Thursday, November 1, 2018

REVIEW: 'Murphy Brown' - Murphy and Avery Cover the Mid-Term Election Results in 'Results May Vary'

CBS' Murphy Brown - Episode 11.06 "Results May Vary"

The "Murphy in the Morning" team gears up for their live all-day coverage of the mid-term elections, competing against Avery, who is reporting with John Haggerty, the Wolf Network's conservative superstar. Pat is horrified when Miles forces him to wear a conservative suit after assigning him to analyze numbers and trends on-air throughout the day.

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.

"Results May Vary" was written by Gary Dontzig & Steven Peterman and directed by Don Scardino

Murphy Brown has to walk a very precarious line throughout "Results May Vary." As such, that threatens to make this a very disappointing episode that doesn't seem to say anything important. It's centered around Murphy and Avery's respective networks covering the mid-term election results. The story is mostly about how the all-day coverage wears down everyone even though the actual results don't come in until late in the night. Of course, the comedy can't actually make any bold predictions as to what happens on Tuesday simply because it enjoys playing things very close to reality. This is an episode where Avery actually interacts with President Trump. This season is fully committed to these characters actually have conversations with the figures from the current presidential administration. Murphy asked a question to Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the briefing room. And now, Avery is on a panel that receives an infamous call in from the president himself. However, it's also the episode going for the easy humor. It finds its satire out of pointing out that Trump likes to repeat the same claims over and over again. It's the broad strokes of what his administration has been about - the 2016 election results, the Mueller investigation, the fake news media and the Russian collusion. Sure, it's amusing to see Avery actually performing his job alongside his colleagues who have much more conservative values than him. But it's still ultimately a competition to see who is the better reporter throughout all of this. Murphy and Avery are striving for objectivity even though they are hoping for a certain outcome to these results. They make a bet with each other. And yet, that's never really a fundamental part of the story. In fact, the chaos at Murphy in the Morning is a little all over the place. It's confined to that one set with the team going to the same stories throughout the broadcast in order to see how things develop. However, Frank's inability to say coherent thoughts after awhile is never amusing. Nor is Corky saying something on the live broadcast that she shouldn't say just because she's tired. In fact, the more engaging elements of this episode come from the newcomers to the show. This episode is about the election results and trying to inspire people to vote to ensure that their voices are heard. It's airing before the election which means that it could be influential in real-life. However, the only story actually encouraging people to vote and discussing the importance of it all comes from Phyllis and Miguel's interactions. They have just been one-note side characters throughout these episodes so far. Miguel is nothing but a Dreamer who talks about that ongoing issue and nothing else. There is nothing more that defines his personality. And yet, he is able to inspire Phyllis to vote even though she doesn't believe that anyone in politics has the style to actually make a difference in people's lives. That's the element that was missing from this episode and that needed to receive more focus. Of course, it's also just delightful to see Pat come into his own as an on-camera personality as well. Hopefully, there is more of him on Murphy in the Morning as well because his technical analysis could be very beneficial.