26 June, 2012

Broadway's Best Joins Television's Finest on The Good Wife

Triple-threat, Kristin Chenoweth to join The Good Wife in Season Four
Summer 2012 Hiatus | Post Date: June 26, 2012 | Updated: August 13, 2012

Article Update: After having been in an on-set accident while filming The Good Wife on July 11, Kristin Chenoweth has made public her decision to leave the show.  "It is with deep regret to inform everyone that due to my injuries, I am unable to return to The Good Wife" notes Chenoweth.  With just one episode under her belt, I can only hope she will make a speedy recovery and return to the hallowed halls of Lockhart Gardner as a journalist on a mission to bring down the Florrick campaign.
It's official.  This is the most exciting week for casting in the history of The Good Wife.  It's a big claim, I know, but I'm willing to sing it, dance it, act it and mime it - Season four of The Good Wife is going to feature the single most star-studded ensemble cast on television.

As if the June 25th announcement of Marc Warren and Maura Tierney joining the cast of the Good Wife wasn't big enough, news of triple-threat Kristin Chenoweth’s recurring role on the show has quickly become the delicious icing atop The Good Wife’s casting coup cake.  According to a press release from CBS, Chenoweth’s character will debut in The Good Wife’s season premiere as a political journalist slated to report on Peter’s campaign for Governor.  You can bet news of the Florrick’s estranged marriage won’t take long to hit the press which means Eli will be quickly back to work doing what he does best: acting as a political puppet master.  

I, for one, can’t help but wonder what other implications having a top-of-her-game journalist around will bring to the show.  Will the beloved Team Gardner romance of season three get blown out of the water?  Will Chenoweth’s character befriend staff at Lockhart Gardner to get the inside scoop on Alicia?  Will Grace and Zach end up caught in the middle (or, better yet, be forced to put their season one Kalinda-esque PI skills to good use)?  Look out Cook County, things just got a little more interesting.

Of course, there is one other huge variable that comes into play with Chenoweth joining the cast.  It's no secret Christine Baranaski (Diane), Alan Cumming (Eli) and Graham Phillips (Zach) are all accomplished singers.  Is it wrong to hope for at least one scene in season four involving a singalong?  Karaoke anyone?

Kristin Chenoweth, Tony and Emmy Award winner, is best known by TV audiences for her roles on the West Wing, Pushing Daisies, Glee, and most recently, GCB.  Of course, long-time fans of Chenoweth (a category where I happily find myself), knows her best from her acclaimed Broadway roles in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Wicked and Promises, Promises.  You can follow Kristin Chenoweth on Twitter @kchenoweth.

16 June, 2012

The Good Wife: The Best & Worst of Season Three

A Look Back at the Most Memorable Moments
Summer 2012 Hiatus | Post Date: June 16, 2012

With season three of The Good Wife officially in the record books, it only seems fitting we pause to celebrate the best (and worst) of those 22 glorious episodes.  It was a year that saw fans shrieking with joy (Team Gardner, we got this!) and moments later, covering their faces while repeating, ‘did that just happen?  No really.  Did THAT just happen?!’  Okay, maybe those were *my* reactions, but I like to think I’m not totally alone.  Honesty, did anyone see the whole Wendy Scott-Carr situation ultimately being about Peter?  Who would have predicted the end of Alicia and Will would be as simple as a ringtone?  To that end, whose heart didn't get torn into a million pieces during their breakup?  And last, but certainly not least, who would have thought Kalinda’s husband (ex-husband? Who really knows?) would be the start of her potential undoing?  While K waits at her door, gun close at hand, let's kick back and enjoy some of season three's most memorable moments.

Best Guest Star - Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni
“Whew!  Look at all this paper.”  It’s a phrase fans of The Good Wife (I swear, it’s not just me!) have incorporated into everyday conversation, all because of the brilliantly whimsical and stunningly clever Elsbeth Tascioni.  She was hired by Will on Alicia’s recommendation and outsmarted Wendy Scott-Carr in court and outside a play about dancing bears.  All I can say is: ‘Someone, please get this woman an invite to the Lockhart Gardner Christmas Party!’ – just imagine the hilarity that would ensue!  Carrie Preston as Elsbeth Tascioni is dynamic and charming… and strangely makes me yearn for more legal debauchery so she can grace our screens again.  I can’t help but think: Elsbeth having to defend Kalinda would be outrageously entertaining.  “Whew!  Look at all these uncashed cheques and stacks of money…”

Worst Story – The Florrick Homestead in Highland Park
The truth be told, I had to toss a coin to decide this one.  Heads was Alicia on the teeter-totter of her old Highland Park home; tails was Grace getting fauxnapped by Internet Jesus.  Oh how I long for the days of season one when Zach and Grace were channeling their PI skills and doing something useful.  *Sigh* Heads won, so it was decided: The back and forth on the Highland Park house was enough to make even Eli want to scream (which is saying something, since he specializes in mitigating disasters).  The house continues to provide an interesting device for a story arc as we head into season four and Peter makes a run for Governor.  With Jackie’s money tied to the house and Peter committed to doing yard work when he’s not trying to take out Mike Krevesta (Matthew Perry) at the knees, the idea of ‘can you ever go home?’ seems to be a theme the writers desperately want us to conquer.

Best Random Resurfacing Character (Single Episode) – Tammy
Okay, okay.  I know what you’re thinking. “Tammy?!  Really?!”  Oh yes, I’m not kidding.  Anyone who can elicit such dramatic expressions from Alicia deserves an honorable mention.  Not only that, she rocks journalist chic in an epic way.  While it’s no secret I’m a Team Gardner fan, for reasons I cannot explain, I have always found myself to be intrigued by Tammy’s character and how she fits into the bigger picture. 

Best Judge – Linda Emond as Leora Kuhn
Colonel Leora Kuhn, aka, Will’s arch nemesis in the land of military justice.  Her demeanor is dry but her wit is sharp and if there’s one thing she’s serious about, it’s making Will uncomfortable.   In many cases Will is able to charm and persuade not just Judges, but everyone (let’s not forget, he IS one of Chicago’s most eligible bachelors).  With Leora Kuhn, the opposite is true and it makes for deliciously awkward and hysterical scenes.  Season three’s “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” prominently featured Kuhn and, for those of you keeping score, Lockhart Gardner didn’t win the case that went before her, despite a well-fought argument (and the beloved Captain Terrance Hicks).  Let’s hope the military gets roped into something next year.  Double points if Elsbeth and Will have to team up and go before Kuhn together.

Most frustrating character – Eli Gold
Now, don’t get me wrong.  In general, I love Eli.  He’s a public relations mastermind and his snappy dressing is second to none.  Unfortunately, this season posed a challenge for his character.  With no active campaigns, Eli was left floundering between crisis management and the brink of his own insanity.  Take, for example, the fact he spent the last quarter of the season trying to undermine his former ally, Diane.  We were never really given the full story as to why Eli wanted to oust Diane from named partnership, but the best thing to come from that story line was seeing him butt-heads with David Lee.  With the exception of Eli’s gig at the Dairy Association, his bed-side visit to Jackie and a smattering of brilliant one-liners, Eli Gold was a mere shell of his former self.  I can’t wait for his season four redemption, back in campaign mode and not crying over spilled milk.

Best Scene – “It’s a surprise party for you”
This category was almost impossible, but I had to challenge myself to come up with a single moment in time that I loved above all others.  Here goes:

Episode 3.22: The Dream Team

Location: The elevator (because, let's face it, that's where all the best things happen) followed by the reception area on the 28th floor at Lockhart Gardner

Scene:  Will and Peter end up on the same elevator and engaged in awkward conversation. When the doors open, Alicia is there to greet them both.  Enter Eli who doesn’t know what to say to the Florrick/Gardner/Florrick team when Cary comes into the scene balancing a banker’s box on one knee while trying to shake Peter’s hand.  Through the group rolls Patti Nyholm’s baby who Will calls ‘their new associate’ and then, *ding* the elevator doors open to reveal Kalinda.

Why this scene was so great: It was a collision of, at minimum, five storylines at one time.  It was brilliantly scripted and exquisitely filmed.  Beyond that, this scene boiled so much of the show down to one key theme: Nothing is ever simple – we live in shades of grey.  It’s something Alicia mentioned at the beginning of season one and it’s a quote that continues to permeate the stories on The Good Wife each week.  

Best Overall Performance - Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart
There is little I can say that will do any justice to Baranski's excellence this year.  The character of Diane Lockhart has been strong since day one, but season three was the year for Baranski to shine.  Not only was she the glue that held Lockhart Gardner together, she defended Will's professional integrity, brought a legal aid organization into the firm and dated two men... at the same time.  She's like superwoman but in Stuart Weitzman heels. If ever there was a time to honor this actress with an Emmy, this would be the year.

Top Six Episodes - The Season's Best... In My Opinion
According to a recent article, The Good Wife has submitted 10 episodes for Emmy consideration.  That's 45% of their total shows this season.  Now, let's be honest.  I'm not great at narrowing things down and readers of this blog can all attest that brevity isn't my forte.  Noting this, how was I able to boil things down when the writers and producers couldn't?  It's simple.  I used a formula.  I don't want to get into specifics, but it involved a precise calculation of moments that made me laugh, clap, cry and cover my face while shrieking. I gave bonus points for scenes and episodes that did all four, especially when they did so simultaneously.  It's very scientific.

  • Feeding the Rat - While Alicia is tackling a complicated pro-bono case, Will, Peter and Celeste are all busy attending a local conference.  The result?  An outrageous charade.  Also, Will drops an 'I love you' into conversation with Alicia.  Needless to say, I adore everything about this episode. 
  • Executive Order 13224 - Alicia lands in hot water with the Treasury Secretary Monitor (the cupcake loving Mr. Higgs) and she hires Elsbeth Tascioni to help her from winding up in prison.
  • Alienation of Affection - "You've been served."  Three little words that haunt everyone at Lockhart Gardner as Diane's soon-to-be love interest, Jack Copeland, shows up around Chicago delivering ominous manila envelopes.
  • Another Ham Sandwich - Two words: Grand Jury.
  • After the Fall - Will's suspension is official and his sisters arrive to comfort him during his time of need.  Hilarity ensues.  Rewatch count: Probably shouldn't admit.
  • Blue Ribbon Panel - Alicia and Kalinda finally begin to connect about the mysterious tax file, but before long, Alicia gets pulled onto a Blue Ribbon Panel and finds herself looking for justice while defending herself from sociopath, Mike Kresteva.

Season Three Honourable Mentions - Most Memorable Moments
What can I say?  There are a few things I can't help but mention again...
  • Alicia and Will at his apartment in the season premiere. Should they go to his room?  No.  The cabinet at the front door works just as well.  This was quite possibly the steamiest scene of season three (that is, depending on how you felt about Kalinda getting "flexible" with Lana...)
  • Alicia’s infamous “Mom pick up the phone” ringtone exposing her relationship with Will. (Urgh. Will I ever be over this?  Unlikely.  I’m holding out hope for a season five Team Gardner reunion.  Who's with me?)
  • David Lee coming to work in his HMS Pinafore costume
  • Cary and Kalinda sharing a kiss
  • Will saying, "I love you" to Alicia
  • Diane confronting Will about his relationship with Alicia in the ‘we’re ousting Bond’ rooftop courtyard
  • Alicia walking out of the courtroom during the grand jury showdown versus Wendy Scott-Carr
  • Will’s sisters come to town and make every moment with their brother on-screen magic
  • Kalinda getting arrested
  • Will and Diane dancing around Lockhart Gardner to Audra Mae's 'Here I Go Again'
  • Peter deciding to run for Governor 
  • Alicia returning to Highland Park and remembering her former life
  • Kalinda and Alicia finally sharing a drink together <insert jazz hands and tequila shots>
  • Kalinda sledge hammering her bedroom wall/pulling up a chair to await her husband's  impending visit, gun close at hand

A Note of Thanks 
I’m particularly fond of season three because my love for all things The Good Wife came together in the form of this blog.  It brought some wonderful new friends into my life and helped me reconnect with those with whom I’d lost touch.  A special thanks to everyone who has supported my (occasionally) irrational love of Team Gardner... and to those of you who have celebrated Good Wife Sundays and Mondays with me every step along the way.  Here's to season four - here's to a new day!

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