Director James Widdoes and the four credited writers clearly sought to be sensitive, and there was something irresistibly emotional about the fictitious family’s pain given its real-life underpinnings.
Still, most of the stabs at comedy felt forced, including cameos by John Ratzenberger and Patrick Warburton, expressing their condolences. Each scene was connected by melancholy guitar chords, working overtime to create a properly somber tone.
On Tuesday night, the cast, producers and writers of "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" took their tragic loss of a co-star and friend and, in a nod to moving on, created honest, wonderful television. Considering the way television can bungle these things, the sitcom's return without John Ritter, whose sudden death of an aortic dissection in September shocked so many, could have been a lot worse.After Ritter's death, the cast and the network mourned, quite publicly, to strong ratings that, overnight, turned the network's modest hit into a legitimate contender bleeding viewers from its comedy competition on NBC. @martinspanjers @amy_davidson #johnritter #grandpagarner we miss you every day! A photo posted by @normancook on Jul 19, 2015 at pm PDT costars Amy Davidson and Martin Spanjers this week.PHOTOS: Costars reunited "#8simplerules siblings all grown up forever attached at the hip with these two! I love you guys," Davidson, 35, captioned via Instagram. In a media culture hurtling by at an increasingly frantic pace, a percentage of the audience can be counted upon to seek out any such novelty.
Their curiosity satisfied, much of America will move on, letting the made-up Hennessy family and those who loved the actual man grieve privately, offscreen. A comic survival guide to being a parent of teenage daughters, Bruce Cameron's book started life in 1995 as a wildly, and accidentally, successful Internet column.In short, sharply observed vignettes, he touches a middle-aged-male nerve by describing the rage and bewilderment of having little girls turn into teenage monsters, but every complaint is punctured by a self-deprecating regular-guy-in-a-mad-world irony.It does not happen often, however, to light-hearted sitcom families, and incorporating the Ritter character’s passing is uncomfortable terrain.After some playful banter among the kids reminding us what the series had been about, Cate (Katey Sagal) receives a phone call, learning that her husband Paul has collapsed at the grocery store.This is definitely a bathroom browse rather than material for reading cover to cover--assuming it's possible to get into the bathroom, that is; according to the author, this is a coveted parking space for strange aliens who paint themselves for hours while dreaming of Brad Pitt.