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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Odd Couple: The Complete Collection

June 10th, 2015

The Odd Couple: The Complete Collection - Buy from Amazon: DVD

The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple is a TV show based on the award-winning movie of the same name that was based on the award-winning play of the same. The movie starred Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, who are inarguably one of the top ten comedy duos of all time. That sets a really high bar, one that is nearly impossible to match. Does it get there? And is The Complete Series worth picking up?

The Show

The movie came out in 1968 and the TV show followed just two years later. Because the time between movie and TV show was so short, they didn't recap what happened in the movie / play, so the pilot episode jumps right into plots. Although, the plot of the pilot episode has more than a few similarities to the plot of the movie. Tony Randal plays Felix, who at the beginning of the movie gets kicked out of his home by his wife, Gloria (Janis Hansen). So he moves in with his best friend, Oscar, played by Jack Klugman, who is also divorced. So they have a lot in common, but they are called the Odd Couple because of their clashing personalities. Felix is a neat-freak / hypochondriac / foodie, while Oscar is a slob / slob / really big slob.

A lot of the episodes deal with the conflicting personalities of Felix and Oscar, while the pair's romantic lives are also fodder for jokes. Oscar is happy to jump into the dating scene, but Felix still has feelings for his ex-wife and is convinced they will reunite. Other episodes deal with their two jobs. Felix is a professional photographer (Albert Brooks plays his boss in a couple of early episodes) while Oscar is a sports writer. The show had a great supporting cast, including Penny Marshall, who played Myrna Turner, Oscar's secretary. Al Molinaro plays Murray, a cop who is part of the weekly poker game. Plus there are countless great guest stars throughout its five-year run.

Shockingly, The Odd Couple the TV series is almost as good as The Odd Couple the movie. Tony Randal and Jack Klugman have excellent chemistry together. It's no wonder the pair with both nominated for an Emmy each season the show was on the air. Jack Klugman won twice and Tony Randal won for the show's final season. (Winning an Emmy for a show that's been canceled is bittersweet.) Additionally, it earned a nomination for Best Comedy Series three times and remains the last Friday night show to earn a nomination. It has been more than 40 years since a show airing on Friday earned a Best Comedy Series Emmy nomination. Wow.

The Extras

There are no new extras on the Complete Series DVD, but there are plenty of old extras on the DVD... at least there are for the first season. Each episode has an audio introduction by Garry Marshall, but you have to choose the episodes individually to hear them. There are also audio commentary tracks a handful of episodes, plus archival interviews with Tony Randal and Jack Klugman, as well as Emmy winning speeches and outtakes. (There is also a "bonus disc" with season one that contains four of the best episodes not from season one. At the time, this was a nice teaser for the remaining season releases, but now it is mostly repetition. They do have the audio introductions, on the other hand.) If every season was like this, this set would have been amazing. As it is, it is great, especially given the age of the show.

As for the price, it is just $33. ... That's less than half of what the individual seasons are selling for at the moment. That's a real bargain.

The Verdict

Buy The Odd Couple movie, buy The Odd Couple Complete Series Megaset. Have yourself a great time.

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Filed under: Video Review, Albert Brooks, Jack Klugman, Jack Lemmon, Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, Walter Matthau, Tony Randall