I was devoted to the weekly airing of Murphy Brown from 1988-98. The half-hour sitcom was a show about a glass-ceiling busting journalist who always had a smart comeback and could never keep a secretary. In Season Four, Murphy had a baby on her own, and it was a cultural moment that had the country talking. Then Vice President Dan Quayle even blamed her for the dissolution of family values and the Rodney King riots. She was an icon, as is Candice Bergen, the actress who plays her.
So, at a time when retro TV shows are having a resurgence, why can’t I watch Murphy Brown? My family has crossed off Fresh Prince, Full House and Babysitter’s Club, and we are waiting for the reboots of many other ’80s and ’90s favorites. But Murphy Brown was different than the fluff—it was funny and it made a point. Candice Bergen says in her new memoir, A Fine Romance, that women including Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, have told her how much Murphy Brown inspired them.
Annalee Newitz at Gizmodo wonders if the issue of copyright is at the heart of the delay. Murphy loved Motown, and the opening credits had a different song each time. Bergen has said that she heard the issues over the music rights delayed the syndication of the ground-breaking series, so Gizmodo figures that it may be the same issue with streaming.
It’s hard to imagine that a show that had the whole country talking is going to stay dark for much longer. I hope there isn’t talk of a reboot, however. I just want to turn on Murphy Brown once in a while and savor the days when I thought anything was possible.