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THREE'S COMPANY
Season Eight

Review by Ed Nguyen

Stars: John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Priscilla Barnes, Don Knotts, Richard Kline
Directors: Dave Powers et al.
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles: English
Video: Color, full-screen
Studio: Anchor Bay
Features: John Ritter featurette, "Usted Habla Three's Company?" featurette, "Best Of" clips, bloopers, essay
Length: 550 minutes
Release Date: October 3, 2006

"You guys are the very best friends."

Episodes ***

All good things must come to an end.  And so it was with Three's Company after eight seasons of memorable laughs with Jack Tripper and his two female roommates.  This seminal sitcom ran from 1977-1984, eventually encompassing over 170 episodes.  While there were several cast changes over the years (new landlord, new roommates, and an endless supply of girlfriends), one constant throughout the series run was the presence of Jack Tripper.  Fans watched as Jack progressed from a girl-crazy man about town into an aspiring young chef and finally into the proud owner of his own restaurant, Jack's Bistro.  By the end of the eighth season, Jack would even find true love at long last.

These final twenty episodes of Three's Company contain all the usual pratfalls, comical misunderstandings, and sexual shenanigans that fans have come to love and expect.  Read on below for a season eight synopsis, plus a few words about the special two-part finale!

1) Jack Be Quick

"I want you to be the father of my child."

Jack believes that his latest girlfriend, an independent-minded woman, wants to propose marriage to him.  Actually, she just wants to have his baby and to remain a single mom.  Oh those progressive 80's career women!  What is a conservative fellow like Jack to do?  To muddle matters further, Janet and Terri believe that Jack is trying to run out on his already-pregnant girlfriend!  It's just another routine day of all-around misunderstandings for our three roommates!

2) She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

"You gotta get over me, kiddo!"

Jack finds a partially filled-out magazine survey lying around the apartment.  Reading it, he mistakenly suspects that either Janet or Terri has the hots for him.  So, Jack invites both roommates up to his friend Larry's mountain cabin for a romantic weekend to unmask the identity of his secret admirer!

3) The Money Machine

"Have a nice day!  Have a nice day!  Have a nice day!"

An ATM machine malfunctions and regurgitates a thousand buckaroos on Jack.  He hides the money in the apartment couch while awaiting the next business day (to return the money like an honest citizen, of course!).  However, when Mr. Furley expectedly replaces the couch with a new one and the bank officials coming calling, Jack finds himself in a heap of trouble!

4) Out on a Limb

"This big-shot food critic came into my bistro, took two bites, and then walked out!"

This is one of the comic highlights of the season.  A prominent food critic pays a disastrous visit to Jack's Bistro.  Anticipating a terrible review, Jack impulsively sends a venomous letter to a food critic.  Temper temper!  When the critic then unexpectedly phones Jack to rave about his wonderful food, Jack scurries to recover his regrettable letter in a madcap race against time before the critic can read it!

5) Alias Jack Tripper

"Great personality, lots of fun - in girl-talk that means she bites the mailman and chases cars!"

Jack has a hot date!  But like a fool, he has forgotten all about his pre-arranged blind date with Janet's friend Agnes.  Agnes?  As a favor, best pal Larry impersonates Jack for the day while the real Jack goes out on his hot date.  Too bad for Jack that Agnes turns out to be a major hottie herself!

Zany mayhem inevitably ensues when Larry-as-Jack foolishly takes Agnes to Jack's Bistro, while Jack-as-Zack gazes upon this beauty and bemoans his foolhardiness, while Janet and Terri secretly show up to surprise Jack and Agnes, while Jack's real date for the evening shows up, too!  Egad!

6) Hearing Is Believing

"I think a woman like that could teach Jack a lot."

Jack's new girlfriend is a psychologist who deals with sexual dysfunction.  However, an eavesdropping Janet overhears the therapist on the phone and mistakenly believes that Jack's latest squeeze is actually a prostitute!  When Janet's father pays a surprise visit and praises Jack's girlfriend, the stress is too much for Janet, who drowns her anxiety in french fries and lots of ketchup!

7) Grandma Jack

"Let me give you a little tip, Jack.  Pink is not your color!"

In another of the season's comic highlights, Jack wins a mail-in cookie cooking contest!  But, there is a catch.  Since the contest was open to women only, the contest organizers are actually expecting a "Grandma Tripper" to appear in person to accept the $10,000 prize money and to be crowned Queen of the Kitchen!  Make way for drag queen Jack!

8) Like Father, Like Son

"Dad, thanks for catching my fly ball."

Jack's father pays a surprise visit, and suddenly, all Jack's childhood feelings of inadequacies and insecurities come rushing back.  However, when Jack encounters some problems renewing the lease for his restaurant, who is there to help sort things out for "Junior" but his father?  The lesson here?  You're never too old to appreciate having your parents around.

9) The Odd Couples

"I'm running out of places to hide!"

Terri is in line for a promotion at the hospital.  However, the final approval hinges on a recommendation from a married doctor who has the hots for our little nurse.  Nothing apparently dissuades the lecherous doctor from essentially inviting himself over to the apartment, not even the multitude of white lies that Terri throws at him.  Soon enough, Jack is somehow recruited as Terri's husband, while Janet and Larry become visiting friends from France who can't speak a word of French.  Naturally, utter chaos ensues, particularly when the doctor's own wife begins to hit on Jack!

10) Now You See It, Now You Don't

"A fool and his money are soon parted."

Jack pretends to be rich to impress his wealthy girlfriend.  Things turn sour at a high-class charity ball when Jack ends up losing $15,000 gambling.  That's bad news indeed for a poor little chef who isn't exactly rolling in dough!  Confucius say, man who has money to burn makes an ash of himself!

11) The Charming Stranger

"So.  You found me out."

The roommates suspect that a new tenant in the next-door apartment may be a notorious bank robber.  While he's away, they search his apartment for evidence to support or refute their suspicions.  When they find a suitcase containing a disembodied hand, their fears are hardly dispelled!

12) Janet Shapes Up

"Tremendously fine muscles!"

Health-conscious Janet starts a second job teaching aerobics.  To show moral support, Jack, Terri, and even their landlord Mr. Furley (Don Knotts) attend Janet's first class.  However, when no one else is around, Janet's new boss Tina hits on Jack and implies that she might fire Janet unless Jack stops resisting.  Things get downright hairy when Tina's bigfoot-of-a-boyfriend returns to town and jealously threatens to beat up a weak, puny excuse for a man like Jack!

13) Itching for Trouble

"If he knew that we'd been here alone, he'd snap you like a twig."

Jack's old high school crush asks him for some advice about her insanely jealous husband, Moose, just another bigfoot-looking dude.  When Moose pays Jack a visit as well, things begin to boil over for our nervous little chef.  Soon, Jack and even Mr. Furley are caught under Moose's irrationally dark clouds of suspicion!

14) Baby, It's Cold Inside

"Warm thoughts, warm thoughts..."

Jack and Mr. Furley are inadvertently locked into a restaurant meat locker together.  Even worse, the entire restaurant will be closed for a whole week.  Unless Janet and Terri find Jack and Mr. Furley in time, the guys are liable to freeze to death in an airtight freezer...that is, unless they suffocate first!  At least there is plenty of food to go around.

15) Look What I Found

"Have you seen my kitty?"

Jack discovers a stray kitten at the apartment front door.  Janet and Terri want to keep it, but pets are not allowed in the apartment.  However, if they leave the kitten on Mr. Furley's doormat, perhaps he'll keep it secretly himself!  This character-building story provides Don Knotts with a rare opportunity to occupy center stage for a Three's Company episode.

16) Jack's Tattoo

"So how are they going to take it off, sand paper?"

Jack's former navy buddies play all sorts of practical jokes on him.  After they plaster a heart-shaped tattoo on a plastered Jack's heinie, an embarrassed Jack must head to the hospital to have it discreetly removed.  As usual, there is plenty of confusion to go around as Janet believes that Jack wants a vasectomy, while Mr. Furley thinks that Jack wants a sex-change operation!

17) Jack Takes Off

"I'm somewhat of an artist myself.  My canvas is the frying pan."

Jack's latest girlfriend persuades him to pose in the flesh for her art class.  However, when one of the paintings ends up at Jack's favorite pub, an embarrassed Jack again becomes the butt of some raw local jokes.

18) Forget Me Not

"Still...a little...woozy..."

Jack totals Janet's brand-new car and feigns amnesia to avoid her most considerable wrath.  Naturally, Janet and Terri attempt to nurture Jack back to good health so that Janet can then break his neck.  But, after Janet realizes Jack's ruse all along, Jack learns very quickly that hell hath no fury like a woman lied to!

19) The Heiress

"Hi!  You here for the grab-bag, too?"

The next three episodes set the stage for a spin-off series, Three's a Crowd.

A rich patron of Janet's floral shop has included her in his will.  When Janet and Jack show up at the reading of the will, the deceased man's relatives, including his nephew Phillip, initially regard Janet as some sort of gold-digging mistress.  Later, good-hearted Phillip shows up to apologize and also to ask Janet out on a date himself!  Naturally, Jack jumps to conclusions about Phillip's true motives.

20) Cupid Works Overtime

"May you cherish and love each other forever."

This soap opera-ish episode, airing on May 15, 1984, was the season finale for Three's Company.  Break out the handkerchiefs!

Returning from a chef's convention, Jack has to fly despite his off-the-radar fear of flying.  Fortunately, the not-surprisingly disastrous flight ends favorably enough for Jack when he has a meet-cute encounter with Vicky, a pretty stewardess who calms his nerves.  Soon thereafter, Jack Tripper is in love!  Too bad his first meeting with Vicky's father proves to be another klutzy disaster for Jack.

Meanwhile, Phillip proposes to Janet!

BONUS TRIVIA:  John Ritter earned an Emmy for his performance in this episode.

21) Friends and Lovers

"I just love weddings, don't you?"

The soap opera sentiments are not over yet, so break out some more dry handkerchiefs!  Airing on September 18, 1984, this two-part episode can be considered either the true finale of Three's Company or the opening episode of its spin-off, Three's a Crowd.

Janet and Phillip are married in a tender ceremony set in the apartment.  Afterwards, the sight of the three roommates' strangely empty apartment on moving day is rather a bittersweet one.  Still, time marches on.  Janet and Phillip move away to their new home in Los Angeles, while Terri fulfills her lifelong dream of going to a remote island to tend to the needs of the poor, sick natives.  In other words, she's moving to Hawaii!

As for Jack, he receives another chance to break the ice with Vicky's father.  Too bad this second meeting proves just as disastrous as the first one, especially when Vicky announces that Jack and she plan to move in together!

And so, the misadventures of Jack Tripper would continue in Three's a Crowd.  In the spin-off, Jack and Vicky live together in an apartment above Jack's Bistro.  Jack hopes to marry Vicky someday, but her disapproving father has other ideas and wastes few opportunities to sabotage Jack and Vicky's relationship.  Even worse, he turns out to be the new landlord!  The situation is certainly primed for comic mayhem, but that, as the saying goes, is a story for another day!

Or, at least until Three's a Crowd arrives on DVD!

Video ****

The show was originally shot on video tape before a live studio audience.  That said, all the episodes look pristine with sharp image details and fine resolution.  One couldn't ask for more in what is the last of the Three's Company box sets.

Audio ***

The stereo 2.0 tracks for these episodes are quite adequate.  The show sounds just like it did in primetime.

Features **

The twenty-one episodes of Season Eight are spread among four discs, with the first three discs holding six episodes apiece.  Each episode is preceded by a brief synopsis.  The fourth disc holds the last three episodes and all the bonus features included within this box set.

The inside sleeve of this box set presents a long essay that points out some highlights of the season.  The essay also explores various reasons for the eventual cancellation of Three's Company and lastly offers a description of the spin-off, Three's a Crowd.  Just as Three's Company was inspired by the British comedy Man About the House, so its spin-off was inspired by the British spin-off of that show, Robin's Nest.  Both sitcoms feature the male lead falling in love and moving into a new apartment over his restaurant to start a new life.

Among the bonus features, first there are twenty minutes of random bloopers, mostly from the eighth season.  These are comprised of prop malfunctions and actors flubbing their lines.  One blooper from Season Seven's The Impossible Dream is also included.

Next is a John Ritter tribute, Working With a Master (25 min.).  Former Three's Company director Dave Powers and Nancy Ritter reminisce about John Ritter.  Included are a number of "before they were famous" clips from some of the show's more memorable guest spots with the likes of Jordan Charney ("Mr. Angelino"), Loni Anderson, John Larroquette, Jeffrey Tambor, James Cromwell, Rita Wilson ("Agnes" of Alias Jack Tripper), and even Barry Williams (TV's Greg Brady).  This tribute also includes Ritter's memorable and Emmy-nominated drunken dance from Season Six's Up in the Air as well as his acceptance speech for his eventual Emmy win for Cupid Works Overtime.

"Usted Habla Three's Company?" is a two-minute segment from Out on a Limb with alternate Spanish-dubbed lines for Janet.  It's amusing although somewhat pointless.

A series of "Best Of" featurettes (53 min.) compile individual comic highlights for characters Jack, Janet, Terri, Larry, and Mr. Furley.  These clips offer nothing new but do provide an opportunity to re-experience all the funniest moments from Season Eight of any favorite Three's Company character.

Summary:

This hilarious box set concludes the entire series run of Three's Company and demonstrates that even after eight seasons, this sitcom had no difficulty maintaining its high level of madcap mayhem and screwball comedic fun.

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