The Disgruntled Viewer

First, a thousand apologies for neglecting the care and feeding of the blog. If you want to see my list of excuses, read to the end.

goodwifeOne of the things I’ve been doing during the long, hot days of summer besides neglecting the blog is watching The Good Wife, all seven seasons, because I didn’t watch the show when it aired in real time and I’d heard it was well-casted, smartly written, and chock full of big and small moral dilemmas and courtroom intrigue.

I admit I became attached to these very flawed characters (much like I latched on emotionally to the equally, if not more, messed-up characters on Mad Men). I became interested and invested in their fictional lives and I began to care whether or not they found the happiness in life we all seek. Let me just stop right here and say SPOILER ALERT. If you’ve not seen The Good Wife to its conclusion and think you might want to, skip right now to my excuses for not feeding the blog, or click away and I’ll see you next time.

When a viewer starts to care about TV characters who aren’t real people, the series screenwriter has done his or her job perfectly. When we start to care, we start to long for the characters’ vindication or redemption. Season after season, year after a year of a character’s life, we increasingly long for the day (as the characters does) when she will either get what she wants or when she will become a different kind of person who wants something else. Something better. We will look back at the end of the viewing journey and say that story was worth the hours (many hours) we gave to it.

Can you tell I am about to tell you I felt cheated out of my emotional investment and the sheer number of minutes I turned over to this TV drama? I was not prepared for Alicia (spoiler alert, spoiler alert) to morph into the anti-hero. And this is not because I can’t handle a good person becoming the anti-hero. I was a big fan of Breaking Bad. It’s also not because I can’t handle a flawed person staying flawed. I am an even bigger fan of Mad Men. Donald Draper is the most flawed TV character I’ve ever known and yet I was not left feeling robbed at his series finale.

So why did I feel so ticked off at how The Good Wife ended? I’m still trying to figure it out. How is Alicia Florrick different than Walter White? She was told late in the series by another character that her problem is she can’t distinguish between love and responsibility. I liked that line and I waited to see how this revelation would be used to bring her character around to a satisfying end. Not necessarily happily-ever-after, but satisfying. That revelation never brought about anything other than her character’s demise. The wounds she’d suffered (and which had bound me to her emotionally) were cheapened by who she became at the end, at least for me. Walter White had a similar end and yet I could see his moral collapse coming, episode after episode. Not so here. Am I the one at fault? Am I missing something grand here?

Would love to hear your thoughts, fellow Good Wife viewers. Enlighten me, please. I really do want to know what you think. And I want to be able to feel the hours had been worth it. I stand ready to be convinced.

Oh, here are the excuses:

  1. I was busy
  2. I had nothing important to say
  3. It was hot
  4. I was plotting a new book
  5. I was editing a book
  6. I was watching The Good Wife

Author: Susan

This post has 4 Comments

  1. JJ on September 11, 2016 at 3:27 am

    My excuses for not getting anything done this summer are:
    1. I was sick.
    2. I got stung by 1 scorpion 9 times. My mouth went numb.
    3. I was sick.
    4. I had to unplug the computer during a thunderstorm.
    5. I was sick.
    6. The mouse on my computer quit working & I was too sick to install a new one.

    I agree with your assessment of the ending to THE GOOD WIFE–unsettling. Didn’t resolve a thing! Everything was right back where it started. I wish I knew what to tell you. And I envy that you have the technology that you could binge watch the entire series. I wish I could do that.
    PS: I am on the mend. Fall will be better. It has to be, it’s my favorite season!

  2. Jana Botkin on September 27, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Thank you for reinforcing my low opinion of television series. Sometimes I wonder if I am missing out on something important culturally, but you verified my opinion that a book is almost always a better choice than a teevee show. I’m thankful for wonderful story tellers such as yourself!

  3. Susan on October 20, 2016 at 5:08 pm


  4. Susan on October 20, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Holy cow, did you REALLY get stung by one scorpion NINE times? I am in awe of your survival. Truly. So was it as bad as I’ve heard?

Leave a Comment