The Murphy Crown of Glory
I have a lot of movies in my netflix queue, many of which others with a less stout heart would deem shameful, but I am mostly resistant to such standards. However the one movie that lately has been taunting me every time I scroll through is the 2009 Diane English remake of “The Women”. It is supposed to be terrible and I believe all of those who’ve been supposing. And while not a rabid fan of the original, one doesn’t have to be a purist to doubt their ability to capture what is interesting about the George Cukor original. But I have a soft spot for Diane English and her late 80s/early 90s white women, that started with My Sister Sam [aka the show starring Rebecca Shaeffer, who was murdered by a stalker”fan” who showed up at her door] and Foley Square [I see you, Margaret Colin!] — if you had cable in the early 90s that included the USA Network, you probably caught those shows then, I think the syndication fees were $19.99 and thinking about these shows is making me ponder a career running a MeTV type station, with cast-off sitcoms from the 80s and 90s. But I digress.
Diane English had been semi-retired for ten years and came back with a terrible movie, that is a small tragedy, but not uncommon, what I’m trying to decipher is what exactly is it about her shows that were so appealing to me, lying on the floor every Monday night with my parents, drinking in every second of Murphy Brown. Oh, Murphy Brown, we loved Murphy Brown, I loved Murphy Brown, everyone in America loved Murphy Brown, it won dozens of emmys, each year cast member’s took turns, at one point Candace Bergen withdrew her name from competition to let someone else win. Who does that? Meryl Streep doesn’t do that isht, she’s like, let the wins come, mtherfckers! Candace couldn’t find any more space on her mantels for the Emmy, so she went on hiatus from collecting awards.
But get this, for all the popularity and awards, they released the first season out on DVD a few years ago, and due to low sales, they didn’t make the effort to keep printing up discs of the rest of the show. I am not surprised. I can’t imagine wanting to sit down and relive those 10 years of television, I saw them all twice the first time (we gathered around EVERY MONDAY, whether it was a rerun or not!). They are probably a painful time capsule of the Message 90s, the earnestness that appealed to my dreamy eyed liberal 14 year old but would make my skin crawl now, like a 10,000 Maniacs album. And I still recall a few funny punchlines, a few running gags and influential moments, but what stays with me the most all these years later, is the glory of Murphy Brown’s hair, captured so elegantly here by FRYBUTTER’s own p0plife.
Now, I suppose this is also the glory of Candace Bergen’s hair, and obviously one wouldn’t exist without the other. I remember how every season it would change slightly, and I would always notice how they adjusted the flair of her wings, the height, the shape. It was news anchor hair. It was powerful 90s corporate hair. It was Big Hair and I could never take my eyes off of it. Did I want to have her hair? Maybe. I think I really wanted to just look at it, be near it. Looking back, this is probably part of the reason why I am not a man who needs to touch a woman’s hair. Some people feel compelled to run their fingers through someone’s follicles, as some sort of gesture of affection, but I was raised Southern, I never saw this happen anywhere but in movies that had been filmed in the 70s. Murphy Brown’s big immovable crown of glory was a different type of Impervious Hair that I have never encountered before, and so that is what has stayed with me long past the expired sitcom time capsule of the 90s, and should I ever find the right investors, will be the muse for my new television channel of syndication rights found in the bargain bin.
[Special thanks to p0plife for the artistic rendering of my inspiration]