91. "The New Car," The Odd Couple (1973)
Welcome to the “100 Best Sitcom Episodes of All Time,” a countdown for winter 2012. Each episode will get a separate blog post, counting backward toward No. 1. A list of the programs revealed so far is here and an introduction to the project is here.
Update: Read my appreciation of The Odd Couple for the A.V. Club here.
"The New Car" is what I call a Twonky episode, named after the 1953 schlock film about a new TV set that terrorizes its owner (see clip at bottom of post). In our last post, we learned from sitcoms that changing one's appearance is a bad idea. This time, the lesson is that adding any object bigger than a breadbox to one's household is a bad idea, and the object must be banished by the end of the episode.
It's happened with a motorcycle on The Dick Van Dyke Show, "Barney's First Car" on The Andy Griffith Show, a fish tank on Everybody Loves Raymond, and a piano on Will & Grace. It even happened with a $2,000 toilet on Raising Hope. (I thought the Chance Family deserved to keep that one; it's not like it messed up the set design of the show.)
As in other roommate sitcoms, the pair are at each other's throats before they realize that they actually have a perfect relationship — as long as they keep out anything new (cars, diets, girlfriends) that might upset their delicate balance.
Only parts of "The New Car" are on YouTube, but the garage scene below is typical for The Odd Couple, which used a parade of abrasive New Yorkers to make the point that Oscar and Felix could really only count on each other.
Felix: I'm a softie. If I weren't this kind of guy, I'd move out of here because of this.