Double feature: So, these two series are linked to each other via many shared dimensions: randy silliness, silly randy-ness, garish color schemes, wide-legged pants, warm weather, and a non-over-thinking resilience of character.
But it’s a numbers game that most starkly sets them apart from similar combinations of romance and farce. Both “The Love Boat” and “Three’s Company” manage to pull off a neat mathematical trick: depicting an abundance of romantically eligible individuals directly alongside a simultaneous ubiquity of happily-together couples – in other words, a romantic food chain in perfect balance.
In both series, the numbers magically stack up in everyone’s favor, with every tropical cruise and every neighborhood hangout hosting an equitably distributed plethora of romantic potential. These favorable ratios surely play a large part in the characteristically breezy coupling and uncoupling evident in both shows.
The fantasy constant in, and perpetuated by, both series is less about soul mates, perfect matches, or exact alignment between desirer and desired, and more about the equally unlikely notion of perfect distribution of possibility.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “glenn~” and “Smitten with Kittens” at Flickr)