Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon in a scene from the TV series The Odd Couple.
Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon in a scene from the TV series The Odd Couple. Photo Contributed

Sitcoms show their age but plenty to like about Odd Couple

TELEVISION has evolved a lot since Friends debuted more than 20 years ago.

From reality television to second screen viewing and streaming on demand, we have fewer reasons to gather around the screen each week at a set time to enjoy a favourite TV show with family and friends.

So is the classic American sitcom still relevant?

I pondered this as I watched the first episode of The Odd Couple.

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This remake of the '70s original stars Friends' Matthew Perry and Reno 911's Thomas Lennon as two mismatched friends who become reluctant housemates after failed marriages.

Canned laughter has always bothered me. Plenty of sitcoms like Modern Family get by just fine without a laughing track, be it canned or recorded live from a studio audience.

While The Odd Couple is filmed in front of a studio audience, the laughter doesn't feel real or spontaneous.

There's still plenty to like about The Odd Couple, though.

Perry and Lennon are perfectly cast. And there are some great one-liners.

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The dialogue sometimes feels overly rehearsed and, let's be honest, the storyline is little more than a device used purely for stringing jokes together.

I hate to keep comparing The Odd Couple to Modern Family, but the latter embodies the more natural, free-flowing style of sitcom that I like.

Yes, the characters are still playing to stereotypes and everything wraps up neatly in 22 minutes, but at least it's not static.

The actors talk to the camera as if it's a friend or counsellor; the camera moves around and the sets feel more realistic.

The studio-filmed sitcom is not irrelevant just yet, just look at the worldwide popularity of The Big Bang Theory, but it is in danger of looking stiff and contrived next to its younger and more free-flowing counterparts.