Roommates splitting up can be a freeing process or a sad breaking up. There’s no tears for the ones that ate your food, drank your booze and never paid rent on time. On the rare occasion, you’ll miss the special roomie who cooked you food, shared their booze and didn’t mind when you needed an extra week to pay the rent. The Odd Couple: The Final Season brings us to the final go around for Felix Unger (Tony Randall) and Oscar Madison (Jack Klugman). Over the course of five seasons these divorced middle-aged guys drove each other nuts yet became inseparable in their friendship.
“The Rain in Spain” pours down the weirdness as Oscar’s secretary (Penny Marshall) gets dumped by her boyfriend. Oscar sets her up with notorious Miami Dolphin’s kicker Garo Yepremian. She’s not ready for an NFL star. Felix decides to culture her up so she get back with her ex-lover. But will he change her into a woman her old love won’t recognize? Penny’s boyfriend is played by her real-life husband Rob Reiner (Meathead from All in the Family). You also get a chance to see Garry Marshall in a cameo as Penny’s brother. You’d imagine this season would be feature plenty of Penny before she became a superstar on Laverne and Shirley. Instead this episode turns out to be her swansong. She pops once more, but the only regular guest star in the apartment turns out to be Murray the Cop (Al Molinara). Al would eventually play Al on Happy Days (another Garry Marshall series).
The season presents several unusual famous faces between Felix and Oscar. “The Hollywood Story” sends Oscar out west for a small part in a sports film as a reporter. It’s the role he was born to play. Unfortunately Felix has decided his natural role is to be Oscar’s agent. During their time in L.A. they bump into Bob Hope. Fans of Diamonds Are Forever will recognize Vegas comic Shady Tree (Leonard Barr) stealing a scene from Oscar. Barr also drops a couple jokes on “Old Flames Never Die.” A pre-rehab Leif Garrett plays Felix’s son in “The Frog.” Felix does his best to replace the son’s frog when the green fellow skips out of the apartment. “The Dog Story” has Felix kidnap Lassie from his mean owner (The Bob Newhart Show‘s John Fiedler). He’s not a wimp as hunts down his lost collie.
The most disturbing episode deals with Felix’s teen daughter running away to become a groupie in “The Paul Williams Show.” That’s right, she wants backstage action from Smokey and the Bandit‘s Little Enos. You get a complete Paul Williams concert from what appears to be the dining area of a Sizzler. Can Felix prevent his daughter from making “The Rainbow Connection?” What father wants to live with the knowledge that his daughter banged Paul Williams?
“Your Mother Wears Combat Boots” marks the return of Howard Cosell. They need a guest anchor in the Monday Night Football booth. Can Oscar wear the mustard blazer of ABC sports? He fears Cosell is setting him up for a nationwide failure. “The Roy Clark Show” has the Hee Haw host reveal his classical side. But will it destroy his country career? “The Rent Strike” unleashes Victor Buono (Batman‘s King Tut) as an evil building super who will go to extremes to bust Felix’s protests. Elinor Donahue (Father Knows Best) returns as Felix’s platonic lady friend. Students of early ’70s commercials will rejoice when Rodney Allen Rippy pops up. “Laugh Clown, Laugh” has Richard Dawson (Hogan’s Heroes) co-hosting a variety show with Oscar. Felix claims that Dawson destroyed his showbiz career when they entertained the troops during the war. The historic moment in this episode is when Oscar has a wide smile while introducing his next act as “The Aristocrats.” This is proof that the movie The Aristocrats didn’t make up the joke.
Once more we have the uncooperative music publishing companies to blame for missing songs that were performed by the cast and guests. During the final episode we’re denied seeing Oscar sing a snippet from “Singin’ In the Rain.” The clip that hurts the most is Scatman Crother’s musical moment in “The Subway Story.” It is sad to know that greed has robbed us of the Scatman’s legacy. There are still plenty of musical moments so the DVD producers did do their best to secure rights.
When The Odd Couple: The First Season was released nearly 18 months ago, this wasn’t on my gotta have it list. As a kid, the show kinda bored me with the premise of a fussy guy and a slob playing Poker? But after years of living, dealing cards and going through roommates, The Odd Couple is now one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. Klugman and Randall were like prize fighters as they exchanged their slapstick blows. They had become my roommates over the course of five seasons. While watching Felix pack up at the end of “Felix Remarries,” I felt a separation pang. The Odd Couple: The Final Season is a hilarious ending to a monumental series.
ï¿½The Rain in Spain,ï¿½ ï¿½To Bowl or Not to Bowl,ï¿½ ï¿½The Frog,ï¿½ ï¿½The Hollywood Story,ï¿½ ï¿½The Dog Story,ï¿½ ï¿½Strike Up the Band or Else,ï¿½ ï¿½The Odd Candidate,ï¿½ ï¿½The Subway Story,ï¿½ ï¿½The Paul Williams Show,ï¿½ ï¿½Our Fathers,ï¿½ ï¿½The Big Broadcast,ï¿½ ï¿½Oscar in Love,ï¿½ ï¿½The Bigger They Are,ï¿½ ï¿½Two on the Aisle,ï¿½ ï¿½Your Mother Wears Army Boots,ï¿½ ï¿½Felix the Horse Player,ï¿½ ï¿½The Rent Strike,ï¿½ ï¿½Two Men on a Hoarse,ï¿½ ï¿½The Roy Clark Show,ï¿½ ï¿½Old Flames Never Die,ï¿½ ï¿½Laugh, Clown, Laughï¿½ and ï¿½Felix Remarries.ï¿½
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are sharp and bright. You can get the full detail of Felix’s ’70s pants. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. You can hear all the details of Oscar dropping his clothes as he enters the front door.
The Odd Couple: The Final Season brings to a close a sitcom that improves as you age. Jack Klugman and Tony Randall are the gold standard for tandem performers. For five seasons they proved that two divorced men could share an apartment without completely killing each other.
CBS DVD presents The Odd Couple: The Final Season. Starring Jack Klugman, Tony Randall and Al Molinaro. Boxset Contents: 22 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: November 18, 2008. Available at Amazon.
Tags: Happy Days, Hogan's Heroes, Jack Klugman