Thursday, November 15, 2018

REVIEW: 'Murphy Brown' - Murphy and Corky Hope for Different Outcomes to a Personal Story in 'The Coma & the Oxford Comma'

CBS' Murphy Brown - Episode 11.08 "The Coma and the Oxford Comma"

The "Murphy in the Morning" team strives to land a revealing first interview with Corky's beauty pageant friend, Holly, who just woke up from a 10-year coma that made national headlines.

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.

"The Coma and the Oxford Comma" was written by Marc Flanagan and directed by Michael Lembeck

Journalists are suppose to be impartial. It is their job to report the news based on the facts. They should follow the story no matter where it leads them. Of course, that has become increasingly impossible of happening in the modern world. Everyone has an opinion that they need to share. Everyone is chasing the same story in the hopes of getting an exclusive. This episode succeeds because it highlights the differing styles when it comes to this job for Murphy and Corky. They are both taken seriously as journalists. However, Murphy is cynical about the world around her while Corky still hopes for the best in whatever situation she finds herself in. She has a personal connection to the story at the heart of this episode as well. Her best friend fell into a coma ten years ago. Her husband stood trial for attempted murder but was acquitted on all charges. It was a trial that Murphy covered extensively for her network. She has always maintained the opinion that Charles was guilty. She didn't think the jury got it right in that case. And now, the entire story can be re-litigated because Holly has woken up from her coma. Her first word being "Pam" should immediately inform the audience that she has some memory of the tragedy that occurred to her. Meanwhile, the show doesn't spend a whole lot of time actually talking about how much the world has changed just in the past ten years. Murphy covers the big stuff while even allowing some topical jokes about the President walking in on the contestants of his beauty pageant as they were changing backstage. But this story is mostly produced with new characters and details that are inherent only to the world of Murphy Brown. When these characters actually have people they can interact with in these stories, it has been to the benefit of the entire show. Sure, they can have passionate arguments about the many issues that come out of this presidential administration. But it's more compelling to see them face off with some fictional stand-in instead of trying to pretend that the President or Sarah Huckabee Sanders are actually there in the room engaging with the events. Here, Corky wants to continue believing in her best friend. Holly says that she slipped over the cat as she was walking downstairs. Her husband is innocent and she is entitled to the millions of dollars he has made in the years since her accident. And yet, Murphy gets the final laugh because it was all a ruse so that Holly could embarrass Charles on national television. She didn't want to tell her story until she had a public audience who would be captivated with her response. There is no threat of this story being poached either. Miles was very concerned about that. He had Frank standing outside the room in a disguise. But nothing compromises this story for the team. It just leads to personal tension as Corky feels defeated and can't go to her friends for support. She would rather find comfort in vodka at Phyllis' bar. But Murphy is still there to talk about the importance of Corky in this profession. Her perspective is needed to make the show as successful as it has been. There shouldn't be a uniformity of opinion. It's appreciated that they have drastically different reactions and hopes for how stories will develop. It may not work out this time for Corky. But they can at least all enjoy making fun of Avery and the new promo that his network has produced for his show. It's absolutely ridiculous while also pointing out how crazy it is that numerous people and shows suggest that a person wearing glasses is enough to cover up how sexy they actually are.