Who’s Murphy Brown’s Mom On 'Arrested Development'? Kyle Mooney's Character Is Finding His Way In This Dysfunctional Family
Spoilers for Arrested Development Season 5, Part 1 ahead. Saturday Night Live fans have to be excited about one of the several new faces on Arrested Development in Season 5. Kyle Mooney joins the cast as Murphy Brown, Tobias's (David Cross) long-lost son. The duo don't seem to have much in common — Murphy Brown wants to be either a dog doctor or work with computers, while Tobias tries to force him into acting. But they're both sufficiently awkward, so it's obvious to everyone that the two are related. But who is Tobias' son Murphy Brown's mom?
Audiences first meet the new Fünke family member in Season 5, Episode 3, when Murphy Brown is half-heartedly impersonating Buster. "Did the skit start? I don't have the hook thing," he mumbles. No one in the room, meanwhile, seems to have any idea who he is. In fact, in a later episode, the Bluth family voices their assumption that he is Tobias's boyfriend — or "acting partner," as Lucille (Jessica Walter) says in air-quotes. "They think that we're boyfriends, dad," Murphy Brown laughs. "I'm his bastard father," Tobias explains. "This is my bastard son."
The name Murphy Brown purposely invokes the Candice Bergen-led TV show, which is getting a revival next season, but in fact both Murphy and Brown are his first name, à la George Michael. What's more, Mooney's character is not named after the fictional '90s news anchor but instead a famous private investigator who worked for the Chicago Sun Times and the Washington Post, according to Tobias. Unfortunately, Murphy Brown's real last name is never mentioned. Tobias states that it's now Fünke. "Oh, that's how you say it," his son says, mildly amused.
After Murphy Brown is introduced to his half-sister, Maeby (Alia Shawkat), he says, "Close one because I actually think she's rather very hot." So at least he and George Michael will have something to talk about. However, no one seems to be thinking about Maeby's feelings about this news until Episode 6. "Oh, I'm sorry, Maeby. Are you jealous?" George Michael asks her. "No, of course not! I mean, the guy grew up not even knowing his father!" she answers. "If anything, I'm...jealous. Yeah, that is a great word for it."
Fans know that Murphy Brown and Maeby are half-siblings, since Tobias introduces them as such, and that means Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) isn't his mother. So who else has Tobias had entanglements with, other than DeBrie (Maria Bamford)? It's strange to think about Tobias having a sexual relationship with any other woman, let alone fathering a second child. After all, he is a never-nude, as well as a likely closeted gay man.
While it's never revealed who Murphy Brown's biological mother is, he does mention in Episode 8 that he knows how to juggle and unicycle because his uncle would come over on Father's Day to teach him and cheer him up. "Robbie knows how to juggle?" Tobias asks. "Who's Robbie?" his son responds. "Oh, yes, of course. You wouldn't know my brother," Tobias says. So whoever Murphy Brown's uncle is, he's clearly talking about his mom's brother, not Tobias's.
And viewers also don't know how old Murphy Brown actually is. After the family talks about Buster's imprisonment in front of him, they wonder whether "the boy" can be trusted. "Am I the boy?" he asks, confused. "I've never heard a man ask that question," Lucille says, condescendingly. "Nor have I," George Michael responds, happy to finally have the upper hand.
Though Murphy Brown's origins are still a mystery, Kyle Mooney seems like a perfect choice to play Tobias's awkward son. He's been on SNL since 2013, and during that time, he's also appeared in movies such as Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and co-wrote and starred in the 2017 film Brigsby Bear. On SNL, he and fellow cast member Beck Bennet have made a name for themselves by writing weird and off-kilter sketches, which usually involve mumblecore and purposeful bad acting. It is, for some reason, hilarious.
So while viewers will have to wait until the second installment of Season 5 to find out who Murphy Brown's mom is, they can look forward to seeing more of Mooney as Tobias and his son try to forge a relationship. Maybe Tobias will even teach him to blue himself.
Editor's note: Season 5 is controversial due to the presence of Jeffrey Tambor, who was fired from Transparent after being accused of sexual harassment by two co-stars (he denies these claims); he also admitted to and apologized for verbally harassing Jessica Walter on the Arrested Development set in a recent New York Times piece. Co-stars Jason Bateman, David Cross, Will Arnett and Tony Hale were criticized for seeming to defend Tambor and minimize Walter's experience, in the same interview. Bateman, Cross, and Hale have since apologized.