12 November, 2012

The Good Wife: "Anatomy of a Joke" aka Cary Agos Goes to Washington

Cary Agos Goes to Washington While Peter Florrick Avoids Brazil
Season 4, Episode 7 | Original air date: November 11, 2012

Every so often, we’re treated to an episode of The Good Wife that is not only deliciously intriguing, its humorous undertones echo long after the final credits roll.  Any episode starting with “I smiled at my lawyer because he’s cute” is destined to be a winner in my books.  Throw in conveniently timed car horns to cover up ‘indecent’ language and the question of Brazil-shaped birth marks, and you've got a recipe for success.  “Anatomy of a Joke” = straight A’s from this fan.

I’m not going to lie.  This week, I found myself clapping and maybe squeeing* just a little bit.  Or a lot.  There are only a couple of witnesses, so I’ll leave my reactions up to your imagination, but let’s just say, I was seriously entertained.  This week, I’m taking a look at all the things that made my love of The Good Wife grow. 

Road Rage and Football Angst
As “Anatomy of a Joke” opened, we found ourselves watching a late night program – Jimmy Fallon style – with a doe-eyed comedian, Therese Dodd (Christina Ricci) chatting about breast health.  Before we knew it, her blouse was off while the footage was paused and we were quickly transported into the courtroom where a battle between the esteemed Burl Preston brewed against the stealthy pair, Alicia and Will. The best part of this scene came in the details though.  This is what makes The Good Wife so smart.  One of Alicia’s arguments hinged on the fact the network the late show was being shown on, had readjusted time slots to accommodate football.  If ever a real life situation were to echo in a show, this would be it. East coast viewers of The Good Wife know the one thorn in the show’s side, is its placement in proximity to Sunday night football.  It was coy commentary on their situation and, I feel, served as a statement to the fans and maybe also CBS.  Thank you, The Good Wife Writers – we know you’re frustrated, too.

But I digress. 

The second best part of this scene came in the form of the road rage-filled Chicago drivers whose horns kept interrupting the courtroom drama in a most strategic fashion.  Instead of having words bleeped out, horns sounded as a court clerk worked tirelessly to close the window.  While entertaining and, let’s face it, pretty funny, these honks kept the show ‘network friendly.’  This seems like an on-going battle for The Good Wife as it continues to be compared to cable dramas, where swearing and graphic language doesn't seem to have any governing rules. 

The more I think about it, the more I realize this opening sequence was almost its own commentary on the state of The Good Wife at home on CBS.   I’m not the only one who saw those parallels, right? 

Mr. Agos Goes to Washington
Don’t get me wrong: I like Will Gardner.  Okay, maybe more than like, but I’m not completely blinded by his interoffice biases.  When the opportunity to travel to Washington DC surfaced, Will was the first to say Alicia could handle the case (awww, Will!), while Diane was the first to advocate for Cary to help (go Diane!).  Alicia and Cary are the epitome of a dynamic duo, so I was sitting there couch cheering for them to go together.   While it seems Will is still holding a grudge against Cary for the whole grand jury debacle, Diane’s voice of reason might slowly be having an impact on Will’s decision-making.  We’ll have to watch that going forward, but for “Anatomy of a Joke,” I’m sure glad Cary and Alicia were tag-teaming things.  And no, not just because Therese was wearing the scent, 'accommodation' while planting a gigantic kiss on Cary, but I mean, sure, I’ll take it.  And so, apparently, will he.

Drinks with Friends
My favourite scene of this episode, and perhaps favourite scene of the season so far (yes, I liked it THAT much), was Alicia and Cary sharing a drink in his hotel room.  After watching Cary’s interaction with his cold-blooded father, Alicia ventured the room next door to talk to the one person who knows more of her secrets than anyone else on the show.  Cary knows about her affair with Will, and yet when he found out, he was almost apologetic about having been privy to that kind of detail surrounding Alicia’s life.  He holds no judgement and is really just doing his best to be a great lawyer. 

And he is.

The conversation and interaction between these two was almost poetic.  They are comfortable with each other in a way that a lot of people on The Good Wife aren't.  Maybe it’s because of their history, but I think it has a lot to do with the level of respect they have for each other.  They don’t need to poster anymore - they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and they are better because of it.  These two have one of my favourite friendships on television and it’s something of which I can’t get enough.  This scene has quickly moved to the top of my re-play reel. 

Let’s Make a Deal
Laura (Amanda Peet, aka, the Captain Alicia defended in “The Art of War”) needed a job and Peter needed Alicia to say he doesn't have a Brazil-shaped birthmark on his penis.  Well, it seems like a fair trade to me.  With life being a little like Let’s Make a Deal, these two struck an agreement: Alicia would talk to the press (while keeping her laughter under control) and Peter would hire Laura to take over the job Cary had last season.  The good news is, Laura and Alicia seem like they could be great new friends and with Laura at the SA’s office, we’re bound to see a lot more of her, in the courtroom and, if we’re lucky, over a glass of wine after-hours.

Am I a little uncertain about Peter working so closely with a stunning brunette who has befriended Alicia?  Yes.  But there’s precedent.  Even Geneva Pine is suspicious, but then again, I don’t think she’s Peter’s biggest fan.  Also, based on what we saw of Geneva last year, she might have a torch out for Peter when it comes to racial bias.  While I don’t believe any of Peter’s actions are racially motivated, he has made some decisions that could lead someone like Pine down the path of heightened inquiry.  This could get interesting.

Scene in a Car
Kalinda and Jim out investigating together?  I didn't see that coming.  I’m not sure whether Jim was trying to be friendly or flirty, but either way, watching these two lurk with a camera in K’s SUV was worth the price of admission.  Side note:  Did anyone else notice Kalinda’s hair in a curled ponytail?  While this is a small detail, it definitely signals some kind of transformation for her.  We’ve never seen her in curls, let alone with her hair not pristinely pinned.  I’m adding this observation to my radar list, right next to Alicia’s new wrist watch.

Okay, but back to the investigation for a second.  Am I the only person who totally missed that Maddie would turn out to be a conniving politician and also a lesbian?  Somehow I missed all of the warning signs for this entire story line.  Sure, I could see her running against Peter.  But planting the story about “Brazil?”  Befriending Indira Star?  Maddie Hayward, while a great new character, seems also to be a bit of a disaster.  Alongside Mike Krestiva, Peter Florrick is in for one long campaign season. 

Next Up:  Here Comes the Judge:

In episode eight, Will and Alicia take to the courtroom against Laura, and this time with a client everyone believes is guilty.  Also, the moment we've all been waiting for (or not): Grace gets a boyfriend.  I have no idea how I’m going to react to this story when it finally surfaces on my screen, but I have to say I’m moderately intrigued.  Let’s be honest though, I’m outrageously excited for episode nine: Thanksgiving at the Florricks.  Alicia’s Mom (played by Stockard Channing) will be in town and enjoying the holidays with Owen (yay!), Jackie, Peter and the kids.  I hope Eli’s invited and maybe Cary, too!

Related to this Post:

*Squee = "A noise primarily made by an over-excited fangirl, however it has spread rapidly and is now widely spread among the web community." (Urban Dictionary, 2012)


  1. I love Cary more. And that promo!

    1. Pat - agreed! Cary is better than ever after 'Anatomy of a Joke' and that preview?! Wow. We're in for a treat next week!

  2. I've never cared too much about Cary (I'm afraid I'll be hunted down because of this comment), if he had screen time or not - I actually wanted less Cary and more Diane, Kalinda (working, because "domestic"-Kalinda doesn't count) and Will (ok, I always want more of Will), but this episode changed that for me. Maybe it was because we've never seen enough of background on Cary before for me to care or, I don't know, but seeing him with his dad got me interested. Now, I look forward to more information on him. The story with his dad, I added that to my list of "things I didn't see coming" (maybe I've been reading your blog too much, so I started one?); I thought he would turn up having cancer or something like that. With that he did prove Alicia wrong, that maybe people don't really change (are the writers trying to tell us something about Peter and Laura? Just kidding).
    Speaking of which, I really like Alicia and Cary's friendship this season, especially the hotel scene. I only feel it happened kind of overnight: one day they can't stand each other and the next she's putting in a good word for him at Lockhart/Gardner. I don't care, I like seeing them like that - the next Will/Diane, maybe?
    Another thing in my list of "things I didn't see coming" is the fact that Maddie planted the whole Indira Star story and is also a lesbian (you're not the only one who missed it). I want to see where this is going, but I don't like her as being "the bad guy". I liked her friendship with Alicia.
    As for Kalinda's hair, maybe she has too much on her plate with hubby/campaing/work (I loved that she finally put a stop to Eli's constantly requests) and doesn't have time to take care of her hair. Or maybe they've decided the audience won't mix Kalinda and Alicia up (I've heard the producers say in an interview that while they were doing the pilot, they were asked not to have two brunettes with their hair down as main characters, because people could be confused as to who is who).
    I'm sorry about the long comment, I just had a lot to say. Congrats again on the blog, I love it!

    1. Hi Jule:

      As long as you care about Cary now I'll let it slide that you didn't have much interest in him before ;)

      I'm with you (as I think most viewers were) - It definitely seemed like Cary's Dad was going to announce he had some kind of illness. I was a bit shell shocked when he asked Cary to put in a good word for him with Diane. Horrible. I'm thrilled Cary stood up to his Father like that and said no. The best part about all of that going down was the fact Cary and Alicia had that wonderful discussion in the hotel room. The idea of how these two have evolved over the last four seasons is rather fascinating. The thing is: even when they were pitted against each other, they always had a tremendous respect for one another. At the end of the day, I think they always really liked each other, too. I don't see their heightened friendship as something that has come from out of the blue. Certainly, they had their differences when Cary went to work at the SA's office, but they've always had a spectacular synergy.

      When it comes to Kalinda's hair, I'm just not sure! Of course, she looks great no matter what, but everything they do on this show is very deliberate. They are beginning to hint at some kind of transformation here. I'm excited to see where this goes.

      Also, thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't see Maddie as both a) a lesbian and b) an evil politician. The thing that bugs me about this is part b. I couldn't care less who she's sleeping with, but I DO care that she's resorting (or being accused of resorting) to such slanderous games. I think she's better than all of that, or, at least that's how they were painting her. I'm feeling very conflicted as to whether or not we're being led down the rabbit hole here. Could all of this be Krestiva lurking in the wings? Even so, what is Maddie doing with Indira? She's so not her type - Maddie could do much better. In any case, I'm 100% up in the air on this story line. I think it could go a dozen different ways.

      Thanks for your great comments, as always!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...