Posts tagged ‘sitcoms’

There’s a little bit of Jack Tripper in all of us …..

In the world of entertainment, there is a bit of Three’s Company in everything.
What was the basis of that ’70s sitcom? SEXUAL MISCOMMUNICATION.
Mr. Roper is fixing the pipes and hear’s Jack Tripper and Chrissy Snow upstairs in the bathroom.
“It won’t fit, Chrissy!” Jack said. “It’s too big.”
“Well keep pushing,” Chrissy shot back. “It will go in eventually.”
Sex? Of course not.
Just putting in the shower curtain rod.
Well, fast forward 20 years to American Beauty, the Oscar-winning movie with Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening playing the cheating spouses.
In the movie, how does Kevin Spacey’s character die?
The marine who lives next door is spying on Spacey and looks into the garage.
What the marine appears to see is his son stooped over and giving Kevin Spacey a blow job.
But what is really happening? The marine’s son is stooped over and rolling a joint. Kevin Spacey’s character is laying back on a weight bench.
How’d the mistake happen? There is a panel in the middle of the garage that cuts off the view of the marine so he can’t really see exactly what is going on, so just assumes his son is giving Spacey a blow job. He just sees his son bent over and sees Spacey grunting simultaneously (from weight lifting).
So the homophobic marine rushes over to the garage and kisses Spacey and, when rejected, shoots him in the next scene.
Now, how is that any different than the episode of Three’s Company called “Stanley’s Hotline.”
Here’s the plot straight from IMDB: “Mr. Roper discovers a direct line to listen in on the trio’s apartment — through the bathroom pipes he is fixing. He overhears part of a conversation between Jack, Chrissy and Linda (who is staying with them while Janet is visiting her parents). From what he hears, he thinks Chrissy is pregnant, although what is wrong is that she has an ugly wart on her hand. Roper tells his wife, who immediately goes to Chrissy to convince her to keep the baby. Chrissy straightens her out, and they pull a trick on Roper to get even with him for spying on them.”
Now, granted, Mr. Roper didn’t get his brains splattered on his kitchen table, ala Kevin Spacey. But this was the 70’s.
By the way, the classic part of that episode is that Mr. Roper hears Chrissy saying how she “just wants to get rid of it” and believes Chrissy is contemplating an abortion. The landlord then hears Jack Tripper asks Chrissy just how she plans to do that and Chrissy blurts out, “A nail clipper.” Ah, what better way to bring a controversial debate to America’s consciousness than via America’s darling platonic roomates?
The show was all about sexual miscommunication. It’s the one theme that made the 1970s the last great frontier of sitcom TV.
By the 21st century, the sexual miscommunication-themed sitcom would die, ruined with the invention of the cell phone. Think about it. Nearly every episode of Seinfeld would be cut in half if they just had cellphones.
George is concerned that his girlfriend doesn’t return calls. George avoids a breakup by not answering his land line. George can’t call his girlfriend at the Chinese restaurant because all the pay phones are being used. Jerry and Elaine are stuck at a party until 3 a.m. because Kramer loses the instructions of where to pick them up.
All of these problems solved with a cell phone.

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November 7, 2008 at 4:41 am Leave a comment