Neil Simon’s diametrically different poker buddies, sloppy Oscar Madison and neatfreak Felix Unger, remind us that the odder the couple, the greater the attraction.

Some of TV’s classic odd couples have broken sociological ground. The easy banter between Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott, coupled with their crisp secret agent professionalism, rendered any racial difference between the I-Spying pals utterly irrelevant.

Sassy Christine Cagney and proper Mary Beth Lacey proved audiences could care about friends who were women first and women cops second, while Will Truman and Grace Adler demonstrated the pianowire-strong bond between gay men and their straight BFFs.

One constant in the lives of TV’s indelible duos is an absence of sexuality. Many an attractive pair have kept their series’ boat afloat through flirting, only to see it founder the moment the attraction was consummated. By contrast, Dana Scully managed to have a baby by Fox Mulder while leaving viewers wondering whether the intense, intellectually sparring X-Files team had ever in fact been intimate.

TV’s most beloved odd couple marriage may have been that of irascible George Jefferson and patient, loving wife Weezy. He gave her creature comforts and she gave him class, and carnality just never became part of the conversation.

Emmy Commemorative 2012
Critic says ‘MASH’ top show of character
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