Tube Tied-The Good Wife: She's Actually Pretty Boring So Far
The psyche of the political wife in the modern era - which is to say, post-defining oneself by one's husband - is the kind of thing I sort of wish feminists talked about more often. And when I say that, I mean talk about in a way that does not ultimately devolve to Hillary, Hillary, and also Hillary, who has become the sine qua non of political wife-fights. In fact, I'd be cooler with these chats being all Michelle, Michelle, Michelle, and Judy Dean, Judy Dean, Judy Dean, each of whom present different models of how to deal with being, in essence, a necessary accessory to your husband's career when you in fact have quite the career of your own. And you aren't, you know, a robot. The frankly far too frequent infidelities of political men (and oh I could go on about this ultimate exercise of male privilege, this "I am important and I shall PROVE THIS WITH MY VIRILITY" and the non-apologies about "what happened" that inevitably follow, but I shall not) throw these issues into sharp relief.
So when I heard about The Good Wife I was kind of excited. I was also excited that someone was handing Christine Baranski a paycheck, and there was even the small bonus of seeing Julianna Margulies though it disturbed my fantasy of her living a secret life with George Clooney and the twins in Seattle. Margulies is in some ways perfect for this role: gravelly and serious. The shoe of a professional woman whose life and priorities were eventually subordinated to that of her husband fits her pretty well, because there's something vaguely dissatisfied in her demeanour too. And do I like that Chris Noth is embracing his slime post-hot-L&O-detective and in the shadow of supposedly-dashing Mr. Big? I do. I really do.
But The Good Wife suffers from a number of problems that suggest its premise was just a front. The writers and producers of this show don't care that much about women, make no mistake, even though they have apparently made a cynical maneuver here of taking a topic about which I feel there is much genuine interest - How Can She Stand By Her Man When He Is Such A Douchebag, And Publicly So To Boot? - and certainly much food fod feminist thought - and turning it into the same-old legal procedural.
See, in their rush to reennact the diorama of Silda Spitzer, looking like she'd rather be anywhere else, at Eliot's greasy side, the producers have made the initial mistake of beginning their series sometime after a scandal has impeached and incarcerated Noth's philandering governor. And from there we segueway into the somewhat less difficult dramatization of a mother re-entering the workforce and, for no apparent reason, being pitted against a fellow associate for a job. (This would never happen.) Of course she's given the pro bono case and it's to help a blonde white woman with a cute blonde white kid and... wait? Why are you asleep already?
This show, then, is only interesting in political wives the way I'd say it seems many of their husbands are: a gimmick and a premise for someone/something else, but as a person? Not so much. As a person, it seems, they are not worth exploring. Which is okay, but too bad for us, because The Good Wife likely won't be worth sticking with as a result.
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Stuart Fishman (not verified)
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