If you grew up watching sitcoms in the late ’70s and early ’80s, chances are you’re familiar with Three’s Company. This iconic show starred John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, and later Priscilla Barnes and Jenilee Harrison as three single roommates who shared a Santa Monica apartment and frequently got into all kinds of hilarious misunderstandings. The sitcom was based on a British sitcom called Man About the House and ran for 8 seasons on ABC from 1977 through 1984.
Three’s Company was a comedy classic that pushed the envelope with its risqué humor, sexual innuendo, and physical slapstick. It also featured memorable characters like the nosy landlords Mr. and Mrs. Roper (played by Norman Fell and Audra Lindley), the sleazy used-car salesman Larry Dallas (played by Richard Kline), and the goofy building manager Ralph Furley (played by the legendary Don Knotts).
Behind the scenes of this hit series, there were many secrets, scandals, mistakes, and bloopers that you may not know about. From contract disputes to wardrobe malfunctions to production errors, Three’s Company had its share of drama and comedy off-camera as well as on.
In this video, we’ll reveal some of the most surprising facts about Three’s Company that will make you see this beloved sitcom in a whole new light. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just curious about what went on behind closed doors, you’ll want to watch on and find out more about this iconic show.
Facts Verse Presents: This photo is not edited – look closer at the Three’s Company blooper
The wardrobe malfunction
According to Snopes, actor John Ritter’s “family jewels” are visible in a now-notorious episode of Three’s Company, “The Charming Stranger” which airs on December 20, 1983. The scene happens when Jack Tripper dresses in bright blue boxers and flops down on the bed, exposing some things that can’t be on television. The blooper went unnoticed for many years until an eagle-eyed viewer alerted Nickelodeon, which was re-running old episodes of the sitcom, in March 2001. Nickelodeon confirmed the slip-up and said it would edit it out from future repeats. John Ritter laughs off the incident and explains why it misses for so long during an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show.
The not-so-hidden crew
In season 8 episode 2, “She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not”, Shortly after Jack chats with Larry about a magazine quiz, Jack asks Janet if something is troubling her. While Terri is leaving the kitchen with two cans in his hand, a crew member’s hand shows behind Terri placing a very noticeable bag on the countertop.
The changing apartment number
In season 1 episode 1 “A Man About the House”, Jack moves into apartment 201 with Janet and Chrissy. However, in later episodes, their apartment number changes to 201A. This is because ABC executives thought that viewers would confuse 201 with a room number rather than an apartment number.
The case of the giggles
In season 5, episode 17 “And Baby Makes Four”, When Cindy expresses frustration by saying”Why doesn’t anyone give me any credit for knowing what I’m doing?” Jack snarkily retorts with, “well, you keep bumping into things!”. As soon as John says this, Joyce can’t help but break character and laugh. In an attempt to cover this up, she shields her face with her hands and bends over, while Cindy tries her best to hold back her own laughter and carry on with the scene.
The teleporting scarf
In season 2, episode 14 “Three’s Christmas”, right after the trio wraps up opening their presents, Jack makes his way to the kitchen to find Chrissy visibly upset with a scarf over her shoulders. From the other room, Janet asks what’s wrong. When the camera cuts back to the kitchen, giving a close-up of Chrissy with the scarf now sitting on her lap.
The tragic death
John Ritter was not only the star of Three’s Company but also one of its producers and writers. He is dearest by fans and colleagues alike for his comedic talent and warm personality. Sadly, he died unexpectedly on September 11th, 2003, from an undiagnosed heart condition while filming his new sitcom 8 Simple Rules. He was only 54 years old.
The forgotten car
In the season 8 episode “Forget Me Not”, Janet tells Jack that the car that Larry is delivering to her is her very first car, but just five episodes earlier in “Itching for Trouble”, Janet asks by Moose if they have a football that needs any air, to which she replies by saying no, but one of the tires on her car is a bit low.
The questionable terminology
In season 4, episode 1 “Jack on the Lam”, Jack uses the term AWOL or “Absent without leave”, but since Jack had supposedly served in the Navy, he would have probably used the more commonly used term “UA” instead, which is shorthand for “Unauthorized absence”.
The recycled set
In season 7, episode 8 “An Affair to Forget”, Jack falls for a woman, Randy who turns out to be married. When Jack visits Randy apartment, it looks very familiar. That’s because it’s the same set that uses for Janet’s flower shop in the last episodes.
The Flip-Flopping Door Knob
The doorbell of the three’s apartment shows to be on the left, but sometimes when plot points called for it, it appeared on the right-hand side of the door. Likewise, the doorbell chime box inside the trio’s apartment is placed above the kitchen, but in later episodes, it can be seen directly above the front door.
The spin-off flops
Three’s Company had two spin-offs: The Ropers and Three’s a Crowd. The Ropers followed the adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Roper after they moved to a new condominium complex managed by their snooty neighbor Jeffrey Potts (played by Jeffrey Tambor). Three’s a Crowd followed Jack after he moved in with his girlfriend Vicky Bradford (portrayed by Mary Cadorette) and had to deal with her meddling father James Bradford (played by Robert Mandan). Both spin-offs are short and fail to match the popularity of Three’s Company.
The unauthorized story
In 2003, NBC aired a TV movie called Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three’s Company. The movie dramatized the behind-the-scenes conflicts and controversies that plagued the show, such as Suzanne Somers’ salary dispute, John Ritter’s creative differences with the producers, and Joyce DeWitt’s feud with Somers. DeWitt served as a co-producer and host of the movie, while Ritter saw the final cut before he died. Somers reaches out and gives some input.
The wrong door
In season 4, episode 18, “Handcuffed”, Chrissy’s cop cousin informs her and the roommates that there was a complaint lodged by one of the neighbors about her husband being on the roof watching the girls dance in the apartment with a pair of binoculars. However, when the girls are dancing, the thick drapes close, and the front door closes. So, how on earth can such a complaint file in the first place?
The missing brother
Jack’s brother, Lee in later episodes of the series, but a couple of years before he introduces him, Jack’s uncle comes to visit and refers to Jack as his favorite nephew. Jack responded to this compliment by saying that he was his only nephew. Jack’s uncle replied to this factual comment by saying “that never stopped you from being my favorite”.
The duplicating cans
In the second season episode, “Strange Bedfellows”, Mr. Roper attempts to explain to the girls and his nosy wife what he was up to in Jack’s Bedroom. If you watch this scene closely, paying special attention to what’s going on right above Mr. Roper’s left shoulder, you’ll notice that the number of yellow cans on the shelf keeps switching from one to two cans throughout the scene. Additionally, you can also notice that the suitcase on the floor has a square silver bag placed in front of it whenever two yellow cans are present.
The equal pay fight
Suzanne Somers was one of the most popular stars of Three’s Company thanks to her portrayal of the ditzy blonde Chrissy Snow. However, she feels that she is below minimum compared to her male co-stars John Ritter and Norman Fell. Because of this, Somers asked for a raise from $30,000 per episode to $150,000 per episode plus 10% ownership of the show. When her demands reject by ABC and the producers, she goes on strike and refuses to appear in most episodes of season 5. She fires from the show after season 5 and replaces by Jenilee Harrison as Cindy Snow. Her firing caused a rift between her and her co-stars Joyce DeWitt and John Ritter that lasted for decades.
The early bird
In the episode “Not-So-Great-Imposter” which aired in the fifth season, Mr. Angelino enters the kitchen and mentions that steaks are needed for eight guests. If you look behind him at the window in the kitchen door, you can see Janet watching intently as if she were waiting for her cue to enter the scene. Just as soon as you can spot her, however, she ducks out of sight. A moment later, she can been seen once again when Angelino asks Felipe to give him a hand in the freezer. She then runs through the door with Furley as if they had just shown up at that very moment.
Mistakes happen. While Three’s Company certainly had it’s fair share of bloopers and blunders, so has pretty much every other sitcom and popular television series throughout the history of the medium. That being said, it’s always fun to take a moment to reflect on these humorous mishaps.
With that, we’ll go ahead and wrap this video. Can you think of any other notable Three’s Company bloopers, mistakes, fun-facts, or errors? And what was your favorite episode of the iconic sitcom? Let us know in the comments.
As always, thanks for watching!