This year marks the 27th anniversary of when the TV show Murphy Brown first aired. I remember watching the episodes that starred Candice Bergen in the lead role. She was a powerful force in the news world on the show, and there were laughs too in every episode. I liked how she and Frank used to banter back and forth. Good TV memories!
To celebrate Murphy Brown and Candice Bergen’s new autobiography A Fine Romance, Vogue recently released an excerpt from the book on its website. It’s a neat look into the behind-the-scenes stuff of the TV show. I hope you check it out in that link above! In the excerpt, she explains what drew her to play the character of Murphy. Here is a sample:
There was something in the writing of the Murphy character that hooked me, as she eventually hooked many women. Is it that she was, in many ways, who we wished we could be as women? Successful in a field dominated by men? Free of the need to please? Impolitic, impolite, yet in some weird way, irresistible?
Yes, that’s so true! I was only a youngin’ at the time when the show aired, but I wanted to grow up to be savvy in my career like Murphy, standing up for what she believed in. The TV show Murphy Brown ran from 1988 to 1998. When reading the Vogue piece, I enjoyed Candice Bergen’s description of when her agent first gave her the script for the show to read. She explains that the only show she knew of at the time that had strong leading female characters was Designing Women.
Interestingly, the Vogue excerpt also reveals that in the first scene of the premiere episode of the show, Murphy Brown is seen stepping out of an elevator after a month at Betty Ford. The network execs had asked questions such as why couldn’t she be coming from a spa holiday instead and couldn’t she be playing a 30-year-old rather than a 40-year-old?
Okay, here’s what I love about Candice Bergen! She stuck to the original script that had been written by Diane English.
She remained loyal to the idea of it being a woman of her 40s (not her 20s!) who’s at the height of her career and has had some tough issues to deal with. It’s real. It’s edgy. It’s more than the stereotype of women primping at the spa. Yes! (As you can tell I’m practically hopping off my seat right now, excited about this). She is a successful woman with goals – hello realistic character!
She also explains that she went over to the men’s wardrobe department sometimes to get jackets and hats for Murphy to wear. I totally remember her cool unisex outfits. It was ahead of its time as Avril Lavigne came later with the shirt and tie combo. Thanks, Murphy, for giving us a woman to admire on TV! Happy 27th anniversary to Murphy Brown.
Did you watch Murphy Brown on TV too? Who are other female characters on TV that you like to watch?