In the seventh episode of the new season of Murphy Brown, we the people of the viewing audience have the pleasure of a second Jim Dial episode that sports an all-star list of cameo appearances and heartwarming themes attached to appearances of the longtime anchor played by actor Charles Kimbrough.
Early in the episode Murphy reveals that her colleague from FYI, anchorman Jim Dial, is receiving a lifetime achievement award. After offering congratulations on air, Murphy finds out that the worst in a long line of terrible secretaries she’s had over the years is now in control of Murphy in the Morning‘s network after being widowed by the previous stakeholder. The secretary, played by Bette Midler (can I ever talk about Bette Midler without mentioning Beaches? No. No I cannot), is delightfully brash and ambitious, and suggests a lingering threat of gracing the show with her presence again before the end of the season.
One after another, many of the longtime single characters of the show pair off into new romances and friendships on the evening of Jim’s award reception, including the charming flirtation between Jim and Phyllis. Though Jim is wary of being on a date when he suddenly finds himself in the middle of one, he is able to honor the memory of his beloved deceased wife while opening up to the idea of beginning a new romance.
Though Murphy initially expects to attend the event with her son, Avery has a date planned so she attends with Frank, while Corky arrives solo and in the same dress as guest star Katie Couric. While a rivalry between Corky and Couric ensues, Murphy hits it off with Avery’s date unexpectedly and Pat encounters an ex who thinks Miles is his new older boyfriend. John Larroquette makes an appearance that catches Murphy’s attention and the spider brooch that she wears on her dress throughout the event catches mine.
The night wraps up with a warm exchange between Jim and Phyllis, Corky and Katie go out for a burger, and Miles proves himself the ultimate wingman when he drives Pat and his ex boyfriend home from the party while they make out in the backseat. The episode ends with an awkward front door meeting between Avery, Murphy, and their overnight guests that leaves the older couple about their breakfast and the younger fleeing from the house.
Overall the episode rates in my top three for the season so far, with the election episode first, the other Jim Dial episode, and then this one closing out the trio. Of all of the episodes this season, this was the least steeped in current political culture and is more a story of a day in the lives of our old friends from FYI.