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Series / Man About the House

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Man About the House (1973–76) was a popular ITV sitcom about a male student chef named Robin Tripp (Richard O Sullivan), who shares a flat with two gorgeous girls, a brunette named Chrissy (Paula Wilcox) and a blonde named Jo (Sally Thomsett). Downstairs lived the apartment landlords, George and Mildred Roper (Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce). Also appearing frequently was Robin's womanizing friend Larry (Doug Fisher), who occupied an attic flat upstairs.

The series had six seasons in total, but they were only broadcast over a space of three years. A theatrical film was also released in 1974.

The show had two spinoffs (George & Mildred and Robin's Nest) and a very successful American remake in the form of Three's Company.

Man About the House was primarily created as a vehicle for Richard O'Sullivan, who was a rising star at the time thanks to his role in another Brit Com, Doctor in the House.

Came sixty-ninth in Britains Best Sitcom.

This program provides examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Roper's poor old motor was always having something go wrong with it.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Jo, Chrissy and Mrs Roper respectively (although Mrs Roper's is probably tinted).
  • Brainy Brunette
  • The Casanova: Larry
  • Chivalrous Pervert
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Jo.
  • Drop-In Character: Larry Simmonds.
  • Dumb Blonde: Averted, generally. Jo is shown to be a bit of a ditz at times, but she's usually intelligent enough to recognise it. When Chrissy opines that Robin only sees women as "helpless, feather-brained sex objects", Jo pipes up with a very Genre Savvy "Leave me out of this!".
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Robin's middle name is revealed to be "Oswald". Chrissy delights in pointing out to him that this makes his initials "rot".
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Although Jo's obviously got a lot of appeal, the series actually subverts the stereotype by showing that Robin is (usually) far more interested in the brunette Chrissy. The American remake reverted to the stereotype and making the blonde the 'desirable' one again.
  • Faux Yay: Averted. Whereas its American remake used this as a Running Gag throughout the series, this UK original only ever used it as a one-line joke in the Pilot Episode. The second episode sees Robin come clean to the Ropers about being strictly heterosexual, which they accept at face value and move on.
  • Laxative Prank: Done in The Movie. When the property developer is wining and dining Chrissie in an effort to get her to sign over her lease to him. Robin, Larry and the chef doctor his food with syrup of figs, castor oil and epsom salts.
  • Loveable Rogue: Larry
  • Low Count Gag: In "We Shall Not Be Moved", when Roper and Jerry are discussing dividing the upstairs flat into smaller units for which Roper can charge more rent, Jerry says half his work force are standing by ready to begin construction - "And if you change your mind, he's not gonna like it!"
  • My Local: 'The White Swan'.
  • The Movie
  • Mrs. Robinson: Mrs Roper flirts openly with Robin. A lot. He doesn't reciprocate.
  • Not What It Looks Like
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Chrissy was originally supposed to be from Yorkshire, and actress Paula Wilcox reflected this very strongly in the Pilot Episode. For the rest of the series, though, this was significantly toned down (though never gone completely). Later episodes retconned her as being from Sussex (naturally, neither of her parents displayed a Yorkshire accent either). Any residual northern accent is probably down to the actress being from Manchester, so it is still an example of this trope.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: In the episode "Home And Away", when Robin and Chrissy borrow Roper's car to go to a football match, they end up breaking down on the side of the motorway and missing the game.
  • Punny Name: George Roper (G. Roper) is a Stealth Pun. Chrissy once jokingly abbreviated his name to "Mister Groper", for his habit of accidentally touching them up.
  • Roommate Com
  • Scrabble Babble: "In Praise of Older Men" opens with Robin trying to persuade Jo that the word he has just played in a Scrabble game, "zixic", is an Abyssinian nose flute that imitates the sound of a rhinoceros in the mood for "a bit of the other". Jo isn't convinced, so Robin asks Chrissy to define "zixic", and she says it's an Abyssnian nose flute, to Robin's surprise - until she adds, "Well, that's what you just said!"
  • Spin-Off: George & Mildred has the Ropers moving to a new neighbourhood, while the After Show Robin's Nest sees Robin Tripp follow his dreams of opening a restaurant.
  • Strip Poker: In The Movie, Robin challenges the girls to a game of strip poker. Chrissie turns out to be a card shark and Robin is the one who ends up naked.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Famously remade in the USA as Three's Company. Both of the spin offs were also adapted to the American market, George & Mildred as The Ropers and Robin's Nest as Three's a Crowd.note 
  • Wedding Finale: The series ends with Chrissy getting married to Robin's older brother Norman.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: In the first episode, Robin wakes up in the bathtub of the girl's flat. The girls have no recollection of how he got there, and neither does he (it was one wild party the night before).
  • Will They or Won't They?: The premise of the show. There's a good degree of UST between Robin and Chrissy, to the point where them not getting together at the end of the series almost counts as something of a Downer Ending.
  • You Look Familiar: Norman Eshley, who played Robin's older brother (and Chrissy's eventual husband) Norman, had previously appeared in another role in the Series 1 episode "In Praise of Older Men" (where he even got to seduce Chrissy!), and would immediately after this go on to appear as Jeffrey Fourmile, the Ropers' next door neighbour, in their Spin-Off series George & Mildred.
  • Zany Scheme: George Roper frequently, much to the chagrin of his wife Mildred.