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THREE'S COMPANY
Season Six

Review by Ed Nguyen

Stars: John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Priscilla Barnes, Jenilee Harrison, Don Knotts, Richard Kline
Directors: Dave Powers, Bill Hobin, Don Nicholl, Michael Ross, Bernard West, et al.
Audio: English
Subtitles: English close-captions
Video: Color, full-screen
Studio: Anchor Bay
Features: "The Best of Three's Company," director commentary, "Laughs Around the World," article
Length: 650 minutes
Release Date: March 7, 2006

"You'll see that life is a ball again, laughter is calling for you,

Down at our rendezvous, Three's Company too!"

Episodes ****

At last!  This is the season that all true Three's Company fans have been waiting for!  After five uproarious seasons with Jack Tripper and his two female roommates, Three's Company would peak with its sixth season, which introduced new roommate Terri Alden.

Three's Company originally aired for eight seasons on broadcast television from the mid-70's until the early-80's.  This sitcom followed the misadventures of aspiring cook Jack Tripper (John Ritter) and his two roommates, sensible brunette Janet Wood (Joyce Dewitt) and bubble-headed blonde Chrissy Snow.  Although the show's premise was certainly daring for its time, Jack and Janet and Chrissy maintained a purely platonic relationship; they simply shared the same apartment to cut down on living expenses.  Despite this, all three were under constant surveillance by ever-vigilant landlord Mr. Roper, who only allowed this unusual living arrangement under the mistaken assumption that Jack was gay.  Naturally, this situation teemed with comic potential, and Three's Company thrived upon a never-ending succession of precarious close calls with the landlord, misunderstandings between the roommates, and romantic escapades for Jack, his best pal Larry (Richard Kline), and a regular parade of buxom bombshells.

As the series progressed, the Ropers were replaced eventually by new landlord Ralph Furley (Don Knotts), a self-deceived "ladies' man."  By the fifth season, Chrissy would return home to care for her ailing mother, to be replaced by her klutzy cousin, Cindy (Jenilee Harrison).  However, with the opening of Season Six, Cindy would herself move to the UCLA campus to pursue her career ambition of becoming a veterinarian, although she would frequently pop by the apartment to chat with her friendly former roomies.  Of course, Cindy's departure left Jack and Janet with another roommate dilemma, one which would have to be resolved quickly before Mr. Furley threw Jack and Janet out on their ears for failing to pay the rent!  Read on below for the on-going mayhem and antics from one of television's most beloved-70's sitcoms.

1) Jack Bares All

"If a chef can't handle a cut, he can't cut it as a chef!"

By now, Jack Tripper has received his cooking school diploma.  However, his new gig as the head chef at Angelino's is in frequent jeopardy, since Jack is regularly fired for some incompetence only to be re-hired again out of desperation by Mr. Angelino.  Jack's troubles are not eased by the goofily conniving Felipe (Gino Conforti), the kitchen's salad man who wants to become head chef himself and continually works out new schemes to get Jack fired.

In this episode, a recently re-hired Jack accidentally nicks his finger with a kitchen knife.  While being treated for his minor wound at the local hospital, he encounters a no-nonsense young nurse who pooh-poohs Jack's dramatics over such an insignificant injury.

In the meantime, roommate Janet has been searching for a new roommate, and who should she decide to choose but this very same nurse, Terri Alden, much to Jack's chagrin!

This episode features the season's new opening credits sequence, staged at the Los Angeles Zoo.

2) Terri Makes Her Move

"I don't wanna cool it, I'm cooking!"

Terri may have a heart of gold, but she is a little gullible.  Sure enough, Jack's lounge lizard friend Larry exploits her good nature to stir up a little romantic trouble between the new roommates.  So much for a peaceful first evening for the new roommate Terri!

3) Professor Jack

"I never dreamed that cooking could be so much fun!"

Jack gives Chinese cooking lessons to the wife of Janet's boss.  However, Terri mistakenly believes that Jack's cooking lessons are of, shall we say, a more lascivious nature.  Appalled, Terri wants to move out, and Jack and Janet in turn mistakenly believe that Terri is leaving to become the mistress of a hospital doctor!  The typical Three's Company chaos ensues!

4) Some of That Jazz

"You bet your sweet little tutu!"

Jack doesn't believe that Janet's dancing hobby constitutes real exercise.  So, Janet challenges Jack to keep up with her during one strenuous session of her dance class.  "Boogie, mama!" says macho Jack!  Too bad he has two left feet.  This episode showcases John Ritter's knack for slapstick comedy.

5) Lies My Roommate Told Me

"What could a nice girl like Terri see in a guy who's so unworthy, lecherous, inferior, depraved, scheming...feel free to stop me anytime, Jack!"

Jack's normally self-confident buddy Larry develops cold feet when he tries to ask Terri out on a date.  Jack is recruited as a mediator, and Janet becomes very upset when she mistakenly believes that Jack is asking Terri out for himself!  Hey, no hanky-panky allowed between the roommates!

6) Two Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

"Boom!  Boom!  Dittum!  Duttum!  Wattum!  Choo!"

One of the comic highlights of the sixth season, Jack and Janet suspect that Terri's date for the evening is a criminally insane mental patient!  After all, they do find him barking at the front door and singing nonsensical lyrics in her absence!  In actuality, Terri's date is just a psychiatrist from her hospital, so surely he's perfectly sane.  Or not.

7) Eyewitness Blues

"Oh please let that be a cigarette lighter!"

Eyewitness Blues is the first episode on Disc Two.  A masked bandit, armed with a gun, robs Janet's florist shop!  To help the cops catch the crook, Jack offers himself as a decoy.  Too bad the roommates mistake a plain clothes officer for the crook and knock him out...just in time for the real bandit to show up again!

8) Boy Meets Dummy

"If I ever catch you even talking to her again, you're fired!"

Angelino threatens to fire Jack if he messes with Angelino's daughter Francesca, who has the hots for Jack and just won't take no for an answer.  It's the perfect opportunity for ever-sneaky Felipe to get Jack booted from the kitchen!  Only Jack's dubious ploy to pretend that one of Terri's CPR dummies is his "wife" can make Francesca leave him alone!  This hilarious episode showcases John Ritter's comic genius with props.

9) Dates of Wrath

"Sorry I'm late, but my blow dryer shorted out and I had to dry my hair in the clothes dryer."

Shy Janet tries to ask out the cute bartender at the local pub.  Unfortunately, the clueless sap goes for Terri instead, and jealous tensions soon arise between the two girls, with Jack caught in the middle as unwilling mediator.  It's another wild predicament for our three roommates!

10) Macho Man

"Mr. Muscle, hoo-ah, at your service!"

Jack feels completely emasculated when Terri beats up a bully picking on him.  After Terri teaches Jack some self-defense, he can't wait to try his new moves on the next bully, who turns out to be a plains clothes cop (yes, another one)!  The next thing he knows, Jack is tossed into the slammer to cool off with a gang of real tough guys!  This episode is yet another showcase for John Ritter's comic pratfalls!

11) Strangers in the Night

"Jack, cool down!  You'll melt your candles before you light 'em!"

Trying to be gallant, Jack decides to serenade his latest squeeze, an old-fashioned southern belle, by moonlight.  Well, Jack is a lousy singer, and even worse, in the dark he serenades the wrong apartment and the wrong woman!  When both ladies show up the following evening for a romantic candlelight dinner, Jack has a lot of explaining to do!

12) The Matchbreakers

"Mr. Furley, I don't think you should pick on yourself.  You're plenty macho."

The roommates discover that Mr. Furley's new lady friend Marsha is really an opportunistic gold-digger after his apartment complex!  They decide to sabotage the couple before Furley's heart is broken and he checks into Heartbreak Hotel on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

13) The Holy Guest

"She said I was more fun than a barrel of monks!"

Jack hits on Terri's visiting friend Catherine until he realizes that she is a nun!  The situation becomes primed for comedy when Jack further believes that Catherine wants to leave the convent to marry him!

14) Maid to Order

"We'll just buy her a little tiny black dress, a little white apron, maybe fishnet stockings, red feather duster.  She can have bee-sting lips and talk in a French accent!"

This episode is the first one on Disc Three.  The roommates need someone cheap to clean up the apartment.  Jack imagines a new French maid, but when klutzy Cindy volunteers to be the bi-weekly maid, Janet and Terri both imagine everything being broken in the apartment!

15) Hearts and Flowers

"She's a real cold fish.  I think if she cut herself, she'd bleed ice cubes."

Janet despises going to work because of the dreaded Bobbi, an efficiency expert who has arrived to evaluate the florist shop.  Before Janet can completely strangle Bobbi one day, Jack drops by the florist shop and, being the usual clueless and insensitive guy, asks Bobbi out for a date!  Now, Janet wants to strangle Jack, too!

16) Urban Plowboy

"I am a city boy. I like bright lights, hot and cold running water, things that flush in the night."

Cindy invites Jack, Janet, and Terri to her aunt's farm for the weekend.  Jack isn't too keen on the idea until a jealous boyfriend mistakes Jack for someone else and wants to break his neck and tear him in half for dating his fiancé.  After that, it's off to the countryside for a haphazard weekend spent hiding, trying to milk bulls, fending off hungry piglets, and sleeping in a smelly barn!

17) A Friend in Need

"Doesn't like you?  Oh nooo, he hates you."

Felipe's wife is about to deliver a baby, so Angelino is forced to re-hire Jack as a temporary chef for three days until Felipe returns from his wife's side.  To complicate matters, Jack's cooking so impresses a local mafia boss that he demands Angelino keep Jack on as head chef...or else!  For a change, Jack must find a way to get himself fired to save Felipe's job without getting bumped off by some mafia thug in the process!

18) Jack's 10

"Funny you should mention 'date' and 'dog' in the same breath."

Jack gets set up by Larry on a blind date with a control freak named Denise.  Oddly smitten, Jack isn't aware of Denise's true nature, and it's up to Janet and Terri to sabotage the relationship before Denise carries through her plan to marry Jack and to mold him entirely to her will.  Talk about being a dog on a leash!

19) Doctor in the House

"Well, I'm glad I'm a doctor 'cause I'm gonna be sick!"

When Jack's grandfather was on his deathbed, Jack told him he was a doctor.   Now that his grandfather has made a miraculous recovery, he wants to see his grandson the successful Dr. Tripper at work!  Panic time!  So, Terri must smuggle Jack into her hospital to pose as a doctor, with Janet as an unwilling patient.  Don't all patients have to disrobe for the doctor's examination?  This particularly funny episode imparts a valuable lesson in life - never listen to a ringing telephone while wearing a stethoscope!

20) Critic's Choice

"I create a work of art that gives new meaning to the word succulence."

When a prominent food critic dismisses all the city's chefs as clumsy amateurs, Jack decides to challenge him with a serving of his specialty, Poulard Poche Princesse.  However, when the pompous critic shows up, the only dishes he seems to prefer are Janet and Terri!  Jack has to decide between receiving a good review or defending the honor of his two friends!

21) Paradise Lost

"How would you like piranha in your hot tub?"

This episode and the remaining episodes are all on Disc Four.  Terri finds a fantastic beachside mansion that will only cost the three roomies the same rent as their current apartment.  It's a great deal, impossible to pass up!  When Mr. Furley and Larry learn that Jack, Janet, and Terri may be moving, they deceptively play the roomies off one another in an effort to keep them from leaving.

22) And Now Here's Jack

"That's it?  You're gonna cook a fish?"

And Now Here's Jack is a classic, one of Three's Company funniest episodes ever!  Angelino has re-hired Jack (yet again) and has arranged for him to appear on a TV talk show to promote the restaurant by cooking one of his specialties.  Jack recruits Janet and Terri as assistants but the taping is a hilarious fiasco.

23) Janet Wigs Out

"Who is this blonde bombshell?"

Brunettes don't have much fun, so Janet tries parading around in a new blonde wig.  Sure enough, as a platinum blonde, she is soon the center of attention at the local bar.  But as Janet becomes increasingly bubble-headed and superficial, her roommates Jack and Terri beg her to lose the wig and to return back to being sweet, sensible, reliable Janet.

24) Up in the Air

"Jack, you just bailed out at 4000 feet!"

Janet takes Jack to a formal party as a decoy to stir up the envy bug in a guy she finds attractive.  The party is so exclusive that guests are flown to an island for the party.  Too bad Jack is scared of flying!  He takes one too many tranquilizers to calm his nerves, and when he has one too many drinks as well, he undeniably becomes the life of the party!  Kids, tranquilizers and alcohol don't mix!

John Ritter earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in this episode.

25) Mate For Each Other

"You were funnier without your pants."

Jack and Janet each decide secretly to try computer dating.  They fudge the details a bit and ironically end up on a blind date with one another!  So much for grounds rules about roomies not dating one another!

By the close of its sixth season, Three's Company was the fourth-ranked television show of the year and ABC's top comedy.  The show would continue for another couple of seasons, spawning the spin-off Two's a Crowd about the on-going adventures of a married Jack Tripper.  There would be more of the usual pratfalls, misunderstandings, and sexual innuendos.  And while Three's Company was never particularly politically-correct (boasting a plethora of bouncy pretty girls in tight tops, dizzy blondes, gay jokes, male chauvinists, and more), it was always hilarious and free-spirited in a clean fun sort of way.  Today, the show continues to draw new fans through syndication, and for new fans, the sixth season is as superb a starting point as any of the earlier seasons!

Video *** ˝

Well, I'm impressed.  Given the shabby video quality of some earlier Three's Company box sets, this box set looks divine.  The images are crystal clear with minimal grain and no blocky pixelation.  The only imperfections are those inherent to the video tape stock (on which 80's sit-coms were usually shot).  Truly, this is about as good as these episodes will look.

Audio ***

The audio is good enough for an early 80's sitcom and sounds just like a typical television airing of the time.

Features **

The twenty-four episodes of the sixth season are distributed among four discs.  Disc One also has a somewhat spartan director's commentary for "Jack Bares All."  Director Dave Powers discusses the various actors in the show, the rehearsal schedule, and the general atmosphere on the set.  As Powers reveals, final taping of the show's episodes usually was performed before a live studio audience.  Power also alludes to the difficulties surrounding the departure of Suzanne Somers from the show during the fifth season.

"The Best of Three's Company" (48 min.) aired on May 18, 1982 and was hosted by none other than television's Queen of Comedy herself, Lucille Ball.  This special starts with scenes from the very first episode and follows up with funny highlights from the show's next five previous seasons.  This special serves as a fine introduction for newcomers to this television series.

"Laughs Around the World" (8 min.) shows how Three's Company has been adapted throughout the world.  Poland, for instance, started its own version of Three's Company in 1999, using many of the show's original scripts.  This featurette offers a sample comparison between the American and Polish versions of the sixth season episode "Paradise Lost."

Lastly, the inside cover of this box set features an article summarizing highlights of the show's sixth season.  This article also describes the missing element of sexual tension brought to the show by Priscilla Barnes.

Summary:

Three's Company Season Six represents the pinnacle of this landmark television sitcom.  Check it out for some deliciously hysterical comedy!

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