On Murphy Brown Season 11 Episode 4, Murphy takes on author Ed Shannon whose views are entirely out of line with Murphy's.
He's supposed to represent a hardcore Republican, and Murphy has to decide whether she's going to give him airtime on her show.
Let me start with the positive in this episode because I feel like this one went from political comedy smartly done to preachy. It's a fine line, and this crossed it.
But, as I said, let me start with the positive.
Tyne Daly had some good lines that weren't awkward. Thank goodness because I was beginning to think they were wasting her talent at Murphy Brown.
As a matter of fact, I spent more than 20 years in one of the toughest divisions of the NYPD. Parking enforcement.Phyllis
Phyllis had a chance to salute Cagney and Lacey, which was perfect, and then they had her flirt with Jim. The bit with Jim was flawless and cute. For the first three installments, Phyllis was coming off as a grump, but her moment with Jim lightened her up considerably.
I hope we see more of that from her.
It was nice to see Jim again, and although it didn't hit me at first who he was (it's been a while since the original Murphy Brown), as soon as he spoke, memories of him came flooding back.
Jim has such a distinctive voice.
It seems he was passing through town and might not be a regular, but I hope he's on from time to time. Jim's not only funny but a good sounding board for Murphy.
Everybody needs one.
Back to the subject matter of the show. Murphy was getting pressure from the network to interview a jerk to boost her ratings.
I get that. It happens all the time. Murphy could've had Ed on and torn him a new one on her show, but was she right to turn it down?
No, she didn't want to give the guy airtime. She didn't want to give him yet another platform to spread his word. A word with which she vehemently disagreed.
Ed Shannon, so many shirts!Murphy
I understand her standing by her principles and doing what she felt was right for her and the show. She had every right to choose who to interview.
But she's a reporter.
She's not supplying him with a platform. Ed Shannon already has a platform. He writes books, he's all over the internet, and he has a following. He doesn't need a platform on Murphy Brown.
How does she expect to make a difference if she avoids every interviewee coming down the pike whom which she doesn't agree?
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke
Have you ever heard that quote, Murphy?
If Murphy Brown truly thought Ed Shannon was evil and he was spreading poison, she should've interviewed the guy and ripped him up, not for ratings, but for the fact that she can't stand by and do nothing.
She ended up going viral on YouTube anyway, but that's beside the point.
Who could take Shannon down better than Murphy? Isn't that worth the tradeoff?Miles
The reason I was enjoying the Murphy Brown reboot was that it took a look at political issues and didn't preach. It was weaving the issues into the fabric of the show, so the message was heard but not shoved down viewers' throats.
Murphy's tirade at the bar with Ed, while maybe on point, felt like I stepped into a political rally. That's not what I want from a comedy, even a political one.
The political feel was a complete 180 from Murphy Brown Season 11 Episode 3, which I thought was brilliant.
In that episode, they took the #MeToo issue and put a light on it. That's all. The writers made it a story and sprinkled some funny on for good measure.
This time they had funny moments, but then took a big boot and stomped all over it.
It's a shame because a show like Murphy Brown can share a very powerful message, but they have to remember the audience is smart.
We get what you're saying. We hear you in little dribs and drabs and lines. We don't need a speech or a sledgehammer to the face to understand the issues.
We get it.
Aww, why pick on Australia? Their animals have pouches, much like your stupid jacket.Murphy
Without bombardment, your message comes through louder than if you scream it from the rooftops and blow out our eardrums.
What did you think, Murphy Brown fanatics?
Did you like Phyllis and Jim's flirt scene? Were you annoyed with the Ed vs. Murphy fight in the bar?
Hit the comments and tell us your thoughts.
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Kim Russell was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in January 2019.