With a hit Broadway play and multiple screen adaptation, Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple is a classic by any definition. Telling the story of the most mismatched roommates ever, the uptight Felix Unger and slob Oscar Madison have become legends in their own right. So of course with portrayals by actors including Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (who won a Tony for his stage portrayal) and the iconic TV pairing of Tony Randall and Jack Klugman on the endlessly rerun ABC version in the early ’70s, it was only matter of time before we got a new, modern day version of the comedy classic.
CBS has ordered to pilot a multi-cam sitcom script for a new version of the comedy, this one penned by Frasier and Glee producer Joe Keenan. Matthew Perry is slated to star as Oscar Madison, as well as produce. There’s currently no one lined up to play Felix Unger. Perry most recently starred in the NBC series Go On.
There’s potential in a new incarnation of Simon’s play. The good thing is that the premise can really work anywhere, at anytime. The idea of two people being forced into close proximity with each other is nothing new; it always just comes down to how likable the two characters are. As long as Perry doesn’t turn Oscar into a tool, he should be a fine choice for the role.
The nostalgia TV fan in me is willing to go along for the ride on this one. There hasn’t been any Odd Couple stuff on TV since the short lived ABC sitcom The New Odd Couple in 1982-83, so it’s about time we got a new one.