Three's Company

Common Sense Media says

Classic comedy of errors is still swingin'.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

 

The series reflects some of the values of the show's original 1970's era, including some sexist gender stereotypes and behaviors.

Positive role models

Jack's masquerade as a gay man is often played for laughs. Chrissy is a "dumb blonde." Jack does much of the cooking and some cleaning in the house, but the female characters often resort to tears and panic in cases of stress or fright.

Violence

Physical humor includes tumbles, collisions, and a few slaps, but it's all for laughs and doesn't lead to injury.

Sex

A large portion of the show's humor is based on sexual innuendoes, strong flirting scenes, and misinterpreted signals between the sexes. But the mood is kept light to play up the laughs. Female characters dress in tight pants, short shorts, and clingy tops, and occasionally they're seen in lingerie. Men often gaze longingly at pretty women or mention to their buddies the attractiveness of a woman's features.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Several scenes either take place in the local bar (the Regal Beagle) and/or include alcohol, but drinking is reserved for the over-21 crowd.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this still-hilarious '70s sitcom relies on sexual innuendo, silly physical humor, and monumental misunderstandings for its well-earned laughs. Throughout the series, Jack pretends to be gay so that his traditional landlords will allow him to live with two single women. There's no substantive negative commentary on homosexuality (though Jack sometimes camps it up a bit), but the masquerade is played for humor time and time again. The onscreen chemistry between Janet, Chrissy, and Jack (who fancies himself a ladies' man but rarely enjoys great luck with them) brings the subject of sexual attraction to the forefront, but the constant slapstick comedy keeps the tone light enough for family viewing with tweens. Even the innuendos seem pretty tame by today's standards; Chrissy's dumb-blonde shtick might raise more eyebrows among modern parents. Some kids might find the characters' constant mix-ups stressful.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

For eight seasons in the late 1970s and early '80s, THREE'S COMPANY effortlessly combined slapstick, physical humor, and double entendres. The show (which was based on the British hit Man About the House) centers on aspiring chef Jack Tripper (John Ritter), who shares an apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., with two female roommates -- slightly neurotic florist Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and ditzy blonde Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Somers). In later episodes, after Somers left the show amid salary disputes, Chrissy was briefly replaced by her cousin, Cindy Snow (Jennilee Harrison), and then by the much more grounded Terri Alden (Priscilla Barnes). While the trio's co-ed bunking situation works well for them, their conservative older landlord, Mr. Roper (Norman Fell), thinks otherwise. He decides to live with it only after Jack lets Mr. Roper believe that he's gay -- when, in truth, Jack is happily heterosexual and even prides himself on his attraction to the ladies (though his roomies would probably disagree).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

As you can imagine, a premise based on one major misunderstanding just begs for more to follow -- and they certainly do. The name of the game here is comedy of misheard comments, misinterpreted situations, slapstick clumsiness, and drawn-out double entendres. Over the course of the show's eight-year run, Jack & co. weathered many personnel changes (including the memorable addition of Don Knotts as new landlord Mr. Furley), but their onscreen chemistry held strong.

Although plenty of Three's Company's humor has sexual tones, the mood is so light and silly that it's really pretty harmless. Kids old enough to pick up on the flirting and longing gazes likely will understand their place in the overall comedy, and younger tweens will miss most of it amid the clumsy physical humor that's so prevalent. The only thing to really watch out for is the mild teasing that surrounds Mr. Roper's belief in Jack's homosexuality. While even that's kept very light, it's pretty frequent (he often refers to Jack as "one of the girls") and may raise questions from kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about getting along with siblings (and/or roommates). How does sharing living space with someone affect your relationship with them? What challenges does it bring? Families can also discuss the dangers of prejudging people. Have your kids ever felt like they were unfairly judged or labeled? How does it make them feel? How do they respond if they're teased? Also, what's the best way to handle a misunderstanding?

TV details

Cast:John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers
Network:TV Land
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of Three's Company was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byNASCAR101 June 16, 2013
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

you have got to be kidding me commonsense

this show is sick
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bymatthewc February 15, 2015
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Know your kids.

Based on the classic Thames Television programme "Man About the House", "Three's Company" is a comedy of errors sitcom. It's about three roommates a man and two women. The man must pretend he's gay because his landlord will evict him. Sexual dialogue and innuendo are a contributing factor, as well as. alcohol consumption. Profanity is mild mostly use of "damn" and "What the Hell?!" Also at times there's slapstick violence and very rarily any direct violence. I don't recommend this to anyone under the age of 14. While it's tame compared to today's media, much like any 70s-90s sitcom it has TV-14 moments. Know your kids before letting them watch this sitcom.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byCSM Screen name... June 4, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Not for younger children!

This show is not appropriate for younger viewers. It is laced with innuendoes. Jack's is always trying to score with his roommates. I am surprised that csm listed it for 10yr olds.
What other families should know
Too much sex

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass