Parenting: the hot new reality show

So it turns out Dan Quayle was right. Fathers are important in children's lives. That's according to the former Murphy Brown, Candice Bergen, who was speaking at the Television Critics Association in Los Angeles. Her character was famously lambasted by Quayle when she became a single mother. Although she didn't say so at the time, she and the former vice president may not have been as far apart as headlines suggested.

That was just one of a number of twists this month regarding parenting on TV. On Monday, a new game show leaves the gate, trailing clouds of neuroses. In "Meet My Folks," three beaus spend a weekend with a girl and her parents. They woo her, on camera, in between sessions hooked up to a lie detector by dear old dad. Mom and pop choose who their darling gets to spend a week with in Hawaii. Seeing one's child, um, interacting socially with members of the opposite sex is not a comfortable proposition for most. (My dad shuddered when I explained the premise.) And TV Guide reports that in one episode, the Chosen One jetted off to Hawaii with the parents' blessing, but without their little girl.

Just one more reason arranged marriages largely have been abandoned by the Western world.

But Gloria Goodale reports on the most disturbing incident on Page 18. On "The Anna Nicole Smith Show," a reality show á la "The Osbournes," Smith's teenage son is shown expressing discomfort with the idea of cameras following him into his room. The cameras stay. I wonder what the former vice president, who reportedly has praised Ozzy Osbourne for being a loving dad, would think of that particular parenting technique?

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