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Who is the Hypocrite on The Good Wife?

3 Nov

The desire to run for political office can be motivated by many things and The Good Wife has featured several characters stating honest and clean intentions. As Alicia is now running it has intensified the focus on campaign strategy and opened her up to a whole new level of scrutinization. In “Message Discipline” Alicia flails revealing weakness in how savvy she is when the preparation hasn’t covered all ground. Alicia also accuses the new opponent Frank Prady of being a hypocrite and while Prady seems sincere it is hard to buy his good intentions speechifying as plenty state honesty and are anything but.

The Good Wife 6.07 AliciaLast week I discussed compromise and how Alicia had to make certain omissions about her belief system (in that she is an atheist and yet claimed otherwise during an interview) to stay in this race. Who is the hypocrite now? Even though it didn’t sit well with her, she still went ahead and played along using Grace for religious prep and citing a ‘struggle’ when it comes to religion; really the struggle is with politics. Alicia and family are two disconnected entities at the moment so when Frank talks about the Florrick family sitting at the dinner table talking politics this image seemed far from anything we have ever seen. Have we ever seen them have a dinner with just the four of them? If so it was very long ago as on other occasions Jackie or Veronica have been present and it has been chaos. Relationships are fraught as their marriage is a sham and Zach got an earful over the phone a few weeks ago regarding the abortion that Alicia only became aware of during oppo research. The abortion is referenced this week during interview prep and rather than giving the restrained answer, Alicia lets rip at Johnny (who is role playing as Prady) showing the full force of why you don’t go after Alicia Florrick’s family. This is something they can work with as controlled passion is fine, but don’t say ‘horseshit’ (which of course gets blanked out and in doing so it drives this point home). BS is fine.

The personal and the political are intertwined and previously Alicia had some say in limiting the access to their children, but now as she is running there are going to be plenty of softball questions about her family. This includes the ‘how do you find the time?’ opener that totally throws Alicia during her interview with Prady. Alicia is all about preparation and she is constantly taking notes; when something unexpected takes place Alicia finds it hard to react accordingly and she comes across as cold and stilted.

Alicia Florrick is one of my favorite characters on television and I love to see her mess up like this. Flawed, messy and complicated are all attributes I am drawn to and of course Saint Alicia is a brand construction that has little to do with the Alicia we have been watching for the past 5 years and she has made plenty of mistakes over this time. Very few of these flaws are seen by the public and now she is out of her comfort zone, which means there is a higher chance she will make mistakes on a larger stage. This occurs in “Message Discipline” as Frank Prady gets a series of gotcha moments (I wonder what horrors we didn’t see) going for the softball family questions when Alicia had prepped for abortion, affair and criminal activity. Her “I’m going home to get drunk” remark is meant to be a joke, but we know there is a bottle of red wine and a rather large glass waiting for her. Or at least another bar meeting with Finn (just make out already).

There are similarities between Frank Prady and Alicia if he is to be believed as they were both courted by an outside party and convinced to run for State’s Attorney. The other big similarity (also *if* Prady is being honest and who the hell knows if he is) is they both only entered after someone came after them with a personal attack as Alicia was tipped by Castro taunting her regarding Will’s death (and with Gloria Steinem’s encouragement) and an essay leak prompts Prady’s decision to enter. This is a piece of work Alicia didn’t want leaking and if he is telling the truth then Eli and Johnny made a mistake in alerting Castro to this essay. Of course Prady could be full of shit and his nice guy demeanor might all be part of his campaign strategy. It does feel like Alicia is making a mistake by calling him a hypocrite as she is basically doing to him what Castro did to her by making it personal. Prady’s unannounced visit is enough to rattle her and seeing Alicia reaching for her glasses and pretending to do work when he comes in is hilarious in how transparent it is.

Johnny and Eli are a dream team of scheming and manipulation when it comes to campaigning and while Eli knows Alicia very well (he still misjudges the whole Prady leak) they can’t prepare her for everything and it is clear much more work needs to be done. They know politics and Alicia knows the game to a certain point, but her involvement up to now has been very much as a periphery player and how many of her values can she really hold onto now she wants to win? Alicia does still say no to the things she thinks are dumb or beneath her, but she is malleable and it is up to Johnny and Eli to mold Alicia into a viable candidate and this includes doing the things that seem stupid.

The Good Wife 6.07A quick note on costuming before I turn my attention to the Cary situation and the episode is bookended with simple monochrome outfits while Alicia is at the office. The two jackets Alicia wears while visiting Prady are striking and she is wearing richer power colors for the campaign in contrast with her general work attire of late, which has been sticking to neutrals.

The Good Wife 6.07 blueThe blue Escada* toggle jacket (with matching toggle-detail dress**) contrasts with Prady’s burgundy tie (which mirrors the color of Alicia’s jacket during their first meeting) and yet she ends up blurring into the blue of the background. It is bold jacket and strong blue tone, but she doesn’t stand out here and it is indicative of how horrible this experience is for Alicia.

*The tuxedo style jacket Alicia wears in the final scene is also Escada and this outfit instantly reminded me of this season 5 outfit when Alicia returned to L/G for the first time after the big split (this jacket is also by Escada).

** Update! The Escada toggle dress and jacket despite looking very similar is not what Alicia is wearing in the above scene instead as per costume designer Daniel Lawson it is a Pucci suit. 

While Alicia has to scramble for half of the episode, Cary continues his journey down shitstorm alley when Finn discovers yet another potentially devastating piece of evidence relating to Cary and Lemond Bishop’s drug empire. Cary is also dealing with the Kalinda 3o foot rule and never has an iMessage conversation been so sad on television. The longing looks that punctuate this conversation between Cary and Kalinda is matched by the equally heart wrenching phone conversation at their new former offices. Their office space has walls now, but when they are made of glass they are perfect for intense and emotional forbidden discussion moments. They can’t stand next to each other and yet these are some of the most intimate interactions we’ve seen between this pair. Castro’s desire to get Cary has nothing to do with Cary; it is all Alicia related so it makes it worse that Alicia is so preoccupied with her campaign she has no idea just how much shit Cary is in. A desperate last minute ‘good luck in court’ is not enough. Alicia promised last week they would work at this as a team and so far she is failing to come through with this claim; their relationship is already strained and I wonder how much more Cary can take.

Finn has quit the SA office as a result of Castro’s tunnel vision with this case so if Alicia does win this frees up any kind of power disparity between the pair. There also happens to be a whole floor of office space available and late nights are very much a thing on the cards. Finn still can’t reveal anything about the Cary case to Alicia, but maybe after a few more drinks he will spill.

Alicia hasn’t always been the confident lawyer she is today and her campaign missteps are reminiscent of her early court days. Someone else who bears a resemblance to Alicia is Ramona; the mother of the intern who favored sans underwear and a Florrick family friend. Like Alicia, Ramona is returning to the law after raising her family and Alicia ends up asking all the questions she got when she also came back to her former profession. There is warmth here amid the slightly patronizing tone and Alicia really hasn’t kept up to date with her friends from her ‘good wife’ days. Ramona has good instincts where she lacks in confidence and I have a suspicion there might be a Peter/Ramona connection a la Will and Alicia, as Peter stumped for her in the same way Will did for Alicia in the beginning.

When it was just Castro versus Alicia it was about the bad versus the good with a dollop of personal animosity in the mix; now Prady has entered the race the dynamic has completely changed. The energy David Hyde Pierce brings in this first episode is entirely different as his temperament is very mild mannered, but beneath the surface he comes across as incredibly savvy and I am so happy to have him on board to mess with both Alicia and Castro.

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One Response to “Who is the Hypocrite on The Good Wife?”

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  1. Feeling Bad on The Good Wife | TV Ate My Wardrobe - March 2, 2015

    […] is far from the first time we have talked about this idea of being good nor is it the first time Alicia has discussed it in […]

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