Sunday, March 23, 2014

THE SHOE DROPPED:  Why that thing happened on The Good Wife tonight.  I'm still collecting my thoughts.

added: The Kings explain, and I don't like it, because I don't want the show to be about what they want it to now be about.  And Linda Holmes doesn't care for it either:

It's somewhat baffling, bordering on amusing, to see the Kings' letter to the show's fans in which they credit themselves for being different: "television, in our opinion, doesn't deal with this enough: the irredeemability of death." All the children slaughtered on Law & Order: SVU, the ER episode "Love's Labour's Lost," Rosalind Shays down the elevator shaft, "NOT PENNY'S BOAT"...and still, television doesn't deal enough with the irredeemability of death, with the way one day your loved one is there and the next day they're gone, and it's so awful, just awful. For crying out loud, how much of television has to be about that for it to be enough? 
They also care a lot more about Alicia and Will as a tragic romance than I do, I immediately realized. In explaining why Will could only be dispatched in death, they say, "There was something in the passion that Will and Alicia shared that made distance a meager hurdle." 
Uh, not for me. That's what made the relationship so different and so dramatically rich. As a romance, it 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.


  1. So, how long till the person in question is attached to a pilot?

  2. Joseph Finn11:31 PM

    I wonder if that person has something set up with agreements not to announce anything until tomorrow. Because geez, I'm impressed that this was kept under wraps for this long. Usually you hear some kind of pilot or contract chatter or something.

  3. He's on Letterman tomorrow. There was a blind item at TV Line a while back that was "a pilot has landed a leading man, but can't announce because he has to be killed of his existing show." I'd assumed it was about Damian Lewis, but maybe not.

  4. Joseph Finn11:50 PM

    Heh, after that happened in Homeland the Good Wife people had to have had a sigh of relief that they weren't under suspicion for a bit.

  5. Marsha12:08 AM

    Agreed. Hard to believe, with all the stuff I read about TV, that I didn't have the slightest clue this was happening.

  6. While I'm still trying to figure out what I think about *how* it happened, I love that it happened. I think they'd gone as far as they could with Will and Alicia, and all of Will's other shenanigans were pretty much a drag on the show. And kudos to the show for pulling off such a huge development without spoiling the vast majority of us!

  7. In his interview with TV Line ( Charles suggests that the driving force for leaving was that 22 episodes is a heavy schedule for an actor, especially one who's hoping to become a parent in the near future.

  8. Maret Orliss11:40 AM

    I was shocked and am completely impressed that in this day and age they managed to keep this quiet. As soon as the east coast started erupting on twitter I went offline till I could watch. So I was spoiled that something major was happening and based on some of the clues earlier in the episode I felt like maybe Hunter Parrish's character was going to do something violent, but had no idea that it would result in this.

    I'm saving my opinions for how they went about having Will's character leave the show until I see the rest of the season. For me it's about how they deal with the aftermath. If any show has proven itself adept at shaking things up and becoming better for it, it's The Good Wife. So I want to see where this all goes and that will inform whether this, for me, was a good way to deal with having a character leave the show, or a mistake.

  9. We've seen principals leave shows before without the shows falling apart, and I think the Good Wife is going to be fine, because the Kings have always been pretty great at keeping things interesting.

    I do think that if they hadn't killed Will, there would be a constant when-will-Will-return thing that would splinter off a section of their fan base, and giving them the answer of "Never" is better than the constant buzzing of hopeful baby birds opening their maws and crying out as Sweeps Week creeps in from the East, ruining perfectly good narratives in the name of fan-service and Nielsen grabs.

    That said, I question any actor's decision to leave a successful vehicle to the open market. A quick check of iMDB shows that he's got one feature in the can and is filming another, so maybe the work called and he couldn't afford to ignore it? That would make sense.

  10. Jordan1:52 PM

    I don't watch this show, but I thought the writers' claims were, um, interesting. It sounds a lot like Downton Abbey, "we had a full year to plan this out and the only thing we could think of was something so rote that the writers of Law & Order have sworn off it." "Television, in our opinion, doesn't deal with this enough." But every show going back to M*A*S*H has done the surprise sudden death episode. It'll be interesting to see if they actually deal with "the irredeemability of death." It's been done before. Every decision by (almost) every character on Game of Thrones for the last two seasons traces directly back to a surprise death. Scrubs (twice--at least) had gut-punch deaths that defined their characters. But too many shows kill off a character and next season is back to normal. It can be done well, it has before. Where's the boy, String?

  11. I get that a great show is not entirely predictable. It's a difference between a great show and good "comfort food" TV. I also get that that's part of a senseless tragedy, that things stop in midstream. And there was a shooting an awful lot like this one in Atlanta, so this really isn't that unbelievable a storyline

    But as a TV viewer, I'm not crazy about this twist. Set aside that I liked the character and like the actor, I was looking forward to how a lot lf hanging plot threads were going to resolve themselves. It seemed like Will was moving toward a mental breakdown and/or driving the firm toward financial ruin with such brilliant tactics as "overspend to buy a bunch of partners and overextend your firm to open offices in new cities." And I was interested to see how that would all work out. And there were a lot of other Will storylines related to his firm, Alicia's firm, Alicia, and the voter scandal. It's like a healthy chunk of this excellent season was misdirection.