Three’s Company is an American sitcom that aired from March 15, 1977, to September 18, 1984, on ABC. It is based on the British sitcom, Man About the House.
The story revolves around three single roommates, Janet Wood, Chrissy Snow, and Jack Tripper, who all platonicallyshare Apartment 201 in a Santa Monica, California apartment building owned by Mr. and Mrs. Roper.
Later, followingSuzanne Somers’ departure, Jenilee Harrison joined the cast as Cindy Snow (Chrissy’s cousin), who was later replaced by Priscilla Barnes as Terri Alden. After the Ropers were spun-off into their own sitcom, Don Knotts joined the cast as the roommates’ new landlord Ralph Furley, brother of the new building owner, Bart Furley.
The show, a comedy of errors, chronicles the escapades and hijinks of the trio’s constant misunderstandings, social lives, and struggle to keep up with the rent.
After crashing a party and finding himself passed out in the bathtub, cooking school student Jack Tripper meets Janet Wood, a florist, and Chrissy Snow, a secretary, in need of a new roommate. Having only been able to afford living at the YMCA, Jack quickly accepts the offer to move in with the duo.
However, due to overbearing landlord Stanley Roper’s intolerance for co-ed living situations, even in a multi-bedroom apartment, Jack is allowed to move in only after Janet tells Mr. Roper that Jack is gay.
Although Mrs. Roper figures out Jack’s true sexuality in the second episode, she does not tell her husband, who tolerates but mocks him. Frequently siding with the three roommates instead of her husband, Mrs. Roper’s bond with the roommates grows until the eventual spinoff The Ropers.
Jack continues the charade when new landlord Ralph Furley takes over the apartment complex because Mr. Furley insists that his hard-nosed brother Bart (the building’s new owner) would also never tolerate such living situations.
The show was set minutes from the beach in Santa Monica, California, and was filmed primarily using three main sets: the trio’s apartment, their landlord’s apartment, and a neighborhood pub called The Regal Beagle. In later seasons more sets were used, frequently depicting the apartment of Jack’s friend Larry, Angelino’s restaurant, Jack’s Bistro, the hospital where Terri worked, and Janet’s flower shop.
Humor in the show was based on farce, often relying on innuendo and misunderstanding, as well as physical comedy to punctuate the hare-brained schemes the characters would invariably conjure up to get themselves out of situations and dilemmas.
Running jokes were frequently based on Jack’s (supposed) sexual orientation, Mr. Roper’s lack of sexual prowess, and Chrissy’s blonde moments.
Conflict in the show came from the dysfunctional marriage of the Ropers, Janet’s intolerance for a roommate romance, and later on, Jack’s friendship with Larry and Larry’s abuse thereof.
The theme song was composed by Joe Raposo (known for his composing for the children’s television show Sesame Street), and sung by Ray Charles (not to be confused with the blind R&B musician) and Julia Rinker.
Three’s Company had many cast changes over its run. The first of these changes took place in the spring of 1979 with the relocation of the Ropers to their own television series (The Ropers), which revolved around Helen and Stanley, and their neighbors in a townhouse community after Stanley had sold the apartment building. Man About The House had similarly spun the Ropers off for the series George and Mildred.
Two changes took place in the fall of 1979, at the beginning of the fourth season. The first was the addition of Lana, an older woman who chased Jack around. She liked to pursue him but he did not appreciate her advances.
Since Ann Wedgeworth did not appreciate her diminishing role in the series, Lana was dropped from the show without any explanation before the season was half over.
The other new addition that fall was the new building manager, Ralph Furley (played by Don Knotts), whose brother Bart bought the building from the Ropers. Mr. Furley pursued Lana unsuccessfully, as she unsuccessfully pursued Jack. Unlike Lana, he appeared until the end of the series.
Season five (1980–1981) marked the beginning of contract re-negotiations and sparked friction on the set. When Somers’ demands for a heavily increased salary (from $30,000 to $150,000 per episode, plus 10% of the show’s profits) were not met, Somers went on a strike of sorts.
Executives believed that a complete loss of Somers could damage the program’s popularity so a compromise was reached. Somers, who was still under contract, continued to appear in the series, but only in the one-minute tag scene of a handful of episodes. Somers’ scenes were taped on separate days from the show’s regular taping; she did not appear on set with any of the show’s other cast members.
According to the story, her character had returned to her hometown of Fresno to care for her ailing mother, and was only seen when she telephoned her former roommates, and they recounted that week’s adventures to her. This arrangement continued for one season. Somers’ contract was not renewed and Chrissy’s place in the apartment was taken by her clumsy cousin Cindy Snow (Jenilee Harrison).
Another replacement, Terri Alden (played by Priscilla Barnes), a clever, sometimes sassy nurse, joined the cast in the sixth season (1981–1982). In the script, Cindy was to move to college to fulfill her dream of becoming a veterinarian, and would continue to visit throughout the sixth season.
The show ended with the departure of all cast members except Ritter, who moved on to the spin-off Three’s a Crowd (syndicated as “Threes Company Too” in the Threes Company syndication package), itself based upon Man About the House’s spin-off Robin’s Nest.
After more than 30 years of not speaking to each other, Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt finally made up and reunited for Suzanne’s web series Breaking Through which aired February 2, 2012.
Jack Tripper season 1–8 A clumsy culinary student (later chef, then restaurant owner) from San Diego, Navy veteran, and swinging bachelor. John Ritter
Janet Wood 1–8 Born in Indiana, she is a down-to-earth woman who was also an aspiring dancer. She worked as manager of the “Arcade Flower Shop” and later in the last season as an aerobics instructor. Joyce DeWitt
Chrissy Snow season 1–5 A ditzy secretary from Fresno whose real name is Christmas Snow. Suzanne Somers
Cindy Snow season 5–6 Chrissy’s accident-prone cousin, a secretary and later, veterinary student at UCLA. Jenilee Harrison
Terri Alden 6–8 An intelligent nurse, unlucky in love. Priscilla Barnes
Larry Dallas 1–8 A playboy neighbor, used car salesman, and Jack’s best friend. Richard Kline
Stanley Roper 1–3 A hard-nosed landlord. Norman Fell
Helen Roper 1–3 Stanley’s muumuu-wearing, love-starved wife. Audra Lindley
Ralph Furley 4–8 A goofy, yet friendly, flamboyantly-dressed landlord who fancies himself a ladies’ man. Don Knotts
Lana Shields 4 An older female love-starved neighbor who pursued Jack and was in turn pursued by Mr. Furley. Ann Wedgeworth
SOURCE : Wikipedia.