“Murphy Brown” is back — and why not? After all, we live in an age of reboot-mania, where one wouldn’t be halfway surprised to see “Perfect Strangers” get a second go-around. (Note to network executives: Please do interpret that last sentence as sarcasm and not an inveterate yearning for more of the antics of one Balki Bartokomous.)
And, if there was ever property that needed a reboot, it was “Murphy Brown.” No, not because we all miss the titular cantankerous, left-leaning TV journalist played by Candace Bergen, but because of the mere fact that comedy based on contemporaneous references to Dan Quayle and François Mitterand ages in syndication less like fine wine and somewhat more like skunked Rolling Rock.
In short, this is probably the first time you’ve heard about the show in a long time. And, if you’re under 30, this might be the first time you’ve heard about the show at all.
However, the special magic you want to generate with a reboot is getting a new audience who may have been too young for the first run while drawing in fans of the original show. With “Murphy Brown,” the way not to accomplish the former is giving over a guest-starring gig to Hillary Clinton, particularly given the fact that her leaden appearance was filled with heavy-handed nudges and winks to her abortive campaign for the presidency.
For those of you who were “Murphy Brown” fans (and I know this isn’t exactly everyone here, but bear with me), you may remember that one of the show’s gags was that Murphy would always torment and fire her secretary before each episode was out.
Her secretarial candidate in the first episode of the reboot was “Hilary Clendon” (that’s at least the spelling according to Independent Journal Review — I heard “Hilary Clinton” with one L, but maybe I missed out on something). The character is played by, I don’t think it needs to be said, Hillary Clinton.
“I want you to know I’m not afraid of hard work, I’m qualified, and ready on day one,” Clinton says during the interview.
So, any previous secretarial experience?
“Absolutely, for four years I was the secretary of a very — I was the secretary of a very large organization,” Clinton says. (For obvious reasons, Murphy doesn’t inquire whether there were any, say, major catastrophes on her watch there.)
Oh, and her technological savvy?
“Emails — I do have some experience with emails,” she said.
Yes, well, I hope they have a generous home-server policy at Murphy Brown’s workplace. Oh, and don’t send any classified government documents marked with a (C), which is the usual way classified information is denoted in emails. She thinks it’s just a list where (A) and (B) are missing. (No, seriously.) All in all, I’m sure we can agree that joking around about criminal investigations is always a good idea.
In the end, Murphy didn’t pick up Hilary Clendon/Clinton, feeling she was overqualified for the position. “Murphy Brown” certainly lays it on with a light touch, no?
However, Hillary — sorry, Hilary — did leave a business card with the email address “email@example.com.”
As The Daily Beast pointed out, the premiere Friday was a decidedly anti-Trump affair. It begins with Brown, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with “Original Nasty Woman” on it, watching the election returns in hysterical melancholy. Fast forward to the present and her son Avery is getting a job on the Wolf Network, a thinly disguised version of Fox News — where “all the male anchors are conspiracy theorists and the women are dead behind the eyes.”
The set-up for the reboot is that Murphy gets a new show in the same time slot, because of course she does. “There’s such insanity out there that I’ve become such a nut job yelling at the TV. I’d rather be on TV yelling out,” she tells her son. “Here’s the novelty … it’s going to be totally factual.”
Right. Just like all of Hillary Clinton’s statements about her email were. Catch “Murphy Brown 2: Trump-ic Boogaloo” while you can. Judging by the ponderous humor of the first episode and the predictability of the entire set-up, I get the feeling that might be a time-sensitive proposition.
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