8 Simple Rules (originally 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter) was the three-season sitcom in which Katey Sagal starred from 2002-2005 on ABC.
On the series, she plays Cate Hennessy, a nurse and wife to Paul, a former sports writer turned Lifestyle columnist, and they are raising their three kids together. Paul establishes himself as a strict, "psycho dad" type of person, creating 8 rules for the guys who attempt to date his daughters, Bridgette and Kerry:
- Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure as heck not picking anything up.
- Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.
- Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to assure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric staple gun and fasten your trousers securely in place around your waist.
- Rule Four: I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I WILL kill you.
- Rule Five: In order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is "early."
- Rule Six: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make YOU cry.
- Rule Seven: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process which can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?
- Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places lacking parents, policemen, or nuns. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her chin. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chainsaws are okay. Hockey games are okay.
During the second season, John Ritter, who played Paul Hennessy, died during filming from an undiagnosed heart condition. After a 2 month hiatus, the show resumed by paying tribute to John with an hour-long tribute episode titled "Goodbye" and incorporating his death into the story. After the death of her husband, Cate's father and nephew move in to help out the family and later on, she tries to rekindle a relationship with her former high school boyfriend. The show's ratings continued to struggle due to Ritter's death and the major theme changes and was eventually cancelled at the end of its third season.
Cate Hennessy, Katey's character, was a far better mother (not hard) than Peg Bundy, and much more involved in her children's lives. Ed O'Neill had a guest spot in the final season as an old flame of Cate's looking to relive the glory days and escape his present.