In the early days of television, American prime time provided an idealized and stereotypical view of the American woman, who was more often than not portrayed as being subservient to the man, basically as housewife and mother in service to the family. In real life, most American women could could not measure up to this idealized view. From 1950 to 1970, three lead characters are seen as groundbreaking away from this stereotype (despite two being wife and mother): Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy (1951), Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) and Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970), who were each independent for different reasons, much of those reasons specific to the era. Other characterizations of independent women that followed owed much to these three, and were reflective of the times. They include Roseanne Connor in Roseanne (1988), and the title character in Murphy Brown (1988). The lack of advertising on cable opened up the role of the independent woman even more...