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YMMV / The Odd Couple

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  • Acceptable Targets: Murray's large nose was a frequent target of contempt.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Most people tend to think of the original TV version first. The 2015 revival may also be this for younger audiences.
  • Adorkable:
    • Especially on the TV series, Felix takes practically everything, from his habits to his pastimes to his relationships, to extremes, which is why he often finds himself being called a lunatic. In the end, though, his childlike enthusiasm and good heart win out over any annoyance he causes. Felix is especially adorkable when he's happy or excited. In "I'm Dying of Unger", he rolls on the bed like a little kid after tricking Oscar's agent into giving him three more days.
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    • Oscar's secretary Myrna has her moments too, especially when she just wants to be loyal and helpful to him.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Just try to get that Neal Hefti tune out of your head. Fittingly, Jack Klugman loved the theme, but Tony Randall hated it.
    • The funked-up rearrangement of Hefti's theme used for The New Odd Couple.
    • The 2015 remake has its own funky rearrangement courtesy of New Orleans musician Trombone Shorty.
    • When Roy Clark guest-starred, the episode's tag featured him performing his signature piece "Malaguena". The audience, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman were all blown away by the performance.
    • Some top-tier American opera singers - Marilyn Horne, Martina Arroyo, Richard Fredricks - appeared on the show and got a chance to strut their vocal stuff.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: One of the few racial jokes the show, in which Felix asks the Hispanic landlord's son, who was installing a reading lamp in Oscar's room, why he didn't tell Murray and his friends to get out when Oscar was sick in bed.
    Monroe: "When was the last time you saw a Puerto Rican chase out three cops?"
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In one episode from the series, Oscar is hospitalized for an impending throat surgery, and of course, Felix pesters him to no end — even the surgeon and Oscar's fellow patient get fed up with him and all want nothing more than for him to leave Oscar alone (even after Oscar returns home, the doctor wants Felix to just leave him the hell alone). Years later when Jack Klugman was hospitalized for throat surgery, the first person to come to his side was his dear friend Tony Randall.
    • In the episode when Felix and Oscar go to (and eventually get kicked out of) a health camp, Oscar tells Felix that he's fine not being as healthy as he could be and comforts him by saying that even if he only lives 20 more years and Felix lives 25, they'll still be happy. Jack Klugman would end up surviving Tony Randall by eight years.
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  • Growing the Beard: As far as the series is concerned, the first season kind of falls flat; between the single camera format and the Laugh Track, it comes off as just another standard, generic 60s-era sitcom (despite premiering in 1970). With the second season bringing us a switch to a multi camera setup with a Studio Audience, and Tony Randall and Jack Klugman feeding off the audience's spontaneity, the series began to jell and find its voice.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Penny Marshall (who'd previously played Oscar's secretary Myrna in the 1970-75 series) appeared in the 2015 reboot episode "Taffy Days", which was a tribute to her late brother Garry that aired several months after his death in 2016. It ended up being Penny's final on-screen role before her own death two years later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The movie could have starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.
    • In "The Pen Is Mightier," after hearing Felix's poem "Ode To A Skyscraper," Oscar begs the question "Who's going to read a poem about the 40th floor except a sensitive window washer??" Twenty years later, Barenaked Ladies recorded "When I Fall," a song about a sensitive window washer (no mention of the 40th floor, though).
    • Oscar asks the IRS official if they take credit cards. Big laugh from the audience. Guess what the IRS now allows...
    • In the episode "Surprise, Surprise," Felix asks Oscar, "Is that your final answer?"
    • The episode "The Rain In Spain" has a Running Gag about Myrna's fiance being named Sheldn (the "o" was left off his birth certificate). Forty years later, we'd get a pop star famous for having a vowel missing from his name.
    • On the subject of pop music and missing vowels, the gag in "The Subway Story" of the subway ad with comically omitted vowels ("F y cn rd ths, y cn gt gs jb") sounds like a precursor to Fall Out Boy's hit "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs."
  • Ho Yay: And not just to modern eyes: Many a joke has been told about the peculiar nature of Oscar and Felix's relationship over the years. ABC was nervous about any such implications, which led Randall and Klugman to playfully film extra scenes with the Ho Yay dialed Up to Eleven, just to give the censors fits.
  • Informed Wrongness: In "You've Come a Long Way, Baby," Oscar is treated like a complete heel (by Felix, his girlfriend Nancy, and the background music) for wanting to call the police and report a baby that was left behind by his mother at Felix's office several hours before.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The reason The New Odd Couple lasted only 18 episodes. Eight of those episodes were Recycled Scripts from the 1970-75 series, meaning viewers were watching more or less the same exact episodes, almost verbatim, with actors who weren't Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. Viewers weren't interested.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Felix. He is the show's Butt-Monkey, but others' frustration with him is often justified.
  • Recycled Script:
    • The New Odd Couple reused 8 scripts from the original.
    • The 2015 pilot recycles the movie and play with Oscar inviting Felix, throwing him out, and the two female neighbors taking him in. On a talk show Matthew Perry said "Speaking as one of the writers of the pilot, I must admit that the funniest joke in the script was one we took from the original play... Oscar yells 'You write me little notes — We're out of corn flakes, F.U. — It took me two hours to realize F.U. meant Felix Unger!' "
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Leif Garrett — before making it big as a '70s teen heartthrob, and a featured commentator on World's Dumbest... — as Felix's son, Leonard.
    • Pre-Laverne Penny Marshall as Oscar's secretary, Myrna (both shows were coincidentally produced by her brother, Garry Marshall. Also coincidental is the fact that both shows were filmed on the same soundstage).
    • And that's Morty Seinfeld as a fellow juror whom Felix drives berserk.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The show was notorious from the beginning for dancing around homoerotic implications. As Jack Klugman himself would later say, NOT having a Gay character on your sitcom these days is considered far less profitable than having one.
  • Signature Scene: From the play, "It's not spaghetti, it's linguini!" For many years, it was the go-to scene for first-time actors doing "partner" scenes.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The 2015 version, while widely considered to be passable, was also held as very inferior to the 1970s incarnation, either because of its "edgier" tone or that it resembled more the 1968 film version.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The 1993 TV movie The Odd Couple: Together Again used one of these as its main theme, opting to use the Neal Hefti composition largely in the recap of the original series at the beginning.
  • Values Dissonance
    • The 1968 movie features Oscar hitting on a waitress at one point, even going so far as play-biting her side. Innocuous in the '60s, not so much nowadays.
    • By 1970, perceptions of masculinity were already shifting to "macho" archetypes, threatening to render the entire premise as unworkable without people not pondering about Felix and Oscar being an actual couple. Because of this, the network told the producers to indicate they were straight, divorced men.
    • "The Pig Who Came to Dinner" featured a guest appearance by Bobby Riggs in which he played up his misogynistic public image, and his bigotry is generally played for laughs. If one were to swap out women with, say, African Americans, his jokes would never have been tolerated. Women, however? A-ok.
    • "The Bigger They Are," in which Oscar is hired to shoot a "before and after" image for a diet pill, is basically 22 straight minutes of the cruelest fat jokes imaginable. It would be unthinkable to do an episode like this now that terms like "body shaming" and "body positivity" have entered the public vernacular.
    • "The Sleepwalker": After Felix is convinced he should move out because Oscar's efforts to be civil to him all the time have resulted in Oscar whacking Felix in the head while asleep, he admits to Oscar that Gloria (his ex-wife) used to hit him in the head as well. This elicits uproarious laughter from the studio audience. The entire episode from when Oscar hits Felix for the first time could easily count for this trope since the studio audience laughs at it every single time, but Felix admitting to his ex-wife hitting him gets an impressive amount of laughter even compared to the rest of the episode. It's unlikely AT BEST that a major sitcom would play any sort of domestic violence for laughs now, and even less likely people would laugh so hard at a wife hitting her husband.
    • "Let's Make A Deal": Oscar falling asleep in Felix's bed while smoking a cigar before the events of the episode is treated as a mostly-hilarious example of Oscar's carelessness both by the characters and by the studio audience that at most results in Felix's bed plus the floor in his room getting a massive smoking hole in it and there being a terrible smell in the building. No mention of the possibility that Oscar falling asleep while smoking could have burned out the whole apartment, let alone the entire building.
    • "The New Car": Oscar mouth-kisses and can be seen flirting with the models posing on and around the new car. The models seem perfectly alright with this, but it's hard to imagine anyone being alright with it nowadays.
  • Values Resonance
    • While jokes at the expense of everyone else were up for debate, any jokes involving race had the white characters (usually Felix) as the butt, usually in the form of him saying something Innocently Insensitive, like apologizing to Deacon Jones for the 200 years of slavery that might have led to his bad attitude, leading to Jones pushing him out of the way.
    • Homoeroticism aside, there were a few episodes which subverted the stereotype that Real Men Hate Affection. Many end with Felix and Oscar resolving their conflict of the week by respectfully sharing their feelings on the matter with each other, and while that kind of sensitivity is to be expected from a Camp Straight character like Felix, the traditionally masculine Oscar doing the same is never treated ironically, which is something you rarely see with similar characters in contemporary sitcoms, let alone ones from the early 1970s.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Upon the female version's debut with Sally Struthers as Florence (female Felix) and Rita Moreno as Olive (female Oscar), at least a few reviewers referred to their casting as bizarre and "quixotic". To a lesser extent, Jenny Seagrove's casting as Olive in the 2001 West End production of the female version.
  • The Woobie: Felix. He always generally means well. Sure, he gets a little carried away sometimes, but sometimes the others overreact.


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