Main[ edit ] Paul Hennessy, portrayed by John Ritter — , is a former sports writer who worked from home as a Lifestyle columnist described as being "the master of the double standard " and a "Psycho-Dad", as well as a perceived hypocrite who often embarrasses his children, even if he wants what is best for them. Nonetheless, he loves his children, and wants them to have happy futures.
Paul dies in the second season because of aortic dissection. He died in a store while buying milk. She takes a nursing job at the kids' school so she can work standard hours and spend more time with the kids. Cate starts dating her kids' high-school principal, Ed Gibb portrayed by Adam Arkin , towards the end of season three.
During her teens, she was more or less just as popular, scheming, and rebellious as Bridget, thus she is usually the first to notice when Bridget is up to something. She received her middle name "Stinky" as a result of her father promising his best friend he would name one of his children after him after accidentally stabbing him with a bayonet while they were drunk in Korea ; to hide this, she claims that the S stands for "Stacy.
She is depicted as a stereotypical blonde , a popular bombshell who is preoccupied with her looks, teenaged boys, and little else.
She sometimes displays intelligence or profundity, but these are initially few and far between, yet often poignant. Her favorite book is J. Salinger 's The Catcher in the Rye. Bridget initially felt guilty about Paul's death because the last words she ever spoke to him were "I hate you" after arguing with him earlier that morning, because he said no to her using the car.
In season two, Bridget was revealed to have been conceived on a beach. She is often seen as unattractive when compared to her beautiful older sister, Bridget. She was accused by Bridget of stealing her ex- boyfriend, Kyle, though clearly Bridget's actions drove Kyle away.
Kerry is negative about most things and sarcastic, often making snide remarks about essentially everybody, though less to her mother. She is also a passionate activist who cares about animal rights. She lost her virginity to Bruno her boyfriend in Europe later in the third season.
She is often annoyed at her sister and is easily upset, yet frequently the two girls team up against their parents' authority or at the expense of their younger rascal brother. Kerry is also very artistic and keeps a sketchbook. After she starts dating Bridget's popular ex-boyfriend Kyle, her own popularity increases, and she begins to act a little more like her older sister.
He constantly tattles on his sisters, getting twisted pleasure out of it, as per his remark when he had stirred the pot to his liking: Rory is his father's favorite, being the boy. He becomes involved in money-making schemes with C. He is commonly seen playing in the living room and mentions wanting a monkey, which he once had by trading some of his father's baseball cards; the monkey was later traded for a guitar, which was short-lived, as Rory annoyed the family with it.
He also delights in showing his friends the private aspects of his sister Bridget's life, mentioning once that his friends looted Bridget's underwear drawer. Rory was hit hard by Paul's death and ended up punching a hole in his wall out of anger, cutting his hand. He covered for it saying he burnt it taking a casserole out of the oven. After he enters high school, Rory matures, leaving C.
However, Rory still had his moments. Jim Egan, portrayed by James Garner — , is Cate's father. Jim served in the Korean War and is proud of his service he angers whenever it is mentioned as a "police action". He is very protective of the family. He often sneaks away to smoke tobacco. He is divorced, having formerly resided in Florida before moving into Cate's basement, and often used to try to beat C.
He takes pride in C. Barnes, portrayed by David Spade — , is Cate's nephew. He was once in the Army and claims to have studied aerial photography during the Gulf War , and to have received a Purple Heart in combat, which is in complete contrast with his generally childish attitude.
He is a teacher at the school and often pursues women, albeit unsuccessfully. He reveals to them that he was ashamed that he did not live up to be the person Paul had once said he would be and avoided them because of that. He lives along with his grandfather, Jim, in the basement having previously lived in a van, which was burned by that same grandfather.
He once dated Mrs. Krupp, his cousins' Kerry and Bridget math teacher, but he ended up cheating on her with his ex-girlfriend Cheryl. He once revealed that his first initial stands for Corey, but Rory said that was untrue. He is often seen spending time with Rory when not with either Kerry or Bridget. His father, Tommy, used to work with Paul. Ed Gibb, portrayed by Adam Arkin , is the principal of the local high school. He and Cate knew each other in high school, and even dated.
When discussing it, their account of their first romantic encounter varied, with either believing they had more self-control and admitting to the other that they liked the other as just friends. Despite this, they have had some very intimate moments.
Coach Scott, portrayed by Dan Cortese , is a high-school coach on whom Bridget had a crush. He likes Cate, and Cate initially likes him, but then discovers Bridget's crush, which causes her to deny Scott's romantic advances towards her.
Jenna Sharpe, portrayed by Nikki Danielle Moore — , is Paul's boss Nick's daughter, and one of Bridget's rivals, who later becomes her friend. She has a younger sister, Rachael Nicole Mansour , who is a friend of Kerry. Missy Kleinfeld, portrayed by Daniella Monet — , is Rory's love interest in season two.
She has a sister, Sissy Elena Lyons , who likes C. Jeremy, portrayed by Jonathan Taylor Thomas , is Bridget's tutor and eventual boyfriend. He is considered a nerd at school, and because of this, Bridget at first denies her interest in him by saying it was only because he was her tutor.
He was a white boy who spoke like a black rapper , often resulting in confusion. In "Cool Parent", he is shown to play lacrosse. Maggie shares the same sensitive, moody nature as Kerry.
However, it appears from a conversation between Ed Gibb and Cate that Cate was the smarter one, as well as being more popular. Fred Doyle, portrayed by John Ratzenberger , is a persistent and over-friendly neighbor of the Hennessys, and husband of Mary Ellen portrayed originally by Shelley Long and then by Cindy Williams.
He is the father of Donald "Donny" Doyle, who has dated Bridget for some time. Fred was the head of the neighborhood watch , and his family is revealed as religious when Bridget claims she is going over for Bible study in an episode in season two.
Crupp, portrayed by Suzy Nakamura , is a math teacher from school. Damian, portrayed by Paul Wesley , is Bridget's ex-boyfriend. He appeared in two episodes. Ritter's death[ edit ] The first three episodes of the series' second season had been completed when Ritter experienced discomfort during a rehearsal on the afternoon of September 11, The three new episodes that Ritter completed were aired with Sagal introducing them. Subsequent episodes dealt with the family's reaction to his death and how they moved on from it.
The first four post-Ritter episodes were shot without a live audience with James Garner and Suzanne Pleshette guest-starring as Cate's strict parents and David Spade guest-starring as Cate's wayward nephew, C. Garner and Spade later received starring roles in order to fill the void left by Ritter for the remainder of the series' run.
Third season and cancellation[ edit ] Before Ritter's death, 8 Simple Rules ranked 42nd in the Nielsen ratings. After Ritter's death, it had slipped to 50th, but was renewed for a third season, in which ABC moved the series to Friday at 8: The series' creator and showrunner, Tracy Gamble, left the series for a time over creative differences prior to the third season, but he later returned as a consulting producer midway through the third season.
Even before the third-season finale's airing, rumors began circulating that 8 Simple Rules was facing cancellation due to Ritter's death and poor ratings. The Friday night "death slot" ratings took their toll on 8 Simple Rules. The third season finale was not aired for May sweeps. The finale received a 3. In , the show began airing in the UK on the Disney Channel , which was edited for children's viewing.
The series was shown on both these channels full uncut, despite the fact it was shown pre-watershed 9. Season 1 was released in Britain on September 1,