A date with history

Reality dating shows like "Single in L.A." are relatively new, but television history has been marked by numerous shows, mostly comedies, that chronicle the adventures and woes of singletons. Like these shows:

"Our Miss Brooks" (CBS, 1952-1956) -- Eve Arden starred as a wisecracking high school English teacher who worked less in the classroom than she did vying for the affections of the handsome biology teacher.

"Laverne & Shirley" (ABC, 1976-1983) -- Bullied by the line in their theme song, "Doing it our way," these blue-collar women presented concerns about holding a factory job, making it as independent women, and dealing with love in the process of developing a life of their own.

"That Girl" (ABC, 1966-1971) -- The quintessential single girl, Marlo Thomas' Ann Marie set the stage for a string of independent women comedies, including "The Doris Day Show" (CBS, 1968-1973), "Julia" (NBC, 1968-1971), "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (CBS, 1970-1977) and others.

"Charlie's Angels" (ABC, 1976-1981) -- Sex was the key ingredient that sold this lowbrow action drama featuring three undercover female detectives fighting crimes in any place they could wear scanty clothing.

"The Golden Girls" (NBC, 1985-1992) -- Yes Dorothy, there is life after 50, and the four swinging-single grandmas of Miami were enjoying every senior moment with a bevy of men.

"Murphy Brown" (CBS, 1988-1998) -- The new face of the middle-aged professional woman, the fictional character became the poster mom for single mothers opting against marriage.

"Living Single" (Fox, 1993-1998) -- A contemporary view of four young African American, professional singles that was followed by the sassier, sexier "Girlfriends" that's currently airing on UPN.

"Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002) -- Touted as a second-wave feminist, this wily lawyer harkens back to a '50s when satisfying work didn't curb this emotionally starved woman's cravings for a husband and children.

"Earthlings" (Showtime, debuting late 2003) -- Imagine the women of "Sex and the City" sleeping with each other; that's the premise of this ensemble drama that aspires to kick down the closet door on the lives and loves of lesbians.

"Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-final season premieres in June) -- Frank, bawdy and funny, four Manhattan bachelorettes break new ground exposing a snapshot of the new American single woman.

For The Record Los Angeles Times Thursday March 20, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 59 words Type of Material: Correction "Our Miss Brooks" -- The caption accompanying a photo of "Our Miss Brooks" in Tuesday's Calendar mistakenly identified the picture as having come from the early-1950s TV series. It actually came from the 1956 film of the same title, which was based on the TV series. The caption also misspelled the last name of actor Robert Rockwell as Blockwell.
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