The Odd Couple: Password - VIDEO
(Originally aired Dec. 1, 1972)
Since CBS will debut a new, updated version of the classic game show Password this Sunday at 8, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about one of the great episodes of The Odd Couple, appropriately titled "Password." (it's also Jack Klugman's favorite). It's the one where Oscar is asked to go on the game show and he gets to choose his partner. Will he choose Felix, a nut for the show, or his girlfriend, who isn't too, um, bright? The answer after the jump...
The episode opens with Oscar and Felix at a restaurant having dinner with their dates. Oscar is with the ditzy Mitzi, while Felix is with Miriam (who I really think he should have ended up with in the end, but that's another rant). Password host Allen Ludden walks in with his wife (Betty White), and Felix is mad because he tried out for the show and didn't get on. Oscar explains that it's probably because he's not a "normal," everyday Joe, so Felix tries to prove he's an everyday Joe by talking about ordinary things with Miriam ("So...do you suffer much from acid stomach?"). Oscar explains you never see Einstein on Beat The Clock. Ludden is actually a sports freak and comes over to talk to Oscar about his sports column. Ludden asks Oscar to be on the show, and Oscar first refuses, but when Felix tells him that the gig pays $750, Oscar changes his mind. The gang practices at Oscar and Felix's apartment, and while Oscar first wants Mitzi to be his partner (probably to get into her pants), he finally agrees that Felix should be on the show with him.
What follows is a scene that is really a sitcom writing clinic. Oscar and Felix play the game against Betty White and another woman, and it's hysterical (the scene is below, sorry for the bad sound). Felix keeps giving these esoteric, odd clues ("It's a known fact that Lincoln loved mayonnaise!") and they eventually lose. But the writing and acting and pacing of the scene is just pitch perfect and honestly funny. It's great to see White in this role, as she'll be coming back to the new CBS version too.
I'm really glad that The Odd Couple is being released on DVD, so people who haven't seen it (I don't think it's syndicated that much anymore) can see how good it is. The show is sometimes left out of the "best comedy of all-time" lists that come out every now and then, a list that always include Seinfeld, The Simpsons, M*A*S*H, and I Love Lucy. This show deserves to be on such a list too.
"Great clues? If Charlie Chan got these clues he'd be running a laundry!" - Oscar, to Felix
"I'm not average, that's why I didn't get on. It's lonely having a high IQ." - Felix
"He never even noticed me. I tried so hard to be an average Joe." - Felix
"You know, I watch you all the time, Betty...you're my biggest fan." - Felix, to Betty White