One of the running series jokes was Murphy Brown's inability to get a good secretary or one that could work with her. During the show's 10-year run, Murphy had a total of 93 secretaries. (They were referred to by number in the closing credits cast list, as "Secretary #1," "Secretary #2," etc.) One that was very efficient was Marcia Wallace, playing her Carol Kester character from The Bob Newhart Show (1972). At the end of the show, Bob Hartley (Bob Newhart) showed up and pleaded for her to return, which she did. In one episode, Murphy discovered there was a support group for her former secretaries, where they comforted each other over their inability to keep the job.
In the final episode of season four, Murphy Brown gave birth to her child, Avery. Around that time Vice President Dan Quayle, during a televised debate, criticized the show for introducing the theme of an unmarried woman having a child and thereby promoting the idea of single motherhood and the decay of family values, a hot issue during that year's election campaigning. The producers and writers retaliated in the 60-minute season premiere which aired 21 September 1992. The clip from the debate was featured prominently in the episode (entitled "You Say Potatoe, I Say Potato") and the majority of the writing made fun of VP Quayle's remarks (To his credit, Vice President Quayle later sent the fictional baby Avery a very real plush toy elephant.)