on john ritter’s death

There will be many who memorialize country music star Johnny Cash and correctly emphasize his importance to American culture. But over at Dooce there is as heartfelt an appreciation of actor John Ritter, who also died this past week, as one could ask for:

As terribly American as it may sound, if I had to pinpoint one constant in my early life, through moving at an early age and changing schools and my parents’ divorce and their consequent remarrying and puberty and all the changes of adolescence, that one constant would be ìThreeís Company.î Jack Tripper was my ambiguously gay guidance counselor…

I loved the show, not because it was particularly good or relevant to me, but because everything was just so outrageous. Even after my parents allowed it in their house, I never fully understood what I was watching, I just knew that the women looked like I wanted to look, Jack wore very cool shorts, and they lived in a place that had palm trees. How exotic!…I never caught on to the fact that Jack was pretending to be gay. In my adolescent eyes, Jack was just a dramatic, flamboyant caricature of a man that didnít exist in my world, a represenation of something that wasnít allowed in my world, a part of life I wasnít even supposed to know about…

Part of me is just sad that he died so young and unexpectedly, but the biggest part of me is mourning the passing of someone who played an integral part in my realization of the world, outside of the sterilized paradigm my parents tried to present to me.

As for me, I’m just wondering what’s going to happen to the PBS kids show Clifford, the Big Red Dog, on which Ritter voiced the title character. I love that show.

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7 thoughts on “on john ritter’s death

  1. Yeah, I spent a litlle more time eulogizing Johnny Cash than I did John Ritter, but in an odd way, Three’s Company was an important show for me, and he gave an underappreciated performance in Sling Blade, a film I have some mixed feelings about.

  2. I only caught some of Three’s Company before my family moved to Belgium for a few years, during which time we basically didn’t have any television. But what I saw I thought was funny. Ritter also played a minister on The Waltons, but I don’t remember him. More recently, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he was an evil android dating Buffy’s mother. Now that’s the performance that sticks in my head!

  3. I watched Three’s company with my sister all the time when we were younger. It was such an entertaining show and John Ritter was so great. Ritter’s new sitcom 8 simple rules was a show I loved to watch, he will be greatly missed from this show. He was the show, no one else. Even though I didn’t personally know John Ritter I personally felt touched by his kindness. I miss him so much and I am so shocked at his death, I just can’t believe it. I love you John!

  4. Ijust wanted to say that I love John Ritter so much!
    He was my favorite actor. I love watching Three’s Company, and 8 Simple Rules. I am so sad for his family. RIP, John. I LOVE YOU!!

  5. John Ritter was one of my favorite actors! He died a week before his 55th birthday! He died on Thursday,September 12th 2003! I loved watching his shows! He was so funny! He had good jokes!

  6. although im 12 i loved 8 simple rules he was a great actor and when i realised he had died i just cried RIP

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