Today, we look at when (or if) you folks believe that Murphy Brown “jumped the shark.”
This is “Just Can’t Jump It,” a feature where we examine shows and whether they “jumped the shark.” Jumped the shark (coined by Jon Hein) means that the show had a specific point in time where, in retrospect, you realize that show was going downhill from there (even if, in some rare occasions, the show later course-corrected). Not every show DOES jump the shark. Some shows just remain good all the way through. And some shows are terrible all the way through. What we’re looking for are moments where a show that you otherwise enjoyed hit a point where it took a noticeable nose dive after that time and if so, what moment was that?
Murphy Brown was a long-running, critically acclaimed sitcom based around a powerhouse performance of Candice Bergen as TV news journalist, Murphy Brown, who is part of the news magazine show, FYI. Murphy has just gotten out of rehab at the start of the series, and also meets her new boss, a “wonder boy” named Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud). Their conflicts were a big part of the early drive of the series. However, it was mostly just the misadventures of Murphy and her fellow anchors, Jim Dial (Charles Kimbrough), Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto) and Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford), also a new addition to the show (one of Miles’ first big decisions as the new executive producer was to add the former beauty queen Sherwood to the show for “feel good” stories). Bergen was SO good that she eventually stopped allowing herself to be nominated for the Best Actress in a Comedy Emmy Award, because she was winning it every year.
So first…DID IT JUMP THE SHARK? I’d say so, yes.
WHEN DID IT JUMP THE SHARK I think that the show took a hit when Diane English, the creator of the series, left after Season 4 (with Murphy Brown famously giving birth to a son, which infamously drove then-Vice President Dan Quayle to criticize the show for having such a prominent single mother being shown on primetime TV), but while Seasons 5-6 weren’t as good as the first four seasons, it was still good, but by Season 7, it was way too long in the tooth, and then Season 7 had a romance between Miles and Corky that was buh-rooooo-tal. Almost zero chemistry, and it became such a big part of the show. Hilariously, as soon as they got together, Shaud left the show after Season 8! The series had a bit of a rebound towards the end (English returned for the 10th and final season – we’ll ignore the terrible reboot). So I would say Corky and Miles romance was the shark-jumping moment.
Let me know what you think in the comments or on social media!
Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions for shows to do in future installments!