The day John Ritter died, people were suddenly reminded of childhood and the fond hours many of us spent watching Three’s Company while drinking Shasta. I was not one of those people, and regardless of my interest in gay sitcom subtext, I am glad I wasn’t. I have a feeling I would share, at least, the underlying emotion of one internet anti-fan who wrote this about the show:

“The one fantasy episode I thought of was where the main character from the Texas chainsaw massacre rapes joyce dewit and has ritter up the ass and at the same time is chainsawing chrissy while mr and mrs roper are later forced to eat all three of them. Yeah that would be good I WOULD ENJOY THAT VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!!!”

John’s best television work was actually Hooperman, an innovative, 30-minute show that was half sitcom, half deadly cop shoot ‘em up. Although it was cancelled after one season, it paved the way for at least one more similar show (Dennis Leary’s The Job) to also be cancelled after one season 15 years later.

Ritter’s movie career was also defined by his most embarrassing work. Despite excellent turns in films like Sling Blade and Tadpole, he might be most remembered for the dancing condoms scene in Skin Deep. The only time I even recall seeing him in the theatre was at the movie Stay Tuned, which was about a married couple being sucked into the television by a demon remote control or something. And the only reason I even recollect that is because several teenage girls were pelting me with candy. I have no idea why I was being hit with candy or what I was doing going to see Stay Tuned in the first place. All I remember is that I was in high school at the time and the same thought that ran through my head for hours on end every day was in full rotation that evening, “Get me out of this place.”

After John Ritter died, several people hailed him as a comic genius. I know it is polite to say nice things about people after they die from a heart ailment, but that is stretching it. I think it would have been deserved, however, if he had just made one small change to his current show, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

From what I can tell by the commercials, it is a sitcom in which Ritter plays a dad who has to do many funny things to prevent teenage boys from sleeping with his extremely hot teenage daughter. I never actually watched it because I assumed Ritter’s character is successful in his efforts. But the show would have been great by adding just one simple thing.

At the end of an episode, during the credit crawl, many shows will show one more amusing little scene inconsequential to the main story line. For 8 Simple Rules, it would have been hilarious if they had a scene every week that implied John Ritter was sleeping with his teenage daughter before they reveal that he actually wasn’t. For instance, there could be a lot of moans and grunts coming from the daughter’s bedroom, and Ritter could open the door and walk out half-naked and sweaty and say, “Goddamn!”, but then a few seconds later, the daughter would come out wearing a leotard and say, “Dad, when are you going to stop being so cheap and get us a membership at the gym?!” Or in a similar setup, dad could come out of the basement half-naked and sweaty and say “Yeah, that felt nice,” and a few seconds later, the daughter stumbles out half-naked and sweaty, but then an Indian walks out a few seconds later and says, “Sweat lodge does good for soul.”

Of course, the series finale, which can never be taped now due to Ritter’s timely passing, could have been the best since Newhart discovered it was all a dream. Something like this would happen: The camera would pan over the bedroom floor revealing discarded garments. Is Ritter helping his daughter look for something in the dresser as they throw clothes all over the place!? No, because we would then see them both half-naked and sweaty in bed and dad would say, “Remember, don’t tell mom we’re having sex!” and the daughter would say, “I love you.”