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The Odd Couple - Season One


TITLE: THE ODD COUPLE - SEASON ONE


Info:

DVD Release Date: August 18, 2006 (Time-Life)
Color/1970-71
MSRP: $38.97
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 646 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Closed Captioned
Special Features: Commentaries, Episode Introductions from Garry Marshall, Footage from Jack Klugman's Book Tour, Interviews from The Mike Douglas Show, Original Promos, Scene from Stage Play with Tony and Jack, Gag Reel, Emmy Award Acceptance by Jack Klugman (1971)


Introduction:

On November 13th, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew someday he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his childhood friend, Oscar Madison. Sometime earlier, Madison's wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?

And the answer is no! Of course not! If two divorced men could share an apartment without driving each other crazy, we'd never have The Odd Couple, the sitcom from the 70s that is exactly as described above. And now, Time-Life has made the complete first season of this classic sitcom available on a four disc set.


Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:

There are so many great episodes of the show! The series begins with the episode "The Laundry Orgy," which, as Garry Marshall points out, the network hated--but aired it anyway. In this episode, Felix and Oscar are trying to have a poker game and a double date at the same time--which leads to them having the date in the laundry room! In "Felix Gets Sick," Oscar is ready for a weekend of fun, but will Felix's illness prevent him from having any of that fun? Alice Ghostley guest stars in "The Breakup," where Oscar kicks out Felix.

In "Oscar the Model," Oscar gets a new job--as a model??? How does a slob get a job like that? Felix is missing in the episode, well, "Felix is Missing," but is he coming back--or could he be dead? Oscar is haunted by the ghost of Felix in the Christmas episode "Scrooge Gets an Oscar."

In "They Use Horse Radish, Don't They," Felix is determined to win a cooking contest, but how will Oscar react when he realizes it is driving him nuts??? Felix buys a watch for Gloria, but it might just be a stolen watch in "Engrave Trouble." Felix and Oscar go on the fishing trip from hell in "Bunny is Missing Down By the Lake."

It's like The Odd Couple meets My Two Dads--kind of--in "You've Come a Long Way, Baby," where Felix gets stuck with a baby that was left behind at his studio. Felix has a new girlfriend and she is an actress in a play in "What Does a Naked Lady Say to You," but how will he handle the fact that she is nude in the play? Finally, the first season ends with "Trapped," where, well, Felix and Oscar get trapped in the basement just before a costume party.


Packaging:

This is a great DVD set, which makes it such a shame that the packaging is by all means substandard. First of all, the set is presented in a four panel digital with a photo of Felix and Oscar on the front of it, so I should talk about the outer box now, right? Wrong! For some reason, this set is a digipak without any outer box! I'm not sure who came up with that design but it wasn't very smart, especially because the digipak is somewhat flimsy.

When you open the digipak, the first thing you'll see is a "guide" for each disc, which lists the episodes on each disc as well as the special features for that disc. There aren't any episode descriptions, but you'll find descriptions on the DVDs themselves--I'll explain more on that later. You can also find this same information on the appropriate discs (in other words, the discs all have the episode and special feature contents listed on them). Disc 1 is orange, Disc 2 is yellow, Disc 3 is lime green, and Disc 4 is blue. And there is yet another complaint here! The text on the discs is written in white for all four discs, making it impossible to read the contents on Disc 2 (unless you can clearly see white on bright yellow). Each disc has 6 episodes on it.


Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are done very nicely on this set. When you first put in the disc, the theme song plays with videos from the show playing in the background of the main menu. The choices that you are given on the main menu include Play All, Special Features, and there is also a list of episodes where you can just select the episode that you want. Play All and Special Features are very basic menus and pretty self-explanatory. The submenus for the individual episodes are very well done. When you select an episode, a submenu comes up with an option to play the episode, as well as options for episode related special features (where applicable)… but in the background, you'll hear an audio introduction from Garry Marshall (about 30 seconds for each episode) where he briefly talks about the episode you are about to see--a very nice touch indeed! The introductions aren't just limited to the episodes either… you'll even find them on the special features!


Video and Audio Quality:

It is hard to make a general statement about the video and audio quality on the set, but there are no real problems. One thing that you'll notice throughout is that the quality tends to vary from episode to episode, with issues relating to the source material and the fact that it is several decades old. The audio quality is good on each episode, and doesn't vary in the way the video quality does, with the audio being presented in mono. For those that require it, closed-captioning is available on every episode on the set. As far as the episode runtimes, every episode runs at roughly 26 minutes, which means there is probably no way that the episodes are edited in any way. There are chapters at all of the appropriate places in each episode (at each commercial break).


Special Features:

As mentioned previously, there are introductions for each episode on the set by Garry Marshall. In these, he gives basic information on the episodes, which is sometimes a brief description, but sometimes just makes comments about the episode. In any event, it is a nice touch for the set.

But if you thought that was all of the special features, you'd be dead wrong! There are many other special features scattered throughout all four discs.

On Disc 1, there is a clip of Tony Randall when he appeared on The Mike Douglas Show soon after The Odd Couple premiered in 1970 (5:59). There are two commentary tracks for the first episode ("The Laundry Orgy"), with one having commentary by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson and the other commentary track being by Carole Shelley, who played one of the Pigeon sisters in the episode. There is also a promo for the series premiere on ABC (1:03)… very interesting to see. From the preview, the show doesn't look like a sitcom at all!

Disc 2 has another clip from The Mike Douglas Show, this one being a few months later--and this time with both Tony Randall AND Jack Klugman (7:12). Jack Klugman offers commentary on "It's All Over Now, Baby Bird." I was a bit surprised when I learned he would be doing commentary on this set (because of his problems that he has with his voice), but it was nice to hear him on there and he has a lot of interesting opinions to offer. It is too bad Tony Randall couldn't be around for this set too! Disc 2 also has a promo for that episode, which is very interesting to see, even though the video quality on it is atrocious! But, you can't complain about things like that—they were never intended to be seen again anyway.

But wait! There's more! (This really feels like a Time-Life commercial.) Disc 3 has home videos from Jack Klugman's book tour (for the book that he wrote called "Tony and Me," which is obviously about his relationship with his friend and co-star Tony Randall). This runs at 6:22. Additionally, there is another commentary by Garry Marshall, on "They Use Horseradish, Don't They?"

On Disc 4, there is a gag reel, which is short at 1:13, but still a very nice set of bloopers. It would be nice to see more obviously. Next, there is a "Tony and Jack onstage in The Odd Couple," (2:55) which is a featurette that shows Tony Randall and Jack Klugman doing the onstage version of The Odd Couple in the 1990s. The only thing that would be better is if they would have included the whole performance! Next, there are "Emmy Presentations" (1:05), which is basically just a clip from the Emmys where Jack Klugman won an Emmy in 1971. The fun thing about this feature is that you can even watch it with commentary, by Jack Klugman! Who would have thought to put a commentary on something like this???

Clearly, they didn't skimp on the special features!


Final Comments:

Aside from the packaging (which will likely be a little different once Time-Life's exclusivity period is over), this is a GREAT set. It brings together all of the episodes in a set that was put together very well and the special features are great to see on a show like this. Other DVD producers probably wouldn't have even bothered to include such great special features. However, despite all of the great special features, I'd like to see just a little bit more next time, maybe more commentaries or some interviews. Any fan of the show--or even any person that appreciates classic television--really ought to order this!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)

Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by skees53 on 09/01/06

Note: This set is available exclusively through Time-Life. It won't be available in stores or on Amazon.com for now.

To purchase the DVD from Time-Life, click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:

http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=NIbp75h4ZKE&offerid=98277.8085&type=2&subid=0

Questions or comments about this set? Post on our message board:

http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=181889


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