'8 Simple Rules: The Complete Second Season'
(John Ritter, Katey Sagal, James Garner, David Spade, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / LGF)
Overview: It's a time for healing and learning to deal with life without family patriarch Paul (the late John Ritter), as the Hennessys discover the frailties of life and the strength of the family unit. Widowed mom Cate (Katey Sagal), now finds herself in the precarious position of raising three teenagers on her own. She does get a little relief from her father, Jim (James Garner), who's been staying at the house since Paul's death.
DVD Verdict: As we are all well aware by now, comedic great John Ritter passed away (way too early) after only three episodes of season 2. Luckily for us fans of the show ensemble, the series proceeded with a two-part episode in which his character, Paul Hennessey, also died.
The episode is very sad but is a fitting tribute to the great John Ritter. One can see the tears are real, they're not really acting. Afterwards, the Hennessey's once again go about the business of making people laugh. It isn't the same without John Ritter. But, the addition of James Garner and David Spade to the regulars.
But, for those not in the know, ... after gaining fame as ladies man Jack Tripper on the 1970s sitcom Three's Company, John Ritter stole the show here as a father of three - including two nubile teenage girls - on '8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter.' The first season, which aired on ABC during 2002 and 2003, introduced us all to Paul (Ritter) and Cate Hennessy (Katey Sagal) and their precocious children Bridget (Kaley Cuoco), Kerry (Amy Davidson), and Rory (Martin Spanjers).
In that first season, former stay-at-home mom Cate returned to the work force as a nurse, leaving Paul to write his newspaper column at home - on occasion - and mind the kids. And yes, whereas the first excellent season dealt with that uneasy transition from full-time sports column writer to full-time dad, so too does season two flounder on the waves of good/bad advice, and lectures of questionable morality - hence, the introduction of David Spade!!
Katey Segal, as his ever-loving wife/widow Cate - the only one in the annuals of TV history to play the trashist TV mom (Peg Bundy) to the classist TV mom (this role!) - keeps up the family standards wonderfully.
The kids played by Kaley Cuoco (playing a character akin to Kelly Bundy), Amy Davidson (playing a character akin to Lisa Simpson) and Martin spanjer (a cross between Bart Simpson and a former major league suck up to his dad!) are the true meat and potatoes of this sitcom. Their actions move this along to its funny best, each and every episode ... which is just the way their 'father' would have wanted it. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but (sadly) does not come with any Special Features.