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Many parents can sympathize with Paul and Cate's moments of nostalgia, during which one or the other will flashback to the children's younger days.It's that gentle reminder that people grow up and grow distant, that life goes on whether we want it to or not.
The series' storylines deal with the struggles of parenthood and the pressures of being a teen.
Since "8 Simple Rules" begins with the children already in full-adolescent mode, the shift from childhood to adulthood is abrupt for viewers, as it is for Paul, who is finally taking a more committed turn at fatherhood.
What separates Rory from his sisters aside from gender is that he isn't so easily embarrassed by his father's presence, and there is a natural "hero worship" that the son holds for his dad.
Being the only boy has its benefits as Rory is easily Paul's favorite, and he uses this fact to his advantage several times.
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be a good father, Paul has heart-to-hearts with both his daughters, despite their constant criticism of his clothes and outdated slang.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.
As the "straight man" to Paul, it's usually up to Cate to be a more firm voice of reason and the heart of their family.
The two parents are still very much in love, and their displays of affection are frequently met with disgust and shock by their children.
There's no cheesy emotional music during the "serious" conversations, and the characters are just odd enough to be laughed at, while still real enough to make their predicaments believable and investable.