Thursday, October 11, 2018

REVIEW: 'Murphy Brown' - Murphy Opens Up About Her Own Moment of Being Assaulted in '#MurphyToo'

CBS' Murphy Brown - Episode 11.03 "#MurphyToo"

After Murphy attends a sexual harassment seminar for the Murphy in the Morning staff, she is surprised to find herself reeling from the long-repressed memory of her own #MeToo moment.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of CBS' Murphy Brown.

"#MurphyToo" was written by Gina Ippolito & Skander Halim and directed by Don Scardino

This is a very scattered episode that nevertheless has a strong main story for Murphy Brown. Every character seemingly has their own story. But because of that, they are mostly just reduced down to a couple of recurring jokes that pop up in order to alleviate the tension of what Murphy is going through. And so, Corky is recounting all of the times men have been inappropriate to her, Frank gets shocked through his phone thanks to an app developed by Pat, Miles is tongue-tied around an employee at the show and Miguel hides whenever someone says the word "ice" around the bar. None of these stories feel all that important. In fact, it could be perceived as the show trying to find the humor in the #MeToo movement by showing just how common and normalized all of this has become for the veteran characters of this world. It's suppose to be humorous that Corky has all of these past experiences and that Frank gets injured with everything he says. Of course, they really aren't. Meanwhile, it's suppose to be applauded that Miles waits until the second that this woman is no longer an employee of his to ask her out. They are somewhat weird stories that don't amount to much. However, Murphy's main story more than makes up for that because it highlights what this revival does so best. It is once again rooted around Murphy and Avery's relationship. That truly is the heart of the show at the moment. It's so wonderful that they are able to have conversations about any subject. They have that kind of open and honest relationship. Sure, it's horrifying to know the kind of sexual harassment training that happens at the Wolf network. But Murphy has raised a respectful and considerate young man who knows what's appropriate behavior and what's not. There is no joke to that. He is billed as this model guy who knows how to respect women. There is no punchline. It's just sincere and makes him an understanding presence when Murphy goes into this story about how she was harassed and assaulted while in college. She has always believed that she didn't have a story that resonates in this modern world because she has always been very strong-willed. She didn't think anyone would ever cross her. But she is also forced to reflect back and wonder how much she has normalized this past behavior simply because it happened during a certain time. Here, she wonders if she led on her college professor by accepting his coffee dates and special attention. She never wants to see herself as a victim either. She is too proud to accept that. But she still needs advice for how to handle herself in this situation. She does something about it because she can't allow this to be behavior that can continue. She doesn't know if there were other women. She just wants to do her best to support women if they also happen to be in that same position she was in as a 19-year-old girl. That means all of this is less about confronting the professor who took advantage of her and more about reaching out to his new, young assistant and taking back the award that rightfully belongs to her. Professor Talbot wants to take credit for Murphy's entire career. He has a shrine for her in his office. He wants to hold this over her as a power move. And yet, he doesn't have a leg to stand on in this conversation. He is in the wrong and Murphy has the strength and conviction to act now. She is accepting that this defined her more than she realized while also being able to do something about these issues. As such, that makes her an inspiring figure even though these situations aren't always as easily resolved as that.