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Cybill Discovers the Meaning of Life

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

So what could be worse than having a midlife crisis?  Sitting at home after Thanksgiving watching sitcom reruns from the 90s about actors and actresses having a midlife crisis.  Okay, so it is actually not as bad as it sounds.  Cybill is a comedic sitcom that first appeared in 1995 and ended in 1998.

In season 2, episode 1-Cybill Discovers the Meaning of Life, which kind of sort of lives up to the title.  The show starts with Cybill playing the part of a librarian in a somewhat degrading to women beer commercial.  Not happy about it, but needing the money, she doesn't have much of a choice.  However, afterward, she laments her decision which begets her midlife crisis.

Feeling as if she had prostituted herself, she says to her friend Maryann while having lunch:

I am no different from anyone else who has to get up in the morning and work at a job that robs them of their self-esteem, that treats them like a soulless robot with no value, no worth.

I use to have such dreams.  I was going to be a great actor, make people laugh and make people cry.

While Cybill is at home, after splurging on a shopping spree, she doesn't feel much different after her family and friends leave.  Maryann who remains recommends alcohol as the cure for the midlife blues.  Cybill responses:

No more eating, no more drinking, no more shopping.  All that does is fill up your closet and stomach, not your soul.




Maryann, I feel empty inside.  Family doesn't fill the void.  Work doesn't fill the void...

So that is left for Cybill to do?  Head to the desert and raise her "cone of power".  Yet, after some failed meditation beneath the stars, hunger and actualization kicks in... there are still no answers to be found.  To this she says: 

What did I expect to find out here, some blinding insight?  Some ancient spirit who's going to rise up out of the ground and tell me the meaning of life?  Cybill, life is a party... in every can.

Breaking down, she finds meaning in her friendship with Maryann and admits that maybe that is the answer and that maybe friendship is all any of us can ever expect out of life.  Cybill hears the cry of a baby in the desert.  Maryann hears nothing.  They rush back home and to the hospital.  Cybill's daughter is having a baby.  Thus repeating the cycle of life, giving it meaning.  Or at least according to the writers of this episode.

The show ends to Louis Armstrong singing, "What a Wonderful World."

Did you see the episode?  If so, what did you think? 

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