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Primetime

8 EpisodesProduced by VoxWebsite

Dig into the hidden history of television with Vox's critic-at-large, Emily VanDerWerff. Each season, we explore the tragic, comedic, and occasionally world-changing stories that have marked a medium that's dominated the global conversation for the last 75 years. First up: TV's relationship with the… read more

20:41

When the vice president took on a sitcom character

In May 1992, the TV character Murphy Brown gave birth to a baby boy. The following day, Vice President Dan Quayle publicly blamed Brown for "mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice." But Murphy Brown wasn’t the first single mom on TV, or the first pregnant character to wrestle with whether to have a baby. Other shows tackled more controversial issues like abortion decades earlier. We look back at the feud between a sitcom character and a real politician to find out what that fight tells us about our culture, in 1992 and today.

Music credits:

Reach Out by James Copperthwaite

Murphy Brown Theme by Steve Dorff

Voyage (A) by by Jon Lorca and Peter James Quiney

A Most Quiet Season by Richard Bone

Rue Montclare (A) by Joe Henson, Alexis Leon Smith, and Reinould Willem Rutger Ford

When in the West by Landsman Duets (from Blue Dot Sessions)

Two Dollar Token by Warmbody (from Blue Dot Sessions)

Kitten by Podington Bear

Constructions (B) by John Devereuax

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