8 simple rules to dating my
The consistent refrain from the network and cast has been “This happens to families,” which is of course true.
It does not happen often, however, to light-hearted sitcom families, and incorporating the Ritter character’s passing is uncomfortable terrain.
And now, one suspects, the show will pretty quickly fade.
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.
His first task is to talk his girls off the ledge when it comes to the prom.
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.
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.
Similarly, the underlying plot thread — in which all the characters feel guilt about their final encounters with the family’s late patriarch — was so neatly resolved (Paul, a newspaper columnist, magically addressed their concerns through a posthumously discovered column) as to feel a bit cloying.
Kerry (Amy Davidson) is the homely, profound type who reads “The Bell Jar” for fun and secretly resents her older sister’s ability to have a blast.