CBS is reviving the classic sitcom/movie/play The Odd Couple for modern viewers, and while it basically looks like the same set-up as the 1970s series, there are a few key differences. I’m not talking about the actors or their character descriptions, either; I’m talking about there being women in the writer’s room, as that was apparently a major no-no back when ABC first brought The Odd Couple to the small screen. Not such “odd” behavior for the time, sadly.
Appearing at this year’s Television Critics Association winter press event, legendary producer and director Garry Marshall shared with audiences just how determined ABC was to keep female writers out of The Odd Couple back then.
Maybe they just had a problem with people named Susan? Seriously, though, that’s an egregiously damning admission from Marshall, even though it’s no secret that females in Hollywood have always had a rough time gaining headway. Harris ended up going on to create Soap, Benson, Golden Girls and Empty Nest, among other series, so it’s crazy to think about how varied the TV landscape would be had these three creative forces actually been hired on for The Odd Couple instead of going on to produce their signature series. (Just about all of which are better than The Odd Couple, in my opinion.)
Thankfully, Marshall says that’s all different now with CBS’ updated version, starring Friends’ Matthew Perry as Oscar Madison and Reno 911’s Thomas Lennon as Felix Unger. Marshall says there are “three great female writers” on staff there, and that they bring a better balance to the show, which is able to approach emotions and feelings far greater than the 1970s iteration.
This new Odd Couple is also able to handle talking about two adult heterosexual men living together without worrying about people thinking they’re gay. While the show’s characters will be able to broach the topic of sexuality here, that definitely wasn’t always the case. Here’s how Marshall explained that, according to THR.
So, they could have women around as objects of gay-deflecting sexual attraction, but not as the people writing those scenes? Tsk tsk tsk.
CBS will pair both male and female viewers with The Odd Couple when it premieres on Thursday, February 19.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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