Anchor Bay // 1977 // 146 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // December 17th, 2003
"Come and knock on our door / We've been waiting for you…"
Welcome to the fun loving 1970s. A time of change. A time of love. A time when two is a crowd and Three's Company! Yes, those wacky '70s roommates are back in Three's Company: Season One. For the first time on DVD, you can revisit some of your favorite sexually charged sitcom characters: the lovable Jack Tripper (the late John Ritter), the levelheaded Janet Dawson (Joyce DeWitt), and the bubbly Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers). And for those of you weren't born during the disco decade you'll be able to discover how these three met. It seems that Jack accidentally fell asleep in Chrissy and Janet's bathtub after a swingin' party. The next morning he wakes up by a cold shower and a proposal: the girls need a new roommate and Jack, being both handsome and a good cook, fits the bill. The only problem is that their landlord, Mr. Roper (the irreplaceable, late Norman Fell), doesn't like the idea of two women living with a man. The answer? Have Jack pretend that he's gay! Wackiness ensues as the roommates attempt to keep Jack's true sexuality a secret. Come and knock on their door, they've been waiting for you, where the kisses are hers and hers and his, Three's Company: Season One, too!
Included on this disc are six episodes from the first season of the show:
* A Man About The House
* And Mother Makes Four
* Roper's Niece
* No Children, No Dogs
* Jack the Giant Killer
* It's Only Money
I guess the only appropriate way to start talking about the show Three's Company is to discuss the genius that was John Ritter. This past weekend I walked out of the black comedy Bad Santa, Ritter's final screen performance. In any other circumstance, I may not have noticed Ritter. Yet because of his sudden death I was almost forced to sit up and take notice -- the guy really was a very funny actor. Even when he was starring in such drivel as the Problem Child series and Bride of Chucky, Ritter's presence always brought the movie up at least one notch. Heck, I can't hide the obvious: I've watched Stay Tuned at least half a dozen times. Watching Three's Company: Season One, it's obvious that Ritter was the only sane choice for Jack Tripper. The character, a sexed-up goofball who loved the ladies as much as a pratfall, fit Ritter like a pair of old worn jeans. He was, without a doubt, the perfect choice for this role.
Ritter aside, Three's Company was just a silly little show that captured America's heart. Though the word "groundbreaking" is thrown around far too often these days, Three's Company was just that: a show that paved the way for such yuk-fests as Married with Children and every other show featuring sex gags and double-entendres. Though the writing and situations were often hysterical, it was really the cast members that made Three's Company a solid hit. While their off-screen battles are legendary, Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers make great foils for Ritter. Not an episode goes by where Jack isn't falling over his own two feet trying to woo Crissy while Janet thwarts his advances (with love, of course). It's rare when a show features three characters who click from the very beginning -- and this was most certainly the case for these sexy, funny clowns. There is, of course, no real way one can review a show like Three's Company. In the 25 years since its airing, it's taken on a life of its own: generations of kids have now grown up with it, even if we didn't really understand all the sex jokes. Hey, boob jokes and a guy falling over a couch are funny, no matter how old you are.
Of course, lest you think I'm forgetting the Ropers -- Jack, Crissy, and Janet's sexually frustrated neighbors. Although they were slightly overshadowed in later years by the arrival of Ralph Furley, played with mugging affection by Don Knotts, Stanley (Fell) and Helen Roper (the late Audra Lindley) were two of the show's most memorable characters, and eventually spun off into their own sitcom. Helen was much more accepting of Jack's sexual proclivities; Stanley always had something to say about it. Take for instance a scene where Mr. Roper is fixing Jack, Janet, and Crissy's doorbell, quipping, "It's too bad your fairy roommate ain't checked in yet. He could fix this without a ladder. Just fly up here." Though by today's PC standards that statement would get the writers, actors, and everyone who worked on the show banned from the film industry, in the 1970s it pulled in a lot of laughs. And to be fair, it's still funny today. It may be slightly mean spirited, but you have to look at it in the context of the 1970s -- a time when homosexuality wasn't as generally accepted as it is today (and hey, if we can't laugh at each other's differences, what can we laugh at?).
In conclusion, Three's Company didn't cure cancer of solve the world's famine troubles. What Three's Company did do was bring a half-hour's worth of laughs into our living rooms and lives that continues on in reruns on Nick at Nite. And what's wrong with that?
Each episode of Three's Company: Season One is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, the original aspect ratio of the show. Here's the good news: Three's Company looks exactly like you remember it when it originally aired on TV! And here's the bad news: Three's Company looks exactly like you remember it when it originally aired on TV! Yes, the video presentation is pretty shoddy: the colors are fairly drab and the overall presentation is murky and bland. Hey, were you expecting anything different? The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono and is exactly what you'd expect: flat and boring. But hey, this is a sex farce from the mid-1970s; were you anticipating THX certified sound? Some distortion exists in the source materials but is never overly intrusive to the viewing. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are included on this disc.
Sadly, Anchor Bay rushed this set out due to John Ritter's untimely demise. Therefore, Three's Company: Season One doesn't include any extra features (save for a paragraph letting you know that part of the proceeds from the sale of the DVD will go to the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation).
Review content copyright © 2003 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 146 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Not Rated