“On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that someday, he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his friend, Oscar Madison. Sometime earlier, Madison’s wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?”
TV shows rarely have premise-setting epigrams anymore, much less memorable theme songs and title sequences. If the above doesn’t ring a bell without the music, it’s from “The Odd Couple” (ABC, 1970-75). See? Now you’re humming that famous theme song, aren’t you?
So, can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? The short answer is no, of course – otherwise “The Odd Couple” wouldn’t be nearly as fun. That holds true for both the legendary TV show (starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman as the unlikely roommates) and the Neil Simon stage play which inspired it. That’s what’s being staged this weekend at the Palace Theater in Hamilton, where several Chenangoans are among the talented cast.
Honestly, I didn’t even have to drive all the way up to Hamilton Wednesday night to know that Mike McCormack of Norwich would be spot-on in the role of crusty sports writer Oscar Madison – I work with the guy. That’s not to say that his desk anywhere near approaches Oscar-level disarray (that’s reserved for my own sports editor) – it’s just that he’s got that loud, blustery and exasperated schtick down pat. Mark Walden of Hamilton is his perfect comedic foil as the uptight Felix Unger, his neuroses manifesting themselves one after another in hilarious succession. The Oscar-Felix dynamic has become iconic in and of itself – the disorderly slob and the obsessive-compulsive neat freak – and McCormack and Walden embody it flawlessly.