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.
I have the distinct feeling you don't care in either of these cases, but The WB's cut "Tarzan's" vines. Back on the subject of "8 Simple Rules" and its challenges, CBS is airing "The Andy Griffith Reunion: Back to Mayberry" tonight at 8 and, yes, it is as warm as Aunt Bee's pie.
More than 20 million tuned in for the Hennessys' laugh-free return last week, making it a rare success in a lackluster November. The tears and mourning blurred the line between the characters' feelings and the cast's true emotions, creating an hour that felt tragically, realistically heartrending.
The episode, which wasn't available for critics to review last week, brought home the random, stupefying nature of death as the cast and characters addressed this new gap in their lives.
Early in the series, "8 Simple Rules" took this route as well, as the first several episodes were mainly about father Paul Hennessy's (Ritter) efforts to understand his teenaged children's behavior.
Usually, he'll falter due to his own shortcomings and ends up learning a lesson about himself or his children.