Anchor Bay // 1981 // 550 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 11th, 2006
Two hot women, one straight man pretending to be gay, and Don Knotts.
Based on the original overseas series entitled "Man of the House," Three's Company continues to follow the comedic and often sexual exploits of a few tenants inside a cozy coastal apartment building. Specifically, roommates Jack Tripper (the late John Ritter of Eight Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter), the bubble-headed blonde Chrissy Snow (Step by Step's Suzanne Somers in her final season on the show), and level-headed Janet Wood (Joyce De Witt). As roommates, they're nothing more than platonic best friends, but their landlord, Ralph Furley (Don Knotts, The Andy Griffith Show), must be made to think that Jack is a gay man living with two heterosexual women or he'll be shoved out the door faster than Disco Stu at an AC/DC concert. While keeping up their ruse, Jack and company get a crash course in dating, sex, cooking, dating, sex, friendship, dating, sex, pratfalls, more sex, and a little sex topped off with sex. It's side splitting fun with more double entendres than you can stack a 1970s disco globe at when two's a crowd and Three's Company!
I watched Three's Company when I was a kid and laughed, but most likely for all the wrong reasons. Maybe wrong is not the correct word -- different is better. Much like The Simpsons, Three's Company is funny for adults in a different way than it is funny for kids. When Jack Tripper would fall down or flip over the couch, it was funny for a ten-year-old boy. When Jack and Janet are in the bedroom, door closed, trying to squeeze her into a dress while Mr. Furley stands outside the door hearing things like, "It won't fit, it's too tight!" well, that's humorous for a much different and altogether sleazier reason. Such was the paradoxical and very amusing loop of Three's Company.
It's been decades -- decades, can you believe it?!? -- since the show went off the air. Yet it's still as beloved as ever because it did something that many sitcoms forget to do: it had fun with the characters and situations presented to the audience. Three's Company never tried to be anything more than what it was, a silly sex farce. The late John Ritter will go down as one of the small screen's funniest comedians, and it is well deserved. In this fifth season of Three's Company, he's still at the top of his game even as inevitable changes permeate the series. It was during this season that Suzanne Somers's Chrissy Snow left the show and introduced Chrissy's ditzy cousin Cindy, played (better than expected) by Jenilee Harrison. Okay, so that's not THAT big of a change, but for a little goofy sitcom like Three's Company it's a heavy does of newness.
By the fifth season, Mr. And Mrs. Roper (Norman Fell and Audra Lindley) are long gone and replaced by the bug-eyed Mr. Ralph Furley (a manic, wonderful Don Knotts), a character who will long be remembered once my generation is in the ground. This is due to the fact that Don Knotts is a master of mugging for the camera. I dare you to try and not laugh at his rubber face and blustering asides. For those who missed the Roper clan, they make a surprise return engagement during the season.
If you've been collecting each season of this show, you'll be happy to know that this fifth season is everything you'd expect from a show that laughed at sex before AIDS came onto the scene and made everyone's sexual funny bone brittle. How can you not love a lovable loser like Larry Dallas (Richard Kline) and his goofy attempts at bedding any woman that walks the earth? One Halloween I went as Larry in an attempt to score with the ladies. I didn't, which only reiterates why we need Three's Company on DVD: so folks like me can live vicariously through their exploits. Here's to casual sex and bell-bottom pants!
Each of the 22 episodes on Three's Company: Season Five are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. Okay everyone, get ready to be blown away by, oops, sorry, thought I was talkin' about CSI. Three's Company, on the other hand, looks worn and dated, which isn't surprising considering the time period and budget of the show. While this is the best the show has ever looked, I can't say it's all that great. Some of the colors appear faded, and the black levels are not as solid as they could be. Otherwise, this show looks just like I remember it: mediocre.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono in English. Although I am sorely disappointed that I won't get to hear "Come and Knock on my Door" in DTS 6.1 Surround, I can live with this rather flat, uninspired sound mix (due in part to the show's budget and age, not Anchor Bay's work on each mix). Most aspects of the track are free of any excessive hiss or distortion. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are available on this set.
The extra features on this four-disc set are rather slim. Aside from some "Best Of" moments for various characters from the show (including Jack, Janet, Chrissy, Larry, and Mr. Furley), also included is a short interview with then-newcomer Jenilee Harrison discussing her time on the show (and still looking quite foxy), as well as interviews with producers George Sunga and George Burditt and writer Kim Weiskoff in the short featurette "Of Farce and Censors."
Review content copyright © 2006 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: 550 Minutes
Release Year: 1981
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Jenilee Harrison Interview
* "Of Farce and Censors"
* Best of Janet: Season Five
* Best of Furley: Season Five
* Best of Larry: Season Five
* Best of Chrissy: Season Five
* Best of Jack: Season Five