Having lived in both the UK and the US, and watched both the ORIGINAL, "Man About The House", and the US COPY, "Three's Company", I've enjoyed both of them, even now, in 2006.
I've just been watching M.A.T.H. on Paramount Comedy, and much as I liked Three's Company, I'm finding I laugh out loud more often, at the UK show. I loved the American re-make too, but I guess my British upbringing means I identify with the British humour more.
It's just one of many UK sitcoms from the 1970's, that US television bought the rights and scripts of, and remade with an American flavour. Most of them became very popular in the US, with few people realising they were copies of original British ideas/scripts. Others I can think of:
"The Ropers" = "George & Mildred" "Sandford & Son" = "Steptoe & Son" "All In The Family" = "Till Death Do Us Part" "Reggie" = "The Rise & Fall Of Reginal Perrin"
All were good re-makes.
Conversely, on the few occasions the British have re-made American comedies, it hasn't worked as well. I'm thinking of UK remakes of "Golden Girls" and "Married With Children" - both British re-makes sucked, big time. In the case of the Married With Children re-make, I think it failed because the whole premise of the show was that it mocked clichéd "US cute family" comedies (it was known as the Anti-Cosby Show by the writers), and such humour didn't translate to a British show about a British family.
And now it's the 21st Century, and what do we see on NBC? An American re-make of the Golden Globe-winning British comedy, The Office.
I absolutely LOVED this show when it aired here, even though I was a little kid by then. It had the kind of charm and mood that keeps you laughing until it hurts, the cast was excellent and so was the timing. If compared to what the sitcom genre has degenerated to (And I don't think it's necessary to name any specific title, most of the sitcoms are awful except Seinfeld) it's a crying shame that shows like Mad About The House are no longer made. Whatever happened to witty writing and great cast?
What you've got now in any sitcom is a cast full of supposedly cute girls who look like they just got out of a concentration camp, plus they can't act. And male cast is not much better, either. It seems any sitcom actor/actress must come out of a models' agency, as if the 'beauty' actually mattered more than the acting skills.
Somebody may accuse me of nostalgia, and I'm willing to be called that if it means yearning for good and funny shows like Mad About The House. The current sitcoms really stink. And I am looking forward to be able to get this fantastic show on DVD someday. By the way, The Roper was awesome as well.
I absolutely love old British TV series, and especially in the sit-com department they beat all other countries. I remember this particular series quite well even though I haven't seen it in a long time, luckily it's now available on VHS/DVD so I'll be buying it soon. Nothing beats that atmospheric shot-on-videotape look most British TV shows had in the '70s, when filmed indoors. Richard Sullivan is great as the guy the two girls find in their bathroom, and the two actresses are also both excellent. Terrific stuff. The series had two spin-offs; "George & Mildred" (about the landlord and his wife) and "Robin's Nest" (Sullivan's character minus the girls). Those who think the American version "Three's Company" is better only need to look at the amount of episodes it had, and suddenly it's not so funny anymore. I think the fact that "Three's Company" was filled with more characters and ran for a whopping 172 episodes compared to the original's small cast and 39 episodes says it all. Overdoing it kills any show, and the Brits always knew quantity is not the same as quality.
I found the first four episodes of MAN ABOUT THE HOUSE, and I'm scouring eBay and Amazon for more! This show is pretty damn funny. I never liked the American version, and now I know why. The acting in this is far superior! Richard O'Sullivan is funny without resorting to inane slapstick -- ok, there's a bit of it, but the British do it so much better (as evidenced by Benny Hill). Sally Thomsett is cute without being dumb, and shows her wit time and time again. And Paula Wilcox combines sexy, smart, and sassy like no one I've ever seen. You won't find a more talented trio.
Yootha Joyce and Brian Murphy are the -- dare I say -- threesome's perfect foils. Not the lecherous landlords of the American version, but naughty and enjoyable.
Would love to see this on TV on this side of the pond. As it is, I'll have to buy PAL and have it converted to NTSC. A small price to pay for superior, saucy, sexy fun!
The one thing the Brits know about television is knowing when to stop. This show did more with 39 episodes (& one movie) than Three's Company did with 172 episodes. While it does leave you wanting for more, I'd rather have a few excellent shows than dozens of mediocre or downright horrible ones. Hollywood should take a lesson here.
Richard was a likable bloke and the girls were cute and charming. The Ropers were much funnier than their American counterparts. I liked the fact that they dismissed the whole "Robin is gay" thing almost immediately.
If you've never seen this show, you owe to yourself to check it out.
I have such fond memories of watching this show. I would love to see it again. Yes, it was copied by Three's Company but the two shows diverged quite a bit after awhile. What I liked best about it was the sexual chemistry between Robin Tripp and Chrissy (the smart one). They were always bantering and teasing and arguing but you knew underneath there was something there. I was always waiting for the dumb blonde (Jo) to get out of the way so they could get more romantic. I wish I could remember how the series ended. I think they got together but maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part. I do remember the series Robin's Nest and it was kinda cute but there was no chemistry without Chrissy. In the American series, Chrissy was the dumb blonde, Janet the smart one but neither one had any real romantic relationship with John Ritter's character. I think people here have been too harsh about Ritter. He was all slapstick its true, but that was an art in itself! Different kind of humour. I prefer the British series as it was more subtle and clever, but I also enjoyed the American version. Although it really lasted at least two years too long!!
This programme started to be hard to see in this particular TV market once the American imitation "Three's Company" (1977) started up. "Three's Company" was everything "Man About the House" was not. The British original was funny, sexy, maybe a bit salacious. And it had two cute girls, nice English ones. The grossly inferior "Three's Company" was unfunny, prurient rather than sexy, and basically brain-dead. And no cute English birds, obviously.
"Man About the House" had a proper star, Richard O'Sullivan, who'd just finished his stint as Bingham in "Doctor in the House", a *completely* different role, mind you. Rather than someone like O'Sullivan, "Three's Company" had John Ritter. Years later, it turned out that Ritter could act but that wasn't really apparent in the '70's when he gave the leading one-note performance.
Hack US magazine writers still trot out that tired old cliché about the British being prudish about sex when compared to sophisticated Americans. I've seen a couple of references of that kind in the past month. Well, that might very well have been true in the 1940's, but that was certainly not the case by the '60's, and it's not true today either. If one compares these two series from the 1970's, it's the British one that's mature, while the American copycat seems childish and leering.
I suspect anyone who had ever seen "Man About the House" was left grinding his teeth by "Three's Company" and its long and entirely undeserved run. Surely there's an all-Britcom channel somewhere where this coy ménage à trois can find a happy home again.
One of THE comedies of the 1970's. Also has the best signature tune of any comedy show. The story is about three people sharing a flat living above their landlords George and Mildred. The comedy rests on the mix of the people sharing. A man and two women. Richard O' Sullivan is besotted with Paula Wilcox. Its played in a gentle and not a leering way which is why this show was such a success.
The scripts and the stars were always giving the best performances and Richard's frustrated love life was shown with a relaxed charm. The end titles contained visual jokes which went unnoticed in the early 1970's but concerned the flat sharers living arrangements.
While the British produced some hilarious and slick sitcoms in the 1990s - Ab Fab, Men Behaving Badly, One Foot in the Grave, etc. - the 70s were the real golden age.
In the 1970s there were whole new territories to explore, including the sexual revolution, feminism, and the slowly evolving awareness of a need for "sensitivity" that would, twenty years later, become Political Correctness. Attempts to grapple with the confusion of this thoroughly modern world were the subtle and not-so-subtle themes in everything from the skits of Monty Python's Flying Circus to sitcoms like Man About the House. (By the late 70s this "grappling" resulted in more meditative and bitter-sweet sitcoms such as the masterpiece Butterflies.)
Man About the House is a perfect example of the good Britcoms of the time - slightly genteel, cheeky, fresh, ingenuous, sometimes outrageous, with some well made observations on contemporary life. Compare it to a cynical 90s show such as Ab Fab, and it is hard to believe the two were created in the same country.
Man About the House is one of the great Britcoms of the 70s, right up there with Good Neighbors (The Good Life), and About the House's spin off George and Mildred. Its quality is attested to by the fact that - as with Good Neighbors - its creators, writers, and many of its cast have had continued success in British television.
Now the series is 30 years old but it is still funny. I saw it when I was a child and I can still recall the laughters at home. It was the first British tv series thet topped the tv rankings in Spain. And even now, people remember it. Two different situations: upstairs the 3 flat mates, and downstairs the landlord and his wife. The scripts were terrific: both situations fixed perfectly. And what about the actors? all of them were absolutely brilliant, specially my dear Mrs Roper. Oh, yes. Americans made a "remake" that was OK when they copied word by word the original episodes. When they had to create new scripts it became awful and boring. By the way, I always recommend to see any show in its original version, but I must confess that Spanish dubbed version is as good as the original one.
Some years ago, satellite channel U.K. Gold promoted repeats of 'Men Behaving Badly' with the hype: "Here it is, the original flat-sharing sitcom!". This was in fact untrue. 'Man About The House' was also a flat-sharing sitcom and ran from 1973-76.
It was the brainchild of Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke, creators of the popular sitcom 'Father Dear Father'. When it ended, they decided they wanted to do something more in harmony with the times.
In the first episode, Chrissy ( Paula Wilcox ) and Jo ( Sally Thomsett ) are tidying their Myddleton Terrace flat following a wild party when they find a man in their bath. He is Robin Tripp ( Richard O'Sullivan ), a Southampton cookery student of no fixed abode. While his clothes dry out, he puts on a ladies' dressing gown and prepares them a meal. They are so impressed by his culinary skills that they invite him to stay. But there must be no naughty business. So Robin has to pretend to be gay...
On B.B.C.-2's 'I Love 1973', shown in 2000, Julie Burchill claimed that 'House' showed her a way of life she envied. She was not alone. One of the most iconic ( for me, anyway ) images of '70's British television was Sally Thomsett coming out of the London Underground carrying a parasol, and a 'blind' man doing a double take as her pert bottom swings past.
A man living with two girls was a risqué subject for the time, but Mrs.Mary Whitehouse had no need to get hot under the collar, it was innocent, good-natured fun. Mortimer and Cooke's scripts went as close as they could to the edge without crossing it.
Richard O'Sullivan was still playing 'Bingham' in I.T.V.'s 'Doctor In Charge' when this got started. In fact the second run of 'In Charge' overlapped with the first of 'House'. He was born to play the sex-mad Robin. Paula Wilcox's 'Chrissy' was more streetwise than 'Beryl', her character she played in 'The Lovers', while Sally Thomsett's 'Jo' was a lovable dizzy blonde. As time wore on, he became almost like an older brother to them.
For many viewers, Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce stole the show as the warring Ropers. George had lost interest in sex, but Mildred had not. They went on to their own show - the aptly titled 'George & Mildred'. The late Doug Fisher was good value as as Robin's wideboy friend Larry. He worked so well he was made into a regular.
Within a year of its debut, there was the inevitable movie spin-off. I am not a big fan of the 'Man About The House' movie because I think it was stretched to fit the big screen. Most of its characters had never appeared in the series.
The format was sold to America, where it became the long-running 'Three's Company' starring the late John Ritter and Suzanne Somers. It was far more suggestive than the British original, with Somers often seen in sexy clothing.
After six seasons, 'House' ended with Chrissy marrying Robin's older brother Norman ( Norman Eshley ). Fans were devastated to see Robin failing to get the girl he loved, but there was some consolation in the fact that he too landed his own show - 'Robin's Nest'.
As is nearly always the case, when Britain comes up with an entertaining and/or successful sit-com or quiz show, the Yanks will come along and poach the format and produce their own, grossly inferior, version. Man About The House is, of course, no exception to that rule. The Yanks' version ( Three's Company ) was unwatchable, braindead pap that seem to run forever. A prime example of quantity over ( non-existent ) quality. The original, on the other hand, is a fondly-remembered gem that had the savvy ( like Fawlty Towers ) to pull the plug at precisely the right time ( unlike the 637 episodes of 'hilarity' that Three's Company came up with ). Jo was cute, there was brilliant chemistry between the Ropers, Richard O'Sullivan made it all look so easy, the scripts, whilst not exactly Oscar Wilde-standard, were consistently funny and Chrissy was THE most drop-dead gorgeous woman who has walked the face of this planet since The Dead Sea was merely feeling unwell. 'Nuff said.
Man about the house is a true situation comedy in every sense of the word. The comedy concerns a character called Robin Tripp (played by the great Richard O' Sullivan) who finds himself after a wild party, ending up at the home of two ladies called Jo and Chrissy. Ironically the party was held to say goodbye to their old flatmate. The obvious ends up happening as he moves in.
Man about the house was a pre-cursor to Cooke and Mortimer's spin off show George and Mildred which featured the 2 characters who were landlords to Jo, Chrissy and Robin. These two characters would actually turn out to be the linchpins of man about the house with Mildred (the late and much missed Yootha Joyce) in particular getting some of the best lines of the series. A semi-regular character was Larry (Doug Fisher) a useless person who was always on the scrounge and only ever came round when he wanted to borrow something (and never to return it).
The American's did a version called three's company but it doesn't stand a chance when compared to this far funnier original. Thames took a risk in producing a comedy about a man sharing a flat with 2 women at a very conservative time but they should worry as the ratings at the time suggest that around 20 million people just wanted to watch a good old fashioned bit of comedy with inspired casting and a sharp script. What a pity modern comedy can't reach that high standard.
This is a well-written and well-acted 1970s ITV sitcom that is set in London. Robin O'Sullivan, Sally Thomsett and Paula Wilcox play twentysomething, single flatmates Robin, Jo and Chrissy. Their downstairs neighbours are George and Mildred Roper, an unhappily- married, middle-aged couple.
There are two spin-offs: George and Mildred and Robin's Nest. MATH has been remade in several countries.
Richard O'Sullivan spent much of his early career playing supporting roles in drama shows such as 'Dixon Of Dock Green' and 'Great Expectations'. In 1971, he found sitcom fame as weasely Lawrence Bingham in 'Doctor At Large', which was broadcast from London Weekend Television. The following year, he crossed over to Thames to star alongside Beryl Reid in the disastrous 'Alcock & Gander'. The year after that, writers Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke, who remembered O'Sullivan from when he appeared in their earlier hit 'Father Dear Father', pitched him in the leading role as randy cookery student Robin Tripp in their next show - the hugely successful 'Man About The House'.
It all starts when two girls - Chrissy ( Paula Wilcox ) and Jo ( Sally Thomsett ) - awake one morning after a raucous party ( which they were throwing as a farewell party to their previous flatmate ) to find a man asleep in their bath. This is, of course, Robin Tripp, a homeless cookery student who, along with some friends, gatecrashed the party. As Robin can cook, Chrissy and Jo offer to him to become their new flatmate, on the proviso that he keeps his hands to himself.
Chrissy and Jo's landlords, however, the sex-mad Mildred ( Yootha Joyce ) and sexless George ( Brian Murphy ), who live downstairs, do not approve of the girls having a man live with them. To ensure them that there will be no hanky panky between themselves and Robin, Chrissy tells them that Robin is gay ( which they later find out was just a ruse to let him stay ).
From what I believe, on its original transmission hardly a week used to go by without Mary Whitehouse tearing into it, who thought that two females sharing a flat with a male was not an appropriate premise for a sitcom. ITV obviously did not give two hoots about what Mrs. Whitehouse thought as 'Man About The House' regularly pulled in viewers of around 12 million. It was so well liked that in its first year, the cast performed a sketch for that year's edition of 'All Star Comedy Carnival' ( ITV's answer to 'Christmas Night With The Stars' ). Also there was a feature film spin-off ( as was a common thing with sitcoms in those days ) the following year. Richard O'Sullivan was tailor-made for the part of Robin and both Paula Wilcox and Sally Thomsett supported him more than adequately as the sexy girls. Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce made such an impression on viewers that they were later spun-off into their own show - 'George & Mildred' - which was even more successful. Also impressive was the late Doug Fisher as Robin's Jack-The-Lad friend Larry.
Six series were made in all. The final episode ended with Chrissy marrying Robin's brother Norman ( played by Norman Eshley, who later appeared with Joyce and Murphy in 'George & Mildred' as their snobbish neighbour Jeffrey Fourmile ). One year after 'Man About The House' ended, Mortimer and Cooke brought back Robin Tripp in a different show - 'Robin's Nest' - in which he opened up a bistro with his attractive fiancée Vicky ( Tessa Wyatt ). All in all, 'Man About The House' was not brilliant ( not in my view, anyway ) but it was enjoyable all the same. It was one of those sitcoms that manages to be risqué without being offensive, rather like 'On The Buses'.
Like most British sitcoms, the format of 'Man About The House' was sold to America in the '80's where it was remade as 'Three's Company', which starred John Ritter and Suzanne Somers. It was nowhere near as funny.
How can someone call Three's Company 'prurient'? Maybe a Jesuit priest would think so. Anyway, having seen both series, there is no comparison. The imitator FAR surpassed the original. No doubt. There will always be some people who will choose the original just to not be with the masses. Something tells me the creators of Three's Company aren't too unhappy with bad reviews. They laughed all the way to the bank while the viewing public laughed at their show.
before seeing this British sitcom,which inspired Three's company,i thought three's Company was brilliant.i must say,however,that although i still believe Three's Company to be very funny,compared to it's British counterpart,it's nowhere near as clever or multi layered.there is so much more going on here than meets the eye.the characters are much more multi dimensional.certainly the show is more risqué,as is usual for British shows.overall,in my opinion,it's sheer comic genius,due to both the writing and the acting.i will definitely have to revise my score for Three's Company after viewing this show.for me,Man About the House is a 10/10.