I don’t have any guilty pleasures, because I don’t even accept the concept — I like what I like and make no apologies for it. But if I did have any, one would me my addiction to TV game shows that are Too Frivolous To Be Taken Seriously — “Family Feud,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Card Sharks,” “Hollywood Squares”; I’ll put down the “Remembrance of Things Past” or “The History of Civilization” that I’m reading in a heartbeat to get sucked into one of those diversions. Only my best friends know that “Jeopardy” — at which I excel, naturally — is not my only game show.
One of my favorites was the 1970s show “The Match Game,” with Gene Rayburn controlling the staged frivolity with that silly, long-neck microphone. One of the mainstays of that show, Brett Somers, has just died. I knew, from some of her asides on the show, whom she was married to and that it probably wasn’t the greatest union in the world. But I didn’t know this:
Somers married actor Jack Klugman, the future star of the television shows “Quincy” and “The Odd Couple,” in 1953. The two separated in 1974, but never divorced.
They made many television appearances as a couple. Somers appeared on several episodes of “The Odd Couple,” playing the ex-wife of Klugman’s character.
Separated but never divorced. These days, that seems almost so traditional that it would be Republican-pirmary-friendly.
“The Odd Couple,” by the way, was one of those shows like “M*A*S*H,” in which the TV version went far beyond the movie in scope and execution. “Quincy,” on the other hand, ended up sucking. In the last couple of seasons, Klugman gave these excrutiating liberal lectures to the camera about this or that evil that the government had to address, much like the excrutiating conservative lectures to the camera by Jack Webb in the second incarnation of “Dragnet” about those who insist on self-destruction despite government’s best efforts.