The reviews of the “Murphy Brown” re-boot are in, and they’re not kind. I watched it with very low expectations — and I laughed a lot, to my own surprise.
(Spoiler alerts follow)
I remember liking the original “Murphy Brown,” although because the episodes were so loaded with topical references, they’ve aged like bread, and frankly, they don’t hold up.
The re-boot is going to have the same problem in syndication — assuming it makes it through its first few months.
There’s more bad news if you’re a conservative: The show was always left-wing, and it’s still left-wing, so if you don’t like that, you won’t like the new “Murphy Brown.”
And Candace Bergen, God bless her, still can’t act. Off the top of my head, the only other sitcom star I can think of who’s as wooden as Candace Bergen is Tim Allen.
I also found the laughter of the studio audience (I’m assuming it’s a studio audience and not a laugh track) distracting. Several of the jokes I laughed the hardest at, the studio audience didn’t even make a murmur. And other jokes that I thought were more or less just “OK” got giant boffo responses from the crowd.
Now, for the good news. Despite her acting limitations, Candace Bergen remains as charming and as appealing as ever. The returning cast members from the original show are also still strong, and together, they’re a group of people I still enjoy spending time with.
Of the returning characters from the original series, I particularly liked the growth that Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford) has shown. On the original show, she was kind of an air-headed dunce. The Corky on the re-boot is older, smarter and more passionate about her work. I liked that evolution.
There are two new main characters, Avery (Murphy’s grown-up son, played by Jake McDorman), and social media guru “Pat” (Nik Dodani). McDorman was pretty one-dimensional in the pilot, but Dodani was on-point and very funny.
The biggest clunker, for me, in the pilot episode was a cameo by Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t funny, it was badly handled and it felt like it was trying too hard to prove just how anti-Trump the show is going to be.
The ratings for the new “Murphy Brown” were disastrous, and the format of the show feels very stuck in the 1990s. I don’t think it’s going to last long.
All that being said, I was very pleasantly surprised by how funny the pilot was, and I’m rooting for the re-boot. I hope they find an audience, but I suspect it’s going to be cancelled fairly quickly. Uncle Jay says catch it while you still can.