Murphy Brown s01e08 Episode Script

And So He Goes

Listen up, people.
This is fair warning.
Nobody start with me today.
I'm probably carrying about 75 highly contagious and ugly viruses and any one of them could have your name on it.
- Is this yours? - Give me that.
Nice trip, Murph? Why don't they have bloody coups in countries with four-star hotels and towel boys by the pool? Yeah.
Someplace where the bellhops don't wear helmets.
Soft.
Both of you.
I loved every minute of my time in the field.
Not that I don't love the anchor desk and the feel of an Armani suit.
God, the man knows how to make clothes.
But one day I may fish out my old reporter's hat, race you to the next coup.
Miles, I'm back.
Thanks for the assignment.
I'm billing the show.
A yak ate my glove.
- Did you guys hear about Jack Cowan? - No.
- What did the sleazeball do now? - He died.
Well, the day's looking up after all.
What did she say? What did she say? Jeez, Murphy.
So you guys didn't get along but we're talking about the best columnist in D.
C.
He had the grit of this city under his fingernails.
Disgusting image, Frank.
And it fits him: Dirty, loud, fat mean, dead.
- Miles, how did it happen? - His heart.
- According to this, he was pretty old.
- He was my age.
Jack Cowan.
He was one of the last of the great characters.
Prowling around town in that old Rambler with the Goldwater bumper sticker.
He'd jot down his notes on a bar napkin with those stubby little pencils he stole from miniature-golf courses.
- What a nut.
- What are you guys talking about? Jack Cowan was a rodent.
The human equivalent of biting tinfoil.
He thought a cigar was something you brushed your teeth with.
Murph, Jack's gone.
- I think it's time you let go of the rivalry.
- Let go? Remember the day I checked into Betty Ford? He sent me a good luck bottle of Scotch.
Cowan was a bit of a heel sometimes.
Yeah, remember what he did with your Kissinger interview? What? It would be rude not to finish the story, Murph.
Murphy landed an exclusive with Kissinger.
Cowan found out about it, intercepted Kissinger at the airport and took him to the Miss Teen USA pageant in Philly.
- She couldn't find them for three days.
- Great stuff, great stuff.
And he was always having her car towed.
How many times did he do it? Half a dozen? Sixteen.
But I got him back.
I bribed a steam-bath attendant to take his picture then I sent it out as his Christmas card.
Come to think of it, that was the last shot between us.
Game, set, match.
"Hi, I'm Tanya, your new secretary.
At dentist.
Left you your messages.
" There's something you should know, Murphy.
- "GYN appointment, Tuesday at 10.
" - Thanks.
There's more.
Even though it may upset you don't react in a way that could injure me.
Miles, I just spent a week negotiating for bunk space with 100 mercenaries who wanted to smell my hair.
It's not a problem.
Jack Cowan wants you to do his eulogy.
This better be a joke, Miles.
No joke.
It's all over the wire.
It was his last request.
Murphy, I want you to hear me out.
Okay.
So you and Cowan hated each other.
Can we look at the big picture here? Your image could use a boost, Murphy after you skewered Doris Day in that interview.
Why don't we show people that Murphy Brown can rise above it all and do his eulogy without any - Yeah, I'll do it.
- What? - See, I've got it all figured out.
Jack knew that if I didn't do his eulogy, I'd look petty and small.
And if I did, I'd have to say wonderful things about him.
He thinks he's got me, but he's wrong.
I'd be very honored to give his eulogy.
My way.
We started in the news business the same year, you know, Cowan and I.
They say death is just a part of life.
What a crock.
I wonder what unfinished dreams died with Jack.
We all have our "one of these days" list.
One of these days, I'll start writing that book.
I'll go back out in the field, do a little reporting I'll return to that lake, and this time I'll water-ski.
Morning, guys.
Jim, what's with the hat? Oh, it's my old reporter's hat.
I just felt like wearing it today.
Look at you two.
Why does everybody get so depressed about death? I don't know, Frank.
Maybe something to do with spending eternity trapped in a box deep in the earth, while your flesh drops off and deteriorates into nothingness.
That's your problem, Miles.
You think about it too much.
You gotta stare your fears down like I do.
Every day on my way to work, I deliberately walk across Third Street against the light.
Start your day by beating death.
It's exhilarating, Miles.
- Today, a car missed me by this much.
- I know.
It was my car, Frank.
I turn the corner, you're standing there like an idiot.
Don't do that anymore.
It's weird.
Miles, I have to talk to you about the funeral.
- What about it? - I just want you to know if I act a little strange, it's because This is embarrassing.
I've never been to a funeral before.
- Never? - Well, nobody I know ever died.
Except Great-grandma Walker.
I was 6 Cousin Dewey said we'd all have to kiss her so I ran away to Jimmy Swedlow's garage.
And I let him look up my dress.
It was the stress that made me do it, Miles.
To this day, I associate sex with death.
Have you ever felt like you were the last sane person on earth? Oh, all the time.
You people wanna move it? What am I supposed to do, fly out of here? What are you, statues? Gee, I wish I had nothing better to do than sit around and stare at someone who's having a really bad day.
So, Murph, how about that Dan Quayle, huh? You're not gonna believe this.
Jack Cowan got me again.
Last night, I'm home putting the finishing touches on his eulogy.
It was flowing.
It was inspired.
I was able to rhyme "egocentrical" with "bad left ventricle.
" So, what's the problem? This woman named Erma Bentley calls.
She heard I was writing Jack's eulogy and she wanted me to know that this wonderful man paid for her costly medical treatments.
I had just written a line calling Jack: "A bloated termite in the rafters of journalism.
" And this woman tells me Cowan actually helped her in her time of need.
Well, looks like he had his good side.
Then I'm looking through Cowan's military record, and guess what.
The guy had a Purple Heart.
I didn't know he had a Purple Heart.
Did you know he had one? The jerk has a Purple Heart.
Korea, 1952.
Wow.
Would you look at this? Cowan led a charge right into an enemy installation.
All these years the guy had this whole other side, and I missed it.
My instincts were out to lunch.
- What kind of journalist does that make me? - Come on, Murph, we all make mistakes.
I know that.
I admit installing avocado-green appliances in 1978 wasn't my best idea.
But this is different.
This is my profession.
I'll be in my office writing.
How long do you think she's been in there? Well, I got in at 6 this morning.
She was still working.
I think she pulled an all-nighter.
Am I the only one who has a hard time talking to him in that hat? You know, I really admire Murphy.
She's so brave to get up there and deliver a speech in the same room as a dead person.
Yes, a dead person exposed to the world there for all to see.
The life finished even as the goals and dreams lie unfulfilled.
Will somebody make him take off that hat? This is what I hate about funerals.
Everybody acts so maudlin.
You know what they should do when people die? Their friends should take them up in an airplane, turn on some jazz drop them in a parachute over the ocean the way they came into the world: Naked.
That's what I want you to do when I go, Miles.
Why wait till you're dead, Frank? Oh, hi.
So how's it going, Murph? Okay.
It's still a little rough.
Needs to be retyped, spelling checked.
Margins are a little off.
You wanna read some of it, see how it flies? Well, okay.
But go easy.
This is my first all-nighter without booze or cigarettes.
"Who was Jack Cowan? Certainly not an easy person to know or to love.
But wasn't it Byron who said: ' It is the shallow man who wears his greatness on his sleeve.
And the great man who wears it within.
'" - Is it too much? - No.
Go on.
I like it.
"Jack could be called the oyster of journalism: Rough-hewn, clenched.
Yet if one made an effort to get past the shell they would be rewarded by a pearl of kindness and generosity.
" Well, you get the idea.
Murphy, that's beautiful.
I'm not lying like I did last week when I said you look good in those glasses.
Murphy I'm telling you right now, when my time comes I want you to give my eulogy.
Thanks, Jim.
Do you think you'll still be wearing that hat? It's possible.
Murphy, I'm really glad you came around.
I'm proud of you.
Nice job.
Get some sleep.
So this is what happens when people turn 40, huh? They mellow a little bit.
I guess when it comes right down to it Jack and I had a special relationship.
Remember when he had my car towed to the Florida Keys? That was great.
I'm so clear on this now, Frank.
It was Jack's way of showing affection.
I just wish I'd realized it earlier.
- Oh, Miss Brown? - Yes? We spoke the other night.
I'm Erma Bentley.
Oh, right.
Thank you very much for coming.
I just wanted to get a little bit more information for the eulogy.
Why don't we go into my office, get off your feet.
All right.
Here.
Can I get you anything, Erma? No, no, really.
I'm fine.
So tell me.
How did you meet Jack? I work tables down at Tiny Tim's on Westbridge.
He was a regular.
You were a virtual stranger, and he paid all your hospital bills? Yeah, he even found me a terrific plastic surgeon for my operation.
You can't even see the scars.
He does a lot of the gals at Tiny's, you know.
- "Does"? - Yeah.
Without a little extra leverage, it's tough to pull in the really big tips.
Wait a minute.
We're not talking life or death.
Are you saying Jack paid for you to have implants? Why, sure.
It's no big deal.
A couple days in the hospital and suddenly you're pulling down 25K a year.
You know, you really need an edge in the cocktail-waitress business.
Jack knew that.
And you're sure that's how Jack Cowan got his Purple Heart? Yeah, okay.
A wound is a wound.
What else could you do? Thank you, Colonel Nichols.
Ready for this, Eldin? - Are you ready? - Yeah, I'm ready.
Jack Cowan didn't lead a charge, his own platoon was chasing him.
His own men were trying to kill him.
- Can you believe that? - No, I can't He was cheating in poker.
When he stumbled into enemy territory he was shot in the butt trying to double back.
I made a fool of myself.
I said nice things about him in a newsroom full of people.
He made me question my instincts.
The man is dead, but he reached back from the grave, and he got me.
Well, let me tell you something.
It's not over till the fat lady sings.
Jeez, what were you like when you were boozing? We gotta go through all the trash.
I've gotta find my first eulogy.
- Help me, Eldin! - Forget it.
- I'm not touching old cotton balls.
- Be a man.
I've got 12 hours till the funeral.
We'll piece together as much as we can find.
I'll have to remember the rest.
What is this? - "As appealing as a ball of phlegm.
" - Yes! We're on our way! Murphy.
Murphy, where have you been? I was starting to worry.
Finishing touches, Miles.
Good writing is in the rewriting.
Nice-size crowd.
The rat's more popular dead than alive.
Oh, no, Murphy.
What is that coffin, an extra large? God, the man was fat.
Instead of pallbearers, they'll be taking him out on a forklift.
I should use that.
Murphy, I know you've got a lot on your mind.
But I need a big favor.
- Will you come with me to look at Jack? - Corky, I don't wanna look at Jack.
I know how you feel, Murphy, but we have to look.
We can't hide from the unpleasant our whole lives.
Come on.
- We'll help each other through this.
- Corky, I don't feel like looking.
People are talking.
Now, come on, we'll make it fast.
Okay, this is it.
I'm going to look now.
Here I go.
One.
Two.
This is me looking at a dead man.
I'm still looking.
He's got food on his tie! Will everyone take a seat, please.
Murphy, this is the last thing I'm gonna say to you.
- Jack Cowan's mother is here.
His mother.
- What? She flew in from Minneapolis.
Look right there.
She's 86 and a half.
Miles, the ayatollah had a mother.
Murphy, I can't believe you could cut a man apart in front of his own mother.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends and relatives we are here to mark the passing of Jack Cowan who departed this world Monday.
To deliver his eulogy, Murphy Brown.
Today, we gather to reflect on the life of Jack Cowan.
What can you say about? What can you say about Jack Cowan? He was a man.
He was a big man.
He weighed about 240 245.
Here's the thing.
I'm going to level with you.
I walked in here today determined to give a pretty tough eulogy but now I find myself sitting on the fence.
And no one is more surprised at this than I am.
So I'll put this to the floor.
If there is one person here who has had one positive encounter with Jack Cowan I won't read this.
Now Now, come on.
There are a lot of people here.
Surely, Mrs.
Cowan.
For starters it was a 38-hour labor.
Breach.
He had a head like a basketball.
Thank you, Mrs.
Cowan.
Okay, then.
What can you say about a man who locked a sheep in Shirley Chisholm's hotel room? That was Jack Cowan.
A man who stole chafing dishes off room-service carts and gave them as wedding presents.
Hey, we got one of those.
A man who drew zeros on dollar bills and told Girl Scouts they were 10s.
A man whose idea of grocery shopping was to help an old lady with her bags and then outrun her.
Friends, let me close with this thought.
They say when a man departs this world that he leaves his mark on each one of us.
That is true of Jack Cowan.
For I'm sure there's not a person in this room who does not have Jack's footprints all over his back.
Thank you.
And now to conclude our service I would like to read a letter that Jack wrote shortly before his death to be opened at this time.
"Well, Murphy, now that you've said goodbye to me I'd like to say goodbye to you.
" Oh, here it comes.
"And that won't be easy, because I'm going to miss you, kid.
" What? "Some of my warmest moments were spent sitting around a bar with you trading stories and sharing long laughs.
" That's a lie.
We've never sat around a bar.
We never laughed.
"Our relationship was something very special to me.
It made me a better journalist and a better person and I'm just sorry I never told you that.
" The man hated me.
He tried to stab me once with a shrimp fork.
"In life, one rarely finds someone who is both a good sport and a good match.
You were such a match, Murphy.
You took no guff swallowed no pride and never backed down.
Here's to you my best friend in the whole world.
" Let me just add a little something to what I said earlier And that concludes our service.
Thank you all very much for coming.
Boy, Jack and I really used to kid.
You know, he loved when I'd pretend to be mad at him.
He was like an oyster: Rough-hewn, clenched.
Yet a pearl of kindness and generosity.
You know, if you hurry, you can still trip his mother.
I'm glad you're not doing my eulogy, Murphy.
Thank goodness you'll be dying long before me.
Don't feel bad, Murph.
It's not like every newspaper covered this.
I didn't see anyone here from the Daily Planet.
You just think you can get wheeled out and it's over.
Well, let me tell you something.
It's not over yet, Jack.
Murphy it's time to face facts.
It is over.
I can't seem to let go of this, can I, Jim? Well maybe it's because you'll miss him.
Miss him? Miss the rotten stunts he used to pull on me? Like telling the Afghan ambassador if he came to my house with oranges and a garter belt, I'd bear his children? No, I refuse to admit I'll miss him.
But you will.
Accept it, Murphy.
Death sucks.
All we can do is honor those who go before us by keeping their memory alive and hope someone does the same for us.
- Are you gonna be all right? - Yeah.
Thanks, Jim.
I think I'd like a moment alone.
- Miss Brown? - Yes.
- Is that your white car parked out front? - Yes, it is.
I think they're towing it away.