The Odd Couple: What the Critics Are Saying…

Well, after a less than triumphant return from its NCAA imposed hiatus, CBS has yet to announce whether The Odd Couple will make it on to the Fall 2015 schedule. Apart from losing three million viewers from before and after the hiatus, The Odd Couple has received overwhelmingly mixed reviews, leaning towards the negative side. In order to take a closer look at the reviews for The Odd Couple, I have consulted the online review aggregator, MetaCritic (

According to MetaCritic, The Odd Couple has received 20 mixed reviews, 5 negative reviews and 1 positive review. Based upon the reviews of 26 professional print critics, MetaCritic has given The Odd Couple a score of 42. Here are some highlights from the critics:

Newsday’s Diane Werts best shared my sentiments, writing “Their [Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon’s] Odd Couple feels like the kind of time-filling time killer that’s chasing viewers to other options.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jenson wrote, “There is a kind of bad show that might be the saddest kind of bad show. It’s the show that strands talented actors known for being funny on a sitcom that isn’t funny at all.” This confirms a number of the reviews which seem to feel that The Odd Couple has all of the elements of a successful series, but they all fail to come together in the end.

TV Guide’s Matt Roush, also felt that the show is an example of mediocrity, “There’s not a lot to love in this strained, often deafening update of the Neil Simon perennial.”

Therefore, coupled with the critics’ reaction and the low ratings, it looks like CBS should replace The Odd Couple with something that has more originality and substance, as well as the potential to become another 10 year-wonder like How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men.

Is This the Beginning of the End for The Odd Couple?

Well, after a hiatus for the NCAA Basketball tournament, The Odd Couple did not have a triumphant return to the CBS Thursday night line-up. Despite its lead-in from the hit comedy, The Big Bang Theory, the Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon vehicle, has hit a major speed-bump. As TV Media Insights succinctly put it, “While no one expects any show to hold the “Big Bang” lead-in, slippage of this magnitude is too severe. Five-week household overnight track for “The Odd Couple”: 8.1/13 – 7.1/11 – 7.6/12 – 6.6/11 – 5.8/10.” ( Therefore, without some major adjustments, The Odd Couple may find itself off of the CBS fall schedule. The drop in audience does not surprise me, because on a night with such unique comedies on CBS, The Odd Couple, interrupts the Thursday night CBS comedy flow. Compared to The Big Bang Theory and Mom, The Odd Couple appears to be derivative, very formulaic and more importantly, mediocre. Nostalgia is big on TV now, we see that with revivals of shows, such as Hawaii Five-O and Girl Meets World and even Hot In Cleveland taps into this, through its cast, featuring four sitcom veterans. However, this version of The Odd Couple, is lacking the magic spark that gives viewers that warm fuzzy feeling that they first had when watching the original 1970s version, coupled with that feeling of satisfaction of watching something modern and contemporary. I would not be surprised if The Odd Couple is missing from the CBS 2015-2016 schedule.

The Odd Couple 2.0: A Look Back at its First Revival

As The Odd Couple continues its hiatus because of the NCAA Basketball tournament airing on CBS, I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look back at the history of the show. Particularly, at the fact that this new version of The Odd Couple is not the show’s first TV revival. In anticipation of the series’ return back in February, USA Today ran a great article on the program’s history ( While the critics were not too enthusiastic about this new CBS version of the show, the ratings have not been dismal. However, turning the clock back to October 29, 1982, when the first revival of the show premiered on its original network, ABC, this new African-American version was panned by critics, even reused scripts from the original series and was canceled after a run of just eighteen episodes. What is more, the failures of The Odd Couple adaptations are not just limited to the small screen. According to, in 1985, Neil Simon (the creator of The Odd Couple) updated his original play, this time with an all-female cast, featuring popular television personalities Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers as Olive Madison and Florence Ungar. The show flopped and ran for only eight months, compared to the original 1965 production, which was huge hit and ran for nearly two and one-half years ( Therefore, given the track record of The Odd Couple derivatives, it will be interesting to see whether or not the show finds its way onto the CBS Fall 2015 schedule.

Trending Now: The Odd Couple

Since The Odd Couple will be on hiatus for the next two weeks because of the NCAA Basketball Tournament airing on CBS, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at the show’s social media presence. As now more than ever, social media presence is an integral part of a television show’s success, it appears that The Odd Couple is taking full advantage of all that twitter has to offer. For example, as a nice tie-in with CBS’s NCAA coverage, the stars of The Odd Couple have filled out NCAA brackets and the show’s twitter feed is encouraging viewers to see how their brackets measure up with those of the stars, Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon. Additionally, the stars have been live tweeting and the show has been posting photos of the different cast members tweeting for both the east and west coast feeds. They even suggested a drinking game, consisting of everyone taking a drink every time that Matthew Perry wears a blue shirt that matches his eyes! So far, they have 3,263 followers, which is a drop in the ocean, compared to ABC’s rival new spring 2015 sitcom, Fresh Off The Boat, which has 16,700 followers. Therefore, The Odd Couple has a way to go before being the number 1 new comedy on Twitter.

Odd Couple Update #5

After losing some of its initial audience in its second week, The Odd Couple rebounded after its third airing. The new CBS Thursday night sitcom won its 8:30 pm time slot on March 5, 2015 and according to Variety, it came within one tenth of a percentage point of its series premiere rating (on February 19th). It still looks like CBS’ hammock approach is working; while it is not scoring the numbers that its time slot predecessor, The Big Bang Theory is achieving, The Odd Couple is growing in viewership week-to-week and is benefiting from the lead-in. It will be interesting to see the numbers for The Odd Couple’s fourth showing, which will be on March 12th. Following the March 12th broadcast, The Odd Couple will be on hiatus for two weeks while CBS broadcasts NCAA Basketball. It will also be important to track whether or not the two week disruption will affect its aforementioned audience growth.

The Odd Couple: Critical Reaction

In last week’s blog post, I took a look at the ratings for the February 19th premiere of The Odd Couple. This week, I’m examining the critical reaction. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess, as the critics were mixed. However, many of them added that regardless of the quality of the show, The Odd Couple has a 50/50 shot of being renewed for a second season. As a fan of the original version of The Odd Couple, I find the new version to be lacking the original spark that made the Tony Randall-Jack Klugman incarnation so entertaining and successful.

In his review, Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff Jensen eloquently hit upon the problem with the revamped version of The Odd Couple, “There is a kind of bad show that might be the saddest kind of bad show. It’s the show that strands talented actors known for being funny on a sitcom that isn’t funny at all. The Odd Couple has Matthew Perry, Thomas Lennon, Yvette Nicole Brown, Dave Foley and more. You’d never know that they’re perfectly capable of making you laugh if you hadn’t seen their previous work, because their current show is, again, not funny.”

In the end, only time and the numbers will give us certainty on The Odd Couple’s future, but with a general overall feeling that it is just mediocre fare, it looks like it won’t be joining its CBS predecessors, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men as a runaway hit.

The Odd Couple 3: The Premiere Part 1: A look at the Early Numbers

The CBS revamp of the 1970s classic sitcom The Odd Couple premiered last night and its newest incarnation came in more with a whimper than with a bang. Sandwiched between CBS hits, The Big Bang Theory and the series finale of Two and a Half Men, it did well ratings wise, but the viewership is sure to drop off as the weeks go by. Looking at the preliminary Nielsen numbers, CBS dominated and so did The Odd Couple which served as a hammock for CBS’ 8-10 pm comedy lineup. Looking at the key 18-49 demographic, the night started off with The Big Bang Theory which notched a 4.4 rating with a 15 share and had 17.4 million viewers. At 8:30 the premiere of The Odd Couple garnered a 3.1 rating, a 10 share and 13.57 million viewers. Sitcom night on CBS ended at 9 pm with the hour-long season finale of Two and a Half Men, which got a 3.1 rating, a 9 share and had 13.20 million viewers. The ratings for CBS slipped further with Thursday night’s concluding show, Elementary, which aired at 10pm and received a 1.5 rating, a 5 share and had 8.05 million viewers. On the whole, CBS won the night with 12.206 million viewers; its closest competitor, ABC had 8.813 million viewers. Critical reviews have been mixed and it will be interesting to see if the numbers for The Odd Couple will hold up and if it’s time slot will keep it on the air long enough to connect with viewers.

The Odd Couple: The Story Behind the Theme


With less than one week to go until the premiere of the revamped version of The Odd Couple, there is one big question that is on everyone’s mind: Are they keeping the original theme song? Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is a two part answer. While the new CBS revamp (premiering Thursday, February 19th at 8:30 on CBS/WTVH), will retain the classic and oh-so-catchy Neal Hefti theme music, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that it will have a (new) New Orleans blues-jazz arrangement. In his February 12, 2015 article, Dave Walker writes in The Times Picayune that trombonist Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews’ updated version of the Hefti theme is “a slinky trombone driven take on the Hefti tune.”

The new sixty second version is available online and after listening to it, while it does maintain the Hefti theme, it loses the big band sound that the original version had. However, it does have a more modern sound, which may appeal to younger viewers, but I am still partial to the original version of the iconic theme. Therefore, I guess we will just have to wait until next Thursday to see if the new version of The Odd Couple and its new theme are accepted by the 2015 TV audience and critics.

Have a listen to the new arrangement of the theme:

The Odd Couple: Countdown to Premiere

Although The Odd Couple won’t be airing until February 19th, there is still buzz about it and it is getting coverage in the entertainment media. As I count down the days to see whether this new incarnation of the beloved 1970s is a hit or a miss, it’ll be interesting to compare The Odd Couple then and now. The original Odd Couple, based upon the hit Neil Simon play, premiered on ABC in 1970 and ran for five seasons. It was produced by Garry Marshall and starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. There are similarities between the show’s incarnations. Although the show has new producers, Matthew Perry, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly, Garry Marshall is returning as a consultant. There are also similarities in casting; they are relying on casting one star name with a large Q rating and an actor who has worked steadily but may not have solid name recognition. For example, Tony Randall (Felix Unger in the original) was a movie star and had widespread name recognition at the time of his casting in the original series. His co-star Jack Klugman (Oscar Madison) had worked steadily on Broadway and in television, but was not widely known.

In the new series, Matthew Perry is well-known for his role on the sitcom Friends, while his co-star Thomas Lennon has been a familiar face on television in such shows as Reno 9-1-1 and Sean Saves The World, he may not have wide name recognition (as pointed out in a January USA Today article). However, unlike their predecessors, Klugman and Randall had not been involved in high profile flops. Both Perry and Lennon have had their share of primetime failures since appearing on the successful programs that gave them their big break. Perry has had several failures, including NBC’s short-lived Go On (2012-2013) and Lennon flopped just last season with NBC’s Sean Saves the World (2013-2014). Therefore, with recent flops under their belt, it will be interesting if Matthew Perry, in particular, can excise the Friends curse with this revitalized favorite.