The Odd Couple, a 2015 remake of the classic tale of opposites learning to live with one another, premiered tonight on CBS. Matthew Perry, made famous by his role as Chandler Bing on the 90’s hit “Friends,” plays the lazy, messy Oscar Madison. He is paired with Thomas Lennon playing the fastidious Felix Unger.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, two divorcees with completely opposite personalities live together and learn from one another. The Odd Couple of the 70s, featuring Jack Klugman as Oscar, and Tony Randall as Felix, became a television classic. Reviews for this latest remake indicate that may not be the fate for the 2015 version of the show.
Dominic Patten posted a scathing review on Deadline Hollywood quipping, “The new version of The Odd Couple is a well-placed reboot with absolutely no reason to exist except to perpetuate a laugh track and a slew of stalking, gay, ex-wives, and friends with benefits jokes that aren’t actually funny and delivered by actors who deserve better.”
David Sims of the Atlantic laments that Perry’s considerable comic talents seem to be going to waste with this odd coupling, writing, “But what is Matthew Perry doing here? This isn’t to suggest Perry has some Orson Welles-level talent that should be reserved for the rarest of TV endeavors. But he’s been to this rodeo before, a lot. The 2015 Odd Couple pilot has none of the verve and energy of a certain other sitcom Perry made his name in 21 years ago, but forgetting that, it even lacks the hints of originality of his failed follow-up projects (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine, Go On).”
Twitter also is awash with negative remarks about this odd remake, with comments ranging from mildly generous to downright insulting.
Other versions of The Odd Couple have been successful; some reasonably so, like The New Odd Couple of the 80s with black actors playing the leads. Others, like Will and Grace, the show about a gay man and his female bestie living together, and Two and a Half Men, another odd couple but with a kid thrown into the mix, have been very successful.
All of this negative feedback may be a blow to Perry, who co-wrote the pilot and is Executive Producer. That makes The Odd Couple 2015 his, whether it’s a win or not. The show may gain traction though, in part, due to its time slot. It’s been placed after the wildly successful Big Bang Theory to replace Two and a Half Men. How much the prime time slot will help remains to be seen.
[Images: Twitter Screenshots]