Smug. Preachy. Chock full of 'clapter.' This CBS reboot couldn't even woo reliably left of center media outlets.
Candice Bergen’s signature character no longer has Dan Quayle in her cross hairs.
Today, Murphy Brown is another “objective” journalist obsessed with taking down President Donald Trump.
Get in line.
The first teaser for the rebooted “Murphy Brown,” returning Thursday on CBS, suggested it’s yet another wing of TV’s “Resistance.”
And, according to early reviews, that’s precisely what viewers will get starting this week. The big surprise? Many liberal critics are scoffing at the show’s approach. An even bigger issue? The show’s unabashed sermonizing.
When even your choir rejects you, it’s a sign something is seriously wrong.
Murphy’s popular again, but mainly for picking fights with members of the Trump administration rather than for the kind of investigative journalism on which she once prided herself….
The outlet’s critic slams the “clapter” approach to comedy, noting the series scorches Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Steve Bannon and Trump in just the first three episodes.
Worse than groaners like that — or playboy Frank struggling to attract women in his old age, or Corky going through hot flashes on-air — is the sense of preachy self-importance that permeates the entire revival.
Newsday isn’t as mean, but its critic is still aghast at the show’s creaky start.
If viewers want merciless, occasionally fiercely funny anti-Trump comedy, all they need to do is turn on that TV, and the later at night, the better. By contrast, “Murphy’s” attempts at takedown are tame, safe or delivered from a soapbox.
The reboot quickly lost The New York Times. The liberal outlet also summoned the “clapter” effect in its withering review.
The revival … is feisty and eager to meet the Trumpian moment. But it’s become the kind of sitcom that prefers applause to laughs … the show itself is kludgy, combining dated sitcom rhythms with sermonizing.
Vulture adores the anti-Trump sentiment but finds the delivery system flawed.
Murphy Brown is so determined to tear into Trump and other aspects of contemporary culture that it sometimes feels as if the series is being gerrymandered to allow for that, as opposed to organically telling stories that touch on current events.
Cinemablend.com frets that the series “is so angrily focused on 2018 politics that its comedy often gets stuck back in the ’80s.”
The Orlando Sentimental finds the root cause of the problem.
Satire gives way to sermonizing. Series creator Diane English has acknowledged the revival is activism in a sitcom. It’s no wonder that the show goes flat frequently as it strives to make points instead of produce laughs. The “Will & Grace” reboot feels fresh because it rarely veers from a rambunctious style.
Only Vanity Fair is all in on the new Resistance-friendly “Murphy Brown.”
Naturally, English framed the news series as “fair and balanced” during her promotional push for the reboot.
Murphy and her colleagues “are trying to present the facts in a straight down the middle way,” English said. “Their show is issue-oriented and facts, with no personal opinion.”
She also said the show would be “vitriol” free.
That means topical, funny and, importantly, “no vitriol in the scripts. That’s something I want to keep my antenna up about. And, hopefully, through humor shed some light on some things that any reasonable person, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or an independent, can find interesting,” she said.
The initial results suggest exactly the opposite.
Creators typically spin their biased content like that, though. They hope to draw a larger audience by saying their stories don’t take sides. It’s abundantly clear from the early reviews (this critic hasn’t screened the series yet) English’s spin is just that.
The new “Roseanne,” despite its short shelf life, combined the show’s blue collar appeal with a fresh political spin. Red State types weren’t arbitrarily shunned or mocked. They had a voice in “Roseanne,” even if the star’s Twitter antics invited ABC to pull the plug on the concept.
“Murphy Brown” delivers the same ol’ anti-Trump rhetoric, but this time wrapped in a nostalgic wrapper. We’ll see if that’s enough to draw crowd.
“Murphy Brown” airs at 9:30 p.m. EST Thursday nights starting Sept. 27 on CBS.
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