After 11 seasons, The CW’s treacly treasure 7th Heaven is finally meeting its maker. But before the Camdens ride off into the sunset on May 13, let us count the blessings they bestowed on pop culture.
Single-handedly kept the ”very special episode” alive
If it wasn’t for Heaven creator Brenda Hampton, the tradition of inserting preachy subplots into prime-time television would have died with Mayim Bialik and Blossom. Who can possibly forget the 2004 episode about the importance of voting? Or teenage Lucy’s wrenching decision to keep her purity safe from suave, basketball-playing boyfriend Jordan?
Helped Jessica Biel discover her sex appeal
Tired of playing preacher’s daughter Mary, then-17-year-old Biel did a topless shoot for laddie mag Gear in 2000, angering Heaven exec producer Aaron Spelling. In 2003 Biel left to focus on her movie career, meaning George and Geoff Stults had to shoulder Heaven‘s hotness burden alone.
Turned stunt casting into surrealist art
The Monkees’ Peter Tork as a guitar-playing high school chum of Reverend Camden? Olympic skater Tara Lipinski as a former prostitute? Wayne Newton as himself? Heaven was Spelling’s finest bizarre-guest-casting work since he put Charo on The Love Boat‘s lido deck.
Gave pop music’s lesser-known siblings a creative outlet
Ashlee Simpson began her acting career in 2002 as Simon’s saccharine-sweet girlfriend Cecilia; Haylie Duff plays Sandy, the perky mother of Martin’s baby; and Aaron Carter (brother of Nick) popped up in 2004 as Ruthie’s crush Harry.
Contributed to the death of ‘Everwood’
Okay, so this one wasn’t a blessing. Heaven’s surprise pickup last May left one less slot on The CW’s inaugural schedule for the acclaimed drama starring Treat Williams. The net picked up One Tree Hill and dropped ‘wood — infuriating devoted fans (read: the EW staff).