‘Murphy Brown’ 11×11 Review: ‘The Wheels On The Dog Go Round And Round’

 Before I get into Murphy the dog owner or Avery the man of principles, let me clarify something reported in other media. Murphy Brown IS NOT canceled. Some media outlets presumed it was, based on CBS’ spring schedule. But show runner Diane English and star Candice Bergen only wanted 13 episodes.

Renewal news will come in the spring.

With that settled, let’s talk about one adorable dog, and one very admirable young man.

Murphy To The Rescue!

Murphy has never been a dog person. Avery begged for a dog as a child, but she didn’t want the added responsibility. She still doesn’t, until she learns 670 thousand dogs are euthanized every year  to clear overcrowded animal shelters. Horrified, she says she’ll take the next dog scheduled to be put to sleep.

Meet Ben-Hur “Benny” Brown!

Who couldn’t love that face? This was  a wonderful way to remind people to turn to shelters instead of pet stores, especially during the holiday season.

Avery is thrilled to get a dog. He needs something to be thrilled about, because his professional life has just gone down the drain.

Avery Won’t Roll Over

Things look pretty good for Avery at the start of the episode. His show is moving to prime time. But amid the celebration, Murphy is concerned about what the Wolf Network might ask Avery to do in that plum slot.

Mama always knows best.

Over Avery’s objections, the network tells him to read a closing opinion piece they’ve written for him. He begins to read it, but then stops to tell the audience the Wolf Network only cares about shilling for the Administration. “I stuck with this place because I thought I could change the culture,” he says. But the culture refuses to be changed, and he quits on the air, “taking my soul with me.” It’s an action that some media observers wish would be repeated at FOX News and Sinclair stations around the country. But it’s not that easy.

My career has included a stint at a right-leaning local media outlet. I did not choose it because of the philosophy, but because I needed the job. Like Avery, I hoped to be a change agent, but there were limits to the changes I could make. Unlike Avery, I did not have the luxury of being able to quit on the spot. Many of my fellow journalists, on both sides of the camera, find themselves in similar positions. We have mortgages to pay and children to feed. So we muddle along until we can find something better – in a media landscape that continues to dwindle.

Based on the preview for next week, it appears Avery may have found something. But the promise of “an ending you won’t see coming” has me worried. Avery is one of my favorite things about this revival, and I hope we’re not losing him.

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

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