Murphy Brown is a show about a news room in the 90s. A trip in the way back machine gives us a look at the 90s, and when compared to the post 2000 election, was a time when no one really cared about politics. The name Bush and Clinton was very well known however naming the head of the Senate, or even 3 senators not from their immediate district was impossible, except for the few people who'd rather watch the news then a sitcom.
This show was targeted at those people, it missed.
However millions of viewers tuned in to get educated on politics so they can feel smarter. If getting political knowledge from a sitcom sounds impossible, doing it is impossible. You learned how "stupid" Dan Quayle is, how semi prominent republican is doing some scandalous act and so on.
Basically the show started out with a staff doing a show similar to 60 minutes, or other Sunday news digest. This one had a very liberal slant, I guess they went with a believable premise.
Then when half way through the show the Republican government lost control of the presidency and the big name in the Oval Office, was Bill Clinton. Suddenly attacking the Presidential Office is completely taboo, except for a few tamer jokes. All of a sudden the show seemed to be more on the actions of the staff, Murphy's work on exposing conspiracy, a pit bull like tenacity to attack any person she can to get a scoop. Of course they could always attack other news people and find it clever.
In addition it seems they felt a need to do more "family" oriented views and all of a sudden Murphy Brown has a baby to bring a more family show, then almost a year after the baby comes the focus is pushed off the baby as if she almost ignores it completely again for her career, when only at the beginning of the year she almost left the job to focus on the kid.
This show sounds poor, it's because it really doesn't shine, it's ratings must be attributed at the time because it fooled people into thinking they were intellectuals for watching this show. However it doesn't work well in repeats, all the jokes are dated. Either the people watching it has no idea who these people are. The jokes are old and tired. The Dan Quayle jokes alone are so stale they are now being recycled to be targeted at our current president with mixed results.
The one hold over is that the show almost foretold the future. In the 90s the news networks didn't have competition and in the late 90s many major news networks almost turned completely liberal. In addition after the Lewinsky scandal, almost every reporter seemed to turn to the levels of Murphy Brown, to do almost anything for a story, no matter what level in the organization is. Thinking that landing a major story would make them land the big time, similar to Matt Drudge.
But the problem is thus. The fact that the real news now imitates Murphy Brown makes the show nothing more then a eerie portal to the future of news. It's not exactly comedy, and it's not a drama.
Even worse as the show goes on almost weekly Murphy and the crew are at each others throats, Almost every season there's 2-3 episodes that are almost the same story, if not multiple story lines being reused. It's boring to see retrospectives, or watching the crew snipe at each other for the umpteenth time, or snipe at a random person.
That all being said, the show has a couple great stories the first time. IF you can hear something from congress and not sigh about the person's liberals or conservative views this show's slant might not be a problem, and there's some interesting story lines.
In addition the show is hilarious when you realize that this amounted to comedy back then. When it's so liberal that it seems like a normal news show now. Sadly most conservatives will wonder how this show got on the air, and most liberals will wonder why this show is so revolutionary, as it's common place now for news shows to act like this.
The biggest problem however is Murphy isn't a role model, even when they try to do a VSE (Very Special Episode type show, when lessons are learned))Murphy comes of callous at best, and just pissy at worse. 10 years of her antics was probably 6-7 too many. Sadly this show is just an example of Why TV shows from the 80-90s are hard to call classics. It's got as many parts stuck in time as Doogie Howsers (everything works out. In a hold up? you can boogie around dance, play video games with the gunman, as friend, and then learn that important lesson) or Family Ties (every week was a VSE).
Sadly this is one of those shows I watch now on Nick At Nite between Rosanne and Fresh Prince of Bel Air, snickering once, but always wondering why I don't turn it to something else.