‘Murphy Brown’ 11×07 Review: ‘A Lifetime of Achievement’

“Don’t forget to treasure the moments. They will carry you through the roughest of times.”

There is no way Murphy Brown’s writers could have known how resonant those words would be last Thursday night. Here in California, we were reeling from a brutal news cycle. We woke up to news of a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks. Then a wildfire started in Northern California (now ranked as the most destructive in state history). And then another wildfire broke out, not far from the Borderline Bar and Grill.

By 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, we were ready for some laughter. This episode did serve it up. But Jim Dial’s advice above to young journalists was especially poignant to me, on a day when the hits wouldn’t stop coming.

Here are the moments I treasure from “A Lifetime Of Achievement.”

Celebrity Sightings!

“Murphy Brown” 11×07 “A Lifetime Of Achievement.” Source: CBS

Bette Midler returned to Murphy Brown in fine form. She played the last, and according to Murphy, the worst of the secretaries in the show’s original run. But Midler’s character Caprice got a big promotion. She’s the widow of the network’s biggest shareholder, meaning she is now the biggest shareholder.

Yeah, so now she’s Murphy’s boss!

It’s a fun twist, and Midler hammed it up through each of her scenes, with “fantastic ideas” like “Boobs, booty and banter, all the way to the bank!”


Katie Couric was the other returning guest star, playing  herself again, 26 years after appearing in the original series’ baby shower episode. She is the host of the ceremony to honor Jim Dial. It gives us some fun banter between Katie and Corky, who show up – horrors! – in the same dress. It’s not quite as fun as Midler’s scenes, but the callback to the original is still appreciated.

Silver Singles

Okay, not all the singles were silver-haired. But the moments between Jim and Phyllis were very enjoyable. Phyllis invites herself to be Jim’s escort to the ceremony, and Jim can’t quite say now. But he also finds the situation awkward. He doesn’t feel right without his late wife… but then realizes he still has “possibilities to explore.” We may get to see some of that; showrunner Diane English says we will see Jim again.

The other silver singles were Murphy and a judge played by John Larroquette. Their pairing leads to an amusing and awkward morning after when they are found out by Avery and his date… who also spent the night at the Brown household. Avery is more horrified to learn his mother is still having sex than embarrassed that he got caught sneaking his date out. It’s another delightful scene between Jake McDorman and Candice Bergen and more proof the casting powers-that-be got it absolutely right here.

Miles is the only person not too delighted with single mingling for the evening. He’s already uncomfortable with the bright red tuxedo Pat had advised him to wear for the night. Then it gets worse when Pat’s ex-boyfriend spots them together and jumps to all the wrong conclusions. And then it just gets awkward when Pat and his ex kiss and make up… or more like make out… in the back seat of Miles’ car while he’s driving. To be clear, the awkwardness is not based on Pat’s sexuality… although it’s also awkward when Miles admits he hadn’t known Pat was gay! “How could you not know?” Pat asks. Well… I didn’t know either! I’m not one to make presumptions based on externals.

Other Notes

  • Apparently all of Phyllis’ brothers are named Phil.
  • Will Caprice get her “boobs, booty and banter” on the air? Or will she be too busy with her next late husband to care?

  • Murphy’s third degree to Avery about his date was spot-on.
  • Miles and Pat are making the most interesting combination.

Murphy Brown airs Thursday nights at 9:30/8:30 Central on CBS.

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