8 Simple Rules (2002–2005)
"8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter" (original title)

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 19,590 users  
Reviews: 115 user | 7 critic

The Hennessy clan -- mother Cate, daughters Bridget and Kerry, and son Rory -- look to one another for guidance and support after the death of Paul, the family patriarch. Cate's parents lend a hand.


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3   2   1  
2005   2004   2003   2002  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 8 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
 Cate Hennessy / ... (76 episodes, 2002-2005)
 Bridget Hennessy / ... (76 episodes, 2002-2005)
 Kerry Hennessy (76 episodes, 2002-2005)
 Rory Hennessy (76 episodes, 2002-2005)
 Jim Egan / ... (45 episodes, 2003-2005)
 C.J. Barnes / ... (39 episodes, 2004-2005)
 Paul Hennessy (31 episodes, 2002-2003)
 Kyle (31 episodes, 2002-2004)


The Hennessy clan -- mother Cate, daughters Bridget and Kerry, and son Rory -- look to one another for guidance and support after the death of Paul, the family patriarch. Cate's parents lend a hand.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 September 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

8 Simple Rules  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(76 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Goodman was in negotiations to pay the lead. See more »


In several episodes, characters drink "Safeway Select" colas. The Safeway Brands are only available in Safeway Company Stores in the Western US and Canada, in and around the Chicagoland area and at some select convenience stores in the Eastern US. The show takes place in Detroit, Michigan. No Safeway Company Stores exist in or around Detroit. See more »


Paul: One more smart remark like that, young lady, and there will be serious consequences.
Kerry: My life is a consequence.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening sequence of the first season featured Kerry, Kate, Bridget and Paul each looking at Bridget's or Kerry's new date one at a time (the scene is viewed from the latter's perspective), the camera panning down to the doormat with the show's title, and finally Rory taunting the date. Rory's taunt changed in every opening sequence (although they were often repeated between non-consecutive episodes). See more »

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User Reviews

A classy, respectable and even somewhat funny entry to the dry family comedy genre
27 June 2004 | by (www.liquidcelluloid.blog.com) – See all my reviews

Network: ABC; Genre: Family Sitcom; Content Rating: TV-G; Classification: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4);

Season Reviewed: Season 2+

Unfortunately, '8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter' (based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron) will most likely be remembered as the last series that comedian John Ritter worked on before his tragic, sudden death in 2003. It couldn't have happened to a more pleasant and unlikely series. Before that startling jolt of reality intruded on its world '8 Simple Rules' was as passive and insignificant as family sitcoms get. A show that kept its head down, churned up warm and fuzzy feelings and got a few laughs in the process. From a purely creative standpoint Ritter's death slashed right at the heart of this show. It was him that was the star, he was much of the reason I was drawn to the show, and it was his impeccable comic delivery that was able to elicit a laugh-out-loud response.

In the wake of the tragedy, the show attempted what at the time might have been unthinkable. Not only continued without Ritter but wrote his death dramatically into the series. And they pulled it off - something without a successful precedence in a TV series. Katey Sagal ('Married…With Children', 'Futurama') was pushed into the lead role and after years of trying to shed her Peg Bundy supporting-role image she has stepped up to the task with steadfast assurance. The show follows the Hennessey family lead by Cate (Sagal), her son Rory (Martin Spanjers, little seen and limited to cliché one liners in season 1), and two daughters - the tall, tall, blonde, vein, popular Bridget (star in the making Kaley Cuoco) and (as trite as it may sound) spunky, red-headed, equally pretty Kerry (a great Amy Davidson) who the show couldn't even go for one season pretending she wasn't attractive and engaging enough to get dates. James Garner was brought in as Cate's father for a little insurance but wisely not as a replacement. I have a problem with the addition of David Spade to the cast, but I've never liked Spade anyway. His bratty nephew role here is just Spade doing his same old tired shtick.

I've criticized ABC in the past for recklessly mismanaging its shows for years - sending great shows on the chopping block far too soon - but in this case they and the "Rules" show-runners did exactly the right thing. Faced with impossible decisions no show should have to make they didn't turn tail and run as so many people wanted them to, but stuck it out and proved that even something so often looked at as disposable as a sitcom can still deal head-on with true life-altering issues in a genuine and intelligent way. More than that, it became a graceful love-note to its late star.

Family sitcoms are a dime a dozen, but '8 Simple Rules' is better than we're used to from the genre. It's got moments that are so lame and broadly played they are clearly only for the kids, but most of the time it is cute and kind of funny without being embarrassingly stupid, and genuine without being maudlin sap. It is familiar but in a warm and cozy way. It doesn't try to be artificially edgy or plugged with wacky dysfunctional family humor. It is charming, smoother, richer and more resonant as a character comedy without relying on condescending clichés ("the dotting wife and idiot husband" for one aren't present). Plus, it's ambitiously titled in a current TV climate where people think audiences get confused if a show title is longer than 3 words. This type of show isn't generally my cup of tea, but if you're in the market, '8 Simple Rules' is one of the better ones.

* * * / 4

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Amy Davidson & Martin Spanjers. wcwcommish
Why did ABC Family drop it? wcwcommish
Where are the rest of the 'kids'? beth462
Why Death? Writer_Commentary
Rory LicoriceLover25
How Did they write John Ritter out? taylor407
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