Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Where have all the smart Hollywood producers gone? Is sex all they are able to write about? It's disgusting!

I grew up in the '70s and am far from a prude, but why is it so difficult to find a clean television show these days?

They say that sex sells. If that's true, why is "Home Improvement" so popular? It's consistently one of the top-rated shows. If I want to see raw sex, I'll rent a movie or a video. Give me a break! And while I'm at it, violence is something else I can live without. Isn't it scary enough to see someone getting shot? Do they need to show someone's head blown off?

Thanks for letting me speak up. -- HAD ENOUGH IN WATERLOO, N.Y.

DEAR HAD ENOUGH: I've also had enough -- and "Home Improvement" happens to be one of my favorites, too.

On Feb. 29 in Washington, a group of network executives promised to begin rating television programs by the end of this year. It will be interesting to see if this voluntary rating system leads to any reduction of sex and violence on TV.

DEAR ABBY: Your recent column on the subject of children showering with their parents struck a nerve with me because my daughter-in-law often suggests that my son shower with their 3-year-old daughter "to save time." This is a big "no-no" with me.

One time when I was at their home, my son was going to take his daughter into the shower with him. (Her mother was not home.) I spoke up and said, "That child is too old to be showering with you; I'll bathe her in the other bathroom." He acquiesced.

Abby, they also allow this child to sleep with them on occasion. Another "no-no" in my book. I was brought up to respect privacy; the parents' bedroom should be strictly for the parents.

This couple is in their 40s, so they are old enough to know better. Both are professional people.

I remain concerned about this situation. I try to be a good mother-in-law and don't want to cause any trouble, so I usually keep my mouth shut. Perhaps a few words in your column about this subject will get through to them. -- OLD-FASHIONED GRANDMA

DEAR GRANDMA: You are not old-fashioned -- I agree with you. A 3-year-old child should not shower or bathe with a parent of the opposite sex, and should sleep in his/her own bed. A little snuggling for a few minutes while telling a bedtime story is OK, but parents should not make a habit of allowing their children to sleep with them.

DEAR ABBY: Your recent suggestion of giving a fire extinguisher as a gift to newlyweds was excellent.

Many people (myself included) put the fire extinguisher in a cabinet directly over the stove to have it handy. This is the worst possible place if a fire starts in or on the stove, since you may not be able to get to the fire extinguisher because of the flames.

This was pointed out by a local fireman at a lecture on fire safety. Of those present at the lecture, the majority who had an extinguisher in the kitchen had it over the stove. -- MARY G. BOURQUE, LAKEVILLE, MASS.

DEAR MARY: Excuse me, I'm going to my kitchen to see where the fire extinguisher is. ...

... I'm back, and sure enough, it was right over the stove, so I moved it to the opposite corner of the kitchen

Thank you for a valuable suggestion to share with my readers.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600