Murphy Brown: Fake News
September 27, 2018 7:28 PM - Season 11, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Murphy decides to return to the airwaves as the host of a cable network's morning news show and sets out to recruit her "FYI" team to join her.
posted by oh yeah! (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
(my tv listing is calling this season 1 episode 1, but imdb is calling it season 11)

I was a regular viewer of old show, so, it was nice to see the familiar faces of the returning cast, and I'm happy for Limitless' McDorman to get a job. But I'm never going to be able to handle joking about the current national nightmare until it's over, so, this show is not for me.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:42 PM on September 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

When the Dan Quayle thing happened, it was organic. This was nothing but full on Trump baiting. I can understand why that's appealing in this day and age (and I can just imagine the tweets that are going to come out of the White House tomorrow morning) but it felt pretty forced--as if it mainly done as a publicity and ratings stunt. (I suspect Trump will have something to say about Hillary's appearance.)

I know I'm terrible at spot-the-actor-in-a-different-role, but I can't believe I didn't peg Avery as the Limitless guy. Still, I had a positive reaction to him, which is pretty rare for me, so something in the back of my memory banks must have been trying to fire to generate that response.

So many of the cast are no longer with us Pat Corley (Phil), Robert Pastorelli (Eldin), Jay Thomas (Jerry/Avery's dad). I could have sworn that Charles Kimbrough (Jim) was part of that group, but apparently he's still alive. I don't know anything about his health but maybe there's an opportunity for him to appear on the show.

Even with the concerns I initially expressed, I suspect this will be the one new show I'll be watching, at least in the short term. I don't know how easy it will be for the team to recapture lightening in a bottle, but I'm curious enough to stick around and see if they can accomplish that goal.
posted by sardonyx at 9:04 PM on September 27, 2018

I viewed this as a "catching up with Murphy Brown" episode. I am hoping the show gets less baity in future episodes.

I am glad that Eldin was at least mentioned but I was a little disappointed that running with the bulls was the story they went with there.

(Charles Kimbrough is 82. He is supposedly popping up in episode 3.)

I do like Avery and Pat. Tyne Daly is always good. I am willing to give the show a few eps to find its footing in these times.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:08 AM on September 28, 2018

I was not a huge fan of the original show, but I feel like I need this. Unlike oh yeah!, jokes are one of the things that help me stay sane during the current national nightmare, so this was cathartic.

The scene with Hillary (as "Hilary") was total fanservice... and I totally ate it up.

It didn't occur to me when the relaunch was announced that Avery would be all grown up now. I think that's a good way to go, and I hope we get to see bits of Avery's show, while still keeping the primary focus on Murphy. I didn't watch Limitless, so I'm not familiar with the actor, but he seems good.

I found it amusing that Murphy promised to do a fact-based show, and almost immediately got into an insult war with Trump. (Although I feel like Trump would come up with something nastier than "Old Murphy" as a nickname.) Murphy has her own foibles, so this won't turn into West Wing-style left-wing competence porn. Not that I didn't love The West Wing, but that wouldn't work well here.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:07 AM on September 28, 2018

P.S. The bit with the EPA chief kind of fell flat for me, other than the line about her previous job having been in the gift shop in Trump Tower. Climate change is a settled matter and shouldn't even be up for debate at this point, and I'm annoyed that Murphy in the Morning would treat it otherwise. The discussion on that point was unfunny and too narrowly mirrored real-life arguments, and having her ironically fall through the melting ice seemed a lazy way out of it.

But other than that I liked the episode.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:16 AM on September 28, 2018

I loved Limitless so I am actually psyched for Avery.

I dunno....this was a whole lotta jokes about OLD, and I wanted them to turn down the "sweetening" laugh track, you could tell how much "we're trying to make this funny" was going on compared to the actual reactions when things got shocking.

But I still loved Murphy so I'll keep hoping they move on from the old jokes (which is to be expected, I guess) and get to business.

The Hillary thing was....yeah, fanservice.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:31 AM on September 28, 2018

I haven't seen this episode, or even watched any of the past seasons, but I love that the FanFare side poster and banner are both "retro" Murphy Brown images, and I'm fascinated that this show came back after Roseann did, though I expect this one to fare better, based on comments here.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:08 AM on September 28, 2018

but I love that the FanFare side poster and banner are both "retro" Murphy Brown images,

I’m glad the sidebar poster art is working again in time for season premiere time, there was a good stretch of months there where none of the newly added shows were appearing. I’ve been submitting each new show to the approval queue the day before broadcast so they’ll stay in the sidebar as long as possible.

Since IMDb is calling this episode S11 ep 1, it’s pulling the retro original art. Just as well, I suppose - the suggest-a-show feature is glitching out on the Magnum P.I. reboot and will only find the original, it probably would have done the same thing if it had to choose between 2 Murphy Brown titles. (Probably need to start a Fanfare Talk thread on the Magnum issue if it’s still not visible over the weekend.)
posted by oh yeah! at 1:09 PM on September 28, 2018

When I was a kid in the early 90s, I watched a lot of the show since my mom was a fan.

Even back then, it was clear to me that the key element was always that the show had more to do with Murphy herself than anything outside like current events. From the first episodes when she dealing with her status as a recovering alcoholic to the whole single mom thing, it was Murphy center stage and anything else (vice presidential comments, etc.) was icing on the cake. Even the shows that were pretty overtly political just used the politics to say something about Murphy herself.

A good example is the episode where Martin Sheen has a cameo as the Jack Kerouac character Murphy admires and is set to interview. Then once things get started, she finds out Sheen's character has become a hardcore conservative. Afterward, she talks out her disillusionment with Frank, who comments that as people get older, they all become "conservative" in some way, even if it just means wishing there were more cops around when one needed one. Murphy agrees. Life lesson learned.

Changing the focus of the show from Murphy as person to Murphy as crusading journalist is a recipe for disaster.
posted by Fukiyama at 7:42 PM on September 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I didn't watch the original show, so I didn't have fuzzy feeling going in to this. For me, the show didn't work. It didn't seem funny or have something important to say and the laugh track just underscored jokes not landing. I can see how the gripe-fest could feel good, but the pilot was enough for me.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:07 PM on September 28, 2018

I was a fan of the original though, at the time, I was too young to be the target demo. I enjoyed this episode, although there's a little bit of me that feels like I can't quite get into the sitcom "deliver line, wait for laugh track" format, like somehow that format feels very vintage now, and it interfered with me enjoying the show. It was fun to slide back into the characters though, and I really liked that the titles were the same style. There were a few burst-out-loud laughs for me, but some were too real to laugh at. That's going to be a tough challenge for them to deal with, in writing the show, I imagine.

And I quite liked the EPA gift shop person disappearing into the ice. It was the closest I'm likely to get to the many fantasies I've had about Republicans this week.
posted by sldownard at 4:10 AM on September 30, 2018

I grew up on the original, but hadn't seen an episode since...probably the last one? My initial viewing was totally nostalgia driven as I recognized faces and had vague memories of who the characters were, and I'll admit, the first three or four minutes encapsulating the last couple years was kind of rough. I think we're all aware of how we got to where we are today.

I kind enjoyed the roasting of Trump, but I also hope the show doesn't just become the anti-Trump show, though obviously, they're setting up some kind of conflict between the people who watch Murphy Brown's morning show and those who watch her son's (Fox viewers versus everyone else). Along those lines, Avery's speel about providing a voice for those people felt somewhat insincere, in the same way that a politician makes the same claim, "I'm the voice of these people!" I hope, if they're going to saddle this perspective on him, they delve into the why of those individuals rather than rely on blanket terms. If they don't, it kind of cheapens Avery's character as just being a political foil to his mom's liberal perspectives.

I'll keep watching!
posted by Atreides at 10:00 AM on October 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

This was a necessary setup pilot; we'll see how things go. I'll keep watching, but that's mostly based on affection for the source material at this point.
posted by Etrigan at 7:30 AM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I remember watching Murphy Brown with great pleasure many years ago, but when I look at the list of episodes I realize I must have stopped around 1995. And this episode really did not feel nearly as funny or moving as the ones I remember -- I basically agree with Etrigan.

Jake McDorman is fun! And seems to have good chemistry with Bergen.

I had higher hopes for the brown character I saw on the show's bus ads here in NYC -- could this be a nonbinary Indian-American character? Well, Indian-American, seems to ID as a "guy," written as a broad "old people are alien to me!" millennial stereotype. But at least there's a person on this show who kinda looks like me. That's something.
posted by brainwane at 7:19 AM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

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