Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just Another Reason to Love Donna Murphy

What About Joan? Does anyone remember this sitcom vehicle for Joan Cusack from 2001? It aired on ABC for a very short-lived period of time. The show presented Cusack as her usual neurotic self, with a boyfriend of six weeks (played by Kyle Chandler) proposing marriage and the hijinks that follow. As in most sitcoms, there is a central core of friends lending moral and comic support to the leading character. Your lovable diva and mine, Donna Murphy, played Dr. Ruby Stern, a sassy psychiatrist dealing with her own neuroses. (Trivia: the sitcom was produced in Chicago so Cusack could remain close to her family. Deanna Dunagan was a guest actress on one of the show's episodes - not this one).

For the show itself? The ratings started out strong, but the show was slashed early in its second season when ABC decided to revamp its entire programming, ridding itself of Joan and Bob Patterson and causing the woefully premature demise of the great Denis Leary sitcom The Job.

The description of the episode is as follows (courtesy of

Sensing that Jake is in a "funk," Joan encourages him to get some professional counseling, a la Dr. Ruby Stern. Against his better judgment, he agrees to go and talk to Ruby, although it feels strange to divulge his most intimate thoughts to Joan's best friend. During their session, it's Ruby who has a breakthrough, realizing that somehow along the way, she never pursued her first love of singing, for fear that she would fail. Concerned that she would never be the best, she never tried. In an effort to push Ruby past the point of fear, Joan sets up an opportunity for her to perform at an open mic club.

Well here is Donna Murphy taking on the classic "Hit Me With a Hot Note." Also note, her pianist? That's none other than Grey Gardens composer Scott Frankel. Enjoy...


SarahB said...

This was a pretty good show. It's too bad that it didn't get much of a life.

Theatre Aficionado at Large said...

Haha, I used to watch it in its first run too. Always found it an amusing diversion, but gave the show a chance because I read that Donna was going to be on it and I was always intrigued by her.

There can never be enough Donna Murphy to go around.