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Stanley and Helen Roper, the beloved landlords from "Three's Company," have sold their apartment complex and moved into a new one. Their trademark quirks are intact as they deal with new neighbors and frequent visits from Helen's sister. Written by
When the network proposed the spin-off of Three's Company (1976) (i.e. that they should remake the UK series George & Mildred (1976), which was the spin-off from Man About the House (1973)) focusing on the Ropers, Audra Lindley was excited and wanted to go ahead, but Norman Fell wasn't too keen on the idea. Fell felt that you couldn't do a series with *only* the running gag of Mrs. Roper being undersexed. The network assured him the show would have more substance than that, and furthermore, if the show didn't make it a full season, he and Audra could come back full time to Three's Company as the Ropers. So it was after six months of convincing, Norman Fell finally gave in. The Ropers (1979) made it a season and a half before it was canceled, As a result, ABC Network was not obligated to take them back to Three's Company, because their contract had passed the one year mark, so Norman Fell and Audra Lindley were out of work. However, despite their hard feelings they did reprise their roles as guest stars on Three's Company as Mr and Mrs Roper one last time before their characters were retired for good. See more »
Back in the good old days, when "Three's Company" had just come on the air, there were plenty of laughs around for Jack, Janet and Chrissy. But it was the crotchety, nosy landlords Stanley and Helen Roper (Fell and Lindley) who got the big guffaws for their live-action version of "the Lockhorns". They were a riot.
So, naturally, they got their own series titled, logically, "The Ropers". Having moved out of the apartment complex, they move into a duplex owned by the EXTREMELY stuffy Jeffrey P. Brooks III (Tambor, who was terrific) and his not-as-stuffy wife (McCormack). Eventually, it was the Ropers' turn to be spied on by a suspicious neighbor.
The first few episodes of this series were great, as Fell and Lindley expanded on their corrosive repartee from the original series. Then, adding Tambor as a humorless foil to their slobbery and the double-entendres that occurred when guests would drop by (usually, Jack, Janet or Crissy) every so often, made things even more hilarious.
But it was too good to last; the writing kind of slacked off as they attempted to make the ever-bickering Ropers more understanding and sensitive to each other. This, of course, entirely missed to point to their appeal; the constant bickering was their only form of communication and, by and large, the only way they could possibly stay together. Take that away, and what do you have left? Not too much else.
A conversation I'll always remember is when Stanley (Fell) is complaining that something Helen (Lindley) was doing was effeminate. Her comeback - "I AM effeminate - just like you're emasculate." Cue laugh track.
Well, I'll always remember the good parts of "The Ropers", anyway.
Six stars for "The Ropers" - the best neighbors you could ever have - move away, that is.
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