Three’s Company Too: Remembering The Television Sit-Com Three’s Company
This lighthearted situation comedy aired on the American Broadcasting Company, ABC from 1977 to 1984. It was a very popular show which was derived from a British sitcom entitled Man About the House.
The plot was built on the comedy of errors that occurs when you have two young adult women who room with a young adult male in a two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, CA. Each episode usually opened with a misunderstanding of some sort. By episode end “the big secret”, or miscommunication would be resolved and all would be well.
Another interesting facet of the plot was the fact that the landlord of the apartment building lived on site and would not let the threesome live together if he knew that the male roomie was heterosexual. As a result of this “secret” countless story lines have streamed forth.
John Ritter portrays “Jack Tripper”, a professional cook who later goes on to own a restaurant. He is a physical actor who often employs physical comedy into his portrayal which keeps the viewers in stitches.
Joyce DeWitt portrays “Janet Wood”, a florist who provides the practical side of the household events.
Suzanne Somers portrays “Chrissy Snow” a secretary who is portrayed as dim-witted, sweet and innocent.
“Mr. Stanley Roper”, the apartment building’s meddling, but straight-laced landlord is portrayed by Norman Fell.
“Mrs. Helen Roper” is his affection-deprived wife who knows the truth about the threesome but decides to keep their secret is portrayed by Audra Lindley.
Suzanne Somers left the series after five years when her request for a salary increase from earning $30,000 an episode to $150,000 an episode along with 10% of the profits from the show was rejected. Instead of honoring her demands the network executives decided to let her finish her existing contract by moving her character back to Fresno, CA. She appeared alone during the tag fragment of the show. Chrissy, Jack and Janet would be depicted on the phone with one another in order to catch-up on current events. Suzanne Somers never appeared on set with the main characters again.
It was very controversial when Suzanne Somers left Three’s Company because the split had become a feminist issue. She wanted to make more money due in part to her contention that John Ritter earned more money. Chrissy’s character was portrayed to be a “dumb blonde”. Upon Chrissy’s departure another “dumb” or “absent-minded blonde” character took her place, her cousin “Cindy”.
Spinoff, Of A Spinoff, Of A Spinoff
John Ritter had an unsuccessful spinoff series entitled Three’s A Crowd (in syndication it was called Three’s Company, Too), where he lived alone in the apartment. This spinoff was also patterned after its British predecessor Robin’s Nest which was the spinoff of Man About The House.
The characters that portrayed the Ropers also enjoyed a spinoff, of the same name which was short-lived. This series was a copycat of the British spinoff of Man About The House, titled, George and Mildred.