Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Reaction Post - You are tougher now. You're smarter about things.

The Good Wife: 4x07 Anatomy of a Joke.

The viewer part of me wasn't too happy about the episode, but the part of me that has to write about it is kind of glad that after weeks of intense writing, Anatomy of a Joke is a bit of a breather (as much of a breather as we'll ever get from this show, I suppose)?
What happens is this: last year, Sarah Silverman played a character on The Good Wife that was ironically the opposite of whom Sarah Silverman usually plays, which is why in Anatomy of a Joke, when the show needed someone to play who Sarah Silverman usually plays, they could not get Sarah Silverman but instead went for Christina Ricci (I'm pretty sure that's not EXACTLY how it went, but the fact remains that this makes a lot of sense). The case of the week was about how hypocritical censorship is and made a couple of good points about it, too, except basically if you are inclined to agree that it is in fact hypocritical that women can be terrorized and victimized graphically but if a comedian strips to perform a breast cancer exam on herself and uses the outrageous word "tits", the episode didn't exactly provide any new insights. Also the little gag about how The Good Wife itself isn't aired during "safe harbour" when saying tits out loud is fine was cute in that way the show sometimes is cute (see: elevator gags) but for an issue that is important and could in theory give you a lot of material (especially in a show where women deal with crap like this all the time), the they didn't really do much with it. To make up for the loss of affiliates for the network, Christina Ricci's Therese Dodd was sent on an apology-tour in DC, babysat by Alicia but mainly Cary, that didn't go all that well. The episode was about deals you have to make to survive, even though sometimes you're forced to shake hands with people that you hate and are gross, and sometimes you wake up and don't even recognize yourself in the mirror, and sometimes it's other people who look at you and realize you've changed before you ever do. But that worked better in all the other storylines. 
Captain Hellinger is now just Laura Hellinger, and it's like she took off the uniform and suddenly she's all kinds of awkward and adorable and she also genuinely likes Alicia, which was nice to see after the Maddie Hayward disaster that is still going on (she should meet up with Kalinda and they can have drinks and talk about how great Alicia is...), so anyway, after a little crisis she decided to leave JAG and is now looking for a job in Alicia's world. Which goes pretty badly, because Alicia figures out for her that she is getting invited because she has a pretty face that gross male bosses with power like to look at, even if they don't actually have a position to offer, but then, because "people like to hire people they know" and that's "not wrong, it just is" (Deals! When did Alicia learn to play THAT game?) and this is the first time ever, I think, that she openly admits that she got her position at L&G because she knew Will, she asks Peter if he'd consider hiring her, and he just storms into the room and hires her on the spot, and gives Geneva Pines, who still exists I guess, another reason to look at him questionably. I mean, basically you are conditioned to root for Laura Hellinger, because she is awkwardly adorable and likes Alicia and Alicia likes her, but also, remember that whole speech Cary Agos got from Geneva, back in the day? Sometimes it doesn't even look gross at first glance until you really think about it, a friend of Alicia's, getting a job right away in "this economic climate". 
Alicia: People change on you.
Cary: You changed on me.
Alicia: Me? No.
Cary: You don't notice it? You are tougher now. You're smarter about things.
Alicia: Is that good or bad?
Cary: Probably neither, just necessary. 
See, this is maybe the thing, because I think Alicia four years ago would have cared very much about changing in a way that couldn't clearly be classified as "good". But Alicia, now, says things like "it just is", in that tone that suggests that if you refuse to play the game, you may escape with all your ideals in tact but you also automatically lose and become entirely irrelevant. 
Also, deals: Clarke Hayden tries to sell the firm to the lawyer that is currently supervising Therese Dodd's apology tour, Alicia tells Will and Diane about some of the weird questions he's been asking so they figure it out, and outmanoeuvre him brilliantly when they change David Lee's contract so that he'd be finally free of them in case the firm got sold... except the biggest asset L&G still has is family law, of which David Lee is the apparently extremely successful head. 
Also, meanwhile: the forever-story of Peter sleeping with his campaign aid now has a new detail added concerning a birthmark on his dick, which really just happened to make Eli even madder about his chosen profession, and he finally decided to fight back as dirtily by getting Kalinda to prove that Maddie Hayward has been sleeping with a female campaign aid of her own (I guess because being gay is about as scandalous as cheating on your wife, still?), which could have been great in theory, Kalinda and Maddie meeting this way for the first time, but before anything really interesting could happen, Kalinda just figured out that Maddie's been hanging out with Indira Starr for months now, which I guess proves she's been planning every single step for a very long time, and isn't a hypocrite, as Peter suggested, but just a flat-out liar and ruthless power player. I wish this weren't true, because in my conception of Maddie Hayward, she would have come up with a fake affair story that would have survived Kalinda's investigation for longer than a hot second. 

Random notes: 
  • Cary's dad who is Lex Luthor and a terrible, terrible dad (this explains a lot about Cary from four years ago and Cary now) sets him up to believe that something is seriously wrong with him, in that "I am the twisted kind of dad who hasn't been involved in your life for five years but now I'm dying of cancer" way that sometimes happens on television, except really, he's just asking him to get him a job and dangles his own networking powers as a DC lobbyist as pay-off, which is gross but mainly very sad, because Alicia tried to tell Cary that people sometimes change (Peter did. Did Peter?) except some people do not change, they just grow into their skin more. 
  • "People aren't mean, they are just polite liars." ALICIA!
  • "Damn those terrorists and their paperweights"
  • Clarke Hayden, accountant, also HULK. 
  • They need 60 million, they're at 12. Basically The Good Wife just became 2 Broke Girls but with higher stakes and fewer racist jokes. 
  • And in a way... I think the episode could have done way more with that premise, but the final conclusion was that the only way these creepy groups who always use the word "children" to conceal that they are afraid of every single person who has ever had a thought in their head that didn't confirm with their own wacky ideology, will EVER lose, is because things like Therese's stunt make audience numbers rise. They won't lose in the courts. They won't lose, regardless of how ridiculous they are in their pursuit and how hypocritical their demands are. 
  • Wow, Alicia was shipping Therese and Cary something fierce, like, if she knew how the internet worked she'd have a Carese tumblr by now and ask other people how to make gifs in Photoshop.
  • The episode ends with Alicia watching Therese make jokes about her husband's dick, and just laughs and laughs. Sometimes it's the only way to deal, and Alicia's tougher now.
  • "Unfortunately, they enjoy intrigue more than they do making money." Isn't that exactly why Will and Diane are such a great couple?

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