Oh shut up! Charmed and Murphy Brown were already feminist shows!
I’ve got a bone to pick with some of the studio executives, and I’m just warning you straight upfront… things are not going to be pretty in this post.
You’ve probably heard the news. There is a pilot order for a Charmed reboot, and a 13-episode revival of Murphy Brown for the 2018–2019 season. This actually comes after the wave of famous 80’s and 90’s sitcoms revivals (most notably Will & Grace, Roseanne and The X-Files) and while these news were met with mixed feelings with the fans of the show (and some of the cast), I for one had much bigger issues with the description of the new remodeled shows.
Murphy Brown will be set in “a world of cable news, fake news and a very different political and cultural climate,” according to CBS, while “This fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centers on three sisters in a college town who discover they are witches“ is the premise of the Charmed reboot. The newly resurrected show will be set in the 70’s, and although the ladies from original cast my pop up once in a while, the 3 Halliwell sisters will be played by brand new (and much younger actresses).
I have issues with those two statements, and here is why. The 70’s as a timeline set up are a bad idea. I’d much prefer to see the three sisters deal with the problems of today in order to make the show more relatable to women. There are so many current problems and themes that are worth exploring and I don’t think the 70’s will capture the essence of those themes. Secondly, if you noticed, all of the women on Charmed had full time jobs, financial stability and emotional stamina that rendered the men or the need of male characters.
Sure they had husbands and boyfriends but they were the secondary characters. Sure the men were there, but the show would have been great without them. Back when I watched Charmed, I saw well adjusted, independent and bonded women that kicked ass in fighting evil, while maintaining day to day usual chores and obligations. They were fine just the way they were, and they were feminist to boot damn it. Even before the added feminism of 2018.
The same can be said for Murphy Brown. That show was revolutionizing, progressive and feministically inclined in an era when it was not fashionable.
Think about it… Murphy Brown (played by Candice Bergen) was a fierce, driven, sharp tongued, independent and self-sufficient working woman in a tough male dominated working environment. Not only that, she was an un-married (single) woman and it was somehow OK to be that. Murphy Brown made it look OK. Oh and I was too young to remember this, but apparently the decision to have a child as a single parent was met with such criticism , that even Dan Quayle blabbed about it. Yup…You’ve guessed it A politician, and a Republican one of that.
Apparently he was not comfortable with the decision of Murphy Brown having a child (as a single parent and out of wedlock) that he had the nerve to criticize the show on how „the family values“ are treated and presented for the audience. Yup. He openly mocked Murphy Brown, but what I took from that was the decision for that character (as fictional as it may be) to defy and rebel against patriarchy, outdated ways of looking at parenting and the dogmas that were somehow leaving the Regan conservative era.
So what I’m saying is that Charmed and Murphy Brown were progressive, feminist and ahead of their time even before their announced reboots and revivals. I think, Time magazine’s critic Richard Zoglin said it best when he wrote:
The show has been seen as blazing a trail for single-mother characters in Ally McBeal, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, and The Good Wife – and “benefited from Bergen’s character going through a political maelstrom so none of them had to.”