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Latest Remake of 'The Odd Couple' is Grounds for a Quick Conscious Uncoupling
February 18, 2015  | By Ed Bark  | 4 comments

If at first you don’t succeed . . .

Except that The Odd Couple has already greatly succeeded as a Broadway play, a hit movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and a long-running TV series with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

CBS’ The Odd Couple is more in line with ABC’s The New Odd Couple, a deservedly short-lived 1982 sitcom fronted by Ron Glass (Barney Miller) and Demond Wilson (Sanford and Son). It initially recycled old scripts as a plug-in series during a Writers Guild strike. New scripts eventually were written, but to no avail.

Matthew Perry for some reason is the main force behind this latest Odd Couple. He’s a co-executive producer and co-writer who also has woefully miscast himself as unkempt New York sports commentator Oscar Madison opposite Thomas Lennon’s persnickety neat freak, Felix Unger.

CBS has made only Thursday’s premiere episode available for review. That was merciful on their part. Nothing about this latest re-do offers any hope for its future.

Perry’s idea of being slovenly is a little extra facial hair. Otherwise he dresses pretty well, even wearing a tie in some scenes. His handling of his speaking part otherwise is forced and kind of sad. The male spark plug of Friends since has gone clunk in NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, ABC’s Mr. Sunshine and NBC’s Go On, in which he also played a sportscaster (right). It’s not pretty watching him flailing about like this.

Lennon fares a bit better as Felix, but the laugh track-laced jokes are uniformly hard to take. Felix has been booted after 20 years of marriage and Oscar is happily divorced. The former college pals reunite and begin living together while Felix pines for his wife and quickly makes Oscar miserable.

“He seems incredibly gay but he’s not,” Oscar assures poker pals Teddy (Wendell Pierce on the rebound from The Michael J. Fox Show) and Roy (guest star Dave Foley).

But Felix’s vegan meal is a turnoff, prompting Oscar to rage, “They didn’t leave. They fled. To a place called No Felix-stan.” Oof.

The first episode of this Odd Couple also includes a bulimia joke and an even worse one after Oscar is getting ready to bed a comely blonde named Casey (guest star Leslie Bibb) before Felix screws it up.

“There’s a beautiful person inside you,” he tells Oscar.

“Well, I was about to be inside a beautiful person!” Oscar rages.

Also caught up in this mess is Yvette Nicole Brown as Oscar’s radio show assistant, Dani. Lindsay Sloane will be joining the cast as a “quirky” next-door neighbor named Emily.

Episode 1 ends with Oscar making up with Felix and then putting a cup of coffee on his crotch while he’s doing a yoga headstand. The studio audience/laugh track roars at this sight. Most viewers instead might recoil while wondering why CBS didn’t do likewise.

GRADE: D-minus

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

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Well I thought it was funny. Shows like Modern Family and the Big Bang Theory no longer make me laugh out loud. This one did. I'm all in for TOC
Feb 25, 2015   |  Reply
Watched first five or so minutes (Felix's entry into Oscar's apartment was last scene), and changed the channel. Deleted a future episode from my pending recordings......................
Feb 20, 2015   |  Reply
Besides all of the variatons on Simon's theme,TV already upped the ante on the slob vs. neatmik franchise with Frasier,which pitted superneatnik vs. superneatnik with Frasier & Niles and throwing in a side of Oscar with Martin and a few recurring rowdy characters(Daphne's brother,the pranking sports show jock)to put the boys in contrast as just snobby they could be. Felix & Oscar look kinda tame after the 11 seasons of two guys trying to top each other over wine,opera and art,while keeping the romantic issues with everyone always percolating.Frasier had more avenues to explore but had the actors and writers to meet the challenges.But,in a tip to Neil Simon-no Felix & Oscar,no Frasier & Niles.Let's hope sometimes desperate Comcast & Paramount doesn't try to resurrect that idea for another ten years or so because that can't be topped.
Feb 19, 2015   |  Reply
Not inclined to watch this latest version of The Odd Couple, but I did enjoy both Studio 60 and Mr. Sunshine.
Feb 18, 2015   |  Reply
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