his lack of business acumen or success with women.
Cousins Ricky (Kaseran Pillay) and Dev (Jack Devnarain) work and live together. Ricky utterly believes his own flights of fantasy, while Dev tries to bring him back to earth.
Dev is responsible; Ricky is full of hair brained schemes. Dev struggles to find Mrs. Right, while Ricky plays the field. Dev is an upstanding citizen, while Ricky is constantly getting into trouble.
Dev secretly wishes he could be more like Ricky, but Ricky has not the slightest desire to be like Dev. The Sofa Silahlane
(meaning "Till death do us part")
Played by Aubrey Poo
and Nqobile Sipamla
They're high-energy optimists giving 110% for 0% returns, but convincing themselves that they're winners all the same.
Tshepo (Aubrey Poo) and Khanyi (Nqobile Sipamla) are truly, madly and deeply in love. They are besotted with their child. They are blindly optimistic – always scheming about ways to make it big or achieve a better life.
As optimistic as they are, they are as useless when it comes to putting their schemes into action. They are a close-knit team – it's them against a confusing world. Bure oppie Bank
Played by Zane Meas, Neels van Jaarsveld
and Faye Peters
Mismatched neighbours who ostensibly fight over dog poo, rugby and offending mulberry trees, while in truth they find refuge in each other's company.
The neighbours are Flip (Neels Van Jaarsveld), Toks (Zane Meas) and Daisy (Faye Peters). Toks is a Blue Bulls supporter and his neighbour a Stormer, both Afrikaans speaking, but culturally from different backgrounds.
Flip takes care of Naas, Toks' dog, while Toks and his wife are overseas. But then Toks's unruly, wannabe stand-up comedian daughter, Daisy, comes to crash in her parents home.
Flippie Botha can fix anything and everything except women.SeasonsSeries exclusive to SABC3Note: 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
Premiere: 11 October 2008 | Finale: 7 May 2009 | Sat, 19h30 / Thu, 20h31Season 2
Premiere: 5 April 2012 | Finale: 20 December 2012 | Thursdays, 18h30