Monday, March 24, 2014

Ugly "Good Wife" far too usual

I've never watched an episode of The Good Wife.  However, after the recent forum I led at Trinity Cathedral (Downton Abbey and The Car-Wreck of Fiction), I found Linda Homes NPR blog post intriguing for the point of what is usual from TV shows:  illustrating quite a bit of what I talked about concerning Downton Abbey...

Spoilers galore (or, should I say, "gore-lore")* below:

*(I'm so sorry...could not help myself)

Faced with (actor Josh) Charles' decision to leave, and apparently with this entire season to prepare, producers Robert and Michelle King decided to create a legitimately interesting story between Will and Alicia for maybe the first time ever, and then to end it with an abrupt grisly death. Ha! They got you. They shocked you! Don't you feel terrible? Let's all feel terrible. They really got us. I feel terrible. Success! 

Abrupt grisly death, of course, is a groundbreaking maneuver in television drama, assuming you've never seen The Wire, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Mad Men, Dexter, The Sopranos, Big Love, The Shield, Lost, Damages, Game Of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, Sons Of Anarchy, Homeland, House Of Cards, House ... basically, if you don't watch television, it might look like a pretty bold move.... 

Pools of blood? Dead bodies? Shootings? Grieving? Brave hugs? Bonding over shared tragedy? Learning to move on? Television deals with that the most. This is not the most daring way they could have dealt with Will leaving; it's the most obvious. It's the most like what everybody else is doing. "How about a devastating, out-of-nowhere bloodbath?" is absolutely not a bold choice. It's everybody's first choice.

I've moved things around in Homes’ article to condense and still show her point of her detailed, well written article:  why she cared about these characters, and why she didn’t need this direction for the show:

As a romance, (Will and Alicia) was actually pretty boring and doomed. As a messy, conflicted friendship full of resentments, it was riveting. You want to do something that television doesn't deal with enough, make it complicated friendships. That, television actually doesn't deal with enough. Make it unsatisfying partings that aren't cataclysmic so much as depressing. That, television doesn't deal with enough….  

One of the things I said about The Good Wife not long ago — last week, in fact — was that it had the underappreciated quality of being both dramatic and fun to watch. When I saw the previews for the rest of this season and saw people in black, grief, mourning, sad music, dark and tasteless power struggles to fill the void, I just thought ... nah. That's not fun to watch. I'm sure they'll write the heck out of it, but I don't need it.

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