Three's Company

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by ClassyCo, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I love this show! I have recently watched the E! True Hollywood Story about Three's Company today, so I figured I would start this thread to discuss the it.

    Any thoughts? Any fans out there?

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  2. Grant Jennings

    Grant Jennings Soap Chat Active Member

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    Very much a show of its time; it was supposedly risque' but it's actually rather tame. I think the show owes much of its success to the cast who (for the most part) were much better than the writing. John Ritter, Norman Fell and Audra Lindley were all very talented actors. I think Joyce DeWitt did as well as anyone could with a thankless role. Suzanne Somers got lucky, any halfway decent buxom blonde actress could probably have played her role just as well, if not better. I never understood how Somers was considered a sex symbol - DeWitt was much prettier.
     
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  3. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I watched it as a child, so the physical comedy was more of a draw than the sexual innuendo that went right over my head. But even as a child, I often wondered how the characters managed to have so many foolish misunderstandings simply because of a mis-heard sentence or false assumption about a situation. The plots (if you can call them that) were so repetitive that you HAD to gravitate toward loving the characters in order to tolerate it.

    I liked the slapstick-y quality of Stanley and Helen Roper, so it was quite a revelation to see some older (late-1960s) clips of the soap opera Another World with Audra Linley playing Liz Matthews, a humorless, manipulative, bitchy busybody who tried to run all her family members' lives (think a bloodthirsty Marie Barone). The wisecracking, caftan-wearing Helen Roper is like a retirement-bound Peggy Bundy, trying to get her lump of a husband in the mood for something more than TV.
     
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  4. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    I don't think I've seen this series, but I remember the original version Man About The House, and I often found it very ooh-la-la.
     
  5. Canon

    Canon Soap Chat Fan

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    I'm currently watching Season 5. Jenilee Ewing has arrived and is very amusing*, she plays really well against dear John Ritter.

    *I was going to say very funny but amusing is probably about as good as Three's Company gets.

    TC.jpg
     
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  6. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I'll agree the performances generally out-weighed the writing. I've always thought Janet was prettier than Chrissy, too, especially by Season 4 when her hair was cut shorter.
    The plots were pretty paper thin, so yes you did have to care for the characters for the show itself to keep your interest.
    Jenilee Harrison was apparently ABC's attempt to duplicate their success with Suzanne Somers. Evidently, some of the scripts that had already been written before Harrison was hired were still used, but with "Chrissy" crossed out and "Cindy" penned in. This is why the two Snow cousins had similar personalities; the writers wanted the same ditsy blonde role and Cindy was a simplistic filler. Also, some of Chrissy's gags were slated over to Mr. Furley (Don Knotts).

    Of course, I'm sure you all already knew that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
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  7. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Based on looks alone, I have always leaned towards Jenilee Harrison (as Cindy Snow) being the prettiest. While Joyce DeWitt and Priscilla Barnes were certainly attractive, Harrison's looks outshine theirs. (In my opinion, anyways.)
     
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  8. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Also, I'm a very fond of the first block of Season Four episodes, especially those featuring Ann Wedgeworth as Lana Shields, the attractive tenant who has her eyes set on Jack. I love their camping episode, and others. Although I understand the reasons Wedgeworth was "let go", I must admit I would have liked it had she stuck around.
     
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  9. Canon

    Canon Soap Chat Fan

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    Yes, that's apparent from watching these episodes. Although Cindy doesn't seem as dim as Chrissy, she's more clumsy and accident prone which gives many opportunities for Ritter's physical comedy. Chrissy started off as the ditsy blonde but became increasingly buffoonish as the series went on, by S4 you'd half expect Janet to have her euthanised.

    Apparently Ritter disliked this whole scenario as he felt a guy like Jack would never turn down a woman as attractive and seductive as Wedgeworth's Lana.
     
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  10. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it is quite apparent from the episodes. Cindy did somehow seem "smarter" than Chrissy, to say the least. Her klutzy demeanor did setup many a physical comedy bit. I recall Jenilee Harrison saying in an interview that she and John Ritter would wear pads under their clothes to prevent any possible injury from their stunts. Chrissy did become more and more dingy and simply dumb as her tenure lingered on. In her last few appearances, she was perhaps at her worst. In saying all that, however, ABC seemed quite aware that Suzanne Somers was one of their biggest drawing cards. Supposedly, they tried their best to keep her around; they kept her on to do the "tags" at the end and kept her in the opening credits. With this, one is generally led to believe that the producers hoped everything would work out with Somers, that she would come back, and Harrison would be quickly written out. As we know, none of this happened, Somers was gone, Harrison was back-burnered, and Priscilla Barnes came on.

    I have heard John Ritter and Ann Wedgeworth both say in interviews that Ritter wasn't too thrilled about Lana's story-arc. He and Wedgeworth got along well, but he just couldn't fathom how a guy as womanizing as Jack could refuse Lana's advances. Wedgeworth, on the other hand, was hurt by the writers' diminishing her role; apparently she didn't know what was going on. The only thing I hate is she was written off without any reason; the same happened with Cindy a year later.
     
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  11. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Just in case you don't already know, Three's Company was based on the British sitcom, Man About the House, which had the grooviest theme tune:

     
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  12. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    The show took a sh(t when Season 04 started and Chrissy went to the platinum blonde and her IQ dropped to a single digit. 01-03 Chrissy wasn't like that. The hole the Ropers departure left never was filled properly, either.

    The late Wedgeworth said that Sommers and DeWitt were total bitches to her offscreen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  13. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Season 4 did offer a shift for the show in general, especially concerning Chrissy. The Ropers were missed, but I personally loved Mr. Furley, and in some instances, I'm sure I preferred him over those prior.

    I know I've heard Wedgeworth wasn't welcomed by all of the cast. Evidently DeWitt and Somers felt her role was too big, which I'm sure contributed to her dwindling prominence, along with the writers' loosing interest in her.
     
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  14. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I always got the impression that a lot of the backstage problems (even those that bled onto the screen) were instigated by the producers, as if they enjoyed pitting the stars against one another in a "boys club" sort of way. It's been a long time since I saw the E! True Hollywood Story documentary that was made about Three's Company, but one part that really stuck in my mind was how the producers were so eager to create and produce a spin-off (which became the DOA Three's A Crowd) that they basically shoved DeWitt and Barnes out the door without so much as a "thank you". Though Barnes was a bit newer to the show, DeWitt had been with them from the beginning and was totally disrespected at the end in favor of making the new show all about Ritter/Jack...as if he had been the only "draw" of the show. Neither of them deserved such treatment, and I don't recall Ritter ever coming to their defense.
     
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  15. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I haven't read anything about Ritter defending them, either. DeWitt was hurt considerably by the treatment, and reasonably so. She had been one of the show's mainstays. Barnes, however, wasn't as upset. She apparently had wanted off the show shortly after her arrival, but her three-year deal rendered her enable to exit. As the story goes, Don Knotts and Richard Kline were offered recurring roles on the spin-off, but both declined. (I think Kline showed up once or twice, though.)

    This is something that suddenly popped into my head... What if Ann Wedgeworth had came back on the show, but this time married to Jack's father-in-law? (Keep in mind, I know nothing about the spin-off beyond its title and a bit of its back story.)
     
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  16. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Well problems were arising even before Somers' exited when DeWitt was absent from the episode, "Roper's Hotline."

    She said on record that she had refused to say some dialog and was banned from it.

    TPTB tricked Fell and Lindley into starting in their own spinoff, then abandoned them when it failed. I always felt that Furley screamed homosexual and found it funny when he would criticize Jack. No, Ritter was a whipped wuss and never stood up for anyone, but he got his karma when his own spinoff tanked when it became obvious that Jack was NOT the only draw to the show, oh yeah, and that fatal heart attack thing.........
     
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  17. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I didn't know about the pre-Somers exit problems, but that certainly makes sense. I'm sure there were worries about the Ropers being spun off, and how the new landlord would suffice. (Keeping in mind they weren't sure of the replacement at the time.) Norman Fell had a deal with ABC that if the spin-off didn't last more than a single season, he could return to the parents series. As the story has it, the network deliberately had the show run a season-and-a-half so Fell and Audra Lindley wouldn't be able to return to the apartment building. By the time the spin-off tanked, Don Knotts had successfully filled the shoes vacated by Fell and Lindley, and more cheaply I would imagine. (For the price of one I'd say.) Fell was upset about the treatment, but he and Lindley did one guest shot in Season 5 after Somers was already replaced by Jenilee Harrison.

    It seems the producers underestimated their "draws" of the show. It survived the exits of Norman Fell, Audra Lindley, and Suzanne Somers, all while remaining in the Top Ten of the ratings during that time frame. In 1979, I believe it was close to being TV's highest-rated (right behind Laverne & Shirley?) with it's ratings being the highest they had ever been. It was still at #6 when Priscilla Barnes was brought in and Jenilee Harrison was phased out. By the time Season 8 rolled around and the idea of a spin-off was on the table, only John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt (I'll toss in Richard Kline, too) were still around from the original clique. The failure of the continuation spin-off show proved that Ritter wasn't the draw they thought, or so it seems. Maybe his antics were tired? That's possible. But maybe TPTB underestimated the heart DeWitt brought to the table? Yes, I believe they did. She was a mainstay that was treated shabbily and it showed.
     
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  18. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    It was amazing that the show managed to keep such high ratings with the same formula every single episode. I recall that when the show went in to syndicated reruns, they always cut out the final "tag" with Somers in it so she couldn't get residuals!
     
  19. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    SS still seemed "dismissive" here, IMHO.....

     
  20. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    What I find ridiculous is that, when the show began, it was the late 1970's and everyone was f#cking everyone. Even Mrs. Roper wanted every one of her orifices pounded on a 24/7 basis, yet Janet and Chrissy's hymens remained magically intact. Please.......
     

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