The Odd Couple on DVD was something that admittedly was a long time coming out on DVD. The set was previously available as a Time Life exclusive, and now Paramount has come to the rescue, releasing this as a standalone set. From the Neil Simon play (not to mention inspired by the 1968 film with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau), the show chronicles the lives of roommates Felix Unger (Tony Randall, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?) and Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman, 12 Angry Men), one’s a neat freak, the other lives like a slob, and they live in New York.
The show could have easily capitalized on the success of the movie, but it helped break away from it by letting Klugman and Randall make the characters their own. In addition, their chemistry was also something that was crucial for the show’s success, and it completely worked. Not to mention a guy named Garry Marshall helped get the show realized. Let me see, helped get Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley on air, not to mention writing for greats like Lucille Ball, Dick Van Dyke and Jim Nabors back in the golden days of television.
Overall it’s pretty pleasing to see this finally arrive to a wider market that was unaware of it. The show (and Simon’s play) remain a long-standing favorite of fans nearly four decades later, and this DVD set seems to do the job.
Nothing out of the ordinary for any TV show, the only audio track of note is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. It reproduces the soundtrack of the show with an adequate amount of clarity.
For a 35 year old television show, this full frame business isn’t too bad. Granted, it’s not the most colorful of shows, as it’s shot in New York City, and the film stock occasionally looks a tad excessive on the grainy side, but it does the job.
There’s what amounts to a highlight reel of various jocularity and funny moments from the season, entitled Loose Screws. While it’s not an extensive gag reel or episode commentary, it’s still fairly cute, and lengthy at almost a half hour. Marshall also provides introductions for the episodes, and he (along with a mix of others provide commentary on selected episodes. There is also footage from Randall and Klugman’s stage performance (after Klugman’s cancer diagnosis), interviews with the part on the Mike Douglas show, and Klugman’s Emmy award speech, which is a nice inclusion.
I think that if you give The Odd Couple a chance, you may very well be hooked. The cast is nice, the performances are good, and the bonus materials really complement the show. It’s a definite recommendation to see and maybe even buy, depending on your discerning taste, of course.