[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for the "Murphy Brown” episode airing Thursday, Oct. 11, entitled "#MurphyToo.”]
Near the beginning of “#MurphyToo,” the fourth episode of the CBS revival “Murphy Brown,” eternally perky Corky (Faith Ford) is reflecting back on times in her life when she had to deal with inappropriate men. “I don’t know any woman who hasn’t had an experience,” she says, turning to Murphy (Candice Bergen), expecting her to agree with her.
Murphy instead jokes, “What guy would be stupid enough to try something with me,” but the formidable journalist is holding back. As she later reveals to her son Avery (Jake McDorman), she does have her own story.
It’s a touchy time for a CBS sitcom to take on #MeToo so directly, given that former CEO Les Moonves, recently exited following a number of sexual misconduct allegations. While creator Diane English teased “#MurphyToo” this summer at the Television Critics Association press tour, she did so while also telling reporters that she and her cast had never had “any negative experience in that regard at CBS.”
“I go back to the Bill Paley days,” English said. “I’ve kind of outlasted all these guys, so I have never experienced any kind of sexual misconduct personally or misogyny, and as far as I know, no one on my crew has.”
Read More:‘Murphy Brown’: CBS Revival Hopes to Get Sued By Donald Trump, and Will Explore #MeToo and Alex Jones
In “#MurphyToo,” issues of workplace harassment are discussed (the episode begins with the “Murphy in the Morning” team sitting through a sexual harassment seminar). But the #MeToo moment Murphy experienced didn’t take place in a workplace environment — instead, it’s revealed that when she was 19 years old, a professor who mentored her in college attacked her after an awards dinner.
Joe Regalbuto, Candice Bergen, and Faith Ford in “Murphy Brown.”
David Giesbrecht/© 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
The way in which these details are revealed, and Murphy’s growing unease with being confronted by this memory, is easily the episode’s most compelling aspect. Bergen’s task in this episode is a tough one, as she’s asked to deliver some weighty material with a laugh track breathing down her neck, yet the subdued tone of her performance speaks to the impact of this one event. The …read more