The Odd Couple started out as a play by Neil Simon before it was turned into the 1968 movie with Jack Lemmon (Felix Ungar) and Walter Matthau (Oscar Madison). And then it became the now famous TV series from the 70s with Tony Randall (Felix) and Jack Klugman (Oscar) that ran from 1970-1975. I remember the ’68 movie and the series well even though I was just a kid back then. I liked it a lot and can remember watching it at night and in the afternoon during that period of my life.
There was a brief remake in 1982 using black actors this time with Ron Glass from Barney Miller (1975-1982) playing Felix and Demond Wilson from Sanford & Son (1971-1977) playing Oscar. I have little to no memory of this version, but a vague notion that I did watch it. Here we are in the year 2016 and I cannot believe they decide to remake this show again. Mention remakes these days to some pop culture enthusiasts and DVD collectors and you’ll get something along the lines of a cynical to dirty look, depnding on how “die-hard” they are. My personal knee-jerk reaction to any news of anything getting remade is basically just that. I hate the general notion of the remake, but have learned you have to take each project on its own merits. When I heard they were doing a remake of The Odd Couple again I remember thinking I bet it’ll barely go a season before it’s cancelled, but then I learned Friends (1994-2004) star Mathew Perry was involved, in fact it was his idea to remake it in the first place. I wasn’t totally sold on it yet, of course, but I’ve always liked Perry so I was now officially curious. I also naturally assumed Perry would be playing Felix.
I was wrong. He was set to play Oscar. That’s an odd choice. Still maintaining a cautious and curious optimism, I waited until it debuted last February, saw the first episode and, you know what, I loved it! Though I had no clue who this Thomas Lennon who was playing Felix was. It didn’t matter. The guy was perfect. In fact he reminded me a lot of Tony Randall. It wasn’t until today when the review copy arrived that I decided to finally hit up IMDB and see who the hell this Lennon guy was and I was more than a little surprised I had already been aware of him and didn’t even know it. He was Jim Dangle in the Comedy Central show Reno 911! (2003-2009), more than that he was in a movie I was over the moon about, the horror comedy, Hell Baby (2013)! That flick is hilarious and he played one of the Exorcists. Perry and Lennon are the perfect Felix and Oscar and with Lennon channeling Randall’s Felix perfectly, Perry makes a damn good womanizing slob, which I didn’t know he had in him.
This new show doesn’t deviate far from the original premise. Both Felix and Oscar are divorced and living with one another in New York. Oscar’s still a sportswriter, but now he’s also a sports personality of his own radio show. Felix is still an anal retentive clean freak. Another thing I even loved were all the supporting characters. Oscar has an assistant in the form of Dani (Yvette Nicole Brown), and he also has an agent, Teddy, which doubles as his friend; Wendell Pierce plays that role. The original show had the recurring Pigeon Sisters who lived in the building with them. They’re ported over, but I don’t think their last name is Pigeon; Emily (Lindsey Sloan) and Casey (Leslie Bibb, who coincidentally also starred in Hell Baby with Lennon). Both are smoking hot. Casey is even a professional model!
Other recurring characters are Roy and Marcus Murphy, played by Dave Foley and Goeff Stults respectively. I’ve been a fan of Foley since he starred in Newsradio (1995-1999) and Stults was in a Fox comedy called, Enlisted (2014), that got undeservedly cancelled lasting only ONE season! That show was great!
Most of all the show, the actors and the stories are genuinely funny, but there are moments of sincerity that work too. Not a dramady, off course, but it has its moments from time to time, which didn’t overpower the laughs. I’m just surprised a remake of a popular 70s sitcom turned out to be good, nay, great. Best of all a lot of other viewers thought so too because it even got renewed it!
Apparently, TV shows on blu-ray don’t sell well, which is why we are getting Season One of this new The Odd Couple on DVD only on April 5th from Paramount’s CBS Home Entertainment label.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1.78:1 widescreen—5.1 English Dolby Digital, 2.0 English Dolby Digital Stereo—English SDH subs only.
There are 12 episodes in this season and they’re divided in half on two discs, with the bulk of the extras being on Disc #2.
Extras included . . .
- Season In Review: New Odd Couple, New Laughs (11:50)
- Reviving The Odd Couple (7:25)
- Gag Reel (4:30)
- Deleted Scenes (1 each on episodes #1, #5 and #6)
Season two starts April 7th on CBS!!