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'The Odd Couple' fan react: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

Season 1 | Episode 3 | “The Birthday Party” | Aired Mar 5, 2015

On this week’s episode of The Odd Couple, called “The Birthday Party,” things get pretty maudlin. This sets the show back from the real potential we witnessed in last week’s episode, “The Ghostwriter.”

Sure, we expected an emotional tsunami in the pilot as Felix Unger (Thomas Lennon) was introduced into Oscar Madison’s (Matthew Perry) life following his wife’s curb-kicking. “Surf’s up!” Waa-waa.

One step forward, two steps back

But the second episode focused more on the differences between the curmudgeonly cad and the meticulous meddler—and that’s where the comedy shines. Not only did they play with their opposing characteristics, but they showed how those disparities could bring out the best in one another. And thanks to guest star Geoff Stults and the stellar supporting cast, we got a glimpse of what this new iteration of The Odd Couple could mature into … given some time.

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to

Unfortunately, the third episode focuses on loss again. We learn it’s not only Felix’s first birthday as a single man, but it’s also the anniversary of meeting his wife at a skating rink. An unsympathetic Oscar is willing to let Felix wail out his grief until Casey (Leslie Bibb) calls him on his callousness.

Predictably, in an effort to impress his sexy neighbor and not assuage his roommate, Oscar fibs about throwing a surprise party. Friends are enlisted, plans are cobbled together, bets are called in, and a clued-in Felix pretends to be oh so surprised.

The only truly laughable moment here is the fastidious Felix’s genuine thrill over his Verschlagen vacuum from a smitten Lizzie (Lindsay Sloane)—because, you know, who doesn’t get excited over a $300 Dustbuster for their B-day? But Lizzie promptly puts an end to pet canary Hope’s twitters when the vacuum sucks her up and spits her out.

“I’m so sorry, Felix. It looks like Hope is gone. For a brief moment you had Hope, but no more.”

Dave Foley’s Roy kills that line, and me with it. Truthfully, I laughed harder than I should have because I wanted to murder the mawkish Felix myself. Pray we witnessed the official, feather-flying funeral of Felix’s marital mourning in that moment.

Go On already

Yes, I know the show is about a man divorcing his wife and living with another divorcee, and sure there’ll be exes and emotions. But for this show to last, it needs to keep its focus on their familial dysfunction, and on the discord and affection between the two guys. Plus it has to smartly utilize the supporting cast—especially Dani!

“What’s happening? What am I watching?”

Yvette Nicole Brown is a genius, and she’s not being given her due. Please keep her from asking those exact questions in real life. Hurry up, flesh out her character, and have her do more than watch the guys’ absurdity! Let her act as mediator and mentor to the odd couple.

Stay tuned …

Next week’s episode, “The Blind Leading the Blind Date,” has Oscar setting Felix up on a blind date without his knowledge. Here’s hoping for the best, as I always do with Matthew Perry’s post-Friends projects. Three episodes in and the rating are holding strong. Perhaps—despite being a few feathers short—Hope does float.

What do you think? Was “The Birthday Party” sehr gut, or did you think it sucked like the Verschlagen?

The Odd Couple airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30C on CBS.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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