Attempting to be a good father, Paul has heart-to-hearts with both his daughters, despite their constant criticism of his clothes and outdated slang.
His ineptitude is often his undoing, and his need to be both father and friend leads to a strained relationship with his children.
Bridget (Kaley Cuoco) is the popular and fast-talking oldest daughter and Kerry (Amy Davidson) is the moody and environmentalist middle child.
While the two sisters share a room, they regularly are at odds with each other and their father, with Kerry offering biting sarcasm and Bridget trying to talk her way out of punishment.
"8 Simple Rules..." makes it sound like a father-versus-boyfriend sitcom, a sort of Meet the Parents for adolescents.
In truth, most early episodes focus on growing up, be it the added responsibilities that a teenager takes on, or the difficult "letting go" that a parent must do.
Stuck as the second banana to his sisters, youngest son Rory (Martin Spanjers) sees the least amount of airtime and is relegated to silly little escapades like buying a surfboard (they live in Michigan) or secretly keeping a monkey/snake/rat as a pet.
They grow more comfortable with each other, and the somewhat awkward dialogue is greatly decreased. Man, I miss the days when a half-hour sitcom actually meant 25 minutes of content.
The family sitcom easily adhered to a familiar formula: two parents simply attempt to keep their home civilized despite having teenage children under their roof.
It's been seen on shows like "The Brady Bunch", "Family Ties", "Home Improvement", and of course, the ever-popular "Full House." Often, the show will try to depict one point of view: "Home Improvement" centered on paterfamilias Tim Taylor, while "Malcolm in the Middle" focused on its titular kid.
slot would be devoted to family-friendly programming. shows such as "The Drew Carey Show", "My Wife & Kids", and "America's Funniest Home Videos" were joined by two newcomers: sitcom "8 Simple Rules" and the reality show "Extreme Makeover." The "Happy Hour" concept did not last long, as the following season saw gritty anti-terrorist drama "Threat Matrix" and newsmagazine "Primetime" claiming the first hour of certain nights.
But "8 Simple Rules" had some staying power, and would remain on ABC's schedule for three seasons.