Monday, March 16, 2009

"You must be my new Secretary"

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

After last week's Reading Rainbow stint, I was considering taking this week to talk about Arthur, as several of his books have been on the show, and the show itself has pretty much kept PBS going, LoL. But, I can't bring myself to do it. I read up on the show for about twenty minutes, and just decided it wasn't interesting enough.

On my "big list" of shows I decided to cover back when I began this series last October, only four remain (after I removed Arthur). I'm also going to ignore Cheers. Although it was exceedingly popular, I didn't really care for it. I've seen a ton of episodes, but mostly because I have a Nick-at-Nite addiction. That, and my very first entry on this blog was about Cheers. And then there were three. I know which one I'm saving for last (and if you know me personally, you can probably guess what it is), which leaves two that have only been on this list for so long because I don't know much about them.

With that said, I now introduce Murphy Brown. It was a CBS show from '88 to '98, and starred Candice Bergen. I'm a big fan of Candice as an actress, and in this show she plays a journalist for a magazine. It got a lot of publicity back in the Bush-Clinton election, as Dan Quayle mentioned it in a speech. Basically, Quayle attempted to argue that the LA Riots were caused because of a "poverty of values" (like unwed motherhood... aka Murphy Brown's character). He didn't like that the show was so widely loved by the American public (it would also be worth mentioning that divorced Murphy gave birth to a boy in May 1992, just a week before Quayle made this speech in San Francisco. Quayle went on to criticize the "lifestyle choice" of a high-paid professional woman, who allegedly "mocked the importance of fathers." And the best that his aides could do to cover this shenanigan up? "He just wanted to stir up a debate about how Hollywood treats family values!" (this last quote is completely my words)

Anyway, now that we've had that introduction (which gives some premise to the plot), I should mention the other "controversial" things about the show. Well, the pilot has Murphy returning to work after a stay in the Betty Ford Clinic, as an alcoholic. In the episode following Dan Quayle's remarks (which ended up being the opening episode for the fifth season), the show addressed Quayle's remarks directly, and in turn made fun of him over the infamous "potatoe" incident (I was all of eight when that took place and remember it vividly) [Bergen personally agreed with Quayle]. Another controversy? The entire tenth season... Murphy deals with breast cancer, and gets attacked by various groups over her use of medical marijuana and her humorous shopping for prosthetic breasts. Oh, and how about the jokes on how Murphy was always moody around the 18th...

Other stuff that went on during the show... Murphy's house was continuously being worked on by Eldin. He does it for seven seasons, then makes an appearance during the final episode as well. Murphy and her friends also hung out at a bar, and the owner even "died" for a while. Murphy's baby (Avery) went through SORAS, and ended up being played by Haley Joel Osment (who, by the way, is somehow TWENTY now!). If you were a fan of the show, I'd love to hear about your experiences. I only made a few attempts to get into it (it played on Nick-at-Nite my final year of undergrad), but was unsuccessful.

The show never started with a theme song, but it did end with one. And, although it was considered very popular during most of its run, the DVD release of the first season did so poorly that future releases are not even being considered at the moment! The show won two Emmys, and Bergen won FIVE. That's a record, and she withdrew her name from future nominations after winning that fifth one. There are very few videos of Murphy Brown on the internet, aside from the episode where she gives birth, LoL. (and if you're still trying to figure out where the title of this post comes from, Murphy went through more than ninety secretaries over the 247 episodes)

For those who follow this in an RSS feed, please bump over to the blog itself for a hot minute and vote for which television topic you'd like to see covered next. If you're on the blog, look left and vote. Even if you're not a regular reader, I'd still appreciate your opinion so I might draw more readers in the future. Thanks. :)
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