Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review - The Odd Couple

Why, CBS, Why?

On the eve when in my opinion one of the worst sitcoms on TV finally ends (good riddance Two and a Half Men!), CBS opts to premiere the remake of The Odd Couple, sufficiently filling Men's god-awful shoes.

THE LOWDOWN (though probably not necessary to most people)
This latest version, based on Neil Simon's 1965 play of the same name, stars Matthew Perry (Friends, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) as sportscaster and eternal slob Oscar Madison, and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!, Sean Saves the World) as uptight neat freak Felix Unger, two former college buddies who become unlikely roommates after the demise of their marriages. It’s not long after Oscar lets Felix move in that Oscar fears he’s made a monumental mistake. However, despite how exasperated they make each other, these mismatched friends agree they can help each other move on from their divorces and somehow make their crazy living arrangement work.

Personally, I have a long history with The Odd Couple.  I watched the original TV version starring Tony Randall as Felix and Jack Klugman as Oscar - which was incredibly funny and well-played. 


I watched the movie starring legends Jack Lemmon as Felix and Walter Matthau as Oscar - that brought stage to screen. 


And I starred in the female version of the play in high school (the characters became Florence (me) and Olive). It's a great premise and made for some fun comedy ... in those other versions.  Here it's sad, a little desperate, completely unoriginal, unnecessary and a waste of the talent of its cast.

Yep, it's really terrible.


To see talents like Perry, who is trying waaaaay to hard and is completely miscast (he co-created this version, so he no doubt got to choose his role), Lennon (who is more believable but doing really nothing original), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) - maybe she'll come back to Greendale when this monstrosity goes away? - and Dave Foley (News Radio, Hot in Cleveland) just stagnant in this crap ... ugh.

The pilot literally slam-packs the play into 22 minutes, even using lines directly pulled right from the script (I should know, I spoke and reacted to them when I did the play!).  Lennon has adopted his version of Felix's sinus-clearing honk, but ultimately no one can beat Randall's.  The disarray of Oscar's apartment we first see in the pilot's opening scene looks forced and unauthentic (hanging shirts randomly about does not a true slob make).

I could go on but frankly, I'd rather not waste any more time on this debacle.  Hopefully this new-old Odd Couple will have a mercifully short life and free up the cast to do better things (Yvette, Community!  Matthew, another Studio 60!).  If you can find it, the Randall-Klugman series is so much more worth watching, as is the film.

The Odd Couple airs Thursdays at 8:30pm on CBS.

(If I had half a TV I'd use that.  This whole one is generous.)

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