24 March, 2012

The Good Wife: Why Alicia Shouldn't Return to Highland Park

Eight Reasons Why Alicia Shouldn't Return to Highland Park
Season 3 | Original Post Date: March 23, 2012

It’s a question everyone has contemplated at some point in life: Once you leave, can you ever really go home? Lately, we’ve seen Alicia Florrick crunch the numbers and toy with the idea of purchasing her old house in Highland Park.  It’s large, it’s beautiful but it’s also a reminder of everything she once had, good and bad.  While yelling at my television doesn’t seem to be helping her make the decision any faster (“Please don’t do it, Alicia – I’ll give you a list as to why this is all a very, very bad idea!”), the next best thing is actually compiling a record of the most important reasons she shouldn't go back.

1) Price – This is the most obvious reason, but something that cannot go unmentioned.  The Highland Park house is $1.9 million.  I don’t care what kind of bonus Diane approved, Alicia is still a third-year associate with two kids, both of whom she presumably wants to send to college.  Let’s look at the numbers:

First off, wow.  At first glance it almost looks like Alicia is making $40,000 a year... which is clearly ridiculous (and would mean things at Lockhart Gardner are tighter than I had imagined!).  Yes, it could be her expense budget... or, perhaps the director just didn't realize we'd be looking so closely at Alicia's math.  Where is this $5,200/month coming from?  In any case, the list seems to be missing a few critical line-items, including payments for Zach’s new car and a budget for Alicia’s ever-growing wardrobe of beautiful designer suits, shoes and blazers. 

2) Grace’s Swing – Sure, I’m still holding a grudge against Grace for that whole being “kidnapped” by Internet Jesus thing, not to mention the “Mom, pick up the phone” ringtone incident, but the fact of the matter is, Grace broke her arm on that swing.  Clearly it holds bad karma (or, Grace forgot to hang onto the swing’s ropes).  Either way, the result is the same: the swing is just another strike against the Highland Park house.  

3) College – Zach is going to be thinking about College sooner rather than later (with Grace not far behind) and with mortgage payments on the Highland Park home, Alicia’s ability to help with those costs will be increasingly limited.  Also, it is unlikely Zach will have Neesa as a study partner if he moves – scholarships could be in jeopardy. 

4) Yard work – A house means one thing: yard work.  Does Alicia really have time to mow the lawn, rake the leaves and cultivate a practical yet attractive seasonal garden?  I think not.  This means Zach and Grace will have to pitch in, or Alicia will have to hire someone.  Alternatively, she’ll be spending her weekends mowing the lawn unless she can convince Owen into coming over and helping out.  I’ll be the first to admit a scene of this nature would be entertaining (it’s like picturing Diane on a fishing boat dressed in Burberry), but, logistically, it’s not the right decision.

5) Grass Maintenance – If there’s one thing we learned from the season one episode, “Home,” it’s that Highland Park has strict rules about grass length and watering protocol.  Sure, those rules helped Alicia win that case, but having to adhere to such stringent regulations once getting to a condo/apartment setting is sure to be a shock to the system.  Owen will have to move in just for foliage observation and maintenance alone.

6) Commute Time – Admittedly, we don’t know much about the distance between the office and Highland Park, but we do know that Alicia’s current apartment is reasonably close to Lockhart Gardner.  More time in the car means less time on cases and more opportunities to spill coffee.  Also, this could mean she won’t be able to give Louis Canning as many rides because she won’t be “going his way” as often and, let’s be honest, The Good Wife wouldn’t be the same without those awkward car conversations that begin with, “my driver is at the dentist… would you mind giving me a ride?”

7) Fair Weather Friends and Neighbours – I feel like Alicia should be listening to Johnny Cash’s song, “Fair Weather Friends” on a daily basis so she can remember the fact that all of her former cohorts abandoned her when news of Peter’s scandal surfaced.  Alicia moved and no one called or visited.  Where did everyone go?  As Owen has noted, probably Facebook… but that’s of little consolation.  What Alicia needs is a sit-down with Kalinda, with these lyrics playing in the background:
Fair weather friends, fair weather sailors 
Will leave you stranded on life’s shore 
But one true friend, who really loves you 
Is worth the pain your heart endures
Of course, the irony of it all is that Kalinda is the one true friend who really loves Alicia…

8) Memories: Like price, the rationale behind this “reason not to go back to Highland Park” is obvious – everything about Alicia’s old life is represented in this house.  She will never be able to escape her history if she’s back living right in the middle of everything.  She can repaint the bedroom, remodel the kitchen, get new doorknobs and take down the swing, but these renovations won’t change anything.  Alicia 2.0 is about moving forward – the memories in Highland Park are too powerful for her to ever escape.

Now it’s your turn!  Sound-off in the comments section below: Do you think Alicia should or shouldn’t buy her old house?  Pro/Con lists are welcomed.

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  1. She's not making $40,000 a year! That's just the expense budget that she has for herself.

    1. Agreed! At minimum, she's probably making $140,000, not including her annual bonus... and now, whatever raise has been approved.

  2. She's making more money than Peter as private lawyer in this big firm . Remenbered this conversation with David Lee.
    Her salary is minimum $300,000.00$ per year.
    Alicia has left this house because of the scandal . all the neighbors , bad memories .
    She shouldn't buy this house . I dont' want her reconciliation with Peter


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