Monday, September 14, 2015

What Might've Been: Three's a Crowd (1984)

Three's Company was based on the Thames series, Man About the House, created by Johnnie Mortimer & Brian Cooke. It outlasted House, which lasted just 3 years (1973-6), while Company lasted nearly a decade. Each series had two spinoffs, neither of which were exactly equal to its parents.

In the case of Company, the failure of The Ropers should've been a warning sign that trying a second spin-off, mirroring the House pattern, was not a good idea. Undaunted, ABC went ahead with Three's a Crowd for the 1984-5 season. That was the good news. The basic concept of the series was being tweaked, as Jack Tripper (John Ritter) now was a one-woman man at last, that one woman being Vicky Bradford (Mary Cadorette, who never landed another series), whose father (Robert Mandan, fresh from Soap) was now their landlord.

Unfortunately, ABC rolled the dice by putting Crowd opposite NBC's The A-Team. Ballgame's over, sucka. Crowd was cancelled after just 1 season. I get that they needed a tentpole at the front of the lineup to replace the 1-2 punch of Happy Days & Laverne & Shirley, which had ended their runs, but moving the more adult comedy of Crowd to the front of the line made no sense.

Ultimately, the demise of Crowd began a string of failures for Ritter, whose next ABC entry, Hooperman, Steven Bochco's attempt at a modern dramedy, was a critics' darling but a ratings failure. Ritter would only snap the string by moving out of primetime and on to kids' programming, as he was the original voice of PBS' Clifford the Big Red Dog, and that was before his last primetime series, 8 Simple Rules (For Dating My Teenage Daughter).

Following is the intro:

No rating. Never saw the show.


magicdog said...

I had the pleasure of meeting John Ritter not too long before his death. He was promoting a film at a local film festival. He introduced himself simply as, "John", as if he were John Doe Nobody! I knew immediately who he was but did my best not to act like a awestruck fan! He was a very sweet and modest person - and accounts I read later on seem to confirm that.

"Three's a Crowd" was an attempt to capitalize on the sequel series from Britain - "Robin's Nest". As with this show, Robin fell in love with a girl named Vicky and was opening his own restaurant/pub "Robin's Nest". He wanted to marry Vicky but due to her parents' failed marriage, she kept refusing because she didn't want to "ruin" the relationship. Comedy followed.

I caught that show on WNYW in NY way back in the 80s and it was interesting to look at - although it was missing something with the rest of the cast gone. Then again, this show had the same problem. IIRC, it debuted on WNYW quite a bit before Three's a Crowd" did. I wasn't surprised ABC tried to adapt it once Three's Company was over.

hobbyfan said...

I think what happened was that this series was a Satayana moment more than a jump the shark moment. Bear in mind that The Ropers, the 1st spin-off, bombed, too......