August 12, 2014 10:55 AM EDT

It’s the concept that launched a million lousy pitches. (“He’s an uptight accountant in jail for securities fraud! His cellmate’s a fast-talking pimp! They’re the original odd couple!”) But this classic sitcom made lightning strike twice by casting Tony Randall and Jack Klugman as finicky Felix and slovenly Oscar, fitting the roles as perfectly as Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau did in the film (based on the Neil Simon play). The pair were lonely ex-husbands—at a time when it had just become acceptable to talk about D-I-V-O-R-C-E on TV—slowly, reluctantly realizing their faults and culpability for their problems. Urban, urbane and stagey in the best sense of the word, this sitcom affirmed that opposites could attract an audience. I still don’t forgive it for the Lethal Weapon movies, though.

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