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dragonflies

"Murphy Brown" revival 2018

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I think some of the uneven quality that has been mentioned is as a result of a show (or its creator/production staff) that is self-conscious and hyper-aware of the fact that it may be running on borrowed time and is in a rush to squeeze every issue into its episodes.

It's hard to straddle the line between having show that focus and character and humor while making a statement in each episode.  In sitcom writing class, you're discouraged from trying to go the "message route" but when dealing with topical/political humor, it's pretty much a mandate.

 

In a way, a 13 order season frees you up from having to stretch material out over 24-26 episodes (which can get tedious and repetitive filler fast) but it can also be constraining where you realize that your time is limited (minutes on the clock limited) and you have to drive certain issues across in any given episode.

 

If you have a platform like Netflix or HBO where you don't have to deal with commercial breaks, you have more time to work with but with network TV where ads have to be place in every episode (more and more each year, it seems) you have that added tension, added pressure to try to 'get it all in' and ideas can feel crowded.

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On 11/21/2018 at 8:51 AM, DRW50 said:

 

At first I could only roll my eyes at Miles and I was a bit annoyed that Pat's role in the episode amounted to long-suffering gay pal/lol people think the main character is gay, as it felt very '90s sitcom, but they made up for that with having the hot makeout session between Pat and his ex, which wasn't something I saw on many '90s sitcoms...

Catching up on this thread, but Carl's quote above reminded me of something.  I found that plot point well done and yet in some ways annoying, maybe for the same reasons.  It *didn't* surprise me--I was sure they'd have a gay character on the new show and I was sure it would be Pat since every time I've seen the comedian do standup, his routine has revolved around being a gay Indian, etc and it just seemed odd to cast him in a role where he seems to be playing himself and not using that.  But it also used the now (thankfully) very old fashioned trope where when a TV show, specifically a sitcom, would show a progressive/tolerant view of homosexuality, it almost always involved one of the main characters worrying he was or being mistaken for being gay when it was actually a secondary character.  Of course thankfully in this episode that was only *briefly* played for laughs with Miles and not the focus of the storyline--and it does fit in with the history of Miles as a character (though you'd think he'd be more aware of gays living in DC all these years since the show ended :P ). 

And then recently on my news feed one of those "explaining gay pop culture" videos from Matt Baume popped up on my feed.  I find Matt Baume's videos both well done and sometimes insightful and extremely obnoxious and annoying (and no, it's not just because he did one devoted to musical theatre where he spouted off things about Sondheim shows which were factually *wrong*... I swear :P ).  I guess there's gonna be a second video addressing this Murphy Brown episode, but here he talks about a '90s episode that did play off the Miles might be gay thing for the entire episode--and to my surprise I suddenly remembered that episode and how uncomfortable it made me watching it with my parents... 
 

 

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I remember the scenes of Miles talking about his dolphin dream. Oddly enough they are some of my strongest memories of the original show. Clearly that had an effect on their young gay viewers...

 

I had to laugh at the video guy going on and on about the incredible ass of the man behind Miles. Honestly, the only thing I noticed about that man was his pants didn't fit properly. 

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Ha I had the same thought.  It is true though that the premise of the episode seemed to be SUCH a trope in earlier gay (comedy) stories--down to the "You're not my type" conclusion joke.  I suppose it was a relatively safe and inoffensive way to deal with the issue--focusing it through the eyes of a straight character, reassuring the viewer that *they* won't be gay or whatever, etc.

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Just now, EricMontreal22 said:

Ha I had the same thought.  It is true though that the premise of the episode seemed to be SUCH a trope in earlier gay (comedy) stories--down to the "You're not my type" conclusion joke.  I suppose it was a relatively safe and inoffensive way to deal with the issue--focusing it through the eyes of a straight character, reassuring the viewer that *they* won't be gay or whatever, etc.

 

Even back then when I was not really aware of those types of things and not even that aware of myself I always thought there was something different about Miles. I kind of wondered if they might make him gay in the revival but I guess they don't see him that way. 

 

(maybe the actor is gay - I don't know)

 

I had stopped watching by the time he was with Corky. I don't know how that went or why they split up. Clearly Diane English doesn't either...

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Even ABC news ran a scroll saying Murphy Brown revival not picked up/renewed. I can't remember exactly how it read but I knew it wasn't factually true. I'm glad English came out and reassured folks that the media was jumping to conclusions. What a shocker ...

 

I still need to catch up. I'm so behind on EVERYTHING lately. Sigh. (Though not shocked they made Pat gay and I'm good with it and was just waiting for them to drop it)

 

I hope to see it come back (and let's be real, it's clearly got a now stable audience, a new show could do worse, could do better - I think 9 with Mom behind it would have been better of a cushion so to speak but I get they probably thought it was better to have it at 9:30 with Mom as the anchor show).

 

And good on Bergen for the nod!

Edited by KMan101

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I think with the exception of the terrible Steve Bannon episode the show has improved each week - though once again I am two weeks behind. I think the ensemble still has it and the new people gel, and the political commentary which is important to the show and always has been has become smarter and a bit less hamfisted (depending on the episode, or scene...).

 

It's comfort food for me politically and socially, but IMO it's genuinely funny and often smart. Its ancient cast is never going to take EW by storm again. But I would like to see it get one more season at least. If not, at least it's been a good time and they haven't disgraced the series.

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Oh, and I did just get to the Thanksgiving episode - emotional and excellent.

Edited by Vee

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