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Tag Archives: Gloria Steinem

Heroes and Villains on The Good Wife: Alicia’s Game Face is On

6 Oct

Alicia has spent the first three episodes of The Good Wife’s sixth season insisting to everyone who dare mention the State’s Attorney election how she is definitely not running and it’s been pretty clear that something or someone would eventually persuade her to join the race. After a series of conversations including Eli’s sometimes subtle and often obvious attempts to get her on board, Alicia comes to Eli at the end of “Dear God” asking what the plan would be if she ran. This is as close to saying “Yes I am running” as Alicia has entertained so far and in this episode we see Alicia make several compromises; moving position on whether she will enter the race and indulging in conversations about the Bible to help her win a case. Alicia might be referred to as Saint Alicia, but she definitely has none of the religious beliefs to back up a nickname like that.

What it takes to get Alicia to this point is an array of persuasive tactics and even if Alicia knows Eli is saying Peter will endorse Castro just so she puts herself forward, when Castro sinks to an abhorrent level even for him, she can’t ignore how terrible Castro winning would be. Castro is the villain of The Good Wife even when there are drug dealers/murders like Lemond Bishop; Castro is so much worse because he’s the guy who is meant to be good. Alicia also gets a push from another source as guest star and feminist icon Gloria Steinem acts as both an imaginary and real motivational coach.

The Good Wife 6.03 AliciaAlicia’s feelings regarding Castro are pretty straight forward as she tells Eli “Castro is a bad man” even before he reaches a new despicable low by daring to bring up Will and their rumored relationship – there’s something supremely icky in the way Castro accusingly says ‘lover’ – which sparks her final visit to Eli’s office. Words like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are both definitive and abstract; one is included in the title of the show and represents a certain image and perception of our protagonist. ‘Saint’ takes this even further and it’s a word that Castro invokes earlier in the episode as he tells Alicia “Very few saints survive oppo research.” This is something I discussed a few weeks ago here on TV Ate My Wardrobe and on Twitter in a conversation with Kristen Warner we speculated about how Alicia’s secrets could be the perfect setup for a ‘ripped from the headlines’ story involving the recent iCloud hacking. What better way to ruin a reputation that plays up on someone’s virtue than by shattering this perception with photos revealing an affair.

Hats off to Michael Cerveris as he is doing a fantastic job of making Castro so villainous without any metaphorical moustache twirling. Castro can’t quite let things go and plays into Alicia’s “Men always have something to say” challenge, which in turn works in Eli’s favor. Between Castro’s vile words and Gloria Steinem’s encouragement, Eli couldn’t have primed Alicia any better to say yes.

The Gloria Steinem moment is amusing (and amazing) for a number of reasons. First up is this facial expression:

The Good Wife 6.03 AliciaIn an episode where Alicia is at her most unflappable, she has a moment where she almost loses it in a bumbling and very human way as Gloria Steinem encourages her to run and she effectively tells her to get out of her own way by asking the simple question “Would you do a good job?” and reinforcing the notion that “We need more good women to run.” There’s that word again. Twice.

Alicia also allows herself to daydream for a moment extending the conversation with Steinem in her mind as she briefly succumbs to the power of compliments from a woman she looks up to and respects. The eye rolls at herself and later a quick look around to make sure no one knows what she has been thinking can be added to the list of amazing facial expressions Julianna Margulies delivers in “Dear God.” In fact Steinem first ‘appears’ to Alicia while she is absentmindedly playing with her wedding ring in a church as a deity like presence, bathed in the same blue light from the stage that now appears to be other worldly. Blue is a repeated color throughout the episode with both Diane and Cary wearing this color throughout signifying a unity that might not be so obvious considering how combative the brief flashbacks to the office are.

The Good Wife 6.03 Gloria SteinemIn a conversation with Dean about religion, Alicia explains that she isn’t “genetically built” to believe and while she might not be open to a traditional form of worship she does have idols/heroes who help guide her in this episode, no matter how silly Alicia thinks she is for indulging in these moments.

Is it kismet or Eli manipulation that leads to Alicia’s bumping into Gloria Steinem and thereby adding another voice to the get Alicia to run campaign? It’s not as clear cut as the Valerie Jarrett phone call last week and I think Eli was hoping this encounter could happen. What he couldn’t necessarily predict is how well Castro would play up to his villain role and thereby aiding Eli’s master plan.

Alicia delivers the best ‘go fuck yourself’ face I’ve seen in a long time and coupled with her steely “Anything else?” I think we’re going to have quite the messy race on our hands. Alicia has come far since standing by Peter’s side in the pilot all meek and with little media awareness; I cannot wait to see her enter the fray and come out blazing even with all the oppo research threats Castro suggests will ruin her reputation. I say bring it.

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Glamour Magazine’s “These Girls” on Love, Heartbreak and the Internet

22 May

Glamour Magazine held its second “These Girls” event this week; a night of monologues from women in TV and comedy held at Joe’s Pub in New York City. The notion of “Stars, They’re Just Like Us” is something we see weekly in tabloid magazines (“They eat ice cream!’ ‘They snap photos!’) and it generally induces eye rolling. The opposite can be said for an event like this one, where a group of famous women each perform a personal monologue that highlights some painful aspects of life that we all experience including rejection, low self confidence and social media negativity. It’s not all doom and despair, laughter as we know can help with all of these things and some very funny women including Amy Poehler (who also took part in last year), Amy Schumer and Lucy Punch performed. The night also featured Dianna Agron, Alexa Chung, Zosia Mamet, Emma Roberts and was kicked off by Gloria Steinem saying “These girls deserve my all-time favorite word, which is fan-fucking-tastic.”

these-girls-w724The internet and social media was a big topic of conversation with Lucy Punch revealing that she struggles with technology as her mother didn’t want her to learn how to type – she didn’t want her daughter to end up as a secretary. Punch also told the audience that she is “terrified of being misjudged by thousands of faceless Twitterers,” something I’m sure we can all relate to. Emma Roberts followed on with this theme of facing online criticism after she tried to attempt a ‘normal life’ by going to college, instead it made her realize that maybe normal for her is a movie set and a particularly scathing blog post hammered home this idea. Roberts joked that “I do have high hopes. When I’m 30, playing 21, maybe I’ll have the graduation I always dreamed of.” Dianna Agron continued with this theme of figuring out who you are and how it takes time explaining that she had an “11-year awkward phase.”

How we use social media to judge other people was the theme of Alexa Chung’s “Heartbreak Heals, but Instagram is Forever” as she talked about seeing your ex-boyfriends new girlfriend on Instagram and how filters will always make them look more attractive. Chung also suggested that “Every time you post a picture of yourself looking fake happy, a fairy dies.” These are wise words to live by as a happy profile page doesn’t automatically give you the perfect life you are projecting; this also applies to the content on the pages of other people.

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Comedian Amy Schumer added to this by talking about feelings of low self-esteem during college and how even now one comment is enough to break you. Her response to these criticisms, about her weight and her looks is this and it’s wonderful: “Fuck that. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong … I will never apologize. I stand here and I’m amazing for you, not because of you. I am not who I sleep with … I am not my weight. I am myself.”

Ah Millennials, the generation that received this Time cover (here are 5 alternate better versions) and also the subject of Girls’ Zosia Mamet’s “Generation ‘I Want it Now.'” Mamet took part in last year’s “These Girls” and discussed her adventures in dating, this year she talks about falling in love and how technology still makes her anxious when it comes to relationships. Being part of this generation means that some things are available at the tap of a screen, but love isn’t something that is necessarily obtainable at a click of a button. It’s all about balance and it turns out like most people Mamet doesn’t have the answer “How do we reconcile the excitement of impulse with the proven value of time? Fuck if I know.”

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The night ended with Amy Poehler singing Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” and sadly there is no video of this yet, come on internet do your best work. You can find regular Amy Poehler advice over at her “Ask Amy” page which is aimed at teenage girls but really works no matter how old you are.

 

All photos from Glamour Magazine

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