Neil Simon is a playwright of such famous works as “Barefoot in the Park” and “The Odd Couple.” I’m a fan of both works because they have the simple premise of pitting opposites against each other. The results are entertaining and funny.
Barefoot in the Park
In “Barefoot in the Park” a young, newly married couple, madly in love, move into a Greenwich Village apartment to begin married life. All is going well until a night on the town when the extroverted wife (Corie Bratter) is upset that her introverted husband (Paul Bratter) won’t let loose and paint the town red. He’s more worried about getting some sleep and starting his law career.
To counterbalance the young married couple, we have two older folks, one who acts old, and the other who acts young. So we have in terms of “real age” and “acted age” these four combinations:
Young/young (the wife)
Young/old (the husband)
Old/old (the wife’s mother)
Old/young (the eccentric male neighbor)
I see the wife as Aries and the husband as Capricorn. Aries is an impulsive, headstrong cardinal fire sign ruled by Mars, the god of war. Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign, practical, serious and stable. It likes to be authority, such as becoming a lawyer.
After a night on the town, the Aries wife gets angry that the Capricorn husband won’t relax, get drunk and have some fun. He’s so boring and unspontaneous, in fact, that he won’t walk barefoot in the park in winter.
The wife then has a bit of Aries impulsiveness and wants a divorce. It resolves, of course, with a happy ending with the Capricorn husband loosening his tie and the Aries wife realizing that stability has its merits.
The older couple also has some realizations. The stuffy mother realizes she can spend one night without worrying about her ulcer and the eccentric neighbor accepts he’s not 20 years anymore but can still enjoy life in a more mellow way.
The Odd Couple
In the very famous “The Odd Couple,” we have two divorced men trying to live together. Oscar Madison is a relaxed sports writer who is irresponsible and self-indulgent.
Oh, and he’s messy.
Felix Ungar is the opposite – a neat nick, picky, demanding, hypochondriacal and critical.
I see Madison as a Sagittarius, a mutable fire sign and Unger as a Virgo, a mutable earth sign. Virgo Ungar nags Sagittarius Madison about some things in life that Sagittarians rarely worry about – what to have for dinner, cigarette ashes on the floor, mud tracks on the carpet and burnt meatloaf.
Sagittarius is not one to cry over spilled milk or a burnt meatloaf.
Virgo, ever the perfectionist, can’t serve a burnt meatloaf to guests and can’t go out to dinner because money has already been spent on meatloaf.
Of course it all heats up into a big blowout with Madison walking on the drapes and Ungar running away, apron on, ladle in hand. And, of course, they learn a little of each other’s’ ways which betters both men.
As an aside, “Two and a Half Men” is simply “The Odd Couple” with more modern “bad boy” and “good boy” habits inserted. This theme still sells!
Not surprising, Simon has a few opposites in his chart.
Simon’s sun is in Cancer, a cardinal water sign known for its shyness and extreme sensitivity. His moon is in mutable earth sign Virgo, the Felix Unger sign of perfection which is accompanied by over-concern for health and neatness. Virgo is also shy, being the sign of servitude. Who can have a big ego and be a servant?
Neither Cancer nor Virgo picks a fight in a bar.
Fire signs pick fights in bars (or while you’re driving on vacation or while you’re at the movies or any other inconvenient place).
Simon has a grand fire trine with Jupiter/Uranus in Aries, Mercury in Leo and Saturn in Sagittarius. In addition to this exact trine, Simon has Mars, Neptune and Venus in Leo.
That’s a lot of fire to have inside of a Cancer/Virgo shell. I wonder if all that fire inside creates skin eruptions of some sort.
Clearly the opposites Simon writes so well about exist in his own psyche. His psyche may be dueling as do his characters. And, hopefully, like his characters each side of Simon sees the need of the other side. From the humor of his writings, I suspect Simon can see the humor of his own opposites.
Simon is currently experiencing a Uranus return. This Uranus return triggers the energy of that grand fire trine.
I’m guessing he’s out doing something extroverted.