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Two men, a neat freak and a slob separated from their wives, have to live together despite their differences.
One is neat, one is a slob. Both are divorced and need a place to stay. That’s how fussy photographer Felix Unger and sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison end up sharing a New York City apartment. The arguments are endless but funny; it’s like watching your parents fight.
For the first three seasons, the program’s opening credit sequence consisted of Felix and Oscar in various humorous situations around New York City such as Felix trying to help an old lady cross the street to no avail, Oscar getting his feet on wet cement for ogling a girl with a revealing dress, Oscar eating a hot dog and getting chili on his shirt, and both cavorting around a Maypole.
Halfway through the show’s debut season, a “prologue” was added to the intro, featuring a narration (featuring voice actor Bill Woodson) retelling how Felix and Oscar came to live together:
“On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. (Unger’s unseen wife slams door, only to reopen it and angrily hand Felix his saucepan) That request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that someday, he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his childhood friend, Oscar Madison. Sometime earlier, Madison’s wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?”
This opening narration was apparently added because ABC, fearing the audience would speculate about an homosexual subtext given changing perceptions of masculinity at the time, insisted that the characters’ condition of divorced men had to be mentioned every week. For some reason, it was mentioned Oscar had been thrown out of his home like Felix, when for all intents and purposes, Oscar had lived on the show’s apartment before and during his marriage to Blanche as shown in several episodes.