Cable television reflects a "darker, bleaker, more complicated and less forgiving" reality than broadcast television, a difference explained in part by the disparate roots of both media, according to writer Neal Gabler. "Because [broadcast] would eventually enter nearly every living room in America, it was compelled both by government regulation and its own sense of decorum to behave like a proper guest," Gabler writes. "On broadcast TV, cops exist to fight evil, doctors to save lives, Moms and Dads to love their families, and twenty- and thirtysomethings to love their friends."

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