‘Murphy Brown’ 11×08 Review: ‘The Coma And The Oxford Comma’

I’d originally looked forward to Murphy Brown for biting political humor at a time when government seems like a circus. But that hasn’t been the show’s strong point. Instead, the show’s funniest moments have dealt with the absurdities of the news business, and its most enjoyable ones have revolved around family and friendship.

“This is how they package their people.”

I really feel for Avery, a lone liberal voice at a conservative news network. He is so excited about a promo for his show, but is horrified by the finished product that makes him look like a sex symbol.

For much of this season, Avery’s been the one giving advice to his mother. This time, it’s Murphy who is the advisor, telling him to become the best journalist he can be so he can control his own image.

(Not that she doesn’t enjoy ribbing him about the spot.)


It’s very nice to see this kind of give and take between the two Browns. They may be competitors on air, but they have each other’s backs.

“Never expect too much so you’re never disappointed.”

The episode’s other story is about Corky’s former college roommate, who wakens from a decade-long coma. Holly had been the unconscious center of a sort of “trial of the century,” her husband accused of trying to kill her. The case put Murphy and Corky at odds, Murphy convinced of the man’s guilt, while Corky is unwilling to believe her lifelong friend could do such a thing.

That is, until Holly outs him live on national television. Corky is stunned and disillusioned, and decides she should take Murphy’s more cynical point of view. Murphy disagrees, saying we need more optimists like Corky.

It’s only too true. There’s more than enough cynicism to go around these days.

Random Notes

  • The terrible secretary schtick is back, and I can’t blame Murphy for sending this one packing. Punctuation princesses are pests!
  • It was nice to see Avery playing video games with a couple of friends his own age. Until last week, it seemed like he only hung out with his mother’s friends, which would account for his uncommon wisdom but might also seem a bit odd. Maybe we’ll see these other friends again, long enough for them to have names?
  • Frank’s cheesy porn mustache deserved its own show credit.
  • Brooke Shields was a great guest as Corky’s comatose friend. She got the best line of the night when Murphy relayed events of the past ten years:

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

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