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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Play > Stage > The Odd Couple – The First Season

The Odd Couple – The First Season


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Episodes: B



After it was a hit on stage (as it continues to be) and in a popular feature film with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple reached further immortality as a hit TV series with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman playing the neat Felix Unger and sloppy/slobby Oscar Madison respectively.  This was a breakthrough hit for Garry Marshall and another comedy hit for Paramount TV and ABC.  The Odd Couple – The First Season has finally hit DVD after almost being a special order DVD release, but CBS DVD is giving it a normal release and it holds up very well.


Randall and Klugman were perfect for the roles and their chemistry made this show work even when it became formulaic.  Unlike the broader comedy of later Marshall TV hits, this was edgier, more mature and more realistic.  It took place in a more palpable world, which is why the laughs hold up better than Happy Days or Laverne & Shirley.  This 1970 – 1971 season 24 decent half-hours that are some of the most intelligent and memorable shows the series ever produced.  Penny Marshall and Al Molinaro became regulars who went on to the later Marshall hits, but are very good here as well.


Even with All in The Family being such a groundbreaker, this still shows a new maturity in TV comedy it does not get enough credit for.  Nice to have it on DVD finally.



The 1.33 X 1 image is not bad, but despite the clean and sometimes colorful appearance of the prints come with a bit more grain than one might like, but it is hard to tell if this is from the original camera materials or when these prints were struck.  Since they have to old Paramount Gulf + Western logo, it is hard to tell.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is nice and clean for its age, so the combination is good, but only HD transfers will reveal to what extent.


The theme song was by Neal Hefti, whose theme for the 1960s TV Batman is a classic and yes, the horn in this early version of the theme was exaggerated for comic purposes before being unfortunately toned back a bit in later seasons.


Extras include audio intros by Garry Marshall, original TV promos, nice clips by Tony Randall and Jack Klugman on The Mike Douglas Show, Jack Klugman’s 1971 EMMY Award win footage, Jack Klugman’s Book Tour Home Videos, a gag reel and Tony & Jack on stage in "The Odd Couple" (1993 stage play).  It is nice to see all these extras and with Tony’s & Jack’s two favorite episodes on a fifth DVD, The Odd Couple – The First Season is a TV collection done right.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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