goodwife

This post is ostensibly about The Good Wife, though you don’t need to watch the show in order to follow it as I will give a brief backstory (and this post contains spoilers from the end of last season).

So for those of you who don’t know, The Good Wife follows Alisha Florek, the wife of a politician caught in a sex scandal (and a corruption scandal, of which he was exonerated during Season One). She chose to “stand by her man” even as he went to jail and she had to take over household breadwinning duties. There’s an ongoing plot involving an old flame named Will Gardner, who is now her boss.

It becomes apparent during Season Two that in addition to the prostitute, Peter slept with a State’s Attorney office investigator, Kalinda, who would later become Alisha’s investigor in the private sector and one of her best friend. Alisha discovers this at the end of the penultimate and immediately leaves him. At the end of the last episode, she’s going up to a hotel room with Gardner.

I find her behavior here extremely aggravating. It’s established that Kalinda and Alisha did not know each other when this happened. It’s not established to the degree that there were other romantic indiscretions, but it appears to be the case that he either admitted there were more or she didn’t want to know. She’s not upset because he didn’t tell her. She’s upset because one of his paramours was a woman that she would later become friends with. This, somehow, constitutes a very personal betrayal on his part as well as Kalinda’s (though she appears to have at least partially forgiven Kalinda).

It’s entirely illogical. While it’s easy to imagine that it would hit closer to home when it turms out that one of the lovers was someone you would later call friend, leaving the man who repeatedly had sex with a prostitute because he had a fling with a coworker (unless he lied about, which it doesn’t appear that he did) just doesn’t make any sense.

I go back and forth as to whether I should feel insulted that I am supposed to be moved by her highly illogical actions. Or whether women should be insulted because even when they are portrayed as strong, independent, intelligent, and so on, they are still prone to such illogical, self-righteous outbursts.

I’m not saying that leaving someone that has been unfaithful – especially repeatedly unfaithful – is either irrational or immoral. Had she left back then, it would have been entirely on him. However, having taken that step and rebuilt everything from the ground up over two years, to rip the family apart all over again. Well, that’s on her. And her outrage when Peter wonders aloud if this is really about Will Gardner (I think we’re supposed to ask “How dare he of all people ask that!” as if he wouldn’t have a right to know and as if it wasn’t a reasonably good guess, given the irrationality of her actions and her ongoing fondness for Will – when her gay brother makes the same accusation, we’re supposed to find it endearing), rings hollow when the first thing she does after kicking him out is look to hook up with Will Gardner.

That being said, I still like the show. The legal/political aspects of it, anyway. For a chick show, they actually did a pretty good job of putting in enough to keep people like me interested.

—-

Completely unrelated, but the third-to-final episode guest-starred Fred Thompson playing… Fred Thompson. They never mention his name, but the character was a TV actor with a background in law who is famous. What’s odd is how awkward Thompson seemed (a little creepy, even), playing himself. He’s a typecast role player, the Large & In Charge guy. I guess this role, despite it being himself, was a little out of character.


Category: Theater

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8 Responses to The Good Wife Gone Bad

  1. AC says:

    “I go back and forth as to whether I should feel insulted that I am supposed to be moved by her highly illogical actions. Or whether women should be insulted because even when they are portrayed as strong, independent, intelligent, and so on, they are still prone to such illogical, self-righteous outbursts.”

    I think that most of the moral persuasiveness of a show comes from approving of what the protagonists do. It takes quite a bit of “shades of gray” stylings to make people disagree with a charismatic/sympathetic lead – the many supporters of, say, Yagami Light demonstrate that even with severe values dissonance, people have a bias to agree with sympathetic protagonists.

    I haven’t seen the show, but I’m going to guess that viewers generally like Alisha the protagonist. In that case you, not women, should be offended – whatever illogicality is written into the character will be perceived as justified.

  2. Kirk says:

    Why would you watch such a chick show?

    I guess I’m one to talk. I have all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. Still, there was at least killing on the show. It was even implied in the title.

    “Or whether women should be insulted because even when they are portrayed as strong…

    The adjective “strong” is used too much when describing women. It’s a meaningless word.

    And outside a conversation about physical strength, have you ever heard of a man being called strong? I never have.

  3. trumwill says:

    AC,

    You’re probably right. Especially given how (a) the kids are portrayed oddly supportive (though they don’t know who left whom) and (b) part of the set-up was that she was meant to be with Will Gardner.

  4. trumwill says:

    Kirk,

    Law and politics are both interesting show-fodder for me, and this has both. Buffy is on my to-watch list, though I don’t think that a girly show. The most girly show I watch (well listen to, really) is Grey’s Anatomy, though I find Grey to be rather obnoxious, I find the medical aspects interesting and not as formulaic as House.

    Interesting thoughts about “strong.” I think part if it is that men are expected to be emotionally composed in the face of adversity. Though they rarely are described as strong.

  5. Mike Hunt says:

    I have never seen the show, so I will go off on a tangent.

    I never understood the appeal of Julianna Margulies. She isn’t attractive or funny. When she was on ER, someone pointed her out to me, and I was disappointed becuase I was expecting someone attractive.

    Of course I see that her husband is played by Christopher Noth, who is the epitome of the Good Looking White Man. Much like in SATC, when he was paired with Sarah Jessica Parker, he gets the short end of the stick.

    Fred Thompson

    Remember when he was a serious contender for the Presidential nomination? LOL

  6. stone says:

    You’re overthinking it with all the moralizing. Just admit the show is a soap opera, at least that’s how it sounds from your description.

  7. trumwill says:

    I never understood the appeal of Julianna Margulies. She isn’t attractive or funny. When she was on ER, someone pointed her out to me, and I was disappointed becuase I was expecting someone attractive.

    Clancy commented on her attractiveness. I don’t fully get it, either. She’s rather standard hollywood issue, in my estimation.

    Of course I see that her husband is played by Christopher Noth, who is the epitome of the Good Looking White Man. Much like in SATC, when he was paired with Sarah Jessica Parker, he gets the short end of the stick.

    Noth is actually one of those guys whose attractiveness I don’t fully get, as far as Hollywood men go. He’s just a generally tough-guy looking fellow to me.

    He had actually gained weight on the first season, but lost it by the second. Since the second season begins with the same “night” the first one ends, it’s a little weird. It was a similar thing with Friends with Matthew Perry’s weight fluctuations. A cliffhanger occurred where he was a bit chunky, then continued after a weight-loss regimen (apparently NBC had threatened to fire him due to his weight gain).

    Remember when he was a serious contender for the Presidential nomination?

    Newt Gingrich’s most amazing achievement is that he made Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson stellar campaigners in comparison. Seriously, all three had the same problem. You can’t be lazy and run for president. That’s why I don’t worry about Sarah Palin.

    (Fred, Rudy, and Newt were also all notably on second or third marriages with substantially younger wives. I don’t know what role that played, though Newt’s wife was apparently a big part of the problem.)

  8. trumwill says:

    You’re overthinking it with all the moralizing. Just admit the show is a soap opera, at least that’s how it sounds from your description.

    Half soap opera, half legal drama. I suppose I am transferring the moralizing from the latter onto the former when perhaps they mean for their to be a wall erected.

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