There was nothing surprising about this genial series in happier days, and there was nothing surprising about what one of the ratings hotlines labeled “the death episode.” The hour delivered lots of group hugs, tears and platitudes about the unfairness of such a loss, best delivered by an avuncular James Garner.
The consistent refrain from the network and cast has been “This happens to families,” which is of course true.
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Soon, Cate’s “bitterly divorced” parents, played by Garner and Suzanne Pleshette, arrive to provide moral support.
As they bicker about artificial sweeteners and attending church, it’s amazing how much you found yourself missing the laughtrack, conspicuously absent from the episode.
In the immediate aftermath of John Ritter’s death, it was hard to take issue with ABC’s decisions, since execs were thrust into an untenable situation.
Since then, however, there has been a vague ghoulishness surrounding the show, including big viewer tune-in for the remaining Ritter episodes and ABC News’ synergistic efforts such as Diane Sawyer’s interview with the actor’s widow, Amy Yasbeck.Tragically, John passed away during the show's filming, but his influence clearly lived on in later seasons.It goes without saying that we were all fortunate to have a few final moments of John doing what John did best, and that's just one of the things that made 8 Simple Rules a standout.8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter may have only been on for three seasons, but it was funny and touching enough to stay in our hearts many years later.The show followed the Hennessy family, centering around John Ritter's fatherly character."Cameron's take on the angst felt by every father of a teenage daughter is witty, wise, and excruciatingly on the money" (Charles Shyer, writer and director, Father of the Bride I and II).