When The Odd Couple appeared on Broadway in March of 1965, Neil Simon was already a fairly well-known playwright. His successful comedy, Come Blow Your Horn, had initiated his Broadway career in 1961 and Barefoot in the Park in 1963 had been an even bigger hit. But The Odd Couple, with its unforgettable pair of mismatched roommates, made Simon a cultural phenomenon, and he subsequently became in his own lifetime the most commercially successful playwright in the history of theatre. After its long run on Broadway, The Odd Couple was turned into a successful film in 1968 and then became a popular television series (on the American Broadcasting Company network) running from 1970 to 1975. Thus, Oscar Madison and Felix Ungar, the "odd couple" of the title, were steadily prominent in the popular entertainment industry for ten years and, as a result, became a part of American culture. Though some may forget which one was "sloppy" and which one "neat," almost everyone understands the phrase "odd couple" as a way of describing a mismatched pair. The television show is still syndicated in reruns, the movie version appears frequently on television, and regional and local theatre groups mount productions of the play with great regularity. In 1985 Simon responded to the continued popularity of his odd pair by writing a female version for Broadway, in which all the characters' genders were reversed. Though not as popular as the original play, this new version helped perpetuate the "odd couple" as one of the most memorable pair of characters in the history of commercial theatre.
Did this raise a question for you?