“The Good Wife” recap (4.7): Tits and the FCC

This week on The Good Wife, we stepped back from some major plotlines — mainly, anything to do with Kalinda (pouty face) — and started to advance some new ones including Cary’s Dad is a Big Fat Jerk; Lockhart Gardner Clings Stubbornly To Its Rocky Freedom One More Time; Captain Amanda Peet Hangs Around; and Alicia Giggles Forever. While I was definitely bummed about the lack of Kalinda, these storylines were all intriguing, and more than that, the trial storyline of the day was Good Wife feminist-social commentary gold.

Our Guest Star of the Week was Christina Ricci, playing a comedian being sued by a network after showing her breasts on live TV as part of a breast cancer PSA stunt. The first five minutes of the show also include a very smirk-worthy running gag about the ridiculousness of not being able to say “tits” on air, with horns honking on the street outside anytime Ricci or Alicia open their mouths to say it.

This obviously smacks of the whole “can’t say vagina” political controversy of yore, but it also takes on censorship in general, and how women’s bodies in the media are played by both networks and the FCC. How afraid are we of women’s bodies — and the “vulgar” language associated with them? While it’s understandable for a network to react after someone unexpectedly massages their hoohas in front of America, it’s illogical for them to sue for $2 million in “damages.” In the end, if Ricci apologizes to enough members of the FCC to sway them, they won’t fine the network and the network will accordingly drop the charges. Yet the knowledge that conservative interest groups hold the sway over the FCC like they do, as is also presented in this trial, is also disturbing.

As for Ricci as a comedian, though, you’re not quite sure if you’re supposed to really like her from her first moment on screen. Her character takes the whole overconfident sass factor to a level approaching abrasive — but you do know that something about what she’s being put through, and the system I just discussed, inherently sucks.

As adorably Ricci as ever, but with a bonus badass leather jacket.

Back in the office, we then get to see Amanda Peet’s shiny face again. Surprise! After her trial was put to bed last week, it seemed like her guest role stint was done, but apparently not. She’s out of the military and seeking a litigating job in the private sector again, and runs into Alicia wearing her “interview outfit” when she comes to Lockhart Gardner to pay her bill for that whole rape thing she lost last time. While I love a lady in uniform, this flowy-hair Captain Peet ain’t bad, either. After a moment of chit-chat, Alicia tells her that she re-joined the game after a long time away, too, and that if Captain Peet needed any advice, she could help. Captain Peet says she’ll call her. Oh, I bet you will.

Nudge nudge wink wink.

At Florrick for Governor headquarters, two developments occur: one, someone is putting out a rumor that Indira Starr has said that Peter has a birthmark shaped like Brazil on his penis. Teehee, penis birthmarks. Eli is in top shape rage after this, even more steamed because he says it’s the perfect political move. From what I understand, no one in his camp can verify it or deny it without having to say that, you know, they saw his penis, and Peter can’t talk about it himself without, you know, talking about his penis. Either way it’s the perfect fodder for people like Jay Leno to make stupid jokes about for weeks.

To ease his nerves from all this, Eli asks Other Dude Who Works With Him for any other campaign gossip they could smear themselves. Other Dude reveals that Maddie Hayward is sleeping with an aide. Eli’s like, “Eh, yeah, so what, what’s new.” Then Other Dude says what we were all thinking: “The aide is a girl.” Ding ding ding! Eli’s eyes light up. Lesbian dirt, apparently, he can work with. Although I wouldn’t get too excited, Eli, because a bunch of people in America last week told us that they’ll still elect lesbians anyway.

Back in Christina Ricci censorship land, we learn that not everybody in the FCC is a bad guy. The first commissioner we meet is on her side and makes a solid point, explaining why networks are hypocrites: “You allow yourselves to show naked bodies, just as long as they’re bruised and covered in blood.” Well snap, son.

Cary and Alicia have traveled with Ricci to Washington to meet with the FCC dudes, and as they step into the hallway after this first meeting, we also get to meet Cary’s dad who randomly strolls up. He’s played by John Shea, otherwise known as Blair Waldorf’s Gay Dad on Gossip Girl and/or Lex Luther from Lois and Clark, if you remember Lois and Clark. This is the second Gossip Girl reference I’ve made in as many recaps. Basically, when is Blake Lively going to be on this piece?

Sadly, Cary’s dad doesn’t seem to be gay this time, and their meeting is tense and awkward. Cary and Alicia share a heart to heart later in their hotel, where Cary is all, “My dad is a big jerk face,” and Alicia is all, “People are good at heart. He probably wants to make amends. Meet with him because people change.” Then Cary is all, you’ve changed too; you’re harder now; and Alicia’s all, and you’re less of an asshole than I thought you used to be. And then they make s’mores and cuddle by a campfire.

Cary takes Alicia’s optimism-in-people advice and meets with Daddy-o for breakfast; he seems like an okay guy and says that you never know how much time you’ve got and that he’s proud of him and sorry that they haven’t been in good contact, etc. Cary seems confused and is clearly convinced that his dad has some life altering disease that he’s not telling him about, but he’s whisked away by Alicia to get back to Lockhart Gardner before he can find out more. Still troubled by this whole convo, though, clearly, Cary calls him up when he gets back to Chicago, saying in the most sincere soft spoken phone voice ever that he’s here and listening, and that his dad can tell him what’s going on.

So Dad takes a deep breath and then says: “I want this job and I need a good word from Diane Lockhart for it and can you do anything about that? I know it’s a lot to ask. I can try to work the FCC for you in return!” Whoa. I’ve seen a lot of jackasses on TV, but this is impressive in jackassery. Guess you was wrong, Alicia. Later on father and son meet up again and Dad is all “Eff you for not talking to Diane Lockhart for me,” and Cary is all, “No, eff you,” and then they walk away. Yayyy!

Enough testosterone, though; back to our ladies. In one of our only Kalinda sightings this episode, she and Eli’s Other Investigator Dude scout out Maddie’s apartment and catch Indira Starr walking out of it. Indira Starr and Maddie have apparently been hanging out for quite a while. So Maddie’s a lesbian, and she’s been playing the Florricks all along. See AfterEllen.com readers being completely not surprised. My question is, is she sleeping with Indira too, in addition to whoever the previously mentioned aide is? Tell me more about Maddie’s lady love, show, even if Maddie may or may not be a horrible person.

I want to visit The Good Wife’s Leather Jacket Costume Department, real bad.

After Kalinda delivers this news to Eli, he starts to ask her for more help until she finally cuts him off, reminding him that helping him was supposed to be a temporary gig and she has another full time job. He slyly tries to use the Kalicia card on her. “You know this is just as much for Alicia as it is for Peter.” Silly Eli, the Kalicia card only works once. “Nice try,” Kalinda says, as she breezes out the door.

Back in Washington in the final meeting with the FCC, an unfortunate Christina Ricci As Comedian incident is brought up by the last commissioner, who says that he agrees with spreading the word about breast cancer but doesn’t understand this new apologetic Ricci with the girl who once made the joke, “Rape is never funny. Except when the rape is with a clown.” Yowzer. Seriously, this is not funny at all. Back to the not-knowing-whether-we’re-supposed-to-like-this-girl or not thing. She apologizes for the joke but it’s hard to tell if she’s sincere since it doesn’t seem like she’s really sincere about anything. When the FCC commissioner asks if she’ll sign an agreement promising to never do anything like this again, she responds by leaning over and kissing Cary, who she’s been pseudo flirting with all episode, and walks out of the room. Uh, weird? In the end, while I was still split over Ricci’s character — funny feminist comedian, or psychopath lacking any real emotions? — the ability to create a character who provokes so many odd emotions is still proof of interesting writing to me. Her case is eventually dismissed.

Captain Amanda Peet, meanwhile, after some painful interview rejections, is given a job by Peter Florrick after a good word from Alicia. Peet bounces into Alicia’s office to give her the good news.

I am the Master of the Universe.

I’m so pretty and you’re so nice. Let’s get drunk.

This is great for Captain Amanda Peet and all, but why spend so much of this episode on the career success of a character we’ve just met? She also seems overly doe-eyed and chummy with Alicia. Something is odd about it, and I’m sure that this storyline will advance more in the next few episodes.

In other slightly boring news, Nathan Lane comes close to selling out the firm to a bigger firm who would absorb Lockhart Gardner’s debt, until Diane and Will find out about it and pull some sneaky thing to stop it. The most interesting thing about this is that it causes Nathan Lane to turn into Super Angry Auditor Man. He rages into their office with the ominous threat that they will lose this firm. Will says that he needs to step back, that he’s become too involved in their firm. Angry Auditor Nathan Lane barks back, “You don’t know me. I don’t step back.” Diane, of course, says, “Neither do we.” Lockhart Gardner: wonderfully stubborn, or stubbornly stupid? Not quite sure.

But we get to see Diane’s legs again, so.

The episode finishes out with Alicia indulging in one more giggle with herself over the news about Peter’s Brazil Penis. Let’s indulge in Alicia’s laugh for a moment: it’s so raspy and genuine and enjoyable. I wish we got to hear it more — for our sake, and Alicia’s.

It appears that there will be less giggling next episode though, as the previews for next week show us some Intense Shit, including Cary apparently getting the crap kicked out of him in a parking garage. What? Scary! And alas, we won’t have to wait too long to learn more about why they’re advancing the Captain Peet story. It looks like she will be the opposing counsel in what appears to be a rough case for Lockhart Gardner. Alicia may regret helping a sister out. Seriously though, Cary. What kind of a trial is this?

What did you think about Christina Ricci’s character? Annoying or fighting the good fight? Even though we never actually saw her face in this episode, what are your thoughts on the new (or not so new) details about Maddie Hayward? Is Captain Peet really as nice as she seems, or is there something up her sleeve?

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