Follow TV Tropes


Series / The Odd Couple

Go To
Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?note 

For the page about the 1970–75 series, click here.

The third live-action sitcom based on Neil Simon's 1965 stage play of the same name, following the classic 1970–75 series starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, and the 1982–83 series The New Odd Couple. It ran on CBS for three seasons (2015–17), making it the first adaptation since the Randall-Klugman series to make it beyond a single season.

Like all previous versions of The Odd Couple, we have Oscar Madison (Matthew Perry), a sportswriter, radio host and complete slob, and Felix Unger (Thomas Lennon), the neat freak newswriter and photographer (who coincidentally works for CBSnote ). The show explores their friendship as two diametrically opposing personalities try to live together and explore the dating scene after divorce.


Also featured in the show is Dani (Yvette Nicole Brown), Oscar's beleaguered assistant; Teddy (Wendell Pierce), Oscar's agent; and Emily (Lindsay Sloane), a resident in Oscar's building who has a badly-hidden crush on Felix and later becomes his girlfriend.

This show provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Oscar is clearly enjoying Felix's over-the-top impression of him in "Odd Man Out".
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The names of the Couple's ex-wives, Blanche (for Oscar) and Gloria (for Felix), are now Gaby and Ashley, respectively.
    • The two sisters that Oscar brings over for a date in the pilot change from Cecily and Gwendolyn (Pigeon) to Casey and Emily.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Emily clearly has a crush on Felix but he's too busy pining for his estranged wife to realize it. Until "The Audit Couple", that is; see Primal Scene below.
  • Advertisement:
  • Amicable Exes: Ashley is still friendly towards Felix, even if she still won't return to him.
  • Animated Credits Opening: Shows silhouettes of Oscar and Felix. When the title appears, Felix straightens the E at the end of "Couple".
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From "The Birthday Party", after Teddy, Dani and Roy have been called over to Oscar's house:
    Teddy: I heard it was an emergency?
    Dani: I heard 'life and death'!
    Roy: ...'donuts'?
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Oscar and Felix constantly clash because of their different life philosophies but it's shown again and again that they are good friends and only have the other's best interests at heart.
  • Brick Joke: In "The Ghostwriter", Roy goes to take a nap in Oscar's guest room. In The Stinger, he finally wakes up, over 30 hours later!
    • During the party in "Unger The Influence", Murph and the other party-goers start throwing paper airplanes off the terrace, lighting them on fire so they'll burn up before they hit the ground. Guess what's seen outside of Emily's window later?
  • Broken Pedestal: Felix towards his mother when he learns that her annual buche de noel (a very fancy Christmas cake) is store-bought.
  • Camp Straight: Felix, as always, has a very flamboyant personality and colorful wardrobe. Some people are surprised to learn that he's heterosexual, and at least one — the legitimately-gay Chad, who Felix's ex-wife Ashley brings to a wedding — is absolutely convinced he's not straight.
    Teddy: You know, I think I have my own little theory as to why [Felix's] wife wasn't happy.
    Oscar: He's not gay.
    Roy: Are you sure? He seems a little gay.
    Oscar: No, he seems incredibly gay, but he's not.
  • The Cast Show Off: Thomas Lennon gets plenty of opportunities to show off his athleticism, performing yoga moves, gymnastics, and the occasional bit of ballet. He's also playing the cello live rather than miming to a backing track.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Roy, played by Dave Foley, just kind of vanished before the end of season one.
  • Composite Character: Roy is taken from the original play (and, by extension, the movie and the original series' first season), yet he's given character traits of another poker buddy, Vinnie, who's missing in this version.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Felix sets Dani up on a date and prepares cue cards that he can hold up to keep her from accidentally sabotaging herself. One reads "Don't talk about ex" while another says "No Porky Pig."
    • In "The Wedding Deception" it's revealed that Ashley still carries one of Felix's Epi-pens, just in case.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Reference word-for-word when Felix mentions he made his building add a cape to the doorman's uniform (and now hates Felix because of that).
    Oscar: You've created your own supervillain: Doorman!
  • Creator Cameo: In a sense. Garry Marshall, developer of the 1970-75 series (and a creative consultant on this version), guested in "Madison & Son" as Oscar's father Walter.
  • Demand Overload: In-universe, Emily gets a large order for her jewelry and has to enlist Oscar, Dani, Teddy, and Murph to help her.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Felix plays a few notes from the classic theme on his cello in the pilot.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Oscar becomes insecure when he finds out Murph has dated one of his flames, Brooke, in the past, with her mentioning that their releationship was "purely physical." Later on, after Oscar talks about it with Teddy, Murph stops by having just bought them sub sandwiches, and after he gives them their average-length ones he takes out his extra-long one and beams at it with pride while Oscar and Teddy stare at it uncertainly.
  • Eating Pet Food: Felix stops Oscar from eating the food he's preparing for Emily's dog. Oscar then just stands there staring at the spoon.
    Felix: You're considering it, aren't you?
    Oscar: Yeah.
  • The '80s: Oscar and Felix met in college during this time, and both meet their (now ex-)wives in the late 80s as well.
  • Fantastic Racism: Felix nixes the thought of dating a friend because she plays the violin while he plays the cello.
    Felix: Cello guy and a violin gal? Let's solve the Middle East before attempting the truly impossible.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Felix tries to go through each stage as quickly as possible to get over his break up with Emily. It doesn't quite work out that way.
  • Freudian Excuse: It turns out that Felix has deep-seated mother issues that cause his fastidiousness.
    Felix: [Pulling out a cart full of cleaning supplies] Where do I begin?!?! Mother hates mess!
  • "Friends" Rent Control:
    • Played straight with Emily, who lives alone in a rather luxurious NYC apartment while scrambling for tips as a waitress and trying to get her homemade jewelry business off the ground.
    • Oscar and Felix, on the other hand, both have well paying jobs and split the rent on an apartment in the same building. But, as it turns out, the lease was in Oscar's ex-wife's name and they were paying significantly less than they should have due to rent control.
  • Heroic BSoD: Felix has one in the episode "The Birthday Party". After having spent his entire birthday party getting over his ex-wife (named Ashley in this version), an old friend of his notices her absence and asks him where she is, proceeding to tell him what a good couple he thought they were and that they looked so happy together, sending Felix spiraling into a depression, which culminates in him returning to the roller skate park where the two first met (on his birthday, no less) in the hopes he'll find her again.
  • Hypochondria: Felix suffers from this, to the point where he has a standing appointment with the best doctor in New York, and the patients and the receptionist all know him personally. Most practices in New York also keep him on a blacklist because he's so insistent that something is perpetually wrong with him. Oscar develops a lesser form after Felix shows him pictures of a victim of a disease that he thinks he has, and goes into a panic when the doctor, whom he is dating, develops symptoms that are similar to the disease.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Oscar's Overture", Felix tells Oscar to just be honest with Charlotte, but then fails to heed his own advice when he lies to impress a concert pianist he admires.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Emily towards Felix in "The Wedding Deception".
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Teddy says that Oscar did something that is the opposite of this trope.
    Teddy: This is even worse than the last time. And last time he touched Pete Rose's thigh and, no it does not make sense in context!
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Oscar's idea of cooking is opening a bag of no-name chips and reheating a pizza...while still in the box.
    • In "Conscious Odd Coupling", he cooks a dinner for Charlotte. No comment on the dinner, but Charlotte's kitchen is totaled.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias:
    • In "The Audit Couple", Felix lets it slip to an IRS agent that Oscar is behind on his taxes and tries to cover his tracks by saying that he moved and became a transexual by the name of Rhonda... Rhonda Pencilcup.
    • In "The Blind Leading the Blind Date", Felix asks Oscar if he knows his date's last name. When Oscar responds with Kellogg, Felix says "I don't even have to turn around to know there's a cereal box behind me."
  • Local Hangout: Langford's, a sports bar Oscar frequents.
    • Felix has one in his doctor's office. He knows everyone by name, is close enough with the receptionist to take her out on her birthday, and has a designated chair in the waiting room with a dedication plaque on the back.
  • Metaphorgotten: Oscar attempts to defuse a situation by quoting Jesus but can't recall any Bible verses.
    Oscar: What would Jesus say? He know...should be good to...fellow man?
  • Mistaken for Gay: It had to happen sometime, but Oscar and Felix finally get mistaken for a couple in "The Wedding Deception". Chad, the guy mentioned in Camp Straight above, tells Olivia (a former flame of Oscar's in college who he almost slept with) that Ashley had "no sense of Gaydar" in regards to Felix, and later dialogue between her and Oscar makes her think that the Couple is... well, a couple.
    • Walter, Oscar's dad, can't wrap his head around the fact that Felix is dating Emily.
      Emily: Hi, I'm Emily, Felix's girlfriend.
      Walter: Girlfriend? But you're — alright, alright...
    • Walter's business partner offhandedly refers to Felix as Oscar's "life-partner". Oscar tries to correct her but Felix has him "let it go".
    • It gets to the point where Felix has to add "platonic" to any references to his roommate.
  • Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe. Felix's doctor tolerates him because his hypochondria makes him a steady source of cash.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The gag about Felix's signing his notes to Oscar with his initials. (It took me two days to realize 'F.U.' stood for 'Felix Unger'!") This joke from the original play is repeated almost verbatim in the pilot, only now the notes are written on Oscar's sports ticker.
    • "The Audit Couple" takes elements from the 1970s series episode "The Ides of April" (namely Felix accidentally causing Oscar to get audited by the IRS) to kick off a plot that greatly develops both Felix and Oscar's characters.
    • "The Ghostwriter" sees Teddy obliviously eat a fake hamburger Felix and Dani had crafted for a photoshoot, which is reminiscent of a gag in the original series episode "The Roy Clark Show", where Felix pulls a prank on Oscar by feeding him a rubber hot dog, only to have him obliviously eat it whole.
    • Oscar's father Walter Madison is named after Walter Matthau, Oscar's original actor on Broadway (and the 1968 film).
    • Near the beginning of "Road Scholar", a police officer temporarily detains Oscar and Felix after their car slides off a bridge. The officer asks them to tell him "their story", and Felix, thinking he means "the story of how they came to live together", begins quoting the Opening Narration to the 1970-75 series.
    Felix: On November 13, I was asked to remove myself from my place of residence...that request came from my wife.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Felix talks Oscar into appearing on a sports TV show over Teddy's objections. Things don't go well.
      Felix: Teddy, can't we just get him out of there?
      Teddy: It's live TV, you meddlin' nerd!
    • Felix pisses off the building's doorman, leading to the revelation that he and Oscar were illegally paying significantly less rent than they should have and they are suddenly on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in back rent.
    • Felix does it again in "The Audit Couple", running his mouth off at the IRS and accidentally causing Oscar to get audited.
  • Odd Couple: But of course, considering this show is an adaptation of the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Oscar hosts a radio sports show broadcast from his apartment. He'll frequently wake up mere seconds before having to go on the air.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: While Emily is away in England, Felix becomes so anxious that he stops taking care of his appearance and dresses in ragged pajamas while letting his hair and beard grow unkempt.
    • In "Chess Nuts", Emily becomes worried about Felix when he leaves a cereal bowl with oatmeal in her sink. Becomes a Brick Joke when in The Stinger Felix suddenly remembers and rushes over to Emily's to clean it.
    • In "Eisen Trouble", Oscar and Dani gasp when a depressed Felix reacts to a spill on the table with "I don't care."
  • Outhumbling Each Other: In "Eisen Trouble", Oscar and Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Rich Eisen try to "bigger-man-up" themselves, outcomplimenting each other to make them seem like a bigger jerk by comparison.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Emily is the Co-Assistant Weekday Manager at Langford's, Oscar's local hangout. She only got the job because the previous Co-Assistant Weekday Manager had to go back to high school.
  • Perma-Stubble: Oscar in this iteration is perpetually unshaved but his beard magically never grows out.
  • Primal Scene: One right after the other in the season one finale "The Audit Couple". Felix finds Oscar and his ex-wife Gabby in bed together after having taught him how to be nice to her, which worked a little too well; later, Oscar finds Felix in bed with Emily, after she's finally confessed her feelings to him. The second one elicits delighted cheers from the studio audience.
  • Pun-Based Title: Most episodes have one; many are a pun on the show's title.
  • Really Gets Around: Murphy seems to be systematically seducing the entire female population of New York City. In fact, the only two women to actually reject him are Dani and Emily.
  • Rearrange the Song: The theme is a rearrangement of Neal Hefti's theme from the 1968 movie and subsequent series, done in a more modern jazz-funk style akin to Spyro Gyra.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Felix and Emily starting in season two. So much so that Felix has two-week anniversaries for their relationship. They break up in the season three episode "Miss England".
  • Sassy Black Woman: Dani.
  • Sex with the Ex: Oscar and Gaby in "The Audit Couple".
  • Shout-Out: In the Season 2 premiere, Oscar refers to Game of Thrones as "boobs and dragons."
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Like the 1970-75 series, Felix's last name is spelled "Unger" rather than "Ungar".
  • Start My Own: When Felix turns Langford's into an upscale restaurant, Oscar invites the regulars to his apartment for chips and beer. He later calls it Langford's North.
  • Status Quo Is God: Played with in the third season finale "Conscious Odd Coupling", which has Oscar moving out. They end up needing each other and getting back together, but the man who became Felix's roommate has a one year lease and doesn't want to move out of the apartment. They try to convince him to take a vacated apartment two floors up, but the roommate refuses. So Felix and Oscar move into that apartment, which in The Stinger it's made up exactly the same as the first apartment, with Teddy Hanging A Lampshade on it by calling it "the same damn apartment".
  • Time-Passage Beard: Between seasons two and three, the normally well-groomed Felix grows a very disheveled beard during the three months Emily is away in England.
  • Trash of the Titans: Oscar's apartment was more like a landfill until Felix moved in and cleaned most of it up. Dani mentions that Oscar's room continues to be a complete mess. For what its worth, Oscar's messiness in this adaptation is nowhere near the horror that the trait was in the classic 1970s adaptation.
  • Vicariously Ambitious: In "The God Couple", Felix trains Dani for a solo in her church choir. When she and the choir are invited to appear on television, Felix goes into full Stage Mom mode, causing a rift between Dani and the other singers.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Felix and Emily, with Felix remaining completely oblivious to her feelings. They do in the first season finale, to the delight of the studio audience.

Alternative Title(s): The Odd Couple 2015


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: