THE GOOD WIFE
2009 – 2010 Season on CBS
The Good Wife is a woman scorned. Finally on television, we see the wrath of a woman humiliated by her husband. She doesn’t get mad; she gets a job. For the millions of men and women who have wondered at the spectacle of the public man, who, caught out in his private moments, attempts to reclaim legitimacy with a news conference and a stoic wife by his side, “Alicia Florrick” is a breath of fresh air. Perhaps the humiliation of Silda Spitzer was the last straw, but something in the wind seems to have said “enough” to the scorned women of America. Jenny Sanford left her husband, Mark, on his rhetorical own, giving him enough rope to hang himself. Jenny wrote a book of revenge, while getting a divorce. According to the Chinese Simms-like “news video” Apple Daily, Elin Woods chased Tiger with one of his golf clubs. She was also not present for her husband’s pre-comeback confession, where he heatedly denied that she had abused him. How gallent of him to defend her. And finally, when confronted with the Other Woman and her Love Child, Elizabeth Edwards filed for divorce from her husband whose real name turned out to be “Johnny.”
Since The Good Wife began, Elizabeth Edwards dies and John Edwards went on trial for his role in using campaign money to cover up his mistress and love child from the prying eyes of the ever-inquisitive press (the money did not save him). I like to think that the slap that Alicia Florrick gave her husband after his news conference inspired those other political wives, but there is still the invisible Mrs. Ensign, presumably in hiding in Nevada, and I think that there is still a Mrs. Vitter, somewhere. That said, The Good Wife, a much-honored show with an excellent cast of veteran actors, suggests that, in the future, errant husbands will have to stand alone.
Alicia Florrick, the supurb Juilanna Margulies, is married to Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), who was caught with prostitutes and wound up in jail on serious charges of corruption. Rather than stay at home and suffer, Alicia returned to the profession she left behind when she gave up a career for marriage and children. Her story is a textbook case of why no one should step out of the job market. Not only do you lose salary, retirement and health care benefits, you also lose your place. Alicia finds herself competing for a permanent position as a junior associate with a young man half her age. She and Cary work at the firm of an old boyfriend, Will (Josh Charles), who has fond memories of their old romance. The firm is a matriarchy, populated by strong women. Margulies is a serene and self-contained beauty, self-assured Christine Baranski is the other boss, and the tiny Archie Panjabi is the sexually ambiguous investigator who torments the naïve Cary (Matt Czuchry). Although Will is a good lawyer and Peter is a good villain and Cary is cute, the show belongs to the girls.
What I liked about this past week’s show (Tuesday night, March 15) was the frank admission that women want sex too. The yearning Will feels for Alicia is an on and off again feeling, keeping the “will they or won’t they?” consummation thing going, just as Peter’s need for Alicia keeps the “will she or won’t she?” forgiveness thing going. Apparently all Alicia has to do is to touch Will with empathy when he suffers though a tough case for him to swiftly upgrade the shoulder pat to a few full blown kisses. What was nice was that she returned the kisses and even came back for more. Even nicer, the episode made it clear that she wanted not romance, but sex. When Will could not be found, she went home, where Peter was confined to quarters, and she had her way with him.
The next morning Peter seems to assume that all is well and that he is back in her good graces. Apparently he feels that it is just a matter of time before her loyalty and his charm will patch over the public betrayal and humiliation Alicia must endure every day. Showing no understanding of her struggles, he gracelessly demonstrates his possession of his wife to Will, who just happens to come calling to Alicia’s home to ask for a favor. Peter’s patronizing attitude towards his wife and her job deserved another slap, but Alicia had learned. Don’t get mad. Get even. Only the quietly fleeting expression on her face telegraphed the ending. That night, saying very little, she dashed her husband’s expectations of an easy win and went to her room alone. Like the prostitutes he hired, he was used and discarded. Nice.
Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette
The Arts Blogger
Tags: A Woman Scorned, Archie Panjabi, Chris Noth, Christine Baranski, Elin Woods, Elizabeth Edwards, Jenny Sanford, John Edwards, Josh Charles, Julianna Margulies, Matt Czuchry, Silda Spitzer, The Good Wife