I started to write a segment named My Top 10 Favorite TV Sitcoms. This list is not a 10th to 1st countdown. I believe it is impossible to choose the best show ever created. Each sitcom I mention brings their own incredible dose of comedy. I started my list by exploring Sanford and Son. In this article, I will share with you the genius that is John Ritter and the show Three’s Company.
I believe that there is nothing more fresh and funny on TV than Three’s Company. A cast that included Suzanne Somers, Joyce DeWitt, Audra Lindley, Norman Fell, Don Knotts, and countless other funny actors and actresses, Three’s Company always had enough physical comedy and witty comments to last 8 years.
John Ritter was such a sweet person, and his kindness shined through this show more than anywhere else. There was truly no off switch in this talented person. He found ways to be the lead but not be overbearing. This is really hard to do in any field. His genius lied in not taking over scenes when the other actresses or actors had a chance to shine. Mr. Ritter cared about the overall scene and picture. When John felt like the actresses Joyce DeWitt (Janet Wood) and Suzanne Somers (Chrissy Snow) needed a little cheer, he would give an incredible moment where they would burst out laughing. Not only was he a great ensemble actor, but John Ritter could hold any scene on his own. Just give him the freedom to improvise and my goodness would you get a chance to see comedic greatness. Amazingly enough, all the scripts that he did seemed fresh as well. You could not tell when he was improvising and when he was strict to the script.
At the time (1976-1984), it was a taboo to have two girls and a guy living together. To show it on TV was even more risky. Even though there were many sexual innuendos, never was there dirtiness or demeaning towards people. The themes were always genuinely fun and the youthful banter between friends had a hilarious tone. Nobody was better than Audra Lindley (Mrs. Roper) delivering “snide” remarks towards Norman Fell (Stanley Roper). It never felt like she was demeaning men, but Mrs. Roper was just so disappointed in his completely unromantic self. The script writers on Three’s Company did a much better job here than Married with Children, which consistently kept demeaning each other’s sex. On Three’s Company, everything was correct. Stanley was uncaring to her needs and deserved her remarks. But never did you feel that she didn’t love Stanley. Mrs. Roper was always sweet and ready to “trick” him into fun things. All very innocently. Beautifully…
The two ladies, Joyce DeWitt and Suzanne Somers, performed masterfully. You could truly see how well everyone blended in with one another. Joyce DeWitt played Janet Wood, who was a florist, the geeky kind of pretty girl that sadly many pass through. Suzanne Somers played Chrissy Snow, a receptionist, who every guy wanted to be with, the blonde bombshell. No matter how many times Jack Tripper (John Ritter’s character on the show) tried to hook up with them, something would always mess it up for him, which was a good thing. You didn’t want that build up to fizzle. It always reminded me of the cartoon Tom and Jerry. You’d think eventually Tom would catch Jerry after so many failures. But, if that would have happened, Tom and Jerry ceases to exist.
Three’s Company was filled with memorable moments: 1. Mrs. Roper entering the kid’s apartment after working for a day, 2. Jack Tripper dancing at a party, 3. Dr. Miller, played by the great Jeffrey Tambor, looking more insane than his patients, and numerous such incredible scenes. No matter who was the guest star, they never looked out of place. You could truly believe they all came from one planet.
If I ever need to laugh, as many times before, this is the ultimate show I go to. Three’s Company has helped me numerous times not to get into a depression, which shows how much positive energy this show gave. Thankfully, on Amazon, you can still watch this incredible show on DVD. Here is the complete set: