Predictably, if morbidly, Tuesday’s one-hour return episode drew a vast audience, bolstering ABC’s sweeps bottom line.And now, one suspects, the show will pretty quickly fade.There was nothing surprising about this genial series in happier days, and there was nothing surprising about what one of the ratings hotlines labeled “the death episode.” The hour delivered lots of group hugs, tears and platitudes about the unfairness of such a loss, best delivered by an avuncular James Garner.The consistent refrain from the network and cast has been “This happens to families,” which is of course true.
I have a feeling none of you will buy it if I just say “they are about awesome! In discussing those games on Twitter, a few folks have brought up some common issues they’ve run into and some great discussions got started.
The show’s production was shut down to give the cast and crew time to grieve and also to give the network and producers time to decide if and how they should proceed. Cate is waiting for Ed to call her when Rory comes into her office, depressed.
Though the sitcom revolved around Ritter’s character, it was ultimately decided to keep the show going and Ritter’s character dies off-camera. When he calls, Ed’s ready to get sexy with her over the phone but she has to hang up.
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.