TV Review – Murphy Brown (2018)
Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed in this review are solely those of Marlon Wallace and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of WBOC.
This is one of many reboots or revivals that TV has given us over the past few seasons. Programs that ended 10 or 20 years ago are being brought back, often with the original cast. It happened with The X-Files on FOX and with Will & Grace on NBC. Now, CBS is doing it with this sitcom that ran from 1988 to 1998. For most of that time, it was ranked in the Top 20 of highest-rated shows. In the early 90’s, it was even in the Top 10. It won 18 Emmy Awards. Five of those Emmys went to the titular star, Candice Bergen. Like with The X-Files and Will & Grace, this show also comments directly on the 45th President of the United States. Like Will & Grace, this show is back on the air for the specific purpose of commenting on President Donald Trump. With Bergen, it makes sense, given that she famously took on Vice President Dan Quayle in 1992.
The first episode of this now 11th season is titled “Fake News,” the slogan popularized by President Trump. Every other joke is a jab at the current administration, as the show takes what would be a liberal point-of-view. Going off that initial title, this series, reinvigorated by its original creator, Diane English, is also critical of the news media, not to condemn it but to remind it of its duties to be the Fourth Estate and be a check on the Executive Branch.
That initial episode builds a lot of its comedy on that agenda, as well as on the issue of ageism. It is 20 years later and most of the cast is in their 60’s and 70’s, so we get the obvious jokes about how Murphy and her friends are too old to get or understand things like Twitter or even emails. The third episode has the cast dealing with the Me Too Movement. In that case, the age-difference is a help as to give good perspective.
Jake McDorman (Limitless and Greek) co-stars as Avery Brown, the son of Murphy. Avery lives with his mom in Washington, DC. Avery tells his mom that he’s got a job at the WOLF network, which is the equivalent here of FOX News. His timeslot is in the morning opposite his mom’s morning program, which airs on CNC, the equivalent of CNN perhaps. Hopefully, the show will shed light on how the two news networks differ in their operations, but we haven’t really gotten that yet thus far.
Running Time: 30 mins.
Thursdays at 9:30PM on CBS.