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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

dream cast: hypothetical ‘Three’s Company’ movie

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for another Dream Cast, in which we take a classic movie or TV show — perferrably something with Xer appeal that we can either trash or have fun with — and recast a hypothetical (or sometimes not so hypothetical) remake with actors working today. This week: Three’s Company, the 1977-84 ABC sitcom about a straight man who pretends to be gay so he can share a Santa Monica apartment with two straight women.

(If you have a suggestion for a classic TV show or movie we could play Dream Cast with, feel free to email me.)
I remember being a small, stupid, uncritical child and loving this show. I’m not sure whether I understood, at the time, much of what passed for humor here. Did I know what it meant when people said a man was gay, or why mistaken sexual identity could be “funny”? I’m not sure I did.

The original cast featured:

Jack Tripper: John Ritter
Janet Wood: Joyce DeWitt
Chrissy Snow: Suzanne Somers
Larry Dallas: Richard Kline

and
Mr. Roper: Norman Fell
Mrs. Roper: Audra Lindley

or
Ralph Furley: Don Knotts

It’s almost inevitable that a movie mounting — heh, I said mounting — of this sitcom would have to be a sendup. Because a story about a man denied an apartment on account of his heterosexuality would be an episode of Boston Legal these days, not a farce. So that means either a brilliant Brady Bunch-style wink-and-nod, or a tedious Starsky & Hutch-style phony nostalgia fest.

If it went bad, my dreading cast would be:

Jack Tripper: Ben Stiller
Janet Wood: Megan Fox
Chrissy Snow: Anna Faris
Larry Dallas: Jack Black

and
Ralph Furley: Kevin James

If it went right, my dream cast would be:

Jack Tripper: Sam Rockwell
Janet Wood: Missi Pyle
Chrissy Snow: Kristin Chenoweth
Larry Dallas: James Spader

and
Ralph Furley: Paul Giamatti

Who’s in your Dream Cast (or Dreading Cast)?

Come and knock on our door:



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  • Bill

    Jack Tripper: Zach Braff
    Janet Wood: Tina Fey
    Chrissy Snow: Sarah Paulson
    Larry Dallas: Vince Vaughn or Matthew McConaughey

    Mr. Roper: Allison Janney
    Mrs. Roper: J.K. Simmons

  • PaulW

    I’m not sure whether I understood, at the time, much of what passed for humor here.

    The gags were almost always a “mistaken identity” plot, where people got confused about who was straight, who was gay, and each episode ended up with a guest character slapping or punching poor Jack just so we could see John Ritter make funny faces at the camera. At least that’s what it was for the 8-to-10 year old crowd. The whole gay thing didn’t really seem to make sense until puberty.

    Dream Cast possibilities would be:
    Jack Tripper: Vin Diesel
    Janet Wood: Rumer Willis (Demi Moore/Bruce’s daughter)
    Crissy Snow: Diora Baird (Accepted)
    Larry Dallas: Ron Jeremy! No, I kid. How about Adrian Zmed?

    I’m torn between casting Mr. Furley as a clueless swinging guy or as a Ms. Furley as a clueless cougar lady…

  • Victor Plenty

    If the premise stays the same as in the original, I can’t hope to do better than MaryAnn’s picks for the cast, but if we tweak the premise, we can use a Very Special dream cast. (cue theme from The Twilight Zone)

    Picture if you will a nation where the most ridiculous paranoid fantasies of right wing pundits and talk show hosts are coming true.

    It’s the near future. Democrats have won solid majorities everywhere. They’ve legalized gay marriage. Now for the next item on The Gay Agenda (imaginary in the real world, but real in the show’s world), they outlaw traditional “opposite marriage” and try to end heterosexuality. In this new gay America, straight couples must pretend to be gay, or face legal discrimination in housing.

    Now the cast for the Three’s Company set in this imaginary world:

    Jack Tripper: Glenn Beck
    Janet Wood: Michelle Malkin
    Chrissy Snow: Ann Coulter
    Larry Dallas: Karl Rove

    and
    Mr. Roper: Barney Frank
    Mrs. Roper: Nancy Pelosi

    or
    Ralph Furley: William Jefferson Clinton

    Hilarity ensues.

  • Oh no no no. No young ‘uns. Let’s make the hypothetical movie be about the roommates 25 years (or more) on. Still living together after all these years. James Garner can play Jack (there’s already precedent for him stepping into a John Ritter role), Joyce, Suzanne and Richard can reprise their previous roles (assuming they’re still around and working), Mrs. & Mrs. Roper can be British and played by Dame Judith Dench and Bernard Cribbins.

  • Paul

    Eek, Victor, you’re giving me nightmares. I don’t want to think of Bill Clinton and Ann Coulter that close together. They might breed, and spawn the anti-Christ. Coulter’s beliefs + Clinton’s charisma = frightening thought.

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