The Odd Couple
Starring Jack Klugman, Tony Randall
Paramount Home Video
Available Jan. 22, 2008
Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!
Next to “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” no name resonated more among TV viewers of the 1970s than Tony Randall’s Felix Unger complaining about Jack Klugman’s slob Oscar Madison.
In fact, one can’t see Randall or Klugman in anything else without thinking of Felix and Oscar. Each time I watch Quincy, I wonder if there are any half-eaten sandwiches or cigar butts in the morgue.
Season Three of the Odd Couple is now out on DVD, and viewing it confirms that it is one of the funniest shows ever to appear on television. It seemed like a simple premise with stories that were sure to dry up after a season. But by season three, they are quite on a roll. For those of you who don’t know: New Yorkers Felix and Oscar became roommates when their wives divorced them (which was quite risqué on TV back in the day). A voiceover in the opening credits explains the premise of the show, questioning, “Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?” Why is this pondered? Because Unger is fastidiously neat and Madison the ultimate of slobs.
The talents of Randall and Klugman are the big reason for the greatness of the series. They add great depth to characters that could be shallow caricatures if done by lesser actors.
The highlight of this season is “Password”, where Oscar is asked to be on the game show and brings Felix along as his partner. That’s good comedy right there!
But, sad to say, this season has been edited. Many TV shows that have been sent to DVDs have been edited due to music rights, and believe it or not, there is enough music in some episodes of The Odd Couple to make those with encyclopedia memories quite angry. (But at least they kept the great theme song intact!) Still, most episodes are 25 minutes, while the syndication cuts were 22 minutes long. That’s something to remember when buying DVD sets of TV shows.
There are no extras, either. So all you are getting are all of the shows from Season Three. But that is well worth it to Odd Couple fans, especially since you can’t find the reruns much anymore.
So if you are neat and fastidious, a total slob, or somewhere in between, The Odd Couple Season Three is a perfect addition to your DVD collection.