Before Donald Trump, politicians didn’t always make a point to criticize pop culture. But Vice President Dan Quayle called out Murphy Brown for the lead character’s decision to raise her child on her own. In a speech about how America needed to refocus on its Judeo-Christian family values, Quayle said how Murphy was “mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone.”
The series directly responded to Quayle in the Season 5 premiere. Murphy calls out Quayle on FYI over the fact that his “only unacceptable definition of a family is a mother, a father, and children” — a definition she calls “painfully unfair.” Murphy says, “Perhaps it’s time for the vice president to expand his definition and recognize that, whether by choice or circumstance, families come in all shapes and sizes. And ultimately, what really defines a family is commitment, caring, and love.”
Murphy also recognized her own privilege in this episode — at a time when that wasn’t really a thing. She not only stood up for herself and her right to raise a child on her own, but for others who didn’t match a traditional definition of family.