Why Women Should Watch The Good Wife

Logan Sachon: I have spent the past two weeks watching all of The Good Wife because of you. So, thank you. Who introduced you to this amazing show of female power?

Meghan Nesmith: That would be my best friend Caitlin, who is responsible for most of my television endeavors. She’d been talking about the show for years, mostly in the context of wanting to make out with Will Gardner, the main dude lawyer on the show, and I (FOOLISHLY) ignored her because I thought it sounded like another boring procedural. Like a dumdum.

Logan: AND IT’S NOT.

Meghan: NO IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

Logan: It so excellent! And while I do enjoy the Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner relationship, the best parts of the show are Diane Lockhart and Alicia Florrick. Their characters make me walk taller.

Meghan: Diane Lockhart has become my spirit animal. I have very few hesitations about getting a ‘what would Diane Lockhart do?’ tattoo.

Logan: Let’s talk about why she is so great, as a role model.

Meghan: This is my favorite topic of late. One of the things I cannot get enough of about the show is how they allow adults—like REALLY adults, not just television adults who are like 22 or whatever—to have rich, vibrant lives, full of sex and intrigue and intelligence and decisions. They aren’t just relegated to the background. And I think Diane is the perfect example of that, of a character who on another show would be a footnote, because she isn’t predictable looking and she’s older than typical protagonists, but they allow her to be this total dynamo, a woman who has smarts and power and vigor and life and is outside of a conventional bucket.

Logan: Perfectly put. Alicia is also a very powerful woman. She starts out as a junior associate, and even though her status is less sure, she is constantly surprising me by holding her ground. It’s made me realize how accommodating I am, how much I apologize. Because I’m always expecting her to be apologizing or rolling over, and she never does!

Meghan: You’re right—none of the women are apologists. And with Alicia, the writing is constantly playing against the idea that she is weak or pathetic for standing by her husband by giving her the opportunity to assert herself professionally. Have you stopped apologizing because of her?

Logan: I think I’m more aware of it. While I’m watching, I try her dialogue on in my head and I think, I could never say that, people would hate me! But they don’t hate her! In fact they LIKE HER MORE when she stands up for herself.

Meghan: Now I’m feeling like it might be unrealistic. You’re making me doubt myself, Logan. Do you think that happens in reality? That people genuinely respect you more for being assertive and for not backing down? As a woman? AS A WOMAN. Just like, tag that onto this whole conversation.

Logan: See that’s an interesting question. I feel like in a lot of ways I am the opposite of Alicia and Diane, that is, very accommodating, very apologetic, very wanting everyone to like me. I’d much rather just have everyone get along than have my personal opinion heard and understood, which!!!!!!!! Written out, is disgusting.

Meghan: BUT, not uncommon. I mean, Alicia is not a bitch, and she is kind, so I do think it is possible to be empathetic and caring and generous with yourself while ALSO standing up for what you need and deserve.

There is a conversation in Season 4, Diane says to Alicia that she can’t try to be friends anymore, you remember that? And that is the one thing that worries me about their lives, the absence of relationships—not just romantic, but friendships, which, not that they don’t value people or sacrifice them on the cross for power or anything, but they have isolated themselves by prioritizing their professional lives. As a woman that is something we are constantly warned against.

There is another scene when Diane is in an gallery with the terrifyingly large Australian man, and I remember you saying how much you loved that, how it filled out Diane as a person.

Logan: Yes, it was a nice reminder that she is not doing work ALL THE TIME, that she schedules “her” time.

Meghan: Yes, and “her” time isn’t just sitting on the couch watching back episodes of ‘The Good Wife.’

Logan:

Meghan: … She does make me want to work harder, at everything: My hair, my job, life, generally.

Logan: Necklace choices.

Meghan: Scotch.

Logan: #scotch

Meghan: Everyone on that show has this immense wealth of PASSION FOR THE LAW, is that what we’re missing?

Logan: Yes, possibly, or passion for something. One crazy thing about Alicia is she was a stay at home mom for like, 15 years or something.

Meghan: Yes!

Logan: How did she do that????

Meghan: Go back to work? Or be a mom?

Logan: I mean she’s such a badass, it’s hard to imagine her just like, twiddling around the house for 15 years.

Meghan: Well, on behalf of mothers everywhere, I’m guessing she wouldn’t describe it as twiddling around the house.

Logan: OH GOD. I can’t believe I said that. I AM A TERRIBLE WOMAN. I am so sorry. Jesus.

Meghan: YOU STEPPED IN IT NOW, LOGAN.

Logan: I really can’t believe I just said that. So sorry. I respect motherhood!

Meghan: Stop apologizing!

Logan: Well it’s her choice. Her body her life her choice.

Meghan: Yes, her strong, brave choice to raise two human beings. But I know what you mean, because she wouldn’t have started working were it not for her husband getting thrown in jail the first episode. And you can see her constantly struggling with her love for her job, and I find that actually really touching, how she sort of realizes how fulfilled she is and feeling guilty for that.

Logan: Do you feel like watching this show has influenced your own behavior in the workplace?

Meghan: I do, actually. I’m putting more of a premium on being genuinely invested in my work I’m starting to become more comfortable with asking for the things I want/need/deserve. It’s not a lie to say that I try and channel Diane in difficult situations. You could do worse for a role model. Next I want to master the Christine Baranski laugh.

Logan: I want to go back through every episode and right down lines to memorize. I want to say exactly the words they say and repeat them to myself like mantras. I think probably the one to start with is, “No.”

 

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23 Comments / Post A Comment

catspajemmas (#5,759)

Plus, all those sexy lady blazers! I want to completely re-do my wardrobe so it’s just trim blazers with interesting collar notches.

Aunt Scar (#5,377)

Elsbeth Tascioni. THe episode where she gets L/G in to help her when she gets thrown in jail and essentially forces Alicia into the Tascioni Method of Life taught me something hugely important: the person who knows herself best, doesn’t apologize, and plays to her strengths is the strongest woman in the room.

readyornot (#816)

I also finally heeded a good friend’s call to watch the Good Wife (2.5 seasons in the last 2 months). And I LOVE it. In my dreams my recommending friend, Meghan, and Logan are all on gchat while I’m watching it.

But shouldn’t we be recommending not just to women but to men? Role modeling professional women and family care choices, etc. On the stepping-in-it note, what I find hard is that we have to stomach a world when someone smarmy like Peter Florrick automatically gets career precedence over Alicia. And it seems sad, if she loves her job so much, that she gave it up for so long, though totally in line with the real world.

As far as PASSION FOR [OUR JOBS], their kind of law is pretty easy to rouse passions. In the courtroom every week? Seeing real, immediate results of their work and preparation? Extremely minimal, if any, document review and mind-numbing meetings? I would never watch a show that showed what lawyers really do, but it’s easy to see how they can be so excited about this fantasy version.

Poubelle (#2,186)

@readyornot I know a bunch of men who watch it! And at least one started because I kept talking about how great it was.

(Speaking of men watching Good Wife: If I talk to my dad too close to Sunday nights, I’ll inevitably get a monologue on the greatness of Eli Gold. I am pretty sure my dad is trying to figure out if there’s some kind of magic spell he can do to swap out Rahm Emmanuel for the fictional character he inspired. My dad’s distaste for his hometown’s mayor is as great as his love for Eli.)

Lily Rowan (#70)

@Poubelle If we’re swapping Rahm Emanuel-based characters, can we get Josh Lyman??

OllyOlly (#669)

@Poubelle I saw on a run down of TV ratings(Vulture), that only ~260,000 men under 35 watch the show, of their almost 12mil viewers. We need to get men on the train.

MeghanNesmith (#5,767)

@OllyOlly Yes, concur. More men! To be fair, my dad was another vocal proponent for years. Thanks, dad.

readyornot (#816)

@Lily Rowan @Poubelle I think Josh Lyman is unfortunately spoken for by Trophy Wife! (someday there will be a think piece about the point-counterpoint of the Good Wife and Trophy Wife.)

I was mostly talking about the title with the recommending to men thing! Currently in the process of pleading with my lawyer husband to watch it, need something that resonates. This conversation might actually do it, but he has to want to read it.

CaddyFdot (#2,686)

I have not (YET) watched this show, but I do have a comment about apologizing! I have a coworker who is constantly apologizing for things, and it made me realize there is a certain point where it turns into that person’s way of demanding you reassure and soothe their insecurities rather than because a Thing Happened that needs an apology. That’s the point where NOT apologizing so much makes you more likable! Are you apologizing because there’s something specific you need to apologize for, or are you apologizing to assuage your own general anxiety?

j a y (#3,935)

It’s a great show, with great women characters. I’m always hesitant, though, to endorse comparing ourselves to fictional characters. They’re strong, great, amazing because they’re written to be that way.

Meanwhile, we poor schmucks in reality don’t measure up. Not saying that we shouldn’t aspire to the qualities that we admire in these characters. But we shouldn’t beat ourselves up unfairly either!

Trilby (#191)

Where are you watching it? It’s not on Netflix. Download?

OllyOlly (#669)

@Trilby HULU PLUS

MeghanNesmith (#5,767)

@Trilby Amazon Prime! Again – thanks, dad.

@Trilby It’s on Canadian Netflix! It’s so rare that Canadian Netflix has something so good that the American one doesn’t!

This is a very timely post because I believe it only recently showed up on Canadian Netflix, so I have been binge watching it over the last couple weeks. We just finished season 2, and I imagine we will get through a good chunk of season 3 this weekend.

Lily Bart (#5,766)

It’s on Amazon Prime! I’ve been working my way slowly through and am in Season Two now. As a working mother, I find a lot of resonance in the portrayal of Alicia, even though I’m not married to a cheating politician (or charismatic Chris Noth, even). I love that fabulous Christine Baranski gets to be a fully realized character instead of a shrew or old bat, and I LOVE the friendship between Alicia and the enigmatic Kalindra.

OllyOlly (#669)

I am obsessed with this show and will not stop talking about it to all my friends, none of whom watch it. I started casually having it on after the Amazing Race, and then this season hooked me and I am going back and watching from the beginning. Season 2 was just phenomenal. Seriously, everyone just pretend it airs on AMC.

daysgoby (#3,610)

All this conversation about women relationships and nothing on Alicia and Kalinda’s friendship? :\ :\ :\

MeghanNesmith (#5,767)

@daysgoby I have so many thoughts on that. Deserves a whole new chat.

readyornot (#816)

@MeghanNesmith let’s have it!

idrathernot (#5,853)

@daysgoby YES. No mention of Kalinda?? She is amazing, as is her relationship with Alicia.

SterlingCooper05 (#2,529)

The Good Wife: the best show on network TV! I’ve watched since the beginning and DVR every new episode. Include me and my dad in the 260,000 men that watch the show. Maybe it’s the title that scares them off? I mentioned to friends that I watch it and they laugh, but they have never seen an episode and don’t really know what it’s about.

laluchita (#2,195)

EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS! The Good Wife is so good! Even in its uneven seasons (which this season has been) it’s still incredible. And in addition to amazing career women, its portrayal of women’s sexuality is also fantastic. I mean, there’s Kalinda, obviously, but I’m also amazed by how powerful and confident Alicia is in her sexual relationships with both Will and Peter. SOOOO GOOD! Also I love that Alicia gets to be a reasonable atheist who is slightly weirded out by her daughter’s religious fervor!

@laluchita Yes! I loved the scene where she and Maddy both out themselves as atheists at considerable political risk to themselves.

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