Thursday, November 8, 2018

REVIEW: 'Murphy Brown' - Murphy and the Crew Attend a Ceremony to Honor Jim in 'A Lifetime of Achievement'

CBS' Murphy Brown - Episode 11.07 "A Lifetime of Achievement"

The "Murphy in the Morning" team, Avery and Phyllis join Jim Dial at an eventful lifetime achievement award gala in his honor, hosted by Katie Couric and attended by Murphy's worst-ever secretary, who has a surprising new connection to Murphy. Murphy discovers a kindred spirit in Judge Nate Campbell, another gala attendee.

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.

"A Lifetime of Achievement" was written by Tom Seeley and directed by Michael Lembeck

This episode is very much driven by a plethora of guest stars. Charles Kimbrough returns as Jim Dial with everyone coming together to celebrate him as he accepts a prestigious journalism award. Meanwhile, Bette Midler returns as the worst secretary Murphy ever had who is now the majority shareholder of the company that controls her network. Katie Couric plays herself as she hosts this ceremony. Merle Dandridge continues to show up as the network president. And finally, John Larroquette, Analeigh Tipton and Isaac Powell appear as new love interests for Murphy, Avery and Pat, respectively. All of this is a lot to throw into one episode. As such, there are a lot of little stories that really don't have the time to develop into anything more than a small collection of brief and broad jokes. In particular, there really is no use to anything that Frank does throughout this episode. He is mostly complaining about the various woman in his life. Meanwhile, Couric mostly shows up in order to be wearing the same dress as Corky which causes them to go back-and-forth with jabs about their respective careers while still being friends in the end. And then, Miles being stunned that Pat is gay is so wildly awkward and unnecessary. It was always obvious that Pat was gay. It didn't need to be said but it did need to be the focus of a story eventually. That focus comes here. And yes, it's appreciated that a gay kiss has more screentime than any of the straight kisses throughout this hour. But it's also lackluster that so much of it is told through Miles' perspective in which he is playing things for the live studio audience's laughs because he is so uncomfortable. Meanwhile, there is awkwardness that comes from Jim inviting Phyllis to this ceremony honoring his career and him thinking that it's a betrayal to his late wife too. He really shouldn't be worried. Murphy is able to help him find peace in accepting that this is the next chapter of his life. That allows him to deliver a wonderful acceptance speech. He could talk about the big moments of his life. But instead, he chooses to appreciate the little moments that were done surrounded by a fantastic team. Those are the moments that are just as special and necessary. One shouldn't be afraid of embracing them in order to move forward with their lives. Murphy takes the same advice as well. She goes to this ceremony proud of her status as a single woman. She has never wanted to talk to Avery about sex even though they have a relationship where they can talk about anything. Despite that honesty, it's still awkward when they run into their respective dates the following morning. With Avery, he brought a date to this ceremony in the hopes that she could impress his mother. He doesn't even normally sneak women into his room and sneak them out before his mother notices. This is a special one-time thing that he hopes to continue with Lauren. But Murphy is also proud of her night of sexual activity. It proves to her that her life isn't over with in that regard even though she sees her uterus as belonging in a museum collection. Sure, that's a flippant excuse not to use protection. But it should be intriguing to see which of these relationships survive to another episode.