Tuesday, November 04, 2003

8 Simple Rules for Making Me Cry Like a Baby

If television has taught us anything, it's that fathers shouldn't go out for milk.

But seriously, I was really impressed with 8 Simple Rules' farewell to John Ritter. I imagine it wasn't hard to Method act under these circumstances, but I was extremely impressed with Katey Segal and don't want to sell her short. Her performance was heartbreaking. It was also interesting to see how the writers managed to make testimonials about the character also be testimonials about Ritter without feeling forced.

I didn't even quite realize how emotional I was while watching it until the phone rang and I started to cry when I tried to talk (fortunately, it was Boy, who would be understanding even if he didn't cry at the drop of a hat himself). The thing is, there was absolutely no schmaltz to be found anywhere. They shot it without a studio audience or a laugh track, so it certainly wasn't all sit-commy, but it was also realistic and free of big monologues and cheap sentiment, so it didn't come off as a Very Special Episode of Blossom either.

So as depressing as it was, I'm really glad I watched it. I've never seen a television show handle the death of a character (to say nothing of an actor) and depict the early grieving process so realistically and intelligently, and I'm very impressed. As someone who lost a parent as a child, I really hope lots of parents watched this with their kids.

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