A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive themes include ties of love that bind families even when they disagree, and value of speaking truth to power. However, show has sitcom pacing and a fake vibe that makes the positive messages not land as hard as they could.
Positive Role Models
Murphy presents a positive image of a strong older woman who's still relevant, confident, powerful. Avery is a conservative man who's usually presented as being wrongheaded but is still sympathetic. Other characters are not as positive, with Corky making many hackneyed jokes about women ("So many women! You'd think they were giving out free Spanx!" she says at a women's march), and Frank is depicted as a perpetual horndog.
Mild: "hell," "damn," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frequent social drinking at the neighborhood bar. Murphy is a recovering alcoholic.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Murphy Brown is a sitcom about a female news reporter/anchor in a wacky workplace. When the show originally premiered in the '80s, the title character, played by Candice Bergen, made waves as a positive role model for women in the workplace. Brown, a capable and successful reporter, can be pretty sarcastic, and her wry one-liners might fly over the head of younger viewers, and there are some sexy jokes and relationship issues. The show makes frequent references to politicians and other newsmakers of the late '80s and early '90s, which can serve as a gentle history lesson for teens watching now. While it may not seem groundbreaking today, this series, like Mary Tyler Moore before it, changed the game for women on TV. The show's 2018 update is a literal one: same cast, same news show, a laugh track, jokes about Spanx. The show continues its focus on politics by leaning fiercely anti-Trump.
Is It Any Good?
The show -- which has often been compared to The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- is smart, the dialogue witty and topical, and the acting top-notch. Bergen won five Emmys for her role on Murphy Brown, and they were well deserved. Adults will howl at Murphy's wry witticisms, but younger viewers might not get the jokes. As the series goes on, the relationships between the characters deepen, and watching co-workers become friends and family is a pleasure.
The 2018 reboot of the show gets the band back together, with Murphy, Corky, Miles, and Frank all reprising their original roles and back on television on a liberal-leaning morning TV talk show. The cast always had great chemistry and still does; but the "line, pause for laugh, line, pause for laugh" pacing seems strange in the age of YouTube -- to say nothing of the laugh track. But those who remember the original version fondly will be happy to have more of what they loved a few decades ago, and the public figure-skewering humor reads as lightly cathartic in the modern political climate. The addition of one-man charm offensive Nik Dodani (Zahid from Atypical) as FYI's resident millennial techie/social media wonk was a good call, too.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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