The #MeToo movement is the subject matter of Murphy Brown Season 11 Episode 3, and the show handled it beautifully.
You wouldn't think a sensitive subject like #MeToo could be handled on a comedy show with it still being funny.
You would be wrong.
The writers made the story of Murphy's assault flow seamlessly with the regular comedy that is Murphy Brown. There were no snarky sweeping generalizations. It was real talk about a real subject peppered inside a comedic sandwich.
It was great how they addressed how people used to handle sexual situations and how confusing it is for people today. It's hard to tell what's appropriate and what's not, especially if you're from a different era.
Frank flat out admitted he didn't know what was appropriate. He said he needed help.
Pat developing an app to assess someone's sexual tones was so today. If that app were a thing, Pat's right, he would be uber rich. Companies would be falling over themselves to buy a copy for all of their employees.
This is my first sexual harassment seminar! Today I am a man. A fully employed man!Pat
There might be some minor torture issues and lawsuits lying in wait.
Aren't there always?
But watching Frank get shocked sure was funny.
On a more serious note, it appeared that Murphy was poking fun at the seminar. We quickly found out that she was a victim.
What a sweet moment, sharing her experience with Avery.
The conversation between Murphy and Avery on the couch touched on the doubts victims have speaking up. It didn't feel preachy at all.
It could've easily come across as a "teaching moment" shoved down the audience's throat. But it didn't feel that way. It felt like an honest conversation between a mother and son about a hard topic.
The more I see interactions between Avery and Murphy, the more I love them both. They have such a touching and respectful relationship, and the chemistry between the actors exudes the same.
So I guess Bogart should've said to Bergen, "Here's lookin' at you kid. Unless that makes you uncomfortable, in which case I apologize."
It was nice that Murphy went to Phil's to talk to Phyllis about her issue. As she said, they're from the same era, and Murphy knew Phyllis could relate.
Even though Phyllis didn't want to be the typical bartender, she listened to Murph and offered advice.
I asked for more Tyne Daly time, and we got a bit more, but other than the conversation with Murph, her lines were still lacking.
While I appreciated the ICE joke, it fell flat. Maybe it's because the timing between Phyllis and Miguel doesn't flow. I can't pinpoint the problem with her funnies and why they aren't working, but I say she needs better lines.
I've seen Daly in many things, and she can pitch a line. Give 'em to her and see.
I was digging the blue hair though, so that's a plus.
If you stood back and looked at all the wheels turning on this episode, you could appreciate all the show was trying to convey.
You had Murphy's sexual assault, the multi-generational confusion, Miles' attraction to an employee, Corky's endless #MeToo stories, and Pat's app.
I could get lost in your deep brown eyes.Frank
All of these pieces were designed to show the complexity of the #MeToo issue and all of them were valid. All of them addressed a real piece of the pie.
Murphy's vulnerability about her assault and standing up to her professor wasn't your typical Murphy style.
Murphy doesn't normally show that side of herself. Murphy is tough, after all.
Not this time.
Yes, it took a lot of bravery to drive herself up to her former professor's house and confront him. You would think she would've stormed in there like a bull, but she didn't.
And it felt real.
If she had bulldozed her way in there and told the guy off, it wouldn't have felt genuine.
She took notice that a 19-year-old girl was working for Talbot and offered her a way out. When she laid it all out on the table for Talbot, she wasn't Murphy Brown the seasoned reporter; she was Murphy Brown, the confused 19-year-old student.
Candice Bergen channeled younger energy and added some experience on top.
I came here to get closure and I just figured out how I'm going to get it.
She wasn't the naive teenager anymore, but during her speech, you saw her in there, once again proving Bergen can deliver her lines like few others.
If you're going to address a serious subject on a comedy, this is the model episode.
What did you all think, Murphy Brown fans? Did you appreciate the way the show handled the #MeToo subject? Do you love Avery as much as I do? Will they ever give Tyne Daly the dialogue she deserves?
Hit the comments and share your thoughts.
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Kim Russell was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in January 2019.