When Ritter unexpectedly died in 2003, the producers decided to keep the show going and his character died off-camera on the show. (David Spade), moves into the house’s basement with Grandfather Jim and frustrates him and the rest of the family to no end.
Cate’s father, a man in the middle of his own divorce crisis, Jim Egan (James Garner), moves in to help his grieving daughter and grandchildren adjust to their new life.
is an owner's manual for anyone who once had cute little girls and now has teenage daughters and is trying to figure out what happened.
Or maybe you've got a little girl, and are trying to figure out how to prevent her from becoming a teenager.
(Good luck.) Or maybe you once were a teenage daughter.
Or maybe you have an antique table that's crooked and need something about an inch thick to put under one of the legs.
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.
For the most part, Sagal pulled off the most demanding aspects of the episode, even saddled with dialogue like ‘We don’t deserve this” as she questions God about the unfairness of life. Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Shady Acres Entertainment and Flody Co in association with Touchstone Television.
Though John’s tragic death ultimately spelled the end of the series, the show still plays in 30 markets world-wide and is often on cable networks in the USA.
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.
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.