My Sunday Night Dates With The Good Wife

I like The Good Wife. There, I said it. I know. I just gave up “man points” for admitting that I enjoy watching the CBS Sunday night drama starring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, the wife of a Chicago politician who was involved in a sexual scandal reminiscent of the all-too-familiar real-life political scandals of recent years.

With only two episodes left this season, I can take solace in knowing that I have 16 episodes of Season 2 still to watch. I’ve already breezed through the first season’s episodes on the DVD’s that I bought last month (that was another deduction of “man points” when I let that slip at the office). I don’t know why it took me so long to start watching The Good Wife. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do know why I avoided this well-written, well-produced, and well-acted show — it was a “woman’s” show. Or, so I thought.

Oh, I was aware of The Good Wife from talking to some of the ladies in my office who love the show. For the first two years that The Good Wife has been on the air, I was dismissive of any attempts from my female co-workers who tried to get me to watch this legal/political drama. Notwithstanding my newfound appreciation for the show, my student pastor, who will dock me major “man points” for writing this post, continues to argue that The Good Wife is not a show that any self-respecting man should talk about, much less watch.

I would have to respectfully disagree. Having discovered The Good Wife last September, on a trip to Albuquerque for an Executive Board Meeting of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico, it is only fitting that I write my first post on the show while in New Mexico’s largest city for another Board Meeting. Having just finished watching Sunday night’s episode, I can honestly say that The Good Wife is probably my favorite scripted television show currently airing.

Truth be told, I’ve always been addicted to good legal dramas. From L.A. Law (1986-94) to The Practice (1997-2004) and its spinoff, Boston Legal (2004-08), I have been offered a steady diet of television shows about lawyers. Even though I don’t practice law anymore, I have been able to live vicariously through these various programs. When the increasingly eccentric (and annoying) Boston Legal concluded its run four years ago, I was left without my law show fix. That is, until I finally succumbed to temptation and secretly watched my first episode of The Good Wife seven months ago.

Why am I hooked? There are many reasons, but it all starts with the writing. If a show is not well-written, then it doesn’t matter whether the subject matter is one that would interest me or whether or not the actors on the show are likeable (more on that in a subsequent post). It all begins and ends with the writing. For a legal drama, I have been pleasantly surprised that the episodes of The Good Wife in all three seasons have not been the typical left-wing pabulum that has become the norm with most legal procedurals (including the rabidly leftist Law and Order franchise).

While the plots of L.A. Law and The Practice/Boston Legal became all-too-predictable — the government (in the Bush years) was evil, corporations were the source of all that is wrong in the world, all murder defendants were somehow misunderstood saints who were wrongly accused by a corrupt police force in collusion with the State’s Attorney, and the protagonist criminal defense attorneys always won their cases — The Good Wife’s storylines are never predictable.

In A New Day, the first episode of Season Three (originally aired September 25, 2011) “a Palestinian college student is accused of killing a Jew.”  As I began watching, I just knew how this would play out. The Palestinian student would be found innocent (he was, but not for the reason why I thought). It would turn out that a right-wing nutjob (probably a “Christian”) had killed the Jewish student after viciously carving what would turn out to be a backwards swastika on the dead man’s body. That’s how Boston Legal would have been written. The writers of that show would have also tried to implicate the Bush/Cheney Administration or Big Oil for the dastardly deed.

What the storyline actually revealed was another Muslim, the roommate of the defendant, was guilty of the crime. But, in a twist that left me shaking my head in disbelief — which in this case was good — the Muslim roommate killed the Jewish student, not because of any religious hatred, but because the two were homosexual lovers who had gotten into an argument. A Homosexual Muslim shown to be the killer. How’s that for cleaver (and original) writing? And, how did that slip past the politically correct tolerance police at CBS?

While there are clearly liberal elements within the scripts (this is set in the Democrat-controlled world of Chicago politics), I have not noticed the “moral preaching” that sometimes characterized the other legal dramas. In fact, there appears to be more of a moral clarity in the midst of some delicate issues. In several episodes that I have watched from the first three seasons, the military seems to be treated in a fair and respectful way. That’s saying a lot for a Hollywood produced show.

Because of great writing, a stellar cast, superb production values, and my addiction for legal dramas, I have become an enthusiastic fan of The Good Wife. Better late than never. It took me seven months to publicly admit what I knew after watching my first episode in Albuquerque last September.  Just by writing this post, I have opened myself up for ridicule and mocking. I am willingly subjecting myself to a loss of more “man points.”  Is The Good Wife worth all that? You’re reading this post, aren’t you? I think that answers the question. Case closed!

 

 

 

 

8 comments for “My Sunday Night Dates With The Good Wife

  1. April 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Howell, actually, I don’t know if “the “Good Wife” is worth all that”, or not. 🙂 you see, I haven’t watched it yet. Not one episode. In fact, I avoid the commercials. I only read your whole post because that is the appropriate thing for a blogger to do if they want their comment to stand the scrutiny of moderators. oh…wait a minute. I’m in Kansas, now. hee hee. Seriously, I read your whole post because I’ve come to respect you as a writer, thinker, hack-analyst, formidable critic, Believer in Jesus Christ and a fellow SB enthusiast. I love law shows too. Lost all interest when Boston Legal went Star-trek on us. So, okay. I will give your review the benefit of the doubt and watch it next week. Maybe. If I am not busy doing what I am normally doing…writing and reading. Blessings…to you and your “better wife”. selahV

    • April 16, 2012 at 2:39 PM

      Hariette,

      It wasn’t that Boston Legal went all Star Trek with Shatner. It’s that the writers made the Denny Crane character into a stereotypical rightw-wing nutjob who was actually losing his mind. The last year of the show I just kinda stopped watching because it would make me mad. If you like legal dramas, I think you will like The Good Wife. In addition to the writing, it is well-acted and the characters, for the most part, are likeable. Michael J. Fox will make another appearance in at least the last episode of the season as an opposing attorney. Some of the guest actors they have are really good. Thanks for reading ALL of the post. I don’t know what I would have done if you admitted that you hadn’t done that 😉 Hope you have a great day. I am on a short break from my Executive Board meeting. Back to it in a few minutes. God bless,

      HOwell

      • April 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        I think…on your recommendation, I am just going to go purchase the first season episodes and watch at my leisure. I hate commercials. so time-consuming. I will begin DVR’ing the rest of the episodes. Have you watched Touch on Thursday nights? Interesting…dot by dot connection kind of show. Makes one think that each act they do can be significant to another in some way we cannot know. The odd part about it, is it reminds me of an old new-age employer I had that says the molecules I move when I walk, effects the way someone is able to get up and move somewhere else, say–Seattle or something. twilight zone music here… 🙂 have fun at the EC meeting.

      • April 16, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        I liked the first couple of seasons of Boston Legal, but never watched after 3. Just didn’t have the time to keep it up.

        If I ever needed a lawyer, I would want Denny Crane. Armed to the teeth and ready to shoot 🙂

        • April 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM

          Doug,

          There’s no question where Denny was coming from. I love Shatner and just about all that he does. Even his Denny Crane character was likeable, but the writing got progressively liberal and outlandish. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch much of the last season. One thing that I have noticed about Season 1 and the episodes of Season 2 and 3 that I have watched is that there is not a complete liberal slant to the cases. That may or may not have something to do with Ridley and Tony Scott (no relation, as far as I know) being Executive Producers. They are not known for “liberal” movies, but they have made some great ones, including Alien and Blade Runner to name a few. If you like lawyer shows, The Good Wife would be worth checking out. Michael J. Fox will be on for at least the last episode. although I’m not sure about the next-to-last one next week. He does an excellent job playing Louis Canning, a “disabled” attorney who is a thorn in the side of the main characters. Hope all is well with you. Have a great week and God bless,

          Howell

          • April 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM

            Unfortunately, CBS just does not come in well out here. Actually, neither do Fox or NBC, either–

            So we watch a lot of Netflix 🙂 Might catch up on The Good Wife once it goes off the air. Right now, we’re watching MacGyver and the A-Team.

          • April 19, 2012 at 1:05 PM

            Doug,

            Netflix is good, but I don’t think they show The Good Wife. MacGyver and the A-Team — pretty sweet! I love it when a plan comes together 🙂 Have a great day and God bless,

            Howell

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