Why Women Should Watch The Good Wife
by Logan Sachon and Meghan Nesmith
Logan Sachon: I have spent the past two weeks watching all of The Good Wife because of you. So, thank you. Who introduced you to this amazing show of female power?
Meghan Nesmith: That would be my best friend Caitlin, who is responsible for most of my television endeavors. She’d been talking about the show for years, mostly in the context of wanting to make out with Will Gardner, the main dude lawyer on the show, and I (FOOLISHLY) ignored her because I thought it sounded like another boring procedural. Like a dumdum.
Logan: AND IT’S NOT.
Meghan: NO IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
Logan: It so excellent! And while I do enjoy the Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner relationship, the best parts of the show are Diane Lockhart and Alicia Florrick. Their characters make me walk taller.
Meghan: Diane Lockhart has become my spirit animal. I have very few hesitations about getting a ‘what would Diane Lockhart do?’ tattoo.
Logan: Let’s talk about why she is so great, as a role model.
Meghan: This is my favorite topic of late. One of the things I cannot get enough of about the show is how they allow adults — like REALLY adults, not just television adults who are like 22 or whatever — to have rich, vibrant lives, full of sex and intrigue and intelligence and decisions. They aren’t just relegated to the background. And I think Diane is the perfect example of that, of a character who on another show would be a footnote, because she isn’t predictable looking and she’s older than typical protagonists, but they allow her to be this total dynamo, a woman who has smarts and power and vigor and life and is outside of a conventional bucket.
Logan: Perfectly put. Alicia is also a very powerful woman. She starts out as a junior associate, and even though her status is less sure, she is constantly surprising me by holding her ground. It’s made me realize how accommodating I am, how much I apologize. Because I’m always expecting her to be apologizing or rolling over, and she never does!
Meghan: You’re right — none of the women are apologists. And with Alicia, the writing is constantly playing against the idea that she is weak or pathetic for standing by her husband by giving her the opportunity to assert herself professionally. Have you stopped apologizing because of her?
Logan: I think I’m more aware of it. While I’m watching, I try her dialogue on in my head and I think, I could never say that, people would hate me! But they don’t hate her! In fact they LIKE HER MORE when she stands up for herself.
Meghan: Now I’m feeling like it might be unrealistic. You’re making me doubt myself, Logan. Do you think that happens in reality? That people genuinely respect you more for being assertive and for not backing down? As a woman? AS A WOMAN. Just like, tag that onto this whole conversation.
Logan: See that’s an interesting question. I feel like in a lot of ways I am the opposite of Alicia and Diane, that is, very accommodating, very apologetic, very wanting everyone to like me. I’d much rather just have everyone get along than have my personal opinion heard and understood, which!!!!!!!! Written out, is disgusting.
Meghan: BUT, not uncommon. I mean, Alicia is not a bitch, and she is kind, so I do think it is possible to be empathetic and caring and generous with yourself while ALSO standing up for what you need and deserve.
There is a conversation in Season 4, Diane says to Alicia that she can’t try to be friends anymore, you remember that? And that is the one thing that worries me about their lives, the absence of relationships — not just romantic, but friendships, which, not that they don’t value people or sacrifice them on the cross for power or anything, but they have isolated themselves by prioritizing their professional lives. As a woman that is something we are constantly warned against.
There is another scene when Diane is in an gallery with the terrifyingly large Australian man, and I remember you saying how much you loved that, how it filled out Diane as a person.
Logan: Yes, it was a nice reminder that she is not doing work ALL THE TIME, that she schedules “her” time.
Meghan: Yes, and “her” time isn’t just sitting on the couch watching back episodes of ‘The Good Wife.’
Meghan: … She does make me want to work harder, at everything: My hair, my job, life, generally.
Logan: Necklace choices.
Meghan: Everyone on that show has this immense wealth of PASSION FOR THE LAW, is that what we’re missing?
Logan: Yes, possibly, or passion for something. One crazy thing about Alicia is she was a stay at home mom for like, 15 years or something.
Logan: How did she do that????
Meghan: Go back to work? Or be a mom?
Logan: I mean she’s such a badass, it’s hard to imagine her just like, twiddling around the house for 15 years.
Meghan: Well, on behalf of mothers everywhere, I’m guessing she wouldn’t describe it as twiddling around the house.
Logan: OH GOD. I can’t believe I said that. I AM A TERRIBLE WOMAN. I am so sorry. Jesus.
Meghan: YOU STEPPED IN IT NOW, LOGAN.
Logan: I really can’t believe I just said that. So sorry. I respect motherhood!
Meghan: Stop apologizing!
Logan: Well it’s her choice. Her body her life her choice.
Meghan: Yes, her strong, brave choice to raise two human beings. But I know what you mean, because she wouldn’t have started working were it not for her husband getting thrown in jail the first episode. And you can see her constantly struggling with her love for her job, and I find that actually really touching, how she sort of realizes how fulfilled she is and feeling guilty for that.
Logan: Do you feel like watching this show has influenced your own behavior in the workplace?
Meghan: I do, actually. I’m putting more of a premium on being genuinely invested in my work I’m starting to become more comfortable with asking for the things I want/need/deserve. It’s not a lie to say that I try and channel Diane in difficult situations. You could do worse for a role model. Next I want to master the Christine Baranski laugh.
Logan: I want to go back through every episode and right down lines to memorize. I want to say exactly the words they say and repeat them to myself like mantras. I think probably the one to start with is, “No.”