RERUN: The Ten Best THREE’S COMPANY Episodes of Season Six

Welcome to a new Sitcom Tuesday! This week, I’m once again excited to resurrect a forgotten segment from this blog’s eight-year run. Here’s how it works: I’ll provide a link to the original piece and then offer a bit of updated commentary. But, as I always caution, please be gentle; this early article is from a long time ago, and my standards have changed as I’ve changed — I’ve improved as a thinker, a communicator, and a television-watcher.

So, let’s revisit… The Ten Best THREE’S COMPANY Episodes of Season Six:

As with The Jeffersons, we talked about Three’s Company recently, and I urge you to revisit last month’s Clip Show post for some updated thoughts on the series at large. Today, I’m just rerunning a season ahead of our Laverne & Shirley coverage, and only because I view these two shows’ reputations as similar: they’re both silly late ’70s sitcoms from ABC that were often derided by critics but popular with viewers, largely because of the slapstick prowess of their stars, all of whom elevated their material. Indeed, Three’s Company’s selling point is the genius physical comedy of John Ritter, who is especially featured here in Six, following the departure of Suzanne Somers, the show’s second largest comic presence, axed early in Five amidst a nasty contract dispute. Her absence immediately made more room for everyone else in the ensemble — not only Joyce DeWitt and Richard Kline, but also the great Don Knotts, and of course, Ritter. In fact, one of the reasons Six is so fun — with several of Three’s Company’s finest episodes (oh, and I’d currently make no changes to my top ten; see here) — is because of how well its cast is used… and that even includes newcomer Priscilla Barnes, the last of the blondes, whose Terri ends up being the least comedically defined, but in her freshman year, gets more to do than she will ahead, restoring the ensemble to complete capacity — something it couldn’t claim the season prior, when her slot was filled with an obvious placeholder (who, incidentally, sticks around), and won’t have later, when she’s diminished. Accordingly, with a strong lineup that’s expertly spotlighted — and again, Ritter, in particular — Three’s Company’s sixth season is one of the series’ best. It lacks the show’s most iconic group of players (Chrissy and the Ropers are key to its Golden Age identity), but its farcical storytelling is still kicking, and episodic results emphasize the material-elevators. It’ll be interesting to see how Laverne & Shirley stacks up in its Season Six, for traditional discourse cites the year’s change in locale as a desperate attempt at rejuvenation, with little success. Perhaps Three’s Company’s revolving cast was a blessing, then, giving new life to the series via its personified tangibles, not its impersonal conceptual trappings, allowing it to continue catering to its leads with stellar and semi-earned comic centerpieces, even in a relatively late era… Hopefully, Laverne & Shirley finds some way to do the same!



Come back next week for more sitcom fun! And stay tuned tomorrow for a new Wildcard!