Three's Company is an American sitcom that aired from 1977 to 1984 on ABC. It is a remake of the British sitcom Man About the House. Its immense popularity, which continues through syndication and DVD sales, has resonated throughout popular culture.[1]


The main characters played by John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, and Richard Kline all made a single appearance in an episode of The Ropers. Kline made an appearance in the season 1 finale. And Ritter, DeWitt, and Somers made an appearance on the season 2 premier. In 2003, a docu-drama was made by NBC of the show called Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three's Company. The drama documented the trouble on the set and the show's journey to the top.

Like many series, it became fodder for skit shows such as SCTV, in which a Godfather spoof involved characters walking onto the set and shooting the cast, in the midst of Dave Thomas making a joke about wearing his underwear on his head (Janet: "Jack, you could never be a lawyer." Jack: "Why?" Janet: "Because you're always losing your briefs!"), and Whose Line Is It Anyway?, where in episode 203, during Scenes From a Hat comes the suggestion "The number one sitcom in Germany", and Wayne Brady asks, in a German accent, "Ya, vhere'sen ze Jack und ze Chrissy?"

The FOX cartoon Family Guy has referenced Three's Company in various episodes. In "Brian: Portrait of a Dog", when Brian is hiding inside some baskets, he finds Joyce DeWitt hiding next to him (referencing that DeWitt vanished from the world of acting after her days on Three's Company). The opening theme can be heard in "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar" when Peter is watching TV and Lois is vomiting from morning sickness. In "Death is a Bitch", Peter tells Death that he can't stay at their house because Peter won't be able to explain him to Mr. Roper. In "Fifteen Minutes of Shame", Joe's wife, Bonnie, compares Joe to Larry and says that Larry was the sexiest character on the show. In Da Boom, Tom and Diane show a retrospect of all the famous faces of the 20th century who have died, one of which was Norman Fell (who played Mr. Roper). In "The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou", Brian is squirting a badly-sunburned Stewie with sunscreen when Mr. Furley comes in to see what's happening and (from his point of view) thinks Brian is ejaculating on Stewie, then when Brian tries to explain himself, Mr. Furley says, "Never mind, I'll come back later!" In "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci, Jr. High", Peter bursts into the classroom Brian is teaching and says that there are Swedish twins in his hot tub ("Jack. Twins. Swedish. My place. Now."). Peter is dressed in a robe just as Larry, the character he was portraying, often did in Three's Company. Richard Kline, the actor who played Larry Dallas, actually wrote to Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, stating that he liked the joke. In another episode during the song 'My Black Son', Peter and "his black son" rides a bike on the beach and falls off, just like John Ritter did in the opening credits to Three's Company. In a further episode, Peter tells Lois that he has left the hotel to find a dry cleaners or a pants store as he pooped in his pants while watching Three's Company.

Many other shows referred to the series either implicitly or explicitly:

  • In the TV show What's Happening!!, the characters imagined themselves as part of an early scene of Three's Company.
  • In "Come and Knock on Our Door", an episode of John Ritter's later series 8 Simple Rules, Paul Hennessy (Ritter) dreams that his teenage daughters are living with Kyle (who dated both Bridget and Kerry), just as Jack Tripper did. In the final sequence of the episode, Paul Hennessy wakes up realizing it was all a dream, then looks next to him and Mr. Furley (played by Don Knotts) is lying there too, looking just as surprised. The set was actually a replica of the original apartment set, and the scene was shot in the same style as the original series. Also, this was the last time John and Don worked together shortly before Ritter's death.
  • In an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Norman Fell appears as a landlord for a studio that Will uses when Ashley briefly becomes famous, and when Will has no rent he utters "I have the worst luck with tenants" a joke to his role as Roper.
  • Step by Step mentioned the show a few times, including Bronson Pinchot's character saying that Suzanne Somers' character (Carol Lambert) looked like Chrissy. In another episode, Carol also tells Frank she was just watching Three's Company, and talks about how funny Chrissy is. Richard Kline and Don Knotts have also each appeared on separate episodes of the series, with Knotts playing a police officer similar to his Barney Fife character.
  • Futurama mentioned Three's Company on "A Flight to Remember", when Fry claimed he knew how to handle "delicate social situations" when Leela discovers that Fry is dating Amy to please her parents. Fry even hums the theme and mentions Mr. Roper (the first landlord).
  • In an episode of That '70s Show, Hyde coaxes Jackie and Laurie into singing the theme song with him in order to aggravate Kelso.
  • In another episode of That '70s Show, Fez and Jackie are living together, Don Knotts plays the landlord in the "sitcom" dream the two are dreaming.
  • In a scene at the end of a 5th season episode of Ellen, Ellen's dad is fictitiously lying dead in a sofa. Ellen's cousin Spencer gives him mouth-to-mouth respiration and instantly, Norman Fell enters through the door and thinks they're kissing.
  • In an episode of Friends, when Monica and Chandler try to tell Rachel that they're moving in together (meaning Rachel will have to move out), Rachel is under the impression that the three of them will live together and sings the first line of the Three's Company theme song, followed by Monica singing the second line.
  • In another episode of Friends it is Rachels birthday and both of her parents, who are getting divorced and cannot get along, show up. Monica and Chandler try to keep them from seeing each other, and Chandler says "Quick! What would Jack and Chrissy do?".
  • In an episode of Full House, Jesse attempts to recite the Three's Company theme song in order to placate a donkey that Michelle brought home. He continuously forgets a verse; at the end, the whole family finishes it for him.
  • CSI's David Hodges won an online auction for a Three's Company Board Game in the episode "Lab Rats."
  • In The Office episode "Weight Loss", Jim refers to what he might do with Pam as "Putting up Shelves"; which is Mr. Roper's cover-up term for having sex when talking with Jack about the life of a married man.


  • In the 1992 film Stay Tuned, at one point, Roy Knable (John Ritter) stumbles through a channel onto the set of Three's Company, the TV show that catapulted Ritter to fame in the 1970s. Two women dressed as Chrissy and Janet, shout "Where have you been?" Roy screams in terror and then changes the channel.


  • The band Anal Cunt covered the theme song on their 1996 album 40 More Reasons to Hate Us.
  • Rufus Wainwright's third album Want One includes several references to the show.
  • In a song by The Offspring, "Mota", from the album Ixnay on the Hombre, includes the line "Watching re-runs on my TV/Laughing off my ass at Three's Company."


  • In the 1998 book Come and Knock on Our Door: A Hers and Hers and His Guide to Three's Company, Chris Mann wrote the first behind-the-scenes guide to the show, and interviewed every cast member except Priscilla Barnes.[2]
  • Suzanne Somers wrote "After the Fall: How I Picked Myself Up, Dusted Myself Off, and Started All Over Again" in 1998 about her experience during and after the show.


  • Mad magazine spoofed the show with "He's Company" in issue #196, January 1978.[3]
  • Cracked magazine parodied it with "Three's Crummier" in issue #156, December 1978.[4]

Trading cards[]

  • In 1978, Topps issued a set of trading cards and stickers in waxed packages with a stick of bubblegum.[5]


  • In the popular webcomic Achewood, Roast Beef is surprised to learn that women appreciate honesty. He suggests that Three's Company set back gender relations 715 years.