Rasha: What I want to know is: has anyone in the TGW writers’ room heard of the Log Cabin Republicans??
Gemma: If so, they’re ignoring them.
R: Yep, they sure are. And as much as I do love, love, love Oliver Platt, and even really am enjoying him as R.D., I am not for a second going to give a thoughtful nod to his comparison of political apples with personal oranges.
G: Oliver Platt is always worthy of love, but TGW is always at their smarmiest with gay marriage issues. There was another ep where they took it on, I think in S4, and the same thing happened with the end of the ep. They tried to tamp down their cynicism and it just felt false.
R: The writers have him comparing liberal politicians’ reversal on gay marriage with the “people who stick by their beliefs” and refuse to make gay cakes. Look, compare Clinton, Obama, anyone on the Democratic side, to Republicans who have come out for gay marriage (but not for other issues that would help LGBTQ folks like universal healthcare–and not for other civil rights issues like extra-judicial killings carried out by police) when it became expedient in their play to win the votes of young, white, cisgender males.
Ditto marijuana legalization acts (which should not be confused with decriminalizing drug possession overall, a much worthier political aim). Or otherwise compare people with religious beliefs with people who are gay and want to be married. Because there are plenty of those folks who have been fighting for a long time and have not changed their mind for political expediency.
G: I recall an old Amanda Marcotte article where she was talking about how a lot of lefties half-want anti-abortion activists to go as far as they now have in the Purvi Patel case because at least they would be “consistent,” and Marcotte’s response to that was, “It’s consistent in the way that arguing that you should be able to sexually assault animals because you eat them is consistent.”
R: Can we impeach the entire government of Indiana?
G: Yes, please.
R: Because I’m sure the people of Indiana, like the people of Florida and my home state of Georgia, deserve better representation than they often get.
G: They most certainly do.
R: Ugh. Anyway, I was pissed that Diane nodded thoughtfully at R.D.’s pursed lips about standing up for people who stick by their beliefs. No thoughtful nods for that, no!
G: Yes. That was what I mean by smarmy ending. Although I liked the setup, and I liked Diane’s response to it.
R: Absolutely. Otherwise, I enjoyed the case, actually, and enjoy the chemistry between Diane and R.D.
G: This was one where I empathized heavily with Diane. My contrarian-@ss self knows the feelings.
R: The mock trial was the most exciting thing about this episode. (The second most exciting thing was Kalinda’s opening dress.)
G: Okay, in this ep I challenge the notion of “realistic” because, while I don’t doubt that it is “realistic” for every single Chicago election ever to have its validity cast under suspicion, it’s certainly getting to make for boring narrative.
R: I know.
G: I liked the maneuvering of Lily Rabe, and I liked the scene between Alicia and Peter.
R: Following the “realistic” trend, will Peter go to prison after he finishes his term as governor?
G: Is it going to come to that? Or is Alicia just going to be impeached or discredited and next season will be about her trying to make amends with the firm? It would give us more David Hyde Pierce next season, which I could handle.
R: Hunh. I hadn’t thought of that. Meh. I’m lukewarm. I don’t think Peter will go to prison again.
G: Me neither, and I certainly don’t think Alicia will.
G: But I could see her never being able to take office.
R: It would burn her buns to have to resign. I’m hoping they won’t play voting irregularities with the blithe disregard to truthfulness that they have displayed in so many other cases they’ve ripped from the headlines. I can see it now: “Yes, the voting booths made mistakes in tabulating votes, but no one *programmed* them to do that or tampered with them. This is really just about how everything is broken, not about how specific people in power use power to keep power.”
G: Unless it was the PAC via Lemond Bishop. I could see them pushing that, given how they used to use the PAC during Peter’s SA election in S2.
R: Meh. It would take a savvier political operator than Bishop do to that.
G: Bishop is connected to savvier operators. I’m actually going to bet that’s the angle they take.
R: Maybe? But without them showing it? They showed it with Peter’s campaign.
G: Well, they’ve been showing Bishop and referring to his involvement with the PAC throughout, and made it sound distinctly shady. They showed it with Peter’s campaign because the journey was Eli’s, whereas in this campaign they’ve been emphasizing Alicia’s alienation from the process, and nobody cared about Elfbaby.
R: Maybe. I don’t trust them to write an interesting storyline for Bishop is all.
G: Oh, I’m making no claims that it will be interesting, but they need to do something Capone-y about Bishop given how they’re building it up, and I bet this is how they do it.
R: You know what, this brings me to something I have been thinking about since we decided to do our upcoming character study on Kalinda: This show used to have so much more menace.
R: Now, most of it feels toothless. No affront intended to denture-wearers, for I will one day join your ranks.
G: How did that happen?
R: I think it’s connected to what pissed me off in the Season 5-6 transition after Will died: the script is consistently undermining characters’ BAMFitude. Alicia is racist and sexist. Diane is an old who doesn’t understand technology. Cary is a puppy who doesn’t fight back and gets dragged around everywhere. Kalinda doesn’t kalinda anymore. Will made stupid choices about the business before he died. We so rarely get to see any of the characters win in a way we can cheer for, and as a result, none of them intimidate us anymore. Which is perhaps why I enjoyed Diane’s turn in this ep. Sharp!
G: Huh. I mean, the show was always about showing its characters as compromised, and I’d like to be able to cheer for them in their state of compromise, but I agree with you that there is a difference. I’m having a hard time pinning down where it is, though. It’s something about how they treat us, as an audience, and their self-awareness, as writers.
R: There is a smugness to the scripts, like we’re going to care about these people regardless of the quality of their work, their actions/inactions, or their character–and like we cede any rights to reality when we enter this world. Like the facts of the script are law, even when they’re so far from even being in conversation with the cases that inspired them. There’s a cavalier disregard for the engagement the writers are pretending to.
G: I wasn’t going to give it to you until that last sentence about the cavalier disregard, but now I think I see where you’re going.
R: I think it would be different if they weren’t so clearly scavenging timely events in what seem like desperate grabs for relevance. Trust the journey of your characters!
G: Yes. I think they also know that their audiences skew older and less in touch, and losing Kalinda is going to lose them a crapload of younger viewers.
R: Do they care? They seem to not care.
G: They do, they’re just realizing they have no idea how to act on that caring. Hence the muddle. They do not understand the Kalinda mystique, and I’m about to get into things we should save for the character study, so I’m going to shift over to Kalinda and Wiley,
and say that: Archie Panjabi is brilliant all of the time, and this may be the first time we have ever seen Kalinda admit to any kind of wrongdoing to another person, even if it’s just the vehicle that is Finn.
G: And there was something moving about that. Half of me is hoping we won’t see her wriggle out of it in the next episode, even though I know we will, because she’s Protecting Diane.
R: What would S1-3 Kalinda do in this situation? She would definitely have all kinds of dirt on Wiley, Prima, and Pine, and this would all disappear, because there *was* misconduct on the part of the prosecution, just not the kind she fabricated.
G: Yes. But now we know we’re counting down to Kalinda’s destruction.
R: Also, it’s hard for me to see Prima and Pine together.
G: Why? I kind of like them.
R: He’s old! I just don’t find the actor playing Prima appealing, and I think Geneva is a cool character. Perhaps my cute-prejudice is showing.
G: Perhaps. I like the actor playing Prima from The Sopranos. Geneva is cool, although barely appearing now because the actor is in Hamilton in NYC, which I AM DYING TO SEE but I digress. I appreciate, now as always, Panjabi’s ability to make the character cohesive and forward-moving when the writing around her is repetitive and circular overall and has been since they failed to understand why S4 was wrong, but I do want to credit the writers with that novel moment.
R: As much as I agree with you when I hear it like that, I am tired of seeing Kalinda make watery eyes of uncertainty and fear at dudes who threaten her. I miss the baseball bat.
G: Well, time was we had watery eyes AND baseball bats. That was what made her Kalinda.