TITLE: THE ODD COUPLE - SEASON ONE
DVD Release Date: August 18, 2006 (Time-Life)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: 646 minutes
Languages, Subtitles, Closed Captioning: Closed
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)
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
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.
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
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).
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!
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
-- 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.
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