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8 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter

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8 Simple Rules

Category: Sitcom

Created By: Tracy Gamble

Stars: John Ritter (2002-2003), Katey Sagal, Kaley Cuoco, Amy Davidson, Martin Spanjers, James Garner (2003-2005), David Spade (2004-2005)

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 76

Original Channel: ABC

Original Run: September 17, 2002 to April 15, 2005

The show (originally known as 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter) is an American television sitcom that originally aired on ABC from September 17, 2002 to April 15, 2005. Loosely based on humor columnist W. Bruce Cameron's book of the same name, the show is most well known as the series John Ritter was starring in when he died.†



8 Simple Rules is about a married couple with three children, set in a Detroit, Michigan suburb. The father, Paul Hennessy (John Ritter, Three's Company), is a sportswriter who is prompted by his wife Cate's (Katey Sagal, Married... with Children, Futurama) return to nursing to take a more active role in raising their two teenage daughters, Bridget (Kaley Cuoco)--(You're probably watching Big Bang Theory because of her and then liking the show because it's great), and Kerry (Amy Davidson), and their son Rory (Martin Spanjers). 

He is soon overwhelmed by the responsibility of being the father of teenage daughters and misses being a sports writer. Paul begins writing a column from home about his struggles with his children and offers advice to people who are in his same position. His teenage daughters are dating, which sparks the use of the "8 rules". The show, created by veteran comedy writer Tracy Gamble, derives its name and some of its elements from W. Bruce Cameron's book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (ISBN 0-7611-2314-8).

8 Simple Rules The rules are:

Use your hands on my daughter and you'll lose them after.

You make her cry, I make you cry.

Safe sex is a myth. Anything you try will be hazardous to your health.

Bring her home late, there's no next date.

Only delivery men honk. Dates ring the doorbell. Once.

No complaining while you're waiting for her. If you're bored, change my oil.

If your pants hang off your hips, I'll gladly secure them with my staple gun.

Dates must be in crowded public places. You want romance? Read a book.


8 Simple Rules Characters

John Ritter: He is the husband of Cate and father of three kids, two girls and a boy.  Three's company and I'm sure some movies.  My family didn't watch it earlier because it was considered a bit risque back when it originally aired.  We watch most of the episodes as a family more recently.  I watch every episode I could and I'd like to watch all the episodes again many times.  John Ritter played the part of Paul Hennessy, a former sports writer, who worked from home as a Lifestyle columnist.  Paul used a double standard when dealing with people.  He often embarrassed his children.  John Ritter died suddenly in 2003 from an aortic dissection during rehearsal.  His character Paul collapsed and died at the store while getting batteries.

Katy Sagal: She is Cate S. Egan-Hennessy, the wife of Paul Hennessy and mother of the two girls and one boy.  We all remember her as Al's wife on Married with children.  She was always horny and Al was too, but not as much for her.  They did love each other though.  On Eight Rules Katy Sagal is a wholesome mother of three and a nurse.  On Married With Children she was a lazy stay at home mom who couldn't care less about anything responsible.  On Eight Rules she is the example of responsibility.  On Futurama she does the voice of Leela.  In that role she is basically the responsible person who tries to keep the other characters out of trouble.  She takes a nursing job at the kids' school so she can keep a similar schedule to the kids' schedule.  When she starts dating the school Principal her kids don't take it well.  They later accept it.  

Kaley Cuoco: She plays the slutty daughter, Bridget.  Bridget is the oldest child of Cate and Paul's three.  She depicts a stereotypical blonde, popular, bombshell who is interested in her looks, teenage boys and little else.    She has morals but mostly she does whatever it takes to keep her popularity intact.  She is now the reason I started watching The Big Bang Theory.  I have gotten to know the characters.  I think the show is great but I hope it gets better.  Kaley plays her role well.  The role is similar to her role on Eight Rules.  She is the popular girl that gets away with a lot.  On Big Bang she isn't just relying on her looks.  She works as a waitress.  Bridget on Eight Rules wouldn't work---well she does work as a lifeguard later in the series.  She likes the job because she can show off her body and look at cute guys.  Oh and did I mention --- she sits for most of the shift.  Bridget sees Kerry as a nerd.  She is sarcastic, and constantly makes snide remarks about essentially everybody, though less to her mother.  She is also very artistic and keeps a sketchbook. She is the smart child, but often shows naivetť.

Amy Davidson: She is Kerry, the youngest of two daughters. (At least her character is.) She's best known for her role in 8 Simple Rules.  She has done all kinds of other work which you could look up.  She is older than Kaley Cuoco but plays the younger sister.  This is similar to the oldest character on The Golden Girls.  Estelle Getty was younger than both Bea Arthur and Betty White.  She had to go through three hours of make up to look as old as she did on that show. 

Martin Spanjers: He is the son of Paul and Cate.  He is an instigator but his conscience always gets the best of him.  He is Rory.  He almost got the starring role of Malcolm in Malcolm in the Middle.  He did do a guest spot.  Not getting the part of Malcolm freed him up for the role of Rory on 8 Simple Rules.  Rory lets his sisters get in trouble then he rats them out.  He gets into money making schemes with C. J.  Rory is his father's favorite because he is "the boy".  

James Garner: He is Grandpa Jim Egan, Cate's father on 8 Simple Rules.  He joined 8 Simple Rules when John Ritter died in 2003.  It was supposed to be a one time thing but he ended up staying until the series ended in 2005.  The older and smarter people reading this will remember James Garner from Rockford Files and many movies.  So you can claim to be older or smarter or both.  If your smarter you will claim to be both older and smarter.  Is that you Granny?......  Sorry I just had a mental fart.  Can you smell it?  Smells like burnt toast.  Okay enough smelling salts.  He is like a guardian for the family.  He lives in Cate's basement.  He once sent C. J. to Canada for acetylsalicylic acid for him.  C. J. discovered that this is just Aspirin.  He is proud of C. J. when he becomes a teacher.

David Spade:  He played the part of C. J. Barnes on 8 Simples Rules.  You might recognize him from SNL and Just Shoot Me.  He is currently starring as Russell Dunbar on the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement.  He was the star of the film Joe Dirt and is working on an animated version of that movie.  In all his sitcom and movie parts he plays a weasel like.  He was once in the Army.  He doesn't have much success with women.  He shares the basement with his Grandfather.  He started living in the basement after his Grandfather accidentally burned his van to a crisp.

The third season took a creative turn, revolving more around Jim and C.J. than the Hennessy family, more specifically not revolving around the raising of the Hennessy girls. However this was little more than a phase in a way, and newly added characters joined the show as an ensemble, and shortly after their novelty wore off, the show found its roots once more.


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Three's Company Spoof

In one episode a remake of some of the antics from Three's Company are used.  Three's Company is the show where John Ritter became famous.  Paul plays the part of Stanley Roper in the dream sequence.  Don Knotts appears in a guest spot at the end of the episode.  Knotts would be the last Three's Company co-star to work with Ritter before his death.

8 Simple Rules Production

John Ritter's Death

John Ritter died soon after an interview on the set of the Museum of Television & Radio. That was September 11, 2003. He suffered an aortic dissection. That means he bleed to death when the top part of his heart ripped open. He had some discomfort during a rehearsal that afternoon and crew members took Ritter to a nearby hospital. He died that night. The show went on hiatus and then continued. The death of Ritter's character was worked into the show. The three new episodes that Ritter completed were aired with Katey Sagal introducing them.

On November 4, 2003 8 Simple Rules returned with a one hour episode named "Goodbye." It was dedicated to Ritter's death. Later episodes explored the family's reaction to his death. The first four episodes after Ritter's death were shot without a live audience. Suzanne Pleshette and James Garner guest starred as Cate's parents. David Spade joined the cast later as Cate's unpredictable nephew C. J. Eventually Garner and Spade became regulars on the show until it's end.

8 Simple Rules Season 3 and Subsequent Cancellation

Rumors about the show ending were getting around after the third season finale. In the first season the show ranked 42nd in the Nielsen Ratings. More viewers tuned in after Ritter's death. At the end of the second season the show slipped to 50th. After the show moved to Friday night 8pm the show ranked 94th.

Some people could not get passed Ritter's death and were okay with the show ending. Other people were happy with the show continuing, almost in Ritter's honor. 8 Simple Rules was one of few shows that continued for nearly two full seasons beyond the death of its star. The Friday time slot did bring the show down. Katey Sagal's character is found to be dating the principal of the school she is a nurse at during the third season finale.

8 Simple Rules was officially cancelled on May 17, 2005.

8 Simple Rules Other Characters

Billy Aaron Brown played Kyle, Bridgetís dumb boyfriend.  He later dated Kerry.  He hangs out with Rory when not with either of the girls.

Adam Arkin played Ed Gibb, principal of the high school.  He and Cate were high school friends and even dated.  Their versions of their relationship differ.   

Dan Cotese plays Coach Scott.  Bridget had a crush on him.  He like Cate.  Cate liked him until she found out that Bridget had a crush on him.

Nikki Danielle Moore plays Jenna Sharpe.  She is Paulís bossí daughter.  She is one of Bridgetís enemies. 

Jonathan Taylor Thomas (from Home Improvement with Tim Allen) plays Jeremy.  He is Bridgetís tutor and later boyfriend.  He was known to be a nerd as school and at first this discouraged Bridget from dating him.

Cybill Sheppard (from Moonlighting, with Bruce Willis) plays Maggie Egan Barnes.  She is Cateís sister and also C. J.ís mother.  Maggie is like Kerry in personality. 

8 Simple Rules Syndication

In itís third season 8 Simple Rules had better rating than other Friday shows but ABC cancelled the show because it couldnít sell it to syndication.  John Ritterís death prevented 8 Simple Rules could not show two show per day including episodes from varying seasons.  It was thought that this would confuse and/or upset viewers.  This does happen on Danish Channel TV3, the airing not the confusion.  Now Iím confused.  Did you know that she knew that you knew that she knew you knew?   Yeah okay not that confusing. 

On July 11, 2005 the 8 Simple Rules was officially cancelled.  The WB television network said it would air all the 76 episodes back to back.  On or about September 15, 2006 8 Simple Rules was replaced by Reba on the CW Daytimes, the show not the singer.  Well she is a singer and she is the star of the show called Reba.  A very good show.  It is one of my favorites.  On June 12, 2007 8 Simple Rules was back on the ABC Family line-up where they did air  episodes with and without John Ritter back to back.



















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