The Odd Couple—Season 1

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Classic sitcom

Generic sitcom plots


Get that out of my face before I wring your neck!!!

Felix Unger (Tony Randall) finally did it…Gloria told him to leave.  Felix has moved in with his old friend Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman), but there is a problem.  Neat-freak Felix now is driving slob Oscar crazy.  As the two try to get along, Oscar and Felix find each of them getting in trouble and always in a struggle to get out.  Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?

The Odd Couple—Season 1 aired from September 24, 1970 to March 26, 1971 on ABC.  The series was an adaptation of Neil Simon’s play The Odd Couple which first was performed on March 10, 1965.  The play was previously adapted into a film starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in 1968.  The series won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series (Jack Klugman) with nominations for Outstanding Series—Comedy, Outstanding New Series, and Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series (Tony Randall).


He’s an angel to deal with Felix

I loved The Odd Couple when I was little.  I can remember finally seeing the movie as a child and wondering where the real Felix and Oscar were since I was so accustom to the TV series.  Watching the series now still has the same charm, but it also brings up the same problems that I had with the series…how the hell would Oscar Madison not kill Felix Unger?

While it is meant to be a more of ying-yang situation, almost all conflict in the lives of Oscar and Felix really stem from Felix.  Much like Gilligan, I can’t imagine anyone (much less Oscar tolerating him).  It is a fun show but it is almost maddening that he would tolerate Felix.  There was a lot of concern by the network producers that people would think Oscar and Felix were gay, and the actors would allegedly “scare” them by sending clips to them that played with this.  I almost wish that more of an issue had been made about the fact that they needed to live together to afford to live in the city…it would have made more sense.


He’s the Devil!

Of course, “sense” wasn’t something that ever really could have been applied to old sitcoms.  They weren’t meant to be watched in marathon viewings and characters were often inconsistent (they cannot even get the story straight on how they met…the opening says childhood friends and the fourth episode has them meeting on a trial jury).  It doesn’t help that The Odd Couple never was a roaring success and struggled with cancellation threats.  Things like Felix’s prized parrot Albert (who doesn’t appear again) and despite some recurring roles by dates, it was always not explained where these women ever went (at least Oscar kept Nancy around for much of this season).


Let’s go to the park and dance!

The writing is quite typical of this period and many of the jokes can be predicted.  It is still fun if you are used to this type of comedy, but if you are expecting harder hitting and smarter laughs, it doesn’t always work.  I do see aspects of modern sitcoms within The Odd Couple, and I’m sure kids would still enjoy it.  Much like a Gilligan’s Island or Laverne & Shirley, it is a sitcom that has staying power despite some goofiness.

The Odd Couple—Season 1 is a nice introduction to Felix and Oscar.  I consider Felix and Oscar models for character types and sometimes use them as examples…which surprised me when some younger coworkers hadn’t heard of them.  I think The Odd Couple, despite its sitcom tropes, is still a worthy watch and can be enjoyed by a large audience.  Hollywood is of course lazy and a new Odd Couple series is in the works.

The Odd Couple—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:


“The Laundry Room Orgy”

1.1       The Laundry Orgy Airdate:  09/24/70

Oscar (Jack Klugman) gets dates with two stewardesses (Monica Evans and Carole Shelley) in the building, but Felix (Tony Randall) reminds him that they have a poker game scheduled.  When Oscar is unable to get rid of the guys, Felix and Oscar move the date to the basement laundry…though Felix seems determined to sabotage the evening.


“The Fight of Felix”

1.2       The Fight of the Felix Airdate:  10/01/70

When Oscar gets in a fight with a hockey player named Splint McCullough (Richard X. Slattery), Felix decides to defend his honor.  Felix ends up in a fight with Splint and challenges him to a boxing match.


“Felix Gets Sick”

1.3       Felix Gets Sick Airdate:  10/08/70

Oscar returns home to find Felix sick.  Oscar tries to keep his weekend plans with a stewardess despite Felix’s interruptions.


“The Jury Story”

1.4       The Jury Story Airdate:  10/15/70

When Leo Garvey is released from prison, Oscar and Felix reveal to their dates how they first met and how Felix caused the jury to be sequestered.


“The Breakup”

1.5       The Breakup Airdate:  10/22/70

Oscar has enough of Felix and kicks him out.  Oscar finds his life falling apart without Felix to clean up after him as Felix bounces from friend to friend trying to find a place to stay.


“Oscar’s Ulcer”

1.6       Oscar’s Ulcer Airdate:  10/29/70

Oscar’s getting an ulcer and Felix is out to make sure he cures it…but Felix’s cure might be worse than the ulcer.


“I Do, I Don’t”

1.7       I Do, I Don’t Airdate:  11/05/70

Felix finds that he’s been picked to be the Best Man for his friend Harvey (George Furth). When the bride Phyllis (Joyce Van Patten) shows up at the apartment, Oscar learns that Felix’s actions during the rehearsal could have stopped the wedding.


“Oscar the Model”

1.8       Oscar, the Model Airdate:  11/12/70

An up-and-coming ad producer named Rudy (Albert Brooks) wants a new look for his cologne and picks Oscar as the common man. Oscar’s “common man” could ruin Felix’s big opportunity.


“The Big Brothers”

1.9       The Big Brothers Airdate:  11/19/70

Felix tries to be a Big Brother but finds his “brother” Randy Grainger (Clint Howard) is more interested in Oscars sports than Felix’s stamps.


“It’s All Over Now, Baby Bird”

1.10     It’s All Over Now, Baby Bird Airdate:  12/03/70

Felix’s prized parrot Albert is sick, and Felix finds Oscar doesn’t seem to care. When Albert dies, Oscar finds he’s hated for his behavior toward the bird…Felix and Oscar must find a place to bury Albert.


“Felix Is Missing”

1.11     Felix Is Missing Airdate:  12/10/70

Felix gets a surprise job with Rudy in Canada and leaves a note with Oscar.  When Felix snowbound and Oscar loses the note, Oscar become the lead suspect in Felix’s disappearance.


“Scrooge Gets an Oscar”

1.12     Scrooge Gets an Oscar Airdate:  12/17/70

Felix is putting on a charity show of A Christmas Carol.  When Oscar refuses to play Scrooge, Felix finds he has to woo Oscar to the role, but sometimes dreams work better than words.


“The Blackout”

1.13     The Blackout Airdate:  12/24/70

When a blackout occurs during a poker game, $50 dollars disappears.  Oscar’s reputation is on the line, and Oscar is out to solve the crime!


“They Use Horse Radish, Don’t They”

1.14     They Use Horse Radish, Don’t They Airdate:  01/07/71

Felix is out to win the Golden Apron award and a new kitchen.  When Oscar accidentally gives up Felix’s recipe to another contestant, Felix finds his arms locking up…and Oscar is forced to help him win the costume by acting as his replacement.


“The Hideaway”

1.15     The Hideaway Airdate:  01/14/71

Oscar is hiding potential quarterback Ernie Daniels (Reni Santoni) at the apartment while he tries to broker a big NFL contract.  When Felix learns that Ernie is being offered a cello scholarship, he encourages Ernie to weigh his options.


“Lovers Don’t Make House Calls”

1.16     Lovers Don’t Make House Calls Airdate:  01/29/71

Felix has a new doctor named Nancy Cunningham (Joan Hotchkis) and Oscar thinks he’s in love.  As Oscar tries to romance Nancy, he finds getting Felix sick might be the only hope.


“Engrave Trouble”

1.17     Engrave Trouble Airdate:  02/05/71

Felix learns that he might have a chance to get back with Gloria and Oscar decides to help him.  When Felix’s plans to give an engraved watch to Gloria, Oscar’s friend is robbed of the watch…leaving Oscar and Felix forced to turn to the underworld to get it back.


“Bunny Is Missing Down by the Lake”

1.18     Bunny Is Missing Down by the Lake Airdate:  02/12/71

Oscar is forced to take Felix to the lake with him for the weekend.  When a troop of girl scouts and their den mother get stranded at the cabin during a rainstorm, Felix finds he has an admirer.


“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”

1.19     You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby Airdate:  02/19/71

A photo shoot for Felix creates problems when Felix discovers he’s been left with a baby.  Oscar tries to get ready for a big performance at an event and faces off with Felix about keeping it.


“A Taste of Money”

1.20     A Taste of Money Airdate:  02/26/71

When Felix and Oscar’s young neighbor Phillip (Christopher Shea) reveals he has $2,000, Oscar and Felix set out to find out where the money came from…even if it means calling in Murray (Al Molinaro).


“Oscar’s New Life”

1.21     Oscar’s New Life Airdate:  03/05/71

Felix gets Oscar fired from his job but manages to get him a job at Harem Magazine which is run by the eccentric Beau Buffingham (John Astin).  Despite having women and money, Oscar finds his life unfulfilled.


“What Makes Felix Run”

1.22     What Makes Felix Run Airdate:  03/12/71

Felix finds Gloria cannot take his neatness and Oscar sets to deprogram him by making him messy…leading to a mental breakdown.


“What Does a Naked Lady Say to You”

1.23     What Does a Naked Lady Say to You? Airdate:  03/19/71

Felix has a new girlfriend Madelyn (Marj Dusay) that has made him forget Gloria.  Unfortunately, Oscar learns that she’s starring in a risqué play Off-Broadway play…where she performs nude!



1.24     Trapped Airdate:  03/26/71

A search for costumes in the basement of the apartment leads Felix, Oscar, and Oscar’s girlfriend Nancy to become trapped…and searching for a way out!

Related Links:

The Odd Couple—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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