Celebrities | TV | Pop Culture | 80s | 90s
You May Have Forgotten About Murphy Brown, But This Controversy Is Legendary
The show Murphy Brown was incredibly iconic. Not only was it a long lasting series that everyone seemed to love, but the show is credited with changing the way TV was made forever.
The show started in 1988 and quickly became a hit. The character Murphy Brown was played by Candice Bergen, and she was unlike any other on TV at the time. She was a recovering alcoholic who goes back to work at the fictional news show FYI. She is over 40 and has managed to become one of the most notable media personalities around.
Murphy Brown was on the air for 10 seasons. It helped shine a light on a type of woman not often represented in mainstream media: one who was not married. So often the woman in a show would play a mom or a wife, but Murphy Brown was much more than that. She was a powerful business woman and a complete force to be reckoned with.
Murphy Brown wasn't there as a counterpart to a man. A lot of shows dealt with couples, but not a lot dealt with a woman and her experiences at work. This was all very obvious when Murphy Brown became pregnant, and all hell broke lose.
Bergen was pregnant in real life, so they decided to write it into the series. This apparently caused all kinds of problems. The problem? The character of Murphy Brown was not married, and the father of the child did not want to be involved. This seemed to offend some real people quite a bit, including Vice President Dan Quayle who didn't shy away from making his thoughts known.
Dan Quayle was the Vice President of the United States between 1989-1993. He was really unhappy with the fact that Murphy Brown was becoming a mother without a father in the picture, and he wasn't afraid to speak up about it.
The former VP gave a whole speech about the episode, saying that the fact that Murphy Brown was contributing to the "poverty of values". He said "It doesn't help matters when prime time TV has Murphy Brown – a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid, professional woman – mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another 'lifestyle choice'."
The thing was, because he never referred to Murphy Brown as a TV show in his speech, but just of the actual character, the show jumped on this opportunity. They used this speech as the inspiration for an entire episode of the show.
Not only did they reference it, but they actually showed the clip in the show. Murphy Brown discusses the situation on her fictional news show and expresses that family isn't always a mother, father and children. That instead it is those who commit to each other no matter the relation.
The show Murphy Brown is credited for opening the door for countless other single moms on TV. It helped normalize the fact that not every family was going to be those nuclear families that were always represented.
The show ran until 1998, and even though it was almost 20 years ago, it's still one of the most memorable moments in television history!