Where Fathers and Mothers Know Best

Despite Quayle's complaint, television is filled with families who may have faults but at least stick together

"I'M SURPRISED, IN THE first place, that Quayle watches Murphy Brown," Johnny Carson cracked last week, just a couple of monologues before his last appearance as host of the Tonight show. "Isn't that opposite F Troop on cable?"

Forgive the easy Dan Quayle joke. (Was there ever a better week for easy Dan Quayle jokes?) Carson hinted at something important: there's a lot more on TV than Murphy Brown. If the Vice President is correct in suggesting that the behavior of prime-time characters can affect the behavior of real-life people, then the issue is not just Murphy Brown. It is the...

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