Friday, October 10, 2014

SitcomsOnline Book Club - The Odd Couple on Stage and Screen; Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 13, 2014)

The Odd Couple on Stage and Screen

SitcomsOnline Book Club Review - The Odd Couple on Stage and Screen: A History with Cast and Crew Profiles and an Episode Guide

by Skees

Playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon has had many successes over a five decade period, mostly on stage, but one of his greatest successes on stage transcended to the big screen and to the small screen (and beyond): The Odd Couple. It's a story that almost everybody knows: two recently divorced men, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, one a neat-freak and the other a slob, sharing an apartment, and trying to do so without driving each other crazy. What many don't know, though, is that The Odd Couple was based in part upon the real-life experiences of Danny Simon, the recently divorced brother of playwright Neil Simon. As it turns out, Danny Simon was much like a Felix himself, and found himself sharing an apartment with an Oscar type of person... and Danny's brother, Neil, knew that he had solid gold when it came to writing a play.

Of course, that play blossomed into much more. The play debuted on Broadway in 1965, and was a huge success. In fact, the stage production is regarded as a classic, and variations of it continue to be performed across the country to this day. By 1968, the play was turned into a movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Mattheau... which was also a success. And, of course, in 1970, Jack Klugman and Tony Randall became known as the sitcom version of The Odd Couple. The series which never was quite a hit series for the five seasons that it originally aired, but today, it is regarded as one of the greatest sitcom classics of all time. Bob Leszczak's book, The Odd Couple on Stage and Screen, talks about all of these.

The first part of the book gets into a history of the inspiration behind the play, and how it evolved into a movie and a sitcom... and beyond. The history that is provided is a bit short, but concise and gets into all of the important details in 20 pages. A lot is said about the development of the series, including the constant demands from ABC about making sure that viewers knew that they were not a same-sex couple, trying to find the right style for the series, and there's even discussion of the much less successful variations of the series, including The Oddball Couple (an animated version of the series) and The New Odd Couple (an African American take on the series starring Demond Wilson and Ron Glass).

The next two sections discuss the cast and the crew of all variations of The Odd Couple, including all of the main cast members, but also some of the more memorable guest stars. The bios are generally a few paragraphs for each person that is included. As for the crew, there are a lot of names listed here that aren't so familiar, but when you read their bios, you begin to realize that they were involved with a lot of things that you loved. There isn't anything particularly special to point out here, but it is a nice reference.

The fourth section of the book is just for the TV series fans: episode guides from all of the TV series. Not only do we get an episode guide for the classic Tony Randall and Jack Klugman series, but we also get episode guides for The Oddball Couple and The New Odd Couple. Complete descriptions (roughly a paragraph) and airdates are given for each episode, along with writing, directing, and guest star credits.

The fifth section of the book is perhaps the most interesting part of the book: Extras, Flubs, and Factoids. This section stars with a brief introduction to the series, including biographies for all of the regular and recurring characters. There is even a mention of the original sponsors of the series, which included one that was a bit surprising: R.J. Reynolds (surprising since less than four months after the first episode aired, cigarette advertising was banned on television). The series had a fair share of inconsistencies, and you'll find many of them listed here as well. Real life parallels are also given, such as the significance of the date November 13 (you'll have to read to know!). There is also a list, with brief descriptions, of TV series and even web series that have roommates as the premise, many of which were (disputably) inspired by The Odd Couple in some way. You'll even find a list of those who have played the couple on stage. One of the most interesting pairings here: Pat Morita as Felix and Sherman Hemsley as Oscar. Even more "odd" is a stage performance in which Pat Sajak played Felix. The section ends with a glossary of all the people and terms that you need to know to know The Odd Couple.

Overall, it's a good book, and fans (or even casual fans) are certain to appreciate it. It gives a nice concise history of the series (and stage performances and films), and the information about the cast (including guest cast) and crew is very nice to read. I found the episode guides and extras/flubs/factoids sections to be even more valuable, though. My only gripe about this book (as minor as it is) is the lack of perspective from those involved with the series. It would have been nice to have had some interviews to provide a bit of a deeper perspective into the behind-the-scenes aspects of the series, and a little more on the history. But it is also understandable as to why it is becoming more of a challenge to do these things, particularly seeing that the most famous actors portraying the duo are no longer living. The book makes an excellent resource, and it is certain to be appreciated by fans.

(4/5 stars)

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It's Friday, so it is time for "Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows" for the coming week. This is where we list what sitcom stars are appearing on talk shows for the coming week, the stars are both current and past sitcom stars, so this is for all sitcom fans of all eras!
For the week of Oct. 13-17, 2014, we have many current sitcom stars and past sitcom stars on TV talk shows! All times listed are Eastern. So get your DVRs (or whatever you use) ready! Ready? Here is all what you need to know for the coming week!


Monday, October 13, 2014
  • Casey Wilson (Marry Me/Happy Endings) - Watch Casey on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. She will also be on HuffPost Live at 3:20pm.
  • Shia LaBeouf (Even Stevens) - Shia visits Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Minnie Driver (About a Boy) - Minnie appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She will also be on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) - Ike is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother/Stark Raving Mad/Doogie Howser, M.D.) - Neil talks about his book (Choose Your Own Autobiography) on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Maura Tierney (NewsRadio) - Maura discusses the new series The Affair on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) - Selena appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs/Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Jeff joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Mario Lopez (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The New Class) - Mario joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph (Instant Mom/Moesha/It's a Living) - Sheryl joins the Plugged In panel on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step) - Suzanne will be on Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel sometime between 6-9am. She can also be heard on Kilmeade & Friends at 9am.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Catch Cristela on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Kristen Schaal (The Hotwives of Orlando/Bob's Burgers/30 Rock) - Watch Kristen on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Minnie Driver (About a Boy) - Minnie chats and performs for the audience on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development) - Portia appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • David Walton (About a Boy/Bent/Perfect Couples) - David stops by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings. He will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nasim Pedrad (Mulaney) - Nasim talks about playing Kim Kardashian, her first gig on ER and more on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Casey Wilson (Marry Me/Happy Endings) - Casey will be NBC's Today in the 9am hour. She is also a guest on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Kelen Coleman (The McCarthys) - Kelen discusses her highly anticipated comedy series The McCarthys on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Kevin Hart (The Big House/Undeclared) - Kevin is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) - Candace weighs in on last night's Dancing with the Stars performances on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Hector Elizondo (Last Man Standing/Foley Square) - Hector and Cheech Marin discuss Book of Life on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step) - Suzanne is a guest on HuffPost Live at 1:00pm. She will also be on Squawk Box on CNBC at 6am. Other appearances include the Kathie Lee and Company podcast, The Willis Report on Fox Business, and on SiriusXM Radio on Just Jenny, Frank DeCaro and Freewheelin'.
  • Lucie Arnaz (The Lucy Show/Here's Lucy) - Lucie PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:45am.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
  • Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) - Watch Selena on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - Catch T.J. on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Minnie Driver (About a Boy) - Minnie stops by on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. She also performs on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman) - Mary is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step) - Suzanne talks about her latest book (I'm Too Young for This) LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP) - Keke discusses starring in True Jackson, VP and her BET talk show Just Keke on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Reed Between the Lines/Girlfriends) - Tracee is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Norman Lear (Producer of All in the Family/Sanford and Son/The Jeffersons/Good Times) - Norman discusses his new memoir (Even This I Get to Experience) on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He will also be on Morning Joe on MSNBC sometime between 6-9am. Finally, he is a guest on The Cycle on MSNBC at 3pm.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
  • Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development) - Catch Portia on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jenny Slate (Married/Parks and Recreation) - Jenny stops by The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Chelsea Handler (Are You There, Chelsea?) - Chelsea is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - John visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ike Barinholtz (The Mindy Project) - Ike appears on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly/Drake & Josh) - Miranda dishes with Rach on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl is a guest on The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 2am on BET.
  • Dan Cortese (Veronica's Closet/What I Like About You) - Dan stops by SportsNation at 3pm on ESPN2.
  • Lea Thompson (Caroline in the City) - Lea talks about her strategy of winning this season of Dancing with the Stars on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Kate Walsh (Bad Judge) - Kate visits Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Megan Mullally (Will & Grace/Breaking In) - Megan is a guest on HuffPost Live at 3:45pm.
  • Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) - Josh appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
  • Suzanne Somers (Three's Company/Step by Step) - Suzanne is a guest on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
Friday, October 17, 2014
  • Sean Hayes (The Millers/Sean Saves the World/Will & Grace) - Watch Sean on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Martin Short (Mulaney) - Martin appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent/Arrested Development/The Larry Sanders Show) - Jeffrey is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Megan Mullally (Will & Grace/Breaking In) - Megan chats on The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
  • Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela joins the Chew Crew on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) - Selena discusses her new film Rudderless on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Gerald McRaney (Major Dad) - Gerald talks about The Best of Me and House of Cards on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • He is also tentatively scheduled to appear on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
  • Tia Mowry-Hardrict (Instant Mom/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia will be on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Encore! Encore!/Charlie Lawrence) - Nathan and Matthew Broderick chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jonathan Kite (2 Broke Girls) - Jonathan talks about 2 Broke Girls on Arise TV on their website at 3pm and on Monday on Centric at 7pm.
All listings are subject to change. Visit our blog and main site for daily updated listings. Leave us comments on our message board or Tweet/Facebook us to let us know what you think of this Friday feature! We do listen!


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

Dr. Ken - Season One Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season The Lucy Show - The Complete Series The Mindy Project - Season Four

10/04 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Christmas Special (Colorized)
10/04 - I Love Lucy - Superstar Special #1 (Colorized)
10/11 - Dr. Ken - Season One
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
10/11 - Mike & Molly - The Complete Series
10/11 - Nurse Jackie - Seasons One and Two
10/11 - Weeds - Seasons One and Two
11/01 - Schitt's Creek - Seasons One and Two
11/08 - Family Matters - The Complete Ninth Season
11/08 - Your Family or Mine - Season One
11/15 - Community - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Lucy Show - The Complete Series
11/15 - The Mindy Project - Season Four
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, December 3

Henry Danger - "Dodging Danger" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Henry uses his new super power to compete in a Dodge-A-Leen tournament, Ray, Schwoz, and Charlotte go undercover to teach Henry a lesson.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 5)

Monday, December 5

  • Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Watch Will on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve visits The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/The Hogan Family/It's Your Move) - Jason visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS. He will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle) - Gael is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Steve appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • The Cast of Fuller House - The cast of Fuller House are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Patricia Heaton (The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia stops by Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Miss Piggy (The Muppets) - Miss Piggy and Harry perform Deck the Halls on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Meredith Hagner (Search Party/Men at Work) - Meredith is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Lauren Graham (The Odd Couple/Conrad Bloom/Townies) - Lauren appears on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley/The Goodwin Games/Carpoolers) - T.J. talks about Office Christmas Party on the AOL Build Show at 3pm. He will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET. He can also be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 9:50am.
  • Bradley Whitford (Happyish/Trophy Wife) - Bradley is a guest on Access Hollywood Live, so check your local listings.
  • Josh McDermitt (Retired at 35) - Josh can be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM at 10:45am.
  • Erinn Hayes (Kevin Can Wait/Guys with Kids/Worst Week) - Erinn talks about Kevin Can Wait on the AOL Build Show at 4pm.