Show Business: Sample of One?

Strangers stop them in restaurants and write them letters, favorable and unfavorable. Reporters hound them for interviews, and they are already being lined up by the talk shows. A publisher has asked them to write their joint autobiography. Pat and Bill Loud, in short, are discovering what it feels like to be TV stars. An American Family, the public broadcasting series in which they are featured, is no Ozzie-and-Harriet confection, but the story of their lives and the lives of their five children—with real laughs, real tears and a real breakup that resulted in their divorce.

The Louds sit in fascination to...

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