Murphy Brown Season 11 Premiere Review

One of TV's most acclaimed comedies, Murphy Brown, returned tonight. It seems like the perfect time for a revival, considering the endless stream of news lately due to the Trump administration and its critics, and I'm excited to see how Murphy & Co. will fit into this new, tech-savvy world.

It's election night, and Murphy awakes to the news that Donald Trump has been elected president. She's not thrilled. A jump forward in time puts Murphy at Phil's, where we learn that she's still getting used to retirement from FYI. Two months later, Avery gives Murphy some big news: he's moving back to Washington to work for the Wolf Network. Murphy is incredibly disappointed, because the Wolf Network is terrible. Murphy then gives Avery bigger, more important news: she's coming back to TV. Frank and Corky will be on the show as well, just like old time. Unfortunately, the show will be competing directly with Avery's show. Later on, Murphy goes to see Miles, and he's a bit of a hermit. And he kinda lost his mind. After two years on The View, he had to go "away" for a while. And now he's back in town and the gang needs him to help them on their show. Of course, he agrees to be a part of the show.

Miles introduces the gang to Pat Patel, their social media guy. This first meeting doesn't go very well, but maybe they'll learn over time. Then, Hillary Clinton shows up for an interview as Murphy's secretary. She's definitely overqualified for the job, but that's still an improvement over... every other secretary Murphy has ever had.

It's the day before the big premiere, and Murphy is setting up social media accounts, with Avery's help. Avery tells Murphy how to tweet, and her first tweet is an interesting one, involving the president. Avery warns her not to send it, but she does anyway. The tweet goes viral, and Miles is freaking out about it. Murphy worries about the show flopping, and Miles actually gives her a pep talk. And then, they're on the air and it begins with an interview of an (unqualified) EPA official, Mary Vernon. Corky has a hot flash live on television, and then Mary falls through the ice. Immediately after this, Trump tweets about Murphy, calling her Old Murphy. This causes Murphy to freak out, which makes Corky's hot flash look like nothing. That night, Murphy is pretty upset about the way she acted on TV, but she's proud of Avery. The ratings come in for the shows, and Murphy's show blows Avery's out of the water.

While it was great to see the gang back together again, the show itself felt a bit off. It is understandable, though. It's been a long time since Murphy Brown was last on TV and these revivals usually do take some perfecting. Revivals of Roseanne and Will & Grace were similarly off at first (I will admit to over-marking their debuts in my early reviews, the nostalgia factor blinded me), and later found their footing. That's why I think this show can be the same. But I can only review what we've already seen, and this premiere was just okay, and not outstanding.

I'm not sure why all of these revivals think it's a good idea to go full steam ahead with politics for their premieres, but it's really not. Some handle it better than others, but for the most part, it's just a bit awkward. It made sense with Murphy Brown, but I still think it could have been executed better. It felt cheap to just make the same Trump jokes we've heard time and time again, and this all culminated in the cringe-worthy scene involving Trump tweeting back at Murphy. I could have done without that, and the show could have, too.

Despite my criticisms, I actually did enjoy this episode. While it wasn't the best all-around, the cast was still pretty funny, especially Candice Bergen, who is still hilarious as Murphy Brown. There were also quite a few instances of me laughing out loud (I will admit to laughing at a Trump joke, I know I'm a hypocrite), and that's definitely the most important part of a sitcom for me. The dig at Roseanne's cancelation and the Hillary Clinton appearance were some of the highlights for me, and they were responsible for some of my biggest laughs.

I will keep giving this show a chance, because I can still feel some of that old magic. Maybe it'll just take some time to truly become its best self.

Score: 6.5/10
Grade: C

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