“Results May Vary” Predicts and Depicts the Chaos of the Upcoming Midterm Election

Political Ads Aren't the Only Place on TV to Focus on the Midterms. This Week, Murphy Brown Anticipates the Media Madness Surrounding the Upcoming United States Midterm Elections

Murphy and Avery go head-to-head reporting on midterm election results on their competing networks.

Murphy (Candice Bergen) and Avery (Jake McDorman) are both in for a long night as their respective networks gear up for election night. This timely episode takes place the evening of the midterms, in a state that has the potential to turn from red to blue. Can Murphy keep her own political feelings to herself on air? Can Avery keep his cool co-hosting alongside “Haggerty” – an obvious Hannity stand-in?

Phyllis (Tyne Daly) arrives with caffeine reinforcements, and the broadcast begins. It’s Pat’s (Nik Dodani) first time on the air. The social media guru is far more comfortable behind the screen than on it. Meanwhile Avery is sitting to the left of Haggerty (Peter Gallagher), a hilariously smarmy Hannity spoof. “The president calls me every night,” Haggerty confides in Avery, “I’m actually running the country.”

Murphy’s flagging with four hours still to go before the first polls close.  “The Republicans start a knife fight, and then we show up with a spatula,” Phyllis laments from behind-the-scenes. She admits she’s not voting. But her Dreamer employee Miguel (Adan Rocha) reminds her that he doesn’t even have the right to vote. Finally after hearing some additional challenges to Roe V. Wade, the historical Supreme Court case that allowed for access to safe, legal abortion at the federal level, Phyllis ducks out to fill out a ballot.

At 12 hours on the air, the gang is starting to fall apart. Murphy’s voice is barely there, Corky’s (Faith Ford) swearing, and Frank (Joe Regalbuto) is tweaking on energy drinks. Pat alone is coming through. After losing the stuffy suit and tie, Pat shows off his skills with the digital map. Over at the Wolf, the female anchor has been replaced with a blonder, less mouthy model.

The evening finally winds down with anchors at both stations staring in awe at the results. The screen cuts to black with a message that reads “Elections have consequences.” With gravity, Murphy announces, “welcome to the next two years.”

Thus far in the reboot of Murphy Brown the show has attempted to take on the challenging issues of today’s political environment, and has positioned itself as a beacon of sorts. Murphy and her friends, while imperfect, model the kind of behavior the show’s creators seek to proliferate. From cast members drinking out of reusable coffee cups instead of paper cups with plastic lids, to non-voters like Phyllis rushing out to cast their ballot at the final moment, the sit-com can at times feel preachy. However, it has succeeded more than any other show in this moment, at satirizing the 24-hour news cycle and the culpability of the journalists and viewers who participate in it.

Murphy Brown continues Thursday nights at 9:30 ET on CBS.

Photos and video credit courtesy of CBS. 

Catch up on the previous episode.

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