Entertainment Weekly has a glowing eulogy to John Ritter, noting that his talents were often underappreciated. They also remind us how culturally ground-breaking, for good or ill, “Three’s Company” was:
”Three’s Company”’s winking innuendo seems tame in the age of ”Sex and the City,” but in 1977, the show was considered scandalous. Now, it looks pioneering in ways its makers probably didn’t intend. Well before Jerry and Elaine, or Harry and Sally, Ritter proved that men and women could be platonic friends. Note also that Jack’s landlords objected more to the idea of a man living with two women than having a gay tenant. To his credit, Ritter would play the ”gay” Jack without camping or mincing — unless he wanted to have some fun at Mr. Furley’s expense. Later, in the spinoff ”Three’s a Crowd,” Jack and his live-in girlfriend became the first primetime unmarried couple living in sin. In 1984, this was still too radical for a lot of viewers, and the show lasted only a year.
The piece also mentioned Ritter’s short-lived 1987 dramedy “Hooperman,” which I had forgotten about but liked quite a bit. I was apparently in a distinct minority, as the show lasted but two seasons.