MONDO EXTRAS

Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three’s Company

The actors take their bows. They all hug. The crowd goes wild. Right on the set while the audience is still yelling, the Exposition Suits hand John a bottle of champagne, which he shakes up and sprays all over the girls. The three of them collapse on the couch. Oh, those happy days of yore, before Suzanne Somers got so famous. Ye Olde Pratfalle Sitcomme, where have you gone?

April 1977. John, out of the vintage red Beetle (which would ironically now be the far more sought-after car) and in a boring shiny car that still has dice hanging from the mirror, drives onto the studio lot, popping up through his sun roof to grinningly greet the security guy. John is a household name! Joyce and Suzanne are mobbed by screaming fans as they arrive for work. They are a phenomenon, get it? The show is a monster hit! There is more funky music. Suzanne does a photo shoot wrapped in an American flag. Joyce does one that shows off her dancer's legs. (Have I mentioned she's a theater actress? From the legitimate stage?) John cavorts on the beach for the camera. Fame! They're gonna live forever. Or at least into the early '80s.

At the first-season wrap party in May of 1977, there is much happiness and excitement. Ted sends a minion to round everyone up in the green room for "an announcement." As the minion works his way through the crowd, he passes a guy in an enormous yellow pimp hat, and doesn't even comment. You know, that's how society loses its way -- it's when people stop having standards. When everyone is in the lounge car, the three principals jump up on an ottoman or a couch or something and start dancing together to the very bad music, while Ted tells the excited, cheering crowd that the show is not only "lightning in a bottle," but "the entire thunderstorm." The crowd whoops, and the three who are the company continue to boogie. "Thanks to three people, John! Joyce! And Suzanne!" The three of them appear to have some kind of choreographed dance routine prepared, or else that's a specific disco sequence that I can't appreciate because I'm not old enough. Did disco really involve fake karate-chopping? That seems excessive, even for a genre that allowed yellow hats.

At a Season Two press conference, Fred answers the obligatory question about what he would say to people who think he's eroding America's moral fiber. Fred says, "Screw 'em." The reporter who asked looks shocked. You can't say "screw"! It's 1977! Next, Joyce fields the following question: "Joyce, you're a professionally trained theater actress. How do you justify working on a show as fluffy as Three's Company?" Did I mention Joyce is a real actress? Unlike the rest of the people who were on the show? And that she's a co-producer of the movie? Yeah. Anyway, she answers that all acting is valid acting, and that the physical comedy is of high quality. Thank you, Joyce, for bringing this funky '70s romp to a screeching halt with your expository, self-congratulatory claptrap. Joyce winds up by endorsing something said by Shirley MacLaine about how she "didn't want to be a big star, just a long star." Easy for Shirley to say, of course, considering that when she says "long," she means, like, thousands of years. Suzanne adds that she wants to be a big star, and everyone laughs. Hmm, I wonder if that's foreshadowing of some sort. She also misquotes Gypsy by saying, "If you've got it, bump it with a trumpet." John engages in some of his signature clowning, which is already totally boring, and we're out of the press conference, none too soon.

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Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Three’s Company The actors take their bows. They all hug. The crowd goes wild. Right on the set while the audience is still yelling, the Exposition Suits hand John a bottle of champagne, which he shakes up and sprays all over the girls. The three of them collapse on the couch. Oh, those happy days of yore, before Suzanne Somers got so famous. Ye Olde Pratfalle Sitcomme, where have you gone? April 1977. John, out of the vintage red Beetle (which would ironically now be the far more sought-after car) and in a boring shiny car that still has dice hanging from the mirror, drives onto the studio lot, popping up through his sun roof to grinningly greet the security guy. John is a household name! Joyce and Suzanne are mobbed by screaming fans as they arrive for work. They are a phenomenon, get it? The show is a monster hit! There is more funky music. Suzanne does a photo shoot wrapped in an American flag. Joyce does one that shows off her dancer's legs. (Have I mentioned she's a theater actress? From the legitimate stage?) John cavorts on the beach for the camera. Fame! They're gonna live forever. Or at least into the early '80s. At the first-season wrap party in May of 1977, there is much happiness and excitement. Ted sends a minion to round everyone up in the green room for "an announcement." As the minion works his way through the crowd, he passes a guy in an enormous yellow pimp hat, and doesn't even comment. You know, that's how society loses its way -- it's when people stop having standards. When everyone is in the lounge car, the three principals jump up on an ottoman or a couch or something and start dancing together to the very bad music, while Ted tells the excited, cheering crowd that the show is not only "lightning in a bottle," but "the entire thunderstorm." The crowd whoops, and the three who are the company continue to boogie. "Thanks to three people, John! Joyce! And Suzanne!" The three of them appear to have some kind of choreographed dance routine prepared, or else that's a specific disco sequence that I can't appreciate because I'm not old enough. Did disco really involve fake karate-chopping? That seems excessive, even for a genre that allowed yellow hats. At a Season Two press conference, Fred answers the obligatory question about what he would say to people who think he's eroding America's moral fiber. Fred says, "Screw 'em." The reporter who asked looks shocked. You can't say "screw"! It's 1977! Next, Joyce fields the following question: "Joyce, you're a professionally trained theater actress. How do you justify working on a show as fluffy as Three's Company?" Did I mention Joyce is a real actress? Unlike the rest of the people who were on the show? And that she's a co-producer of the movie? Yeah. Anyway, she answers that all acting is valid acting, and that the physical comedy is of high quality. Thank you, Joyce, for bringing this funky '70s romp to a screeching halt with your expository, self-congratulatory claptrap. Joyce winds up by endorsing something said by Shirley MacLaine about how she "didn't want to be a big star, just a long star." Easy for Shirley to say, of course, considering that when she says "long," she means, like, thousands of years. Suzanne adds that she wants to be a big star, and everyone laughs. Hmm, I wonder if that's foreshadowing of some sort. She also misquotes Gypsy by saying, "If you've got it, bump it with a trumpet." John engages in some of his signature clowning, which is already totally boring, and we're out of the press conference, none too soon.

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