Tag Archives: Daniel Lawson

Throwing in the Towel on The Good Wife

28 Mar

All the pieces are moving into place as we enter the final stretch of this final Good Wife season and “Unmanned” shifts things further forward with some big declarations of the quitting variety. Over at the firm yet another reshuffle is in the works and the enthusiasm with which Cary is fighting it mirrors how tired this particularly plot point is and it is one the writers acknowledge in his conversation with Alicia. The staring at the ceiling is another good indicator of how tiresome this game of musical firms has become. In fact the word ‘tired’ is in frequent use this week from Cary’s demeanor and general feelings to Alicia’s reaction to her visit from Peter at the end of the episode; she is too tired to fight him on this whole divorce thing.

Oh yes about that and it was pretty wonderful to hear Alicia utter those four magical words as she continues to give none of the fucks this season. Peter has cockblocked her one too many times and now she isn’t going to stand for this charade they call a marriage, but Peter being Peter is in political and legal trouble so he needs a favor. That favor being quite a big one as he is willing to grant Alicia’s divorce wish with a caveat; it will take place after the whole indictment business is over. If anyone gets a whiff of Alicia’s plan then it will look like she is leaving him because he is guilty and as with where The Good Wife started he needs her standing by his side.The Good Wife 7.18 AliciaWe don’t get to see Alicia’s answer this week and in the past I would have automatically assumed it would be a yes. While I am still inclined to believe that Alicia is likely to stand by Peter (for the sake of the kids), there is part of me that thinks she will heed Ruth’s recent advice; if Peter goes down then he might end up taking her down with him and she has worked hard to get to where she is now. The Florrick name has opened many doors and in fact this name is part of Diane’s argument as to why Alicia should become a named partner. That name might become poison, but a divorce might protect Alicia from the fallout.

Not that this is why she has finally got to this point and it isn’t about Peter interrupting her very happy sex schedule either; she’s just tired of this shit that comes with being married to Peter even though they haven’t lived together in years and as with Cary’s decision she just can’t be bothered any more. For Cary he can just walk away and think about his options, it is slightly more complicated in Alicia’s case because of this very real indictment that isn’t just going to go away. Excellent use of a black trench with Alicia making her entrance and feelings very clear when she walked in unannounced into Peter’s office. It has been a good week for this classic garment.

Last week I discussed how The Good Wife is not going to end with Alicia in love; that isn’t what this show is about and if it was well that all ended when Will died. In fact Peter scoffs at what he believes are Alicia’s romantic notions delivering the low blow of “This must be true love. Again.” That knife twist doesn’t get the response he was probably expecting as Alicia tells him “This is me not caring” and I love it when Alicia is in this kind of mood. Love has nothing to do with what has been going on with Jason. Instead this is Alicia having fun for the first time in 20 years with a man that she doesn’t have deeper ties to. It isn’t like Will with their bad timing and complicated work/life setup and it isn’t a Peter repeat having to perform the role of ‘the good wife.’ Currently there are no strings other than the really amazing sex they are having right now.

Striking the work/life balance comes into focus with the return of Anna Camp as former Lockhart/Gardner junior associate Caitlin. Caitlin left back in season 3 to start a family and she has just returned to practicing the law, coming up against Diane and Alicia in court this week. Way back when Alicia advised her not to make the same mistakes she did by focusing on family instead of work and she tells Alicia “I guess you were right. I never should’ve left.” Caitlin is now separated from her husband (who she mentions is in Las Vegas with a telling nod) and she is raising her daughter alone, but Alicia disagrees with this sentiment now. And I’m wondering if this is just a one off appearance from Camp or whether Caitlin will be asked to join the new yet to be re-titled firm.

One costuming aspect to note with Caitlin is that she has taken style cues from both Diane and Alicia.The Good Wife 7.17 CaitlinThe Good Wife 7.18 CaitlinBoth black and white and the floral is distinctly Diane. The first one is more Alicia and reminds me a little of one of my ultimate fave Alicia costumes.

One person whose style is very much her own is Lucca and this week’s Lucca outfit delight comes courtesy of this RED Valentino cherry print number.The Good Wife 7.18 LuccaExcellent clothing aside, Lucca is in the less than fun position of being caught in the middle between what is going on at the top of the firm and she gets to hear David Lee emphatically declare “I outrank Alicia” when he tasks her with a huge (and probably pointless) assignment. Cush Jumbo works wonders with the tiny amount that she has been given in this latter half of the season, but would it be too much to ask for her to get a something more to do than being Alicia’s sounding board?

David Lee’s plan evolves this week from challenging Diane’s all lady power structure to welcoming it with a twist; he now wants to rinse the firm for everything they have and leave it in pieces. Cary has had enough of this power play structure and with four episodes to go he quits the firm. This season has not been good to Cary what with his battle with Howard and whatever the hell else he has been up to and it is unclear what these final few episodes have in store for him. One thing is Peter’s indictment as he has been subpoenaed – most likely because of his time working for him – and he warns Alicia this is “not good.”The Good Wife 7.18 CarySomeone else who is feeling the heat with this case is Eli who has been put in the ultimate catch-22 situation; either he helps bring Peter down or Marissa will be forced to testify against Eli regarding that little bit of warning a judge about a bribery sting operation. Awkward. Eli enlists Diane as his lawyer and she works her magic for now, but this is not going away. The case against Peter was why Eli originally came on board the Florrick train and it is fitting in a way that this is how the series is playing out for Eli.

The question is who will stand by Peter; Alicia, Eli, anyone?

Repeating the Cycle on The Good Wife

13 Apr

Alicia Florrick has tried to break the mold in how she ran her campaign on The Good Wife including not going negative and up to now she has managed to win by using this slightly unconventional method. This all ends in “Winning Ugly” as she tries to go against the system and prove she won this race fairly. What she finds out is you can only be so much of a political outlier and the needs of the party far outweigh those of the individual. And for all Alias viewers you know you should be cautious if Ron Rifkin is representing you; the Arvin Sloane backstabbing is to be expected and here he replaces Rambaldi with the Democratic Party. Less prophecies and fancy devices involved.

The Good Wife 6.19 Winning UglyThere is a sense of déjà vu in the goings on at the firm thanks to Kalinda’s tampering with evidence in Cary’s case and now they are back in a similar position with Diane facing jail time unless she testifies against Bishop. Now they have Finn in their corner rather than opposing them, but even he can’t find something to get out of this hole despite his best efforts and the magnificent use of the word ‘exquisite.’ The judge remarks how there has been more remakes of this case than Spider-Man as they are back in the same position we left them in earlier this season. One thing this does is give Kalinda, Cary and Diane a storyline with purpose as ever since Cary was cleared they have been in plot limbo; the somewhat manufactured conflict with Alicia and babysitting Bishop’s son has been far from compelling. Cary has particularly suffered since he has been released in terms of being insignificant and while I don’t want to see him putting himself in a dangerous position with Bishop it is better than standing still.

Diane’s statement jewelry was missing for most the episode as she stuck to bold jackets and simple dresses. There weren’t even any brooches in sight. The black and white jacket she wore when admitting the evidence she submitted had been falsified is chaotic and distracting; the symbolism extends to the blurring of right and wrong in this instance.

the Good Wife 6.19 Diane black and whiteLater on in court Diane has her trust chunky chain necklace on, but she’s paired it with a pale pink blazer and this is a very un-Diane Lockhart color. Cary delivers such an excellent WTF squint here.

The Good Wife 6.19 Cary and DianeThe recent email hack has led to division at the firm and something as monumental as this could fracture matters further. At the moment everyone is in protection mode with Cary and Kalinda both positioning themselves in a manner suggesting they will sacrifice themselves (remember Archie Panjabi is leaving at the end of the season). This tableau mirrors the one from a few weeks ago and instead Finn is now on Diane’s side and Alicia is not present at all; how will she take it when she inevitably returns to work and finds herself on the outside of everything?

the good wife 6.19 officeReturn she must as Alicia’s winning dream has crashed and burned; her attempt at winning in a fair and just manner has failed. The device placed in those machines almost circled back to the voting fraud from Peter’s election, fraud which Will knew about but an investigation that died along with him. Peter was placed in the firing line several times throughout the episode from this moment to the threat that if Alicia didn’t step down then she would be destroyed and Peter could also be collateral. In politics it is all rather utilitarian with decisions made factoring what will be the most beneficial to the party. Alicia is far down that pecking order and so she must be sacrificed.

Alicia winning the race was not a surprise, but it didn’t occur to me during the build-up that she might win and then not get to take the SA position. Chicago politics is full of corruption allegations so it should not have come as a shocker and The Good Wife is all about the twists and turns along the way. Her lawyer, Spencer Randolph appears to be a good guy who Alicia, Marissa and the panel are all enamored with and his betrayal is swift and brutal. As I mentioned in the introduction anyone who watched Alias is familiar with Ron Rifkin playing this kind of character and yet I was still taken back when he went for Alicia’s jugular.

In terms of costuming Alicia flips between her power color of red when they first appear in front of the panel, to dark muted colors and ending on dress/jacket two piece which resembles and apron from the top half (ooh back to the whole wife imagery) and as with Diane’s jacket is rather chaotic in appearance. The smiles in this photo are not representative of how Alicia ends the episode; she steps out of the elevator (!) where her eyes have been brimming with tears and she collapses sobbing into Peter’s arms. After their more than civil chat over wine last week followed by this embrace, this relationship is the best it has been in a long time. All they needed was a political scandal to bring them together.

The Good Wife 6.19 Alicia and EliAt the start of the episode we see Alicia obsessively watching the news as she sits close to the TV alternating by turning the volume down when it goes full negative to turning it up when in her favor. What is important here is Alicia is wearing her sadness sweats and the last time we saw her in this attire was just after Will died and she told Peter their marriage was over except for in name. This is how we know Alicia is in a bad place mentally despite how much of a brave face she puts on. In part because of the fraud allegations, but also because her relationship with Will is playing all over the news and internet and she keeps having to repeat a lie.

The Good Wife 6.19 AliciaEverything is falling apart both for Alicia and at the firm; will they come together in this time of need?

Divisions on The Good Wife: Emails, Negotiations and How to Say No Without Saying No

30 Mar

The Good Wife was always going to do a story relating to one of the recent hacks (Sony, iCloud) and they’ve saved it for when Alicia is at her most vulnerable. The most obvious timing would be to use it prior to the election, but this would have probably made her victory unlikely and so they saved it for just after when it could still be just as devastating. I didn’t write about last week’s episode as I was away and while Alicia winning was not a surprise; the day of Halo playing, her victory red, Marissa’s continued employment and Diane’s hunting attire are things I would have loved to write about.

The election story was becoming a little stale with Alicia set adrift from the rest of the show and the hacked email plot brings her back into the fold while also alienating her at the same time. By the end of the episode they are safe from the hack and yet the story is now out there and someone still has two years worth of very incriminating emails at their disposal. What if Alicia getting elected and then failing to actually make it into office is going to be how this season plays out?

The Good Wife 6.17 aliciaAlicia starts the episode in bold white; she’s won and is comfortable in telling the many visitors stopping by her gift packed office that she won’t bow to their every whim no matter how much money they gave or what unwritten rules exist. Soon Eli graces her still very muffin/champagne/ornament filled room to let Alicia know she is doing it all wrong and how this is a game which involves a more diplomatic and roundabout way of saying no. Meanwhile Finn is negotiating her exit package and the amount being offered is not enough to get both Zach and Grace through college (what about Peter’s salary?) and there’s a lot of posturing going on. Just look at the positioning of everyone as they talk figures:

the Good Wife 6.17 negotiatingDiane is clearly in charge in the seated position flanked on either side by one person who wants to give Alicia the money (Cary) and two who are very opposed to this notion (Julius – oh hi! – and David Lee). At the end of the episode after email revelations and seeing Alicia in a friendly chat with Castro the positions change with Cary joining David Lee and Julius on the very little money side.

the good wife 6.17 negotiating part 2The division between Alicia and her partners has been plotted in a rather unsatisfactory manner as there’s been just one big blowup argument and not much else to suggest dissatisfaction at her distance from the firm and her decision to run. Contentious moments between Diane, Cary and Alicia have always existed as we are reminded by the emails and subsequent remarks but not enough to earn this feeling of dissolution; one forced argument does not a rift make and it would play so much better if the groundwork had been laid out over time in an organic fashion. The offer Alicia gets is small and Finn scoffs at the amount. Alicia uses Eli’s words of advice as to how to say no without saying no (dude needs to write a book) and they take this to be a threat of some kind. If it all does implode for Alicia with her new job will there be a position for her back at the firm or is she blowing up too many bridges?

Alicia’s emails are absent from the initial release as she has been using her campaign email for the last four months and she ignores Eli’s advice about preemptive apologizing going to Finn to say sorry for saying his spine was made of cottage cheese. Finn is the only one who receives such an apology and it is interesting that Alicia is making sure her relationship with Finn stays strong as opposed to anyone at the firm. This goes beyond the flirty feelings I want them to act on and he is someone Alicia wants to keep close, so much so that she offers him the coveted number two position at the SA office. A job he is uncertain of taking for one reason or another.

The Good Wife 6.17 black and white suitOne thing I do want to note about the black and white ensemble Alicia wears at the end of the episode is the similarity between this and the one she wore when she first returned to Lockhart/Gardner in season 5 for the first time after she left the firm; this was another occasion which involved sitting across from Diane and David Lee. There is a control and confidence in this attire, no it’s not her power color of red but there is something about Alicia in black and white which suggests defiance.

Speaking of statement dressing at the office there is no one who accessorizes quite like Diane Lockhart starting with the power pebble necklace:

The Good Wife 6.17 Diane pebble necklaceMoving onto a subtle but distinctive brooch as the email scandal takes hold:

The Good Wife 6.17 DianeAnd ending on a necklace which isn’t quite up to the usual oomph category; it’s part leopard print, part multiple smaller link chains and while it is certainly stylish it doesn’t give off the same level of confidence as her statement jewelry usually does.

The Good Wife 6.17 Diane LockhartOne thing “Undisclosed Receipts” definitely delivers is excellent Eli reacts to things material with a lot of this coming from being exasperated by everything Alicia does. One priceless look is when Alicia uses his words back at him to deflect a request. There is pride in that eyebrow arch if you look hard enough:

The Good Wife 6.17 Eli eyebrowEli is less subtle in showing how he feels about phone sex:

The Good Wife 6.17 EliAnd here is a treat as I couldn’t do a post this picture heavy without delivering the gift of screencaps and the email correspondence between Will and Alicia. Steamy emails which were only on screen for the briefest of moments but preserved for posterity here.

The Good Wife 6.17 email Will the good wife 6.17 emailYou’re welcome.

Nominees Announced for the 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards

8 Jan

The Costume Designers Guild 17th Award nominations have been announced and we are now fully into award season. The awards will take place Tuesday, February  17 and celebrate excellence in costume design across a variety of television, film and commercial categories. The division of categories means it isn’t just period costume that is given a place to shine (as it tends to be with the Oscars or BAFTAs) and some of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s most talked about and revered shows are on the list below.

Cersei Game of Thrones

Here is the full list of nominees:

House of Cards – Johanna Argan
Ray Donovan – Christopher Lawrence
Saturday Night Live – Tom Broecker, Eric Justian
Scandal – Lyn Paolo
True Detective – Jenny Eagan

Boardwalk Empire – John Dunn
Game of Thrones – Michele Clapton
The Knick – Ellen Mirojnick
Mad Men – Janie Bryant
Masters of Sex – Ane Crabtree

American Horror Story: Freak Show – Lou Eyrich
Houdini – Birgit Hutter
The Normal Heart – Daniel Orlandi
Olive Kitteridge – Jenny Eagan
Sherlock – Sarah Arthur

Birdman – Albert Wolsky
Boyhood – Kari Perkins
Gone Girl – Trish Summerville
Interstellar – Mary Zophres
Wild – Melissa Bruning

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
The Imitation Game – Sammy Sheldon Differ
Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
Selma – Ruth E. Carter
The Theory of Everything – Steven Noble

Guardians of the Galaxy – Alexandra Byrne
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – Kurt and Bart
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard, Jane Clive

Army ‘Defy Expectations, Villagers’ – Christopher Lawrence
Direct TV ‘Less Attractive’, with Rob Lowe – Mindy Le Brock, Jessica Albertson
Dos Equis ‘Most Interesting Man in the World Walks on Fire’ – Julie Vogel
Kia Soul Hamster Commercial Featuring ‘Animals’ – Anette Cseri
Smirnoff ‘The Mixologist’ – Laura Jean Shannon

The fantasy/period television category leaps out at me because every single one is outstanding when it comes to costume design (among other things) and the intricate detail that is delivered by these costume designers helps transport the viewer to worlds that have existed in the past or previously on the page. The main disappointment here for me is the absence of The Americans as Jenny Gering creates various personas for Elizabeth and Philip to adopt in their spy disguises while grounding them in their regular American family attire all without screaming “It’s the 80s!”

In terms of the contemporary TV offerings it is Lyn Paolo’s work on Scandal that has not only impacted the way we think about how powerful women dress, but there has even been an affordable clothing line featured on the show and available at The Limited so the audience can have a little bit of Olivia Pope’s style in their life. For this very reason I am disappointed to see Daniel Lawson’s work on The Good Wife missing from the nominees as Alicia Florrick’s work wear is just as striking and Lawson also has his own line (which albeit is not quite as affordable, more splurge levels of purchase).

Salvador Perez’s is the costume designer on a show which features another successful career woman, but Mindy Lahiri’s style is nothing like Olivia Pope or Alicia Florrick; however The Mindy Project is no less deserving and this is another huge omission for me. The same goes for the incredible costumes on The Honourable Woman and Ed Gibbon would be one of my choices for the TV movie/mini-series category. And there is no show that does serial killer tailoring quite like Hannibal; three piece suits and plastic bespoke kill suits shouldn’t go this well together but Christopher Hargadon has done just that. Plus he also does the lady power dressing well from Alana’s bold patterns, Freddie’s court attire to Bedelia’s silk blouses.

Congratulations to Jenny Eagan for the double nomination for True Detective and Olive Kitteridge. If only I could wear Zoe Kazan’s giant frames from the latter and pull them off.

Movie wise I don’t have too much to grumble about and The Imitation Game inspired TV Ate My Wardrobe to dip my toes into film costume design analysis; I have yet to see Inherent Vice and Selma (they are both on my list) but this is a strong category. Yesterday I watched The Theory of Everything and it covers all my 60s/70s dress and knitwear coveting areas and The Grand Budapest Hotel is striking in its heightened realism.

Trish Summerville created some of my favorite costumes in 2013 with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and her work was no less striking for a contemporary drama for Gone Girl as I’m still thinking about Amy’s black and white collar dress. Kurt and Bart took over from Trish Summerville on The Hunger Games and they showed how Effie can still be super stylish when all she has is drab grey and no wigs to work with.

Congratulations to all the nominees and I look forward to February 17 to see who picks up the awards.

For the nominees and winners from the TV categories at last year’s 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards head here.

The Good Wife and the Saint Alicia Brand

22 Sep

The Good Wife kicks off the new season with yet another surprising move and while it might not elicit the same heart getting ripped out of your chest feelings as the Will twist did, it still packs a punch. Diane moving from her old firm to Alicia and Cary’s was what I expected to be number one on the agenda, instead this moves into the background as Cary ends up in prison as a result of some advice he may or may not have given – there is allegedly a recording which we don’t hear and Cary insists that he didn’t do the crime he is accused of – and what’s great is how equally disorientated both Cary and us as an audience are at Cary’s initial arrest and subsequent incarceration.

The amount of world building The Good Wife has achieved in the previous five seasons is showcased in “The Line” as old faces resurface from family members to former love interests and perceptions that were established in the very first episode are still very much on point.

The Good Wife 6.01 Alicia handshakeTake Saint Alicia and the brand that is making Eli pull out his big guns to get Alicia on board the State’s Attorney campaign ship. Eli is convinced Alicia should run despite her lack of interest in this political position and the polling numbers support his belief that she can win. Alicia’s brand is enticing to both women on the left and right as she stayed with her husband and set up her own business; she is both fiercely loyal and independent striking that rare balance.

Skeletons lurk in Alicia’s closet when it comes to her relationship with Peter, not only her past affair with Will but also the current ‘faking it’ marriage status. Add in the slight flirtation with Finn and the photos Castro already has of Finn leaving Alicia’s apartment which he planned to use against Finn, but could easily double for Alicia smearing (no matter how innocent this visit was) and there is a reputation to be besmirched. Calling someone a saint is a rather high pedestal to put someone on and Alicia could be knocked off this perch in quick fashion if someone was to stumble on hotel room records or CCTV footage. Will might be dead, but he could easily come back to haunt Eli if he goes ahead with this.

Eli is excellent at his job even while his daughter mocks him (I’m beyond thrilled to have Sarah Steele show up once again as Marissa, more from her please) and he expertly manipulates Peter into getting on board with his Alicia plan by using Castro to rile him up. Eli has another issue to consider with the Florricks as he is still concerned about the intern Peter has been flirting with, an intern who doesn’t wear underwear (they said the word ‘panties’ far too much for my liking in this episode) and will happily show the office that she isn’t when confronted about it. Lauren is the intern Eli was told he couldn’t fire last season and while the vagina flashing is maybe a stretch, she represents everything Eli worries about when it comes to Peter’s brand.

P.S. Lauren, your dress is super cute, but underwear should be a given in a work place like this.

I’m not sure how much Alicia would actually care if Peter did sleep with Lauren as she really has severed those kinds of ties with her husband in the wake of Will’s death; I expect there would be an exasperated eye roll followed by a ‘because, of course’ reaction. The voters would definitely care as Eli’s polling suggested and Eli is pulling out all the stops to ensure Peter doesn’t resort to old habits.

The Good Wife 6.01 Alicia and FinnThere are far more pressing matters than Eli’s latest attempt to get his doomed ship back together as bail for Cary has been set to the crazy high $1.3 million (to match the street value of the heroin in question) and Alicia has to work several angles to obtain this money. Despite the current fractured state of her relationship with Cary as a result of wanting to bring Diane on board, Alicia is even willing to get a second mortgage on her house to get Cary out. Cary has already faced a test in prison regarding his loyalty to Bishop and while he didn’t lose a finger, he did receive a rather nasty hand gash which he then had to pretend he got from falling on the bars. Cary is a target in lock up in part because he used to be an ASA and because he poses a risk to Bishop. He passed the test and that should afford him some protection even if he’s received the wrath of a guard for not following certain rules like crossing lines and keeping his eyes to the ground.

When Cary enters prison his suit has a disheveled appearance, but with his pocket square still neatly in place he looks like a rich dude who has been done for a DUI or some kind of drug possession – so grateful they mentioned the last time he did drugs was the hilarious season 1 mushroom incident – and when Cary changes into the beige prison uniform he looks small and vulnerable. The puffed up chest lawyer confidence is all but gone.

Diane is having to maintain appearances with Louis Canning and David Lee as they try and figure out her next move; David Lee doesn’t think Diane will move to Florrick, Agos as it is “too small potatoes” with Canning accurately acknowledging that it appeals to “Diane’s romantic soul.” It matches Diane’s brand and her client roster is worth an impressive and significant $30 million. This is in part what Diane is selling herself on to Alicia, that and the prestige her name brings; a name that could counterbalance the damage to this fledgling firm from Cary’s arrest and the Lemond Bishop connection.

Costume wise both Alicia and Diane are on top of their power game despite the tidal wave of shit that has hit them both from last season and in this episode. Alicia is all Hugo Boss suits and Emilio Pucci puffed sleeve blouses. Alicia’s color palette sticks to darker tones and neutrals like grey; however as the ensemble below shows this isn’t about becoming a wallflower and she still stands out thanks to precision tailoring and flourishes like those sleeves.

The Good Wife 6.01 AliciaDiane is also not someone to fade into the background even with the fake retirement story she is serving up. This means an exquisite raspberry colored St. John Collection draped dress and Pono statement necklace. The shot below gives me shivers and with Diane representing Cary (as Alicia has been removed) he has yet another excellent and very vocal advocate. Perhaps this will get him on board with Diane as a new partner.

The Good Wife 6.01 DianeCary is but a pawn in the quest to bring down Lemond Bishop and no matter how hard Bishop tries to convey an appearance of being nothing more than a business his reputation precedes him and after all this is a pretty accurate assessment of how Bishop makes his money. Bishop can use intimidation to get Cary to keep his mouth shut, steer Kalinda away from her line of questioning and get the bail money. The latter is an issue now that Finn has requested a source of funds hearing as the funds are not from a legitimate source and were originally delivered in a duffle bag with $200,000 more than they needed (the removal of this extra money was hilarious). Does this mean Cary is going to languish in prison for even longer? Maybe they should tap up Colin Sweeney instead.

When Alicia suggests Finn is going hard after Cary because of his sister’s overdose she crosses a line by using her personal knowledge to suggest an ulterior motive. Instead he just wants to get one of the biggest drug dealers behind bars which seems like a perfectly valid reason and they shake on it not ruining their friendship.

There is an ease to Alicia and Finn in their playful back and forth even as Finn gets her disqualified – in an aside he notes how he didn’t want to go against her – that is free from the meaningful looks and complicated history that Alicia shared with Will. Not that I’m advocating a hook up just yet (this thing has to build) and gifs of Will and Alicia over on Tumblr still feel like a punch to the gut, but I have to admit that seeing the shoulder squeeze of thanks and the friendship declaration handshake makes me more than glad to have Finn Polmar as a an opponent and Matthew Goode retaining his regular status. Is he going to become the latest thorn in Eli’s side if he messes up the Saint Alicia brand?


Costuming on The Good Wife’s 100th Episode: Color, Memory and Perception

3 Dec

The Good Wife likes to play with an episode format; from the type of courtroom a case takes place in to the different multimedia they use to enhance a story. The 100th outing is not a disappointment in this department and it includes an experimental sequence that plays with reality and perception. Costuming plays a big role in this as we see Will grappling with his heartbreak in an incredibly raw, sad and dark manner.

The GoodMultiple shows use flashbacks – Lost used them as part of their weekly narrative structure – and so it is hard to produce anything particularly innovative with this device. These scenes are generally very matter of fact and a good representation of past events. In “The Decision Tree” we are offered slight variations on the same scene, on both occasions Will and Alicia remember him sliding his hand in between her leg; yes The Good Wife knows how to make the slightest hint of skin the sexiest thing. This memory catches them both off guard and these momentary flashes are used as an emotional prompt. There is one visual cue that emphasizes their different memories as Alicia is wearing royal blue in her version and for Will it is red.

the good wife 5.10 red teamRed is the color Good Wife costume designer Daniel Lawson tends to put Alicia in to represent her power and sexuality; it makes sense that Will associate’s this color with this period of intense passion. Blue suggests loyalty and trust, something that is absent in their current relationship. It’s also a visual reminder to the episode that started it all in terms of the big Cary and Alicia split, with last season’s “Red Team/Blue Team.” Will is wearing the same suit in both scenes, though not the same quizzical look.

The Good Wife 5.10 Will's imaginationThe sequence that follows is equally challenging and impressive as Will prepares for court with an imaginary cross examination of Alicia. Fantasy Alicia is all big smiles and fluttery eyelashes; Julianna Margulies delivers her lines with a girly flirty quality and plays up the feigned innocence of Will’s projection. It’s top notch editing as we cut between Will in his office at home, the close up on imagined Alicia and the memories in New York. Alicia tells Will “this is the happiest I’ve ever been” and if this was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind this would be the memory that Will would want to keep, even if it is destroying him in the present. How much can we trust this sequence? This is the brilliance of showing conflicting memories as we can’t trust the veracity of these moments. I would even argue that Will has transferred a statement that he made onto Alicia, as Alicia did hold back emotionally during their time together in season 3.

The Good Wife 5.10 yellingIn Will’s fantasy cross examination he’s picturing Alicia in a suit of white innocence and this is a different play on Madonna/Whore complex. This isn’t about sex, even if a lot of their relationship was based on a foundation of passion and this sequence does include intimate moments. No, the idea of betrayal is how she portrayed herself at work as ‘the good wife’ while in his mind she was stealing Lockhart/Gardner’s clients. Will hasn’t really outwardly dealt with Alicia’s departure and instead he has thrown himself into work and hooked up with yoga girl (who sadly makes an appearance at the end of this scene, clad only in one of Will’s white shirts because of course). This decision tree process gives him an opportunity to question ‘Alicia’ and rage against her decision to leave which he can’t disconnect from their personal relationship. It’s a surreal scene full of pain and one of the best this show has produced featuring A+ work from both Josh Charles and Julianna Margulies.

The Good Wife 5.10Will tells his imagined Alicia “I don’t like it when you’re weak” and the real Alicia in court the next day is anything but.  Dressed in a dark suit, devoid of any color Alicia doesn’t get teary eyed as he projected. Instead she is calm in her responses and shows her inner strength; this episode includes some of the best death stares I have ever seen and I’m surprised there aren’t corpses littering the courtroom floor. Alicia won’t allow Will to emotionally manipulate her by using part of a conversation that occurred when they were at their most intimate.

It’s a bold episode and one that plays with the idea of emotional connections through memory. Costuming gives us a reason to doubt Will’s recollections and The Good Wife continues to use this aspect to enhance and add to an episode beyond ladies looking good in suits.

The Good Wife and a Tale of Two Suits

12 Nov

The Good Wife made a bold move at the end of last season as Alicia decided to start her own law firm with Cary. Instead of opting for a time jump a la Mad Men the tension has dramatically increased as we watch the tumultuous process play out. The Good Wife doesn’t have a habit of disappointing (I’m pretending Kalinda’s ex didn’t happen) but this storyline has taken the show to new heights and it has been one of the most compelling shows of the year.

Last week Anne Helen Petersen wrote an excellent piece about the evolving costumes on The Good Wife and what meanings can be derived from the uniforms these characters wear. One of Petersen’s comments that really helps emphasize why I find costuming so fascinating is because “Wardrobe matters because wardrobe communicates.” This leads me to two of the trips that Alicia makes to Lockhart/Gardner in the most recent episode “The Next Week.” It’s the first time Alicia has been back to her old firm since she was escorted from the building by security and her outfit upon her return makes a statement.

Alicia Escada Tuxedo JacketThis is not the face of someone who regrets her decision, even if Florrick, Agos & Associates have hit a number of speed bumps in their first week as a firm – the time frame of the last 4 episodes has covered just over a week in their time. Alicia is not attempting to blend in or wallflower this situation in this midnight blue (it reads black on the screen but costume designer Daniel Lawson refers to it as blue) Escada tuxedo blazer that stands out thanks to the contrasting white panels that sit under the lapels.

Alicia The Good WifeWhen Diane stalked the corridors of L/G a few weeks ago when she was having her own dispute with Will (which has now been resolved) she did so pretty uninterrupted. Diane was also dressed in a dark color and at the time I remarked there was something predatory about those scenes. Alicia represents a different kind of danger and the reaction of the L/G employees is to not enter her sphere as if she has some kind of plague. This is probably thanks to Will’s “destroy the competition” mantra and no one wants to be seen anywhere near Alicia. I’ve been writing about Scandal a lot recently and so the light and dark contrasting elements on the blazer combined with the white cowl neck blouse is giving me all kinds of Olivia Pope associations. Like Olivia, Alicia might have a confident demeanor, but there is still much conflict at play.

Alicia and the opposite sidesIt’s not going to be easy to get a rise out of Alicia as she sits on the opposite side because at this point she has leverage over them. Diane might be wearing the bold red that is generally associated with Alicia – Diane has previously worn this color but there are strong associations that tie Alicia with red clothing – but in this scene Alicia has the upper hand. Diane asks if Alicia has always been like this giving Alicia the opportunity to flip it around as she “had some of the best teachers in the world. I couldn’t help but change.”

Alicia grey pant suitThere is one notable person missing from the first meeting and that’s Will. When returning to L/G for a third time Alicia’s costuming makes her look less self-assured. Alicia is back in grey and while this Ferragamo pantsuit is more tailored that her season 1 outfits, it still harks back to a time when Alicia’s confidence wasn’t particularly high. In the scene captured in the photo above Will and Alicia share a moment; neither speaks a word but the penetrating stare between them could fill volumes with betrayal and heartbreak. Last week saw Will enjoying this personal sparring match with Alicia, this time they are both caught off guard and because they are back at the scene of the crime it feels incredibly fraught all over again.

Alicia Florrick and a different kind of exitLater Alicia is blindsided by the actions of Anthony, who with endless moaning about bonuses and terribly executed schemes has always been the weakest link in the FA&A chain. Alicia’s expression here as she exits Lockhart/Gardner is the polar opposite of how she entered these offices at the start of the episode and I’m impressed that she doesn’t tell David Lee to go fuck himself (in a network approved manner of course).

Returning to Anne Helen Petersen’s piece and this all important observation “Yet as Alicia rose through the ranks in the firm, had a steamy affair with her boss/old flame, and laid down the law with her husband, her suits got wild, and by wild, I mean they got peplumed.” The first suit in question doesn’t feature a peplum, but the details are just as bold and demonstrates through costuming the change that Alicia informs Diane was inevitable. Grey isn’t necessarily a color that denotes weakness in Alicia, but there is a shift in her confidence in the latter half of this episode that is reflected in what she is wearing. The case is going against her and FA&A face another setback thanks to Anthony’s deception; it’s not all doom and gloom as they’ve gained Clarke so it’s time to bring out the bold suits and continue to fight this fight.

The Good Wife and Diane Lockhart’s Wardrobe

22 Oct

The Good Wife has a huge episode coming up this Sunday and the tension that has been building is going to explode (the title of the episode is the not so subtle, but still brilliant “Hitting the Fan”). Season 5 has already unleashed one civil war in the halls of Lockhart/Gardner as Diane and Will effectively split up and it felt like watching your formally happy parents getting a divorce. Will’s quiet rage at Diane is nothing in comparison to what the next episode promises and it is Diane that I want to talk about as Christine Baranski delivered another incredible performance as a woman weighing up her past, present and future. Diane also gets to play detective as she puts together the clues that point to Alicia’s exit plan and huge betrayal.

The Good Wife’s costume designer Daniel Lawson has created a strong look for Diane and this episode showcased Diane’s impeccable style with a variety of outfits.

Diane and KurtWe start off “Outside the Bubble” with Diane relaxing with her fiance Kurt McVeigh and by relaxing I mean letting off steam by shooting some guns. Diane’s leisure wear is just as tailored as her work attire, but it has a softer edge. The red of her suede jacket isn’t as intense as the reds that normally feature on The Good Wife as it nearing the orange end of the scale. This also includes wearing jeans and this is probably the closest Diane and Kurt will get to matching outfits. Diane’s hair is still coiffed to perfection and despite her recent work drama she is happy in her personal life; this is a much needed distraction.

Diane EmeraldWhen Diane is pulled back into her old firm thanks to a lawsuit she comes in wearing the most incredible embellished emerald green dress that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz. It is simply stunning and this might be my favorite Diane outfit of all time (bold statement ahoy). Of course she is also wearing a strong statement necklace because Diane Lockhart has all the best jewelry and the red lipstick compliments the green of the dress.

The Good Wife Diane full length greenHere is a better look at the full length of this dress and in this scene Diane has just confronted Alicia; it is at this point that Diane gets the first hint that Alicia is doing something underhand. The purple that Alicia is wearing is just as strong as Diane’s green and both women stand out in the (not quite decorated) office that is full of muted browns and oranges. Alicia’s jacket is bold in color but simple in design with no embellishments or frills and this adds to the contrasting elements beyond just color as Diane’s dress looks like it has been made out of crystals. As with many scenes in this episode Diane is the one who holds the power, even if she is the one who no longer works in this office.

Diane satin brown shirtDiane changes into something more like her traditional work wear and continues to look pensive; not because of the lawsuit or her exit from Lockhart/Gardner but because something doesn’t sit right with her. This brown shirt is chic and elegant like pretty much everything Diane wears and it mirrors the Lockhart/Gardner color scheme; showing she is still very invested in the future of the firm despite her fallout with Will.

Diane necklaceAnd yes she is wearing yet another amazing statement necklace.

Diane date faceSo many of these shots are of Diane with her best serious face and so I wanted to include one of her smiling, even if this is the scene where she is perhaps the most nervous as she is just about to meet Kurt’s friends for the first time. Missing is the usual statement necklace, broach or pin but her top does have a beautiful embellished neckline and it’s impossible for Diane not to shine. Ok so this evening doesn’t go too well because Kurt’s friends are all young women and Diane questions whether they should be together.

Diane figuring things outBefore Diane’s big Kurt decision she digs a little further into what Alicia is up to and this includes a visit from Sonja Sohn (Kima from The Wire) who we last saw back in season 1 and she inadvertently reveals all to Diane. Diane is using her best Kalinda like investigative skills but before she drops some epic truth bombs on Will she needs to get changed out of this soft nurturing attire into something more badass.

Diane getting marriedDiane dresses all in black for her all important appointment with Kurt and of course Diane was never going to wear white for her wedding. This episode involved a lot of Diane walking with purpose and watching intently and her late arrival is several shades of perfect. This is the kind of outfit you wear for huge life events when your name is Diane Lockhart.

Diane courthouseThe dragonfly pin is something I discussed last week and this is very much part of the Diane look; to take a simple elegant outfit and add something unique.

Diane Stone ColdThis Diane’s stone cold stare and she doesn’t utter a single word to a very nervous sounding Alicia. I’m surprised Alicia’s blood didn’t turn to ice. This look is beyond bitch face.

Diane's decisionI’m writing a lot about this outfit because while the green dress is the flamboyant show piece, this is the pivotal scene and turning point as Diane makes the decision to tell Will what Alicia is planning. I’ve seen this sequence about 10 times now and it is still giving me chills. The framing of the shot above is slightly off kilter which makes this feel horror movie-esque and yesterday during a discussion on Twitter I compared the tension building of this season to Jaws and in this moment Diane is the very scary predator that is about to reveal itself.

An excellent performance from Christine Baranski and this could easily be her Emmy submission episode even if I suspect that next week’s “Hitting the Fan” is going to provide A+ material for all involved.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

4 Oct

It’s another costuming focused “Out of the Box” as more shows returned and debuted this week. There’s also a show from long ago in the mix as Felicity is now on my viewing schedule and the opening credits are too good to not include in this feature. This is a snapshot of the week on TV and costuming that has caught our attention. We haven’t forgotten Scandal as there is a whole post here dedicated to the season 3 premiere.

Masters of Sex maroon sweater

Masters of Sex started this week and it’s already my favorite new show of the fall (Sleepy Hollow takes number 2 slot which I would not have predicted a few weeks ago). One issue with the pilot is it did that thing where it over emphasized the 1950s setting and mentioned on several occasions the historical impact this study will have. As this is the first episode I’m not going to quibble too much about that, especially when Lizzy Caplan gets to play a character that is confident with her sexuality in this setting and Virginia Johnson is ahead of her time without feeling out of place in this time. Caplan is an actress who I have wanted to see more of since her performance as Janis Ian in Mean GirlsParty Down provided an excellent TV role for Caplan but alas that only lasted 2 seasons – where is that movie they keep teasing us?

Master of Sex coatsThe costuming on Masters of Sex is giving me a lot of coat and short sleeve sweater envy and as with most period costume dramas there is wistfulness about seeing clothing styles from the past. A show like Mad Men has influenced fashion and while I don’t see Masters of Sex having the same huge impact it’s probably going to give me some ideas, especially as we are now in coat season. I got a short sleeve sweater this week and on Twitter I mentioned that it had a Megan Draper quality, it also looks like the costuming on Masters of Sex might have been an influence.

Masters of Sex

It isn’t all office wear and with the loss of Gossip Girl we don’t have a guaranteed big soiree every week, but luckily there’s a big fancy party and this means Virginia Johnson wearing a sleeveless prom style dress. If you were in any doubt who was the most in control of their sexuality then the above photo with Master’s wife Libby reinforces their roles. Libby is probably the weakest aspect of the pilot playing the downtrodden but supportive wife and I hope they expand her character beyond this.

Everything is Ending

Moving onto the present and The Good Wife returned on Sunday with an excellent episode that set up what should hopefully be an explosive season 5. Cary and Alicia’s big move hasn’t been revealed to the rest of Lockhart/Gardner but there are rumblings that something’s afoot and it probably wasn’t a coincidence that Diane was wearing the color of danger in the scene where they asked Alicia if she had heard anything. Red is generally Alicia’s go to power color so I think it’s significant that Diane is wearing it. Costume designer Daniel Lawson does such a great job on this show as he doesn’t lose the femininity of these characters and still giving them an incredibly commanding look. Felicity opening creditsNow let’s flashback to the past with Felicity as I am watching the show for the first time for This Was TV. I’ve never seen the Felicity opening credits prior to this week and I was struck by how simple but effective they are as we see Felicity and her friends in various settings around New York. It’s half laughing, half pensive looks and by using black and white it also gives the impression of what someone who had just started college would deem cool as their opening credits sequence. This shot of Keri Russell is stunning and I’ve already been warned that this credit sequence will get a terrible makeover which I am already mad about and should be filed with Alias and Veronica Mars as ways to mess up your awesome opening credits. On display here is the 90s baggy realness that the three episodes I have watched so far has in abundance.

TV Costume Designers and Impacting Fashion

19 Sep

TV Ate My Wardrobe isn’t surprised to read that TV costume designers are having an impact on fashion at the moment, as The New York Times proposes in an article today. This site was born out of an interest and passion for costuming on TV and while other avenues are explored on a daily basis this is still at the heart of what we do here. Costuming can aid the storytelling process, but we also look at trends on the runway that filter through to stores. What is featured in magazine editorials can impact what we see on screen, but as we have seen with shows like Sex and the City and Mad Men they can have just as much influence on style as the fashion houses themselves.

Olivia Pope leather gloves

One aspect this article from The New York Times discusses comes from Pretty Little Liars costume designer Mandi Line as she explains that in her interview she stated “If you let me make fashion the fifth character on this show, people will watch it just for the clothes.” This is something that can probably be said about a show like Gossip Girl which I have recently realized that I miss purely for the clothes. The way costuming can appeal can be dependent on the target demographic and with something like Pretty Little Liars Instagram reveals how fans of the show compare their clothes to the ones they see on screen. Costuming can help create buzz and a show like Scandal has benefited from these types of discussions, especially now that star Kerry Washington is covering major fashion magazines and landing on every best dressed list. Lyn Paolo has done an excellent job not only with Olivia Pope’s wardrobe, but with each character’s clearly defined look. In the pilot episode of Scandal the notion that they are “Gladiators in suits” was repeated and now both Olivia’s team and fans of the show use this moniker.

NG_Neighbors-Sc9_0017 The time between when a TV show is made and when it airs is often relatively short and so this immediacy means that the clothes we see on screen are still often in stores. While you might not be able to afford the Prada purse that Olivia Pope uses, the J Crew sweater that Jess wears on New Girl could be a more affordable option. Websites such as What Would Zooey Deschanel Wear? and its broader ranging sister site Worn on TV not only find where to buy the clothes you see on screen, but also cheaper similar looking alternatives.

Elementary costume designer Rebecca Hofherr talks about how “TV deals with realistic issues and more realistic clothing” as opposed to film which might deal with more fantastical subjects. While I’m not a proponent of any TV vs. film debates I think TV can have a bigger impact on personal tastes because shows air on a weekly basis and so we see style evolution over a period of time. Characters become familiar to us and so as viewers it can be easier to identify with them and their look. There’s also a variety so one week I might see Joan Watson wear a scarf I really like and another will have me adding an April Ludgate shirt to my always growing wish list. You can sample many different looks across many different shows.


This also covers period costuming and as I’ve mentioned Mad Men has influenced fashion in a major way and costume designer Janie Bryant has managed to create a brand thanks to her excellent work on Mad Men. Bryant has developed pieces with Maidenform (also a client of Sterling Cooper), Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers. There is also a reality show on the way from Janie Bryant that will give aspiring designers a chance to show off their skills by recreating classic Hollywood film costumes and celebrity signature styles.  Having just finished watching the Masters of Sex pilot I can confirm that there was a high amount of sweater and coat envy; as the colder season approaches I’m sure this will have some impact on forthcoming purchases even though it is set in the mid 1950s.

It’s not surprising to read that Good Wife designer Daniel Lawson is developing a line of clothes for professional women, or that Lyn Paolo is contemplating a book that will include Scandal related tips. Eric Daman whose previous credits include Sex and the City and Gossip Girl is now the costume designer for The Carrie Diaries and one of his non-TV related projects is a prom collection for Charlotte Russe. Girls and Orange is the New Black’s Jenn Rogien is currently one of Gap’s “Styled By” experts producing a series of style tutorials. For these costume designers they are diversifying their work and using their expertise on projects that relate to the TV work that we are familiar with. We have seen what these designers can do on screen so we know where their strengths lie and so there is already implied trust that they can produce excellent work outside of the TV show they design for.

A costume designer isn’t there to simply make the characters look good or to sell clothes; they help add another layer to the storytelling process and can inform the viewer to certain characteristics without a single word being said.

Julie Hammerle

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