February 23, 2015

The Odd Couple: "Pilot"

The last couple of times I've reviewed a new sitcom on this blog, things have not gone well for said sitcoms. Both Back in the Game and A to Z met their demise rather quickly, which is a shame because both had promise. And a shame for me, because I liked them both.

Yep. That's what my face looked like
while I watched the pilot, too.
Source: cbs.com
This review of the new CBS sitcom The Odd Couple will be (spoiler alert) entirely negative. So perhaps in a turn of poetic injustice, this show will last. This Atlantic reviewer seems to think it has a better shot than any of Matthew Perry's previous attempts at a comeback.

Before I start my review, a disclaimer of sorts. I have never seen the play, the movie, or the tv show that this new show is based on. So I suppose there may have been some nods to these sources (that I missed) that made it worlds better, but I doubt that. I'd bet that the basic characters, their names, and a jazzed up theme song were the only homages paid to the original.

So here we go. What went wrong last week when The Odd Couple premiered on CBS:
  1. Timing - It was almost unsettling how quickly the dialogue was delivered. Perry and co-star Thomas Lennon barely stopped short of stepping on each other's lines. There was better comedic timing in the promos I saw for the show than in the show itself. 
  2. Lack of Context - Quirky high-strung guys and obnoxious pickup-artist guys can both be endearing, if we have a reason to like them. In the pilot of The Odd Couple, we were given no reason. The writers plopped us down in the middle of a friendship we had no reason to care about. I couldn't care less what happens next to either of these - frankly - losers. Not a good way to start your new show.  
  3. Too many jokes and not enough plot - Keep in mind, when I say too many jokes, I mean too many of the same joke. We get it. Felix is uptight and Oscar is sarcastic. Writers, from now on, you get one joke to that effect per episode. ONE! Even a joke that could have been well done fell flat. The play on Felix Unger's initials and the abbreviated insult of the same two initials was poorly written and so hastily executed, you didn't even give the savvy viewers a chance to chuckle at it before the punchline dropped. Moreover, the show was jammed so full of lousy jokes that they didn't have time to give us any semblance of plot.
Now, some critics are claiming the show has promise. Telling us to give it time. The chemistry of Perry and Lennon will be enough! I don't buy it. Will the rest of the viewers? Time will tell.

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