I’m not someone who thinks fans should own producers — which is to say, I don’t think TV shows should do exactly what viewers want all the time, because it’s not our show. It’s theirs. Let the producers produce. But there is following your own vision, and then dangling carrot after carrot after carrot to your starving viewers before yanking it back AGAIN and being like, “Eh, we aren’t a restaurant, we’re not in the business of feeding.”
That’s what I think the Kings are doing. Now, Jeffrey Dean Morgan may well turn up again, but this was the last episode on his IMDb page. And after Josh Charles left, the producers have both insisted that we shouldn’t care about Alicia’s sex life, and then turned around and tried to get us titillated by the heat and the pregnant glances and the awkward acknowledgements of attraction and the roadblock of Alicia’s sham marriage. Only to THEN sweep those things aside again and insist they’re immaterial, and worse, interchangeable. You can’t have it all ways, Kings.
Pajiba published an interesting piece about whether everyone in this cast hates Julianna Margulies. Some of that, I think, isn’t totally sound logic. Josh Charles left a 22-episode-per-year show at a time when he had a new baby, and instead took on short-mouthful commitments (Amy Schumer sketches, the 13-episode Masters of Sex), along with saying he was seeking more film opportunities. That all flies for me. Steven Pasquale is a Broadway/stage actor, so I can’t imagine he intended to do a long-term commitment on the show, and indeed, in 2015, he would’ve gone from Good Wife to rehearsals for Carousel opposite Laura Osnes in Chicago. I think Pasquale came on board as the Band-Aid for the Finn Polmar problem — namely, that Matthew Goode and Margulies had tons of chemistry but somebody shut it down (Margulies has said she doesn’t think Alicia and Finn could ever have sex because he was too closely twined with Will Gardner’s death) and THAT gave us visual blue balls, so they threw Alicia in bed with Steven off-camera and figured that climax would sate us. Not so, and then BOTH actors left. And now we have Jeffrey Dean Morgan brought on for the SPECIFIC purpose of awakening her libido again, only for her to get her rocks off perfunctorily with Peter and then, yes, for JDM to leave.
I digress. My point is, I think some of the problems with The Good Wife right now stem less from a clear and all-consuming hatred of Julianna Margulies than from poor management. Every word and action from The Good Wife camp surrounding Archie and Julianna pointed heavily to it being Julianna’s problem, but Tara from Previously.tv — not someone who bullshits – said she heard it was 100 percent Archie. That may be true, but it’s at odds with how the entire situation was handled, which… either way, it’s bad management, up to and including the maddeningly condescending interviews given about the infamous split-screen scene. Alicia’s career being rebooted for the umpteenth time, in what is widely reported to be the last season, is just lazy. The show having no idea what to do with Cary is just sad. The Kings have two different pilots in stages of development, so I suspect they’ve turned over the helm of this ship to pay attention to any future cash cows.
But you can’t deny that Alicia does only interact anymore on-camera with newbies — JDM, Cush Jumbo, guest judges, that one ADA. The chemistry that once fueled this show is gone, largely because Alicia is removed from it. That is a problem, and when you are a show that is now notorious for a major feud between actresses that was handled as badly as ANYTHING ever has been, it would seem like terrible optics to then craft a new season that further isolates the actress/character who was at the heart of the other conflict. Every choice they make underscores the theories they then try to debunk. It’s odd. Basically, someone needs to write the book about what happened with this show.