7:00pm PT by Jean Bentley
'Murphy Brown': Brooke Shields Makes News as Coma Patient
CBS' Murphy Brown on Thursday recruited a big-name guest star for the second week in a row in "The Coma and the Oxford Comma," as Brooke Shields visited the comedy as former beauty queen Holly Mackin Lynne, a close friend of Corky's (Faith Ford) — who happens to have been in a coma for 10 years.
Miraculously, while Corky was visiting her friend, Holly's eyes fluttered and she uttered "Pam" before drifting back to sleep. Later, Corky told the Murphy in the Morning gang what had happened. Everyone there remembered their own time covering the high-profile trial of Holly's husband, which resulted in his acquittal for her murder. Corky always believed he didn't push Holly down the stairs, but everyone else thought he was guilty as sin.
Miles (Grant Shaud) knew Murphy in the Morning had a potential exclusive on their hands, so everyone decided to camp out at the hospital until Holly woke up for real so they could get the scoop. Frank (Joe Regalbuto) wore an insane fake mustache and scrubs so people wouldn't recognize him, but everyone just thought he looked like a porno doctor instead. Corky and Murphy (Candice Bergen), meanwhile, hung around the room like normal human beings until Holly woke up.
Murphy quickly updated her on what had happened in the past decade — Lehman Brothers and MySpace collapsed; Will & Grace and Magnum P.I. were back; Donald Trump was the president — and Holly told everyone, including her husband (Stephen Plunkett), that she remembered what happened to her. Despite the fact that before her fall, her husband had become a tech billionaire and was having an affair (and wanted to leave the marriage without sharing his new fortune with her), she had actually just tripped on the cat while walking down the stairs.
It was anticlimactic, but because it was such a big story, Murphy in the Morning aired it anyway. But when Corky reported live from Holly's bedside, Holly revealed that she remembered what actually happened — she and her husband had fought, and he greased the steps (with Pam!) so she would fall. She lied before because she wanted to call him out on live television.
Corky was upset because she'd set her friends up in the first place, and had always believed in the husband's innocence. She felt taken advantage of, and she wanted to be more like Murphy. But Murphy said the world needed more hopeful people like Corky. The story could be read as either a goofy sitcom plot or a bit of commentary on the types of stories that cable news latches onto and covers incessantly — maybe it was a little bit of both.
Elsewhere on the series, Avery (Jake McDorman) was upset when the Wolf Network aired a promo of him with an open shirt looking more like a beefcake than a news anchor. His mother and his friends ribbed him for it, so he decided he needed to do something else to be taken more seriously. His solution: Wear glasses. It wasn't much of a solution, because a guy and a girl at Phil's immediately hit on him after he slipped the new glasses on.
Murphy Brown airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.