Friday, February 20, 2015


It's hard to believe there was a time when we didn't have The Odd Couple.  First there was the 1965 play, one of the funniest ever written.  Then there was the hit movie, followed by the TV series in the 70s starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.  There was an African-American TV version in the 80s, as well as a female version on Broadway, plus later movie and TV sequels, and stage revisions, but they don't matter--what mattered was Felix and Oscar were introduced and have held a place in our imaginations ever since.

And now we've got the new CBS Odd Couple, starring Matthew Perry as Oscar and Thomas Lennon as Felix.  The pilot was shown last night right after The Big Bang Theory, so I suspect a fair number of people watched.  Co-written by Perry, who also produces, it was a vague rehash of Neil Simon's original play--even using a few of his lines.  But that wasn't why it felt tired.

Part of it is the idea--the mismatched couple forced to live together--has been done so often it takes a lot to make it work.  Instead, we mostly get clichés here.  And Matthew Perry seemed tired.  Since achieving fame and fortune on Friends, he's tried several series--Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine and Go On--which all had potential but were canceled before they could truly develop.

And now here he is, three-time loser, trying to make it in a known property.  And, along with Lennon, he's got a talented cast, including Yvette Nicole Brown--she left Community for this?--Lindsay Sloane, Wendell Pierce, Leslie Bibb and Dave Foley (though I believe the last two only appear in the pilot).  Though they give it their best shot, the writing just isn't there.

I find the cast appealing enough that I may give it another shot, but unless it does a major turnaround, I don't think this'll last too long.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matthew Perry might be better as Felix

9:19 AM, February 20, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

When I first heard about the show I thought he'd be Felix. But he's in charge, and says he's actually more like Oscar, so he's going to play it that way. (And, being a professional sports broadcaster, is repeating what he did on Go On.) Can't blame a guy for trying to stretch a bit.

9:32 AM, February 20, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Not sure if you're being cheeky in your last line. I think you can blame him if it hurts the show. Unless it's a vanity project and the show doesn't matter.

1:18 PM, February 20, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

It's not uncommon for actors to choose very different roles when they pick a new series--no one wants to get typecast and if they can act to begin with, they should be able to do more than one thing. I can think of lots of examples.

One of the more striking cases is Bryan Cranston. When he started in Breaking Bad, many wondered how this guy known best for farcical comedy could be in a violent drama, but no one says that any more. Or if you want to talk about just sitcoms, think of Golden Girls, where both Betty White and Rue McClanahan played characters almost completely opposite from the sitcom role that made them famous.

By the way, did we drop a comment? I could swear there was one up before yours that wasn't mine. Oh well.

1:35 PM, February 20, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes my comment about Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry being like each other's characters disappeared. Is big google enforcing publicity restrictions?

5:02 PM, February 20, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

I'm not questioning the concept. I'm not evening questioning Perry's chops--but I am wondering about his chops.

9:46 AM, February 21, 2015  

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