“Screw the ice cubes, Corky! You’re a woman, you gotta help me! Smother me with the pillow! Do it for sisterhood! Do it for Betty Friedan! Kill me now!”

Credit: Warner Bros

What’s so striking about Murphy Brown is that she’s not interested in being appealing. Sure, she’s beautiful, dresses well, and works to impress her colleagues, but she’s proudly irascible, cranky, and cantankerous, demanding and taking up space regardless of how people feel about her. Murphy Brown’s creator, Diane English saw Murphy — the fictional, yet legendary, newswoman — as Mike Wallace in a dress.

Murphy Brown is the long-running sitcom about a journalist who enjoys a successful career whilst navigating a male-dominated industry. Throughout the show’s 11 seasons, Murphy is a flawed superwoman: intelligent, hard-working, loyal, but also someone who…

When a movie changes your life.

Truly, Madly, Deeply, BBC Films/Lionheart/Winston Pictures, 1990

I caught Anthony Minghella’s 1990 film Truly, Madly, Deeply late at night on PBS. I was channel surfing and landed on Chicago’s local PBS channel, WTTW. I was about 13 years old. I caught the film about 15 minutes in, to a close up of Juliet Stevenson’s face — it was an extreme closeup, the screen was dominated by her face, her nose, really, leaking. She’s crying, her hands lightly smudging her mascara, I was struck at how unflattering the scene was. It drew me in, and I settled in to see what this film was about.

It turned out…

A rare TV relationship that depicts platonic love between a man and woman.

Credit: CBS

On the May 2019 episode “A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast” from the ABC sitcom Young Sheldon, the prequel to the 12-season sitcom The Big Bang Theory, boy genius Sheldon Cooper throws a party for the Nobel Prize ceremony, but is left alone, none of his guests attending. As the winner is being announced, little Sheldon starts to cry, fearing that he’s doomed to be friendless.

As Diana Ross and the Supremes’ “Someday We’ll Be Together” starts playing, the montage moves from poor Sheldon’s weeping face to a sequence in which the future characters of The Big…

Peter Piatkowski

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