Longtime Boxcutters listeners will know that I have never been one to watch much live TV. When we started doing this show, I had three video recorders hooked up that I would variously record on or try to work through the previously recorded shows while juggling the physical tape space on multiple VHS tapes. I still have episodes of Jake in Progress and Caroline in the City I’m sure I’ll get to one day… Anyway, I digress… The reason I was a power user level time shifted viewer from way back was so as to have a ready reserve of quality viewing available at a time convenient to me, rather than the time and day convenient to the networks, and to waste less of my life waiting for the show to come back after the ads. With more than 25 years of experience, I’m a veritable guru when it comes to readying the zapping finger over the remote buttons at the first sign of going to a break and getting the right count to come back to normal speed.
So it takes something really special for an advertising campaign to start to piss me off consistently. Congratulations channel 10… You’ve done it.
I’ve not read anything about The Good Wife, I’ve not paid particular attention to the teasers given in the ads, I’ve not looked for the small print on the billboards around town. I know that Julianna Margulies – the nurse from ER that was going out with George Clooney – has straightened her hair and is playing the titular character and Chris Noth – Big from Sex and the City – plays some sort of political public figure character who has been shamed by some sort of shenanigans. Not once have I bothered sitting through the entire “Sneak Peek” without turning the channel off or hitting the 30 second skip button twice. And yet I’m confident enough to call this one of the major flops of 2010. A bigger disappointment than FlashForward or even Commander in Chief.
There are sure to be parallels with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojovic, caught out trying to sell a Democrat held seat last year, and Hilary Clinton standing by Bill through the Lewinsky saga, probably peppered with inappropriate campaign-trail type press conferences on the front lawn of the family house or on the steps of a courthouse, proving the passionate attention given our hero by the entire nation. The magnitude of girl-power is likely to be off the scale as Margulies triumphs almost impossibly in the career that had only been simmering while she kept the home fires burning in support of her previously legitimate, successful husband. I don’t, however, see the skeptical audience turning off their sense of disbelief for more than a couple of weeks.
This show seems likely to be a fusion of a couple of recent genres we’ve seen: the latest hopeful to try to capture the loyal Sex and the City bloc, who like their women sassy and crave someone they can really relate to in a weekly drama; and the genius working in a professional capacity story – think House, Shark, Leverage, The Mentalist, Eleventh Hour – undertaking and conquering tasks that nobody else anywhere could possibly accomplish. I’m not sure it’s a fusion that can work. US TV has been desperate to get another SatC up for 3 or 4 years now – Women’s Murder Club, Cashmere Mafia, The Starter Wife – but they just don’t take and there seems to be a lack of ensemble in The Good Wife. The genius professional always tends to be a little odd, which is lateral, spontaneous and occasionally fun from a guy working with a team of minions or a federal handler but very quickly shouts ‘Bunny Boiler’ in a woman.
I could be completely wrong on all of this but the saturation promotion that 10 has been giving this show over an extended period has my Boxie senses tingling. We’ll have to wait and see.