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The Good Wife and Entitlement: “I’m Marie Antoinette”

10 Nov

After the praise comes the negative feedback as Alicia hears the unfiltered thoughts of a focus group participant and spends the episode obsessing about it. While The Good Wife doesn’t go to the same lengths as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation after a guy suggested something similar – he couldn’t see himself bowling or having a beer with Leslie – Alicia does learn some important campaign lessons from this incident while imbuing some very good advice to Cary also pertaining to an entitled attitude.

the good wife 6.08Every detail of Alicia’s life is being scrutinized from her religious affiliation to her achievements and her marriage is going to play a big part in someone’s general perception of her. For one older woman standing by Peter is a big tick in the Alicia column, whereas Sally a younger voter sees this as a negative point and she is the one who we see going back and forth on her Alicia opinions. Prior to Alicia announcing her candidacy the most anyone would know about her is from the press conference where she stood by Peter’s side and that was over five years ago; they are really reintroducing her to Chicago as a successful lawyer who has set up her own firm and for some it is hard to see beyond the woman who was all meek and pale while her husband admitted to sleeping with prostitutes.

A few weeks ago Alicia was getting nothing but praise as Eli was trying to convince her to run and this wasn’t just from a regular Sally, nope this was Valerie Jarrett and Gloria Steinem who were telling her she would make an excellent State’s Attorney. With Steinem it went a step further as she saw flashes of her bathed in a god like glow (mirroring the blue stage lights) telling her how amazing she is. This week they played with this notion of inner voice in a different way with an imagined version of Sally who made the initial entitled comment. In these scenarios she is both favorable and even more negative towards Alicia and while Alicia eye rolls at herself for this inner dialogue she still indulges in this behavior.

Negative comments like this that strike at the core of who Alicia is as a person are way more likely to cause obsession than if someone is complimentary so when Eli and Johnny tell her not to obsess about it this is a futile demand as all she can hear are the words ‘entitled’ and ‘selfish.’ And all she can see is this scrunched up face of disapproval:

the good wife 6.08Obsess is what Alicia does about these remarks and this calls for a chat with her new favorite drinking buddy who just so happens to be in his new office on the 27th floor. The current chair situation is the window sill so it’s a good thing Alicia brought her own glasses and whiskey. It is much quieter that their usual bar haunts and if a security photo of Finn leaving her building could harm her campaign couldn’t these very public bar meet ups do just the same amount for rumor stirring? I digress and Finn is currently confidant number one for checking in and dealing with any ‘how was your day?’ questions.

Finn is the only non family member/colleague/campaign person who is close to Alicia in any way and she doesn’t mind being vulnerable in front of him, most likely because when she first met him she was at her lowest ebb. There is a connection that goes beyond anything romantic that may or may not happen in the future (yes I yelled make out at the screen for the second week in a row) and Alicia is far less guarded with Finn than she currently is with anyone else on the show. Finn has also been told in the past that he is obsessed with his own pain/achievements by his ex-wife (the fact that she is now referred to as his ex-wife is also important in terms of future hook ups as it reinforces his singledom) and there is common ground here too.

In what was not meant to be a photo op Finn suggests to Alicia that she come volunteer at the same soup kitchen as he does – flirty banter times one million with the word saint being bandied around – and when she turns up in her super expensive suit from court they joke about what she is wearing. What is a joke between them including how he dresses down well (“you know I have a consultant”) turns into a bad news item for Alicia as she is photographed washing what looks like a clean pan while on the phone and in her fancy attire. This is not a good look to stop those entitlement claims and Alicia fixates on the already clean aspect of the pot the story is reporting. It is a small detail, but because she did actually do the cleaning it really pisses her off. The photo itself is kind of hilarious as it does make her look out of touch and shows just how easy it is to use the Saint Alicia brand against her. It’s the quotation marks around “works” that has got to hurt.

the good wife 6.08 Saint AliciaWhat this demonstrates is how naive Alicia is with campaigning and the press even though she has been through this process with Peter on several occasions. The soup kitchen was never meant to be a photo op situation and yet it became one as pretty much everyone has a camera in their pocket. Eli and Johnny are both incredibly experienced with every aspect of a campaign and Alicia finally gives herself over to them after this turns into a PR disaster. Protesting against using this as a moment to sell herself Alicia relents and goes through with an actual photo op dressed in suitably casual clothing – which explains this behind the scenes photo – although I’m surprised that Sally didn’t find this to be just as disingenuous as it is clearly a second attempt to get this moment right (even though the initial photo wasn’t staged). Alicia doesn’t actually have to become a better person, she just has to appear that way to the voters and if she really wants to be a good person; Eli will tell her “where to send the check.”

Alicia isn’t just getting called entitled, she is using it as a way to get through to Cary as his testimony in the mock trial is pretty much him raging and coming across terribly on the fake stand. If he does this in real court a jury will find him guilty. While Alicia has been mostly absent on commenting on strategy she does give him some excellent advice as he is so lost in his own indignation, he is making it impossible for anyone else to see the injustice. Cary is acting like a privileged brat and it is a front to cover how scared he really is; Matt Czuchry is doing a stellar job at showing the rage and fear. His ties and shirts continue to pattern clash including paisley and stripes followed by stripes and plaid. Cary still looks good, but the bold attire doesn’t do enough to cover the cracks. And never make jokes about Beyonce, the Beygency is always watching.

The good Wife 6.08 CaryPart of him is all “I could never go to jail for 10 years” but the way he shakes the desk and yells at Diane reveals he is aware of the possibility and he can’t quite believe it. Kalinda has been a stabilizing factor, however she can’t be all that he wants her to be and not just because of the 30 feet rule that has been imposed as she is still in a relationship with Lana. It is hard to tell how much Kalinda cares for someone as there is always an aspect of self-preservation, but the hair down softer side and the breaking of the card Bishop gave her indicates this is more than just sex and a good opportunity to get information.

There is a variety of gender politics on display this week including the ripped from the headlines case involving rape on a college campus and how the universities are failing to protect their students. The focus group is told about this case and there is a divide in the room with it kicking off when one of the men refers to Alicia as a feminist activist like it is a bad thing. It is an important issue and The Good Wife has a track history of highlighting these kinds of real life crimes in a fictionalized form without sensationalizing it. Entitlement and perception comes into play with questions of how much alcohol was consumed and the only reason this student is expelled is due to a drug infraction. They win the case without really winning it.

We continue down the Alicia is still learning about campaigning tour with a valuable lesson of listen to Eli and Johnny, don’t fixate on one comment and accept that perhaps thanks to your privileged position you will come across as entitled. Also give good advice to your colleague who is in danger of going to prison and don’t listen to Eli when it comes to which cases you take on no matter how much it might impact your campaign as some things are worth more than voter points. Oh and now it’s just Alicia versus Prady as Castro has dropped out in a curiously out of the blue fashion.

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One Response to “The Good Wife and Entitlement: “I’m Marie Antoinette””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Can Alicia Florrick be Her Own Boss on The Good Wife? | TV Ate My Wardrobe - October 5, 2015

    […] to as the judge keeps freezing her out because he thinks she is going to waste his time and Marie Antoinette all over the place. Luckily for Alicia she gets a helping hand from fellow bond lawyer Lucca Quinn […]

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