11 Mai 2007

JTS Commentary, Part III (Three's Company)

As a hopelessly nerdy but horny prepubescent lad in the late 1970s, I loved Three's Company. Lusting after Chrissy, Jenilee Harrison and the various other beauties who appeared from time to time, I harbored fantasies of what would await me in a few years. (Little did I know that AIDS would hit. Or that my social skills would remain incorrigibly dreadful.) It didn't matter that the sight gags were recycled or as old as the hills, because the cast had excellent timing. And, at least until things got serious with Jack's opening his own restaurant, TC's overall tone was light-hearted and carefree. The advent of the restaurant disrupted this chemistry principally because that Mr. Antolino was so unpleasant. The Ropers were absolutely hilarious; Norman Fell's deadpanning was priceless, and Mrs. Roper's sexual frustration seemed entirely believable. Don Knotts' arrival did not weaken the ensemble. Certainly his character was different from those of the Ropers, but Mr. Furley's bravado and blustering were also entertaining, in their own way. John Ritter displayed quite a knack for true physical humor. I especially remember an episode in which Jack is trying to flex his wrist after suffering some kind of injury. Roper walks in at just the right moment and intones, "You guys have to practice that?" No way could you get away with that in today's humorless PC world. So what if the writing wasn't the wittiest? This was, for the most part, a sweet, charming and entertaining show.