Commentary The Odd Couple is one of Neil Simon's funniest situation comedies. It concerns two divorced men who are almost exact opposites, one a compulsive hypochodriac and the other a total slob. The two are both divorced and forced to live together through unforseen circumstances. Lemmon and Matthau are both excellent in their roles as Felix and Oscar respectively.
Plot Summary Frances, Felix's wife of 12 years, has had enough of him so she throws him out of his house and files for divorce. The movie begins with Felix wandering around town, wishing to commit suicide. He meets up with his poker playing buddies, including Oscar Madison, who decides to take him in. Oscar has also been recently divorced. After a short time, their personalities come into sharp conflict, as Oscar is a slob and Felix a neatness freak. Eventually Oscar wants to kick out Felix, but in the end they manage to work things out.
Cultural Significance The Odd Couple has had many incarnations.
The Odd Couple began as a 1965 Broadway play, starring Art Carney as Felix and Walter Matthau as Oscar. It was adapted for film in 1968 and Carney was replaced by Lemmon.
It became a TV sitcom in 1970 starring Tony Randall as Felix and Jack Klugman as Oscar. The TV show ran for five years.
Beginning in 1975, an animated series called "The Oddball Couple" was aired, starring a cat named Spiffy and a dog named Fleabag. This series lasted for two years.
"The New Odd Couple", another TV series, aired from 1982-3, this one with the African-American duo David Wilson and Ron Glass as Oscar and Felix respectively. This show only lasted 13 episodes.
Randall and Klugman reunited in 1993 for a made-for-TV reunion film.
Lemmon and Matthau also reunited for the sequel The Odd Couple II, released in 1998.
Here are a couple of clips of a great scene between Oscar, Felix, and the Pigeon Sisters.