Television show #10 is…. Three’s Company!!!
I loved “Three’s Company” as a kid. This show was definitely the introduction to adult television for me. I started watching this show when I was nine years old and I instantly fell in love. When I saw this show, I knew right then and there that I wanted to be apart of this wonderful world they called show business. I loved the clumsiness of Jack Tripper and the overbearing criticism of the landlords. The gay subject matter was a little over my head at that age, but this show definitely opened my mind to different views.
I don’t think how much I loved this show as a kid has come across properly, so I will give you a little story to support my case. When I was growing up my Mother was very poor and raised my sister and I all by herself. So we didn’t have the common luxuries that most families enjoyed in the mid 80’s. Hell, we didn’t get a color TV until I was 11 years old! So of course we didn’t have a VCR, which were very expensive at the time. Long story short, I loved “Three’s Company” so much that I would sit in front of the TV and tape the audio of the show on my ancient tape recorder. I then would listen to the episode over and over again and then tape over it when I needed more tape for the next episodes. Pretty obsessed don’t you think. I would even sing along with the theme on the tape to listen to later. I knew every episode by heart and could say the lines verbatim. That was my introduction to real television and even then, I was trying to find the technology to enjoy it over and over again.
“Three’s Company” was a great example of the culture then. Two women and a man living together, oh my!!! People actually thought this was edgy television. Then to top it off, the main character acts as if he is gay! Now we are going too far here! The late seventies and early eighties were so homophobic that the only way to have a gay subject matter on television was for the character to act as if he was gay. But let me tell you, this show opened the door to the subject and even though Jack’s gayness was the brunt of the jokes, it was at least being dealt with instead of being ignored.
Though “Three’s Company” was very campy, the plots ridiculous and the acting over board, this show had such an impact on its time. It did this by just being “Three’s Company.” This light hearted show really tackled some moral issues of the time. But it accomplished this not by talking about these issues or even having an episode solely about them. “Three’s Company” did this by just putting the subject matter out there. Thruogh out the show you see Mr. Roper warm up to Jack even though he perceives him as gay. Later on, Ralph Furley would do the same. This is huge because these homophobic men dropped all their prejudices and see Jack for who he is and accept him as a person. A really big statement to make at that time and the way they sneak it in there is nothing short of genius.
“Three’s Company” taught me at very young age that the views I am taught are not necessarily the right ones. Looking back on this show, it taught me to look at things from both sides and don’t be so serious about everything. John Ritter instantly became my favorite actor then and I still have a place in my heart for him to this day. The crazy antics, the clumsy slap stick comedy and the ridiculous plots are smoke screens to a much more serious message. “Three’s Company” was a risky show for its time and if it wasn’t for the great actors, funny characters and hilarious scenes, I believe that risky subject matter would have gotten it kicked off the air. But thank god public demand said otherwise.
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