So this episode was where we got to find out the answer to the question the Kings have perhaps unwittingly posed: Is it easier to write a great ten-episode season than a great twenty-two-episode season? Or, more specifically, would having a ten-episode season enable the Kings to write a flawlessly brilliant season, as they often implied it would? For background, the Kings, bless their hearts, sometimes responded to implied criticisms of The Good Wife‘s more uneven moments with the defense that cable television shows have it so durn easy with only ten episodes a year. So now that the first season of The Good Fight is over, we can see if their theory panned out!
1×7 “Not So Grand Jury”
In this episode, the Rindell-on-Rindell betrayals continue apace, as does the trend of new-fangled technology providing key evidence.
In this episode, The Good Fight takes on one of the thorniest issues currently facing the tech world—and by extension, the actual world—when Neil Gross comes to the firm and asks them to come up with a plan of action for him to deal with trolls and racist or misogynistic harassment on his social media platform.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
An amazing human on the internet wrote a hilarious in-depth study of the art collection of Mike and Carol Brady (at wearethemutants.com, found via Longreads). Favorite excerpt: “The wall space in the office vestibule suffered three different paintings in five years. This had a disorienting effect on the kids and may explain why Greg once abducted a goat.”
Margaret Atwood, whose Handmaid’s Tale is going to be on Hulu soon, penned an essay about the book’s sudden relevance to the events of today (via NYTimes).
Vulture writes of The Good Fight‘s strange dualities and inner contradictions. The article is full of clever and unexpected insights. The one thing I think they miss is the duality of the white privilege on the show–the white characters are forced to confront their privilege, yet they are only front-and-center on this show because of an inherently conservative TV structure where known quantities (more likely to be white) get top billing.
We can never resist a good long article on Rebecca Solnit, feminist hero, and inventor of mansplaining. (via Elle)
Well, it was probably inevitable that, at some point, The Good Fight, which opened its pilot with a closeup of a second-wave feminist watching Trump’s inauguration in absolute horror, would eventually take a bigger swing at the president. In this episode, they really go for it, portraying a case whose entire outcome is swayed by one ill-thought-out tweet from the President himself.
In this episode, Matthew Perry returns to the universe of The Good Fight as Mike Kresteva, the cunning, shameless liar who made life hell for Alicia back in The Good Wife. He is so deep in the role as to be almost unrecognizable as the erstwhile Chandler Bing—it literally took me almost a full episode the first time he showed up, to realize that he was who he was. And he’s fun.
So here’s what I’m wondering: has a high-quality premium cable-style show ever also been a classic procedural, with single-episode cases of the week?
We know that the prestige premium cable drama is the model The Good Fight’s going after. The Kings frequently defended themselves against any The Good Wife-directed snarking that they had to write 22 episodes a year, and it’s not easy to maintain tight-as-a-drum plot development with that pace of work. Now, with The Good Fight, they’ve landed themselves on a paying-subscribers-only location, with twelve episodes a season. But as we’re learning, a slower pace of production and a more expensive outlet doesn’t mean the drama is inherently deeper.
This week seems to be the week that male pop culture figures do surprising things.
- Tom Hanks is publishing a book of short stories … about typewriters (via AV Club). Which kind of makes me think he played the wrong part in You’ve Got Mail.
- Chuck Palahniuk has published a coloring book (via Paste). This interview also reveals another famous-man-doing-surprising-things factoid: Stephen King privately distributes a small novel as a Christmas gift each year.
Critics are really liking The Good Fight–possibly more than we did. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 100% so far!
- Pop Matters writes, “The Good Fight is great. It’s not good, friends. It’s great.” This one’s really interesting because it sees the whole “you can only get it if you pay CBS $6 a month for their shitty streaming service” not as a perverse form of self-sabotage on the part of the network (which is how I saw it) but as a signal of glass-ceiling breaking: a female-led, racially diverse drama being used as the draw for a premium service. A really good point!
- The Hollywood Reporter writes that the show has “above-average brains, structure and humor, the kind of strong mainstream network drama that’s always welcome, only with cursing.” Ahh, the cursing!
- Michael Ausiello gives it only a B+ but writes, “Baranski makes a helluva leading lady.”
The Good Fight, Robert and Michelle King’s spinoff of The Good Wife, stars Christine Baranski, Rose Leslie, and Cush Jumbo as three women working at a Chicago law firm. The show’s predecessor was a critically acclaimed drama with a similar setting. Can the spinoff live up to its example (and draw enough of an audience to persuade people to sign up for CBS: All Access)?
Because of library software that automates purging of unpopular books, these librarians created a fake patron to “save” the unpopular titles they believed were too valuable to be purged. Boing Boing writes, “The problem here isn’t the collection of data: it’s the blind adherence to data over human judgment, the use of data as a shackle rather than a tool.”
There’s a new full trailer for The Good Fight. The trailer is very, “See? Aren’t you glad it’s on CBS: All Access? It has bare butts! And the f-word!” And I’m embarrassed to say it worked on me.
Avid.ly, LARB’s fan blog, argues that Gilmore Girls’ obsession with Clinton was just papering over their Reagan-esque neoliberalism. Fascinating piece.
This little infographic about 11 Disney Princesses whose eyes are literally bigger than their stomachs reminds me of me and my sister’s first act of feminist activism: angry handwritten letters to Disney about their princesses’ unrealistic bodies.