Welcome to a new Sitcom Tuesday and more of our second annual RERUN series, designed to give yours truly a chance to get further ahead in coverage of our last few ’90s comedies. Regular programming will resume soon, but in the meantime, I’m excited to resurrect and re-examine some of my favorite Sitcom posts from this blog’s nearly six year run!
As with last year’s series (begun here), my intention is to provide a link to each original piece and then offer a tiny bit of updated commentary, either on episode picks I’d call differently now (like in my famous “Regrets” post) or on something broader, like evolving thoughts on the year/series as a whole. I’ve picked a few goodies, so I hope you’re as excited as I am about revisiting our favorites… But please be gentle! Many of the posts you’ll see were written a while ago. The standards here have changed as I’ve changed. (There are plenty of typos, juvenile “hot takes,” and places where more information would now be appreciated.)
This week, I’m rerunning… The Ten Best MURPHY BROWN Episodes of Season Four. Check it out here: https://jacksonupperco.com/2017/03/07/the-ten-best-murphy-brown-episodes-of-season-four/
Covering Murphy Brown was probably more rewarding than actually watching Murphy Brown because it’s one of those shows with a great construction and premise, but chronic character flaws that are exacerbated by its largely self-inflicted politicalization. As such, discussing it is often more stimulating — especially in those many disappointing years. This week, I’m NOT rerunning one of those disappointing years though; I’m rerunning a season that many fans consider, if not the series‘ best, then at least the last good one before a notable descent (when Diane English left and Dan Quayle became the series’ public enemy)… Although, if you’ll recall, I’m much less enthused than most with this year — the fourth — because I think it entirely enables the forthcoming descent and indeed squarely proves that the series was already on a political trajectory that would alienate the show even further from the character interests that should ALWAYS be superseding. To that point, I find Murphy’s pregnancy arc far less about her character than about the story itself (and all it represents), and that’s why, while I appreciate what a focused plot can do for a season, it guarantees that Four is less character-driven than its predecessors… Now, if this seems familiar, it’s because my thoughts on the year haven’t changed — and you can read more of my commentary above — but I’ve picked the year to highlight here because I’ve always regretted my MVE choice. Truthfully, because I don’t love the baby arc, there’s no one installment that stands out above this good-but-not-great list… However, if I was picking today, I’d probably select the year’s premiere, “Uh-Oh (II),” which, yes, is as story-driven as Four’s baseline, but provides an excitement that’s never matched in any of the year’s more self-indulgent, but less comedic, offerings.
Come back next week for another Sitcom Tuesday! And stay tuned tomorrow for a new Wildcard Wednesday!