Happy Thanksgiving to all! While many shows aired reruns or made way for holiday programming, Murphy Brown was all-new and didn’t pull any punches despite airing on Thanksgiving Day.
Murphy spends the day before Thanksgiving corralling the crew for a holiday dinner as Avery makes his way home from several weeks of travel. Her talents as a cook are infamous but no one escapes. Miles, Corky, Frank, and Pat (a vegan) confirm and Thanksgiving Day arrives a light snow falls outside of Murphy and Avery’s Georgetown townhouse. Murphy dials the legendary Butterball hotline for advice from comedian Bryan Posehn – “Ken, if that’s your real name” – on how to cook an organic Heritage bird that’s twenty-five pound and cost $350.
When Avery arrives and finds Murphy cooking he is horrified and helps spread the dread. Maria, Miguel’s mother, does her best to save dinner after she and his father join the group, leaving their food truck parked outside (foreshadowing!). The two women bond over sacrifices made for their sons and Maria describes the conditions that drove her family from Mexico to decades of undocumented life in the US.
In the living room the group fights over the television and dissent brews. When the power goes out they move to the food truck and things take a serious turn as ICE agents arrive to arrest Miguel’s parents after a call from a neighbor. Despite various points of pressure from Murphy and Avery to use their influence as members of the press the family is separated and Miguel is left in the care of Phyllis and the others because of his DACA status.
The episode ends with a stark, emotional statement by Murphy on air the next day that people who live in America illegally should have a path to citizenship rather than being torn from their children and their lives. There is no happy ending or last-minute holiday cheer. It’s raw, hurtful, and recognizes real separations happening across the country this holiday.