Stanley and Helen Roper (played by Norman Fell and Audra Lindley) were the ultimate kooky neighbors and landlords on Three’s Company. Helen constantly chased after her disinterested husband, Stanley, who was famous for addressing the audience directly on the show to crack a joke at his wife’s expense.
The Ropers were introduced in the first episode of the series, “Man About the House”, which aired on March 15, 1977. Jack Tripper (John Ritter) wakes up in the bathtub of the apartment of two friends, Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) and Christmas “Crissy” Snow (Suzanne Somers). Once the girls learn that Jack is studying to become a chef, they decide to ask Jack to move in and split living expenses with them. The one thing standing in their way is the Ropers (particularly Stanley) who own the building and won’t be comfortable with the idea of a single man living with two single girls.
The Ropers would appear frequently during the first three seasons of “Three’s Company,” often as comic foils but sometimes as part of the episode’s main plot device. The couple would sell the apartment building Jack, Crissy and Janet lived in the twentieth episode of the third season, “An Anniversary Surprise.”
Their final guest appearance on “Three’s Company” was the eighteenth episode of the fifth season, “Night of the Ropers.” In this episode, the frustrated Helen would find herself in the arms of Ralph Furley (Don Knotts), the apartment building’s current landlord, when the Ropers come for a surprise visit.