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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Three's Company - Season Four (Anchor Bay DVD Set)

Three’s Company – Season Four


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Episodes: B



Three’s Company moved into Season Four with what turned out to be a cycle of changes that eventually wound the show down prematurely.  The Ropers spin-off debuted the same 1979-80 season that this original went on.  Two additions to the cast made for one of the most remarkable reinventions of a situation comedy in TV history.  For one, the terrific Ann Wedgeworth joined the cast as man-hungry Lana, who wanted Jack (John Ritter) very badly, though this did not make Jack comfortable.  Then “the kids” got a new landlord in Mr. Furley, played with great timing by the great Don Knotts.  It was reason to celebrate, at first anyhow.


Though some new tensions were found in the relationship between Furley and all the renters in the building, the real promising storyline had to do with Jack and Lana.  It was great, especially since we had never seen an older woman focus on a younger man like this before anywhere on TV.  Instead of capitalizing on this, the show ran out of things too quickly to do with it, and Miss Wedgeworth was erroneously dropped mid-season.  Part of this, one wonders, was out of homophobia.  It was enough that jack played gay to keep his living arrangement, but was he possibly just gay enough not to be interested in Lana?  Why not have a storyline where Jack simply does not want to be with older women or had a bad experience?  Certainly, more could have been made on why Lana only wanted to be with younger men.  Was jack too sexually oppressed by his dorkiness?  As soon as Lana was gone, the show regressed into just any other sitcom for the first time since its debut and one of the greatest missed opportunities in TV history happened.


The episodes in this set are as follows:


  1. Jack On The Lam
  2. Love Thy Neighbor
  3. The New Landlord
  4. Snow Job
  5. Jack The Ripper
  6. The Life Saver
  7. Old Folks At Home
  8. A Camping We Will Go
  9. Chrissy’s Hospitality
  10. The Loan Shark
  11. Ralph’s Rival
  12. A Black Letter Day
  13. The Reverend Steps Out
  14. Larry Loves Janet
  15. Mighty Mouth
  16. The Love Lesson
  17. Handcuffed
  18. And Baby Makes Two
  19. Jack’s Bad Boy
  20. Lee Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
  21. The Root Of All Evil
  22. Secret Admirer
  23. The Goodbye Guy
  24. Jack’s Graduation



The full frame image is once again from the NTSC analog videotape the show was shot on and the DVD’s MPEG-2 decoding shows its limits as much as all the other shows from this period of time would.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also good enough, with all the jokes still clear enough, though fidelity is slightly improved from earlier seasons.  Extras include a commentary track by show authority Chris Mann on the Chrissy’s Hospitality episode, an interview with John Ritter’s widow Nancy Ritter (19:56), an 8:07 interview with Richard Klein and Don Knotts, a 9:10 interview with Ann Wedgeworth with some of the creators added, a 3:56 segment on Knotts casting, a 3:28 segment on casting Suzanne Somers, and Best Of segments for this season on Jack, Chrissy, Janet, Larry and Furley.


Of course, being that the show was the show it was, even this dip would not last.  As everyone knows, Suzanne Somers was in contract talks to get more money as she considered herself the biggest star and asset to the series.  So it is with true irony that her rocking of the boat may have saved the show from earlier decline and cancellation because she wanted a raise.  We’ll examine that when we get to the fifth season.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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