A pair of CBS sitcoms find inspiration in daytime talk shows as Murphy Brown satirizes the Kathie Lee Gifford scandal and The Nanny gets a regular guest spot on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Murphy (Candice Bergen) exposes perky chatterbox Dottie Wilcox (Shelley Long) for allowing her clothing company to pollute Malaysian waterways. And nanny Fran Drescher’s weekly child-rearing segment on O’Donnell’s show enables her to meet Donald Trump, who takes Fran out on a date — hey, isn’t he married? Speaking of philanderers, Hugh Grant also appears, as a guest on Rosie’s show. It’s only fair that Drescher would give O’Donnell some prime-time exposure; after all, Rosie made stars out of Fran’s parents, Mort and Sylvia, who serve as her show’s semi-regular restaurant critics — and have cameos in this episode.
Everything is ”Dy-no-mite!” on The John Larroquette Show when Good Times‘ Jimmie ”J.J.” Walker guest-stars as Slyde Wilson, the smooth-talking dad of Dexter (Daryl ”Chill” Mitchell). Together they attend a performance of John’s play about his chilly relationship with his own father. Another ’70s sitcom idol, The Brady Bunch‘s Maureen McCormick, turns up on The Single Guy as a rich businesswoman who threatens to make struggling novelist Jonathan (Jonathan Silverman) into her love slave. Party Girl, the Fox sitcom starring The Brady Bunch Movie‘s Christine Taylor, has been exiled to hiatusville, so it’s good to see the original Marcia working.
You need a scorecard to keep track of all the players on ER these days. In addition to the eight regulars, the show boasts an ever-growing roster of recurring characters: two receptionists (Abraham Benrubi and Kristen Minter), three upper-echelon docs (William H. Macy, Ron Rifkin, and CCH Pounder), and numerous nurses (Ellen Crawford, Yvette Freeman, Conni Marie Brazelton). Now, in addition to new intern Gant (Higher Learning‘s Omar Epps), ER adds three more faces to the rotation: Jorjan Fox as Maggie Doyle, an intern who watches in awe as Dr. Ross (George Clooney) treats a girl with a sexually transmitted disease; John Aylward as Dr. Donald Anspaugh, the hospital’s new chief of staff; and Glenne Headly (Mr. Holland’s Opus) as Dr. Abby Keaton, a well-known pediatric surgeon who will become a mentor to Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle). And unlike CBS’ chaotic Chicago Hope, every time ER adds a new character, they don’t feel obliged to ax another.
Fox may have found the perfect companion piece for Married… With Children in Love and Marriage. It’s only about nine years too late. Since 1987, the network has searched for a sitcom with the touch of crass to hold on to Married‘s audience. Contenders came and went — among them, Herman’s Head, Daddy Dearest, Wild Oats, and Misery Loves Company. Now Fox has stumbled onto a compatible show — it’s also about a bickering working-class couple (Crime Story vet Tony Denison and Patricia Healy) with a trampy daughter (Alicia Bergman). And like Married, Love seems to think the words penis and vagina are inherently hilarious. Love even stole Married‘s theme song as its title (Love was originally named after another Sinatra tune, ”Come Fly With Me”). Unfortunately for Love, however, Married will probably only be alive for one more season, now that Fox has buried it in the Saturday-night graveyard.