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The writers could have fallen back on maudlin sap and fancy speeches, but commendably, they didn't.
Instead, the Hennessys' sorrow was allowed to exist as hollow, unchartered space, exactly as it should be. So, somebody's going to have to take up the cornball slack around here." A fitting statement, because Paul's funeral is over.
Conveyed through a series of glimpses, the episode's deft writing showed how death swoops in and weighs down the simplest of conversations. He would say anything, he didn't care how silly he was. Tonight at 8 on KOMO/4, the series takes the Hennessys back to their half-hour time slot, while the specter of Dad's death remains present.
Their final moments with their dad were typical gaffes and random moments -- Cate (Katey Sagal) laughing at her husband's lost socks, Rory (Martin Spanjers) tripping over Paul's shoes left on the stair, Bridget (Kaley Cuoco) and Kerry (Amy Davidson) lamenting their meaningless insults as he left -- all imbued with terrible importance after his death. The laugh track is supposed to return, although to maintain the series' feeling, the formula's going to need some tinkering.
In that kind of environment, an experiment like this will be worth monitoring.