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In fact the only time it has really been serious was understandably when it sensitively handled the tragic death of John Ritter and his character.
ABC cancelled the series on May 17, 2005 after three seasons due to low ratings.
The third season (after Ritter's death) took a creative turn, revolving more around cousin C. (David Spade) and grandfather Jim (James Garner), than the immediate Hennessy family, more specifically not revolving around the raising of the Hennessy girls.
After the novelty of newly added ensemble characters wore off, the series returned to its original format.
See more » This has to be one of the best comedies on the television at the moment.
It takes the sugary-sweet idea of a show revolving around a close family and turns it into a quite realistic yet funny depiction of a typical family complete with sibling and parent spats, brat brothers, over-protective fathers and bimbo sisters. To its credit, '8 Simple Rules' knows it's a comedy and doesn't try to be more.