Come and knock on our door!
Come and knock on our door!
We've been waiting for you!
We've been waiting for you!
Where the kisses are hers and hers are his, Three's Company too!

A hugely successful television sitcom in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Three's Company pushed the envelope. Today, shows rife with sexual innuendo and double-entendres run rampant, but when Three's Company made its debut in 1977, this was unheard of. Religious leaders and morality critics were all over it and helped to make it a success by drawing more and more attention to it.

The basic story is of a man with two female roommates having to pretend he is gay so that the landlord will not throw him out. This concept is certainly obsolete today, as roommates of different sexes are plentiful and accepted as normal by most people. However, when Jack Tripper (played by John Ritter) moves in with Janet Wood (played by Joyce DeWitt) and Chrissy Snow (played by Suzanne Somers) in an apartment near the beach in Santa Monica, we have the kind of controversial eye candy that reeled in viewers back in the day.

Augmenting the cast and adding comedic elements were the Ropers, played by Norman Fell and Audra Lindley. Mr. Roper has to remain convinced that Jack is gay so that the roommates can continue their adventures even though his wife knows the truth. Mr. Roper's timely remarks about Jack's sexuality, which would be seen as politically incorrect in today's climate, are highlights mostly because they draw attention to how blind Roper is to the truth each time he makes his little "tinkerbell" gesture. The Ropers eventually moved out and into their own show, leaving our trio in the hands of Mr. Furley, played by Don Knotts, a wannabe swinger who has no idea how foolish he really looks and acts. With Furley, the "I'm gay so it is okay for me to live in an apartment with two attractive women" gags continue.

Also in the mix was Larry Dallas, played by Richard Kline. As Jack's used car salesman buddy who is constantly looking to score with the chicks, Larry became the "Lenny and Squiggy" or Kramer of Three's Company making impromptu visits to deliver oddball lines, ridiculous boasts and hopelessly misguided plots. He was the character for whom the audience would burst into spontaneous applause for.

The show lasted eight seasons before being dropped in 1984 and replaced by the failed follow up series, Three's a Crowd in which Jack gets married and the jokes get stale. Before then, however, there was a merry mix of characters and storylines that kept the show afloat. First, there was the much documented departure of Suzanne Somers. Wanting more money and a share of the profits, she was dropped from the show not long after she and John Ritter were featured on the cover of Newsweek and the show turned into a national sensation. Following her in what became a matter of "plugging in new blonde roommate" were Jenilee Harrison as Cindy Snow, supposedly Chrissy Snow's cousin, who was more of a ditz than Chrissy and tried to base her comedic existence around clumsy pratfalls. Then came Priscilla Barnes as Terri Alden, a nurse who actually had a functioning brain and was perhaps a response to critics of the "dumb blonde" philosophy. One also cannot forget Ann Wedgeworth as Lana, the scary middle-aged single woman in the apartment complex that wanted to get horizontal with our hero Jack so badly she practically drooled in his presence. Of course, Mr. Furley had the serious warm fuzzies for Lana, creating an ongoing comedy love triangle where Lana wanted Jack, Mr. Furley wanted Lana and Jack pretended he wanted Mr. Furley.

Most of the show happened in and around the apartment complex where most of the cast lived, although the Regal Beagle, a local watering hole and meet market, was also key in many of the story lines. Jack's efforts at becoming a chef were also featured prominently, through many different jobs cooking and working for at least mildly psychotic bosses, eventually ending with the opening of Jack's Bistro. Alas, after a strong run, Three's Company pretty much outlived its usefulness and by the time it was cancelled in 1984 it had managed to become completely dated.

Thanks to Sitcoms Online
and a seemingly endless supply of Three's Company fan sites
for research assistance
although most of this seems to be trapped as memories in my brain.