John Griffin’s death included in well-produced episode of My Life on the D-List

Twice in six months, a supporting cast member on Bravo’s docudrama series has died. While those events were tragic, the producers and editors of those shows–Work Out, and now Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List–have handled those deaths incredibly well as part of their normal seasons. Earlier, Work Out‘s loss of Doug Blasdell (although the network itself insensitively promoted and relentlessly teased his death).

The death of Kathy’s father John was featured on last night’s episode of her series, and it unfolded gently but dramatically. The last we heard from him was via cell phone; he told Kathy, “I got all kinds of goofy little things wrong with me,” and said he was waiting for “the goddamn operation.” He said goodbye by telling her, “I love you very much, and I’m very proud of you. … Knock ‘em dead.” He was on a ventilator, and Kathy told us later that he asked a doctor to put golf on TV and take the tube out, and then he died. He was 90.

Kathy told us about learning of his death immediately after she landed in Miami, saying, “I just felt like shit, it’s here, that moment I’ve been dreading my whole life is here, and I was so mad I was so far away. … I just remember making this weird sound, crying … like an animal or something … It really just hit me like a baseball bat, and i just kept thinking, I can never talk to him again.”

The episode then concluded with a montage of his moments on the show that had me both laughing out loud and choking up, and it’s rare that anything has that effect. It was exceptional work.

The Malcontent has a 16-minute video clip from the episode, which basically includes all of the parts about John’s death, including the montage.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.