Monday, April 4, 2016

TV on DVD Review: The Odd Couple (2015) - Season 1

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Laughs and enjoyable characters
Cons: Amusing but not must watch
The Bottom Line:
Another remake
Amusing, enjoyable
My introduction

“You Created Your Own Arch Villain – Door Man.”

I didn’t watch a lot of TV growing up, so the classic shows I love I found in reruns after I graduated from college.  Most of those, I discovered by watching Nick at Nite (you know, back when they had all actual old classic shows on and not shows that ended in this decade).  However, I never started watching The Odd Couple.  Furthermore, while I’ve seen several of Neil Simon’s plays, I haven’t seen that one.  So my exposure to the concept has been the recent remake TV show on CBS.  While I know many people hate it, I have actually found it amusing.

The setup is fairly simple.  When Felix Unger (Thomas Lennon)’s wife kicks him out, he moves in with his college roommate, the divorced Oscar Madison (Matthew Perry).  While the two have remained friends, they are very different people.  Oscar is a slob who hosts a sports radio show from his apartment in New York City so he can go to work in his underwear.  He never picks up after himself, despite his assistant Dani (Yvette Nicole Brown) and manager, Teddy (Wendell Pierce), constantly coming over for work.  Felix, on the other hand, is a neat freak who wants everything in its place and no dust on anything.  In fact, it is his obsessions that drove his wife to kick him out.

Over the course of the twelve episodes in the first season, Felix tries to help Oscar ghost write a baseball player’s autobiography, Oscar dates Felix’s doctor, the two friends attempt to prove who is the better athlete, and Felix can’t quite decide what to do about his attraction to their attractive but depressed neighbor Emily (Lindsay Sloane).

Being a fan of Friends, I planned to tune in to see what Matthew Perry was up to.  When I found out that Lindsay Sloan was in it as well, that was another reason to watch since I enjoyed her on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  Yes, I feel they are essentially playing the same characters they already did (Lindsay especially), but that’s okay because I am enjoying watching both of them again.

Now let’s be honest, this is not the best sitcom on TV.  In fact, I have a feeling its ratings held last year because of its placement between The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men.  However, I found it fun and amusing.  Some of the jokes were predictable, but the cast always made me laugh.  The unexpected jokes were definitely good.  I always enjoyed watching it, and I since I don’t watch Two and a Half Men, I didn’t have that to keep me glued to CBS for the half hour.  I stuck around because I actually wanted to watch it.

Being a modern sitcom, the jokes revolve quite a bit around sex.  Naturally, I enjoyed the show more when it focused on something else like the two guys driving each other crazy.

The main cast was great at bringing their characters to life.  Dave Foley appeared in a few episodes as a friend of Oscar’s, and I was glad when I realized he wasn’t a series regular.  I don’t know what it is about him, but I often find his characters to be very annoying and not at all funny.  On the other hand, Geoff Stults appears in several episodes as a former baseball player, and I found his character and her performance very funny.

The one thing that tripped me up the most was the main character’s names.  I know they are sticking with them because they are The Odd Couple, but who has names like Oscar and Felix any more.  They were definitely the most dated aspect of an otherwise modern sitcom.

Season one featured 12 episodes, and they are all present in this set.  Extras include cast interviews, outtakes, and deleted scenes.

This remake of The Odd Couple is not appointment television, but it is enjoyable.  Season 1 certainly made me curious to go back and watch the older versions of the characters to see what I am missing.  And I’m looking forward to seeing these characters show up again in season 2.

Season 1 episodes:
1. Pilot
2. The Ghostwriter
3. The Birthday Party
4. The Blind Leading the Blind Date
5. The Wedding Deception
6. Heal Thyself
7. Secret Agent Man
8. The Unger Games
9. Sleeping Dogs Lie
10. Enlightening Strikes
11. Jealous Island
12. The Audit Couple 

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