RIP Jack Klugman: 3 Love Lessons From 'The Odd Couple'

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Star Of The Odd Couple Jack Klugman
Opposites may not always attract, but they can get along.

Jack Klugman, star of the 1957 classic film 12 Angry Men, died Monday, survived by his wife Peggy Crosby, his two sons, two stepsons and two grandchildren. He was 90.

Aside from his illustrious film career and rich family life, perhaps Klugman's greatest legacy is his role as the loveable slob Oscar Madison on TV's The Odd Couple, on which he starred opposite the late Tony Randall, who played the insufferably uptight Felix Unger. Oscar and Felix were the unlikeliest roommates — a couple of divorced men living in New York City — with completely clashing personalities, thereby laying the foundation for all of the pair's misadventures and, of course, the sitcom's hilarity.

 

The Odd Couple ran for five years, from 1970 to 1975, and was ahead of its time in many ways. Here are three of its most timeless lessons about love:

1. Home is where the filth is. In season four, when his brother Floyd comes for a visit and tries to convince him to move to Buffalo, Felix feels conflicted. On one hand, Felix is a neat freak and Buffalo is far cleaner than New York City. Also, Floyd offers Felix the opportunity to make a clean break from his irritating roommate. On the other hand, Manhattan — and his apartment with Oscar — is his home. Ultimately, despite Floyd trying to entice Felix with a general manager position at the Unger Gum bubble gum factory, Felix opts to remain in NYC ... offering an important lesson about priorities: At the end of the day, neatness is nice, but friendship is forever. Also, of course, there's no place like home.

2. Friendship comes first. In an episode entitled "Felix Gets Sick," Oscar begrudgingly forgoes his date with a beautiful flight attendant to tend to an ailing Felix, who has come down with the flu. While Oscar's choice to stay home is not the more appealing option, his difficult decision says a lot about the importance of loyalty and personal sacrifice, especially when a close friend is in need.

3. Don't mess with destiny. The fifth episode of the show, which originally aired on October 8, 1970, is called "The Breakup." In it, during a blowout between the roommates, Felix gets on Oscar's last nerve and Oscar kicks Felix out of the apartment. But in Oscar's anger, he underestimates his connection with Felix. For when Felix leaves, Oscar's life goes steeply downhill. Meanwhile, Felix hops from apartment to apartment searching for a new home. Ultimately, the two realize that despite their differences, they need each other. The love lesson here? Don't take your loved ones for granted; you're flawed and annoying in your own way, too.

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