In Florida to cover a hurricane, the “FYI” crew encounter several standard sitcom devices: a tacky motel room that they’re forced to share, a pregnancy scare, misplaced jealousy and … a cliffhanger ending that will have fans scrambling for next week’s TV Guide to see who’s listed in the cast. Now in its seventh season, “Murphy Brown” shows signs of desperation.
This episode, though funnier on a line-per-line basis than most contemporary sitcoms, is no match for last week’s, which featured Garry Marshall and Paul Reubens as a network executive and sniveling toady nephew.
Guest performers this time around include Scott Bakula in his recurring role of dashing field reporter Peter Hunt; Christopher Rich as callow reporter Miller Redfield, from the network’s younger-skewing newsmagazine; and Fred Stoller as a nitwit motel manager.
Rob Bragin’s script is chock full o’ holes, notable among them the improbability that a network program’s entire air staff and executive producer would be in the same remote location (other than the studio, that is) at the same time — the alternative here is that Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) left “FYI’s” youthful token conservative, McGovern, at home to hold things down. There’s another problem: The motel manager tells the gang that “the blond lady” has sent him on an errand that she couldn’t possibly have.
Redfield is a stock character — vain, shallow and self-centered, a pretty boy former weatherman unable to deal with hard news. And Bakula’s Hunt has been far more dashing in past episodes than in this crucial segment.
Dialogue is snappy as usual, with regulars Candice Bergen, Joe Regalbuto, Faith Ford and Charles Kimbrough in fine form under Peter Bonerz’s direction. Tech credits are OK.