It's been 50 years since Neil Simon wrote his play "The Odd Couple," the story of two divorced, middle-aged New York men driving each other nuts as roommates. It's an indestructible premise that's been through many incarnations on stage, in movies, and on TV -- the latest is the new "Odd Couple" series starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon as messy Oscar and fussy Felix, debuting Feb. 19 on CBS -- because, as anyone who's ever had a roommate knows, being forced to live in tight quarters with someone whose idiosyncrasies irritate you can be a juicy source of comedy. Though you may not have the perspective to laugh until one of you moves out.
The influence of "The Odd Couple" is extensive, resulting in numerous shows over the years about mismatched tenants who have nothing in common except an electric bill but who nonetheless have to act like a couple or a family. With perspective, we viewers can laugh at characters that we'd barely be able to stand sharing a refrigerator with in real life. Here, then, ranked from worst to best, are 17 of the funniest groups of roommates in TV history.