I haven’t done a brain dump in a while. My definition of a brain dump is sharing a few thoughts about several things at once. This time it’s Thursday night on ABC with Grey’s Anatomy, Notorious and How to Get Away with Murder on my mind. Continue reading “Brain Dump: Thursday Nights on ABC”
When I wrote about what I wanted for the way Kalinda would exit The Good Wife, I knew it would be miles from whatever the writers dreamed up, and it was.
But it was perfect.
Kalinda Sharma, played by the wonderful Archie Panjabi, personifies mysterious. She keeps everything carefully guarded and holds her secrets close. That’s the way she departed.
She just left.
No explanations. No obvious goodbyes.
It was perfectly Kalinda.
Well, she may have told Alicia (Julianna Margulies) goodbye. The reason Alicia burst into tears after reading a note from Kalinda at the end of the episode was not clear. Alicia breaking down into tears is extraordinary. I cannot wait to find out what the note said.
Well done writers Michelle King and Robert King!
And, damn it all, I’m really going to miss Kalinda.
I hope any new show Archie Panjabi has lined up is a huge hit and makes us all glad she gave up Kalinda to take the new role.
A Newsy Footnote
Entertainment Weekly says Kalinda will make one final appearance on the show in the season 6 finale, but doesn’t explain if it will be a return visit or what. Much as I’d like to see her hug it out with Alicia, I actually hope for a series of flashbacks. Grey’s Anatomy just used a series of flashbacks to honor Patrick Dempsey’s years on that show. I don’t want The Good Wife to feel like an imitation of that. Yet, while everyone is discussing what happened to Kalinda and why she disappeared, it seems like a perfect time for a series of flashbacks of Kalinda’s prime moments.
Alyson Hannigan tends to take parts in shows that turn out to be wildly popular and last for years. For that reason we usually see her as a sweetheart of a character for long stretches of time.
The result is that when we think of Alyson Hannigan we think of the nerdy and loyal best friend in Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the funny, mild-mannered wife on How I Met Your Mother. A 7 year run and a 9 year run. Long runs as one character.
Her long-running gigs make us forget something: Alyson Hannigan can do a whole lot more than we think she can as an actress. She’s had these two iconic parts in two iconic long-term shows that prevent her from showing different stuff. I believe she’s got different stuff to show.
Dark Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was awesome. Alyson Hannigan nailed Dark Willow. Scary and very sexy. Alyson played flamboyant and over the top in Veronica Mars, even though her part was small there. I’m giving you those two cases as examples of different stuff.
She’s been in about a billion things since her first listing from 1985 on IMDB – movies, TV series, animated shows. Obviously, she can act. My point is, you probably don’t think of her as one of those talented actresses who can do everything well.
I think you should.
As the unappointed and unwanted life coach for Alyson Hannigan, I have some post How I Met Your Mother suggestions. I hope she’ll spend some time doing a few guest spots on wildly different shows – a lone survivor on The Walking Dead and some evil archetype on Once Upon a Time and a quirky visiting doctor on Grey’s Anatomy and a murderous Soviet spy on The Americans. Mix it up. Remind everyone that she’s got the different stuff.
Then she can go find another steady job that will last 7 or 8 years.
Casting directors everywhere should be reading this and taking it to heart. Hello? Casting directors?
Bang2Write asked screenwriters, directors, literary agents and other industry pros to talk about the female characters they thought were most important in recent years.
The names they mentioned were absolute favorites of mine: Carrie from Homeland, Kalinda from The Good Wife, Lizbeth from the Millennium Trilogy, Catherine from Happy Valley, Stella from The Fall, the women from Scott & Bailey and Last Tango in Halifax, Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild, Michonne and Carol from The Walking Dead, various clones from Orphan Black, practically everyone from Orange is the New Black.
There were many more names mentioned by these experts. I loved reading their reasons and explanations for why they picked certain characters. I loved the females they named.
As I read each of the picks by the 33 experts I was surprised that no one mentioned Bo from Lost Girl. There are some awesome female characters on Lost Girl. Particularly Bo, who is strong and growing increasingly more powerful. She wears her power with grace and uses it with heart. She’s unaligned with either side in her world. She’s protective of those she loves. She makes mistakes – huge ones. She’s less than perfect, but she’s searching, yearning to improve.
Bo’s bisexual. As far as I know the only other female bi characters on television are Callie on Grey’s Anatomy and Kalinda on The Good Wife. Bisexual women are misunderstood and mistreated by the culture at large and even by the LGBT community. Since I’m a believer that #RepresentationMatters, I think having a bi character portrayed in a positive light is a powerful thing.
So while I agree with every single female named by the experts, I want to mention Bo as one they forgot. I’m not an expert. I’m merely a consumer of movies and television with notable female characters – I look for them every day. I seldom watch anything that does not have notable female characters. I support notable female characters with enthusiasm.
On Scandal, Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) had one good thing: his husband James (Dan Bucatinsky). James represented love, conscience, family. Cyrus is ruthless and corrupt and capable of any betrayal or nefarious power grab. James still believes in justice and good.
Cyrus’s corruption finally leads to a situation that gets James killed.
On Lost Girl, Bo Dennis (Anna Silk) has one pure relationship: her sidekick Kenzi (Ksenia Solo). Kenzi is the sister she never had, the friend she relies on, the person she loves without reservation.
A crisis prompts Kenzi to sacrifice herself to save the world. Like Buffy diving into a ball of light, Kenzi steps into the light and is taken. On BtVS, Buffy was retrieved from the netherworld by her friends. Will Kenzi be? As in BtVS, there is supposed to be a way to do this in the sci-fi world of Lost Girl.
There’s no hope for getting James back on Scandal. This drama is about real life, not science fiction, and when people die they are just gone.
On Scandal, Cyrus may come through his loss a better man. If I were Shonda Rhimes, I would write this in a way that Cyrus develops a moral compass as a result of losing James. It would certainly cause a lot of drama in the White House if Cyrus developed a conscience. After James’ murder, Olivia Pope herself (Kerry Washington) was even talking about her desire for at least one good person, one person in a white hat, in the morass of evil portrayed on Scandal.
On Lost Girl, I don’t see a way that the writers can use the loss of Kenzi to create character evolution in Bo or any other character. Kenzi is integral to everything Bo does. I cannot imagine how Bo can even continue to be Bo without Kenzi. It’s like Batman without Robin, Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson, Don Quixote without Sancho Panza, Buffy without Willow.
Because of that, I think Lost Girl will write Kenzi back into the story somehow. But here’s my problem. When they announced the cast returning for season 5, Ksenia Solo was not listed. This announcement makes me nervous.
Lost Girl played with the fans throughout all of season 4 using red herrings and secrecy. Is the absence of Ksenia Solo’s name in the returning cast another game, another secret, another mystery? If so, does that mean she will be back and they just want to keep it secret to drive us crazy? They certainly enjoyed driving us crazy for all of season 4. Then there’s the very important fact that no one from the show – not even Ksenia Solo herself – has said a word about Kenzi in season 5.
We usually know when people are really leaving. We know K.C. Collins really left Lost Girl. We know Sandra Oh is leaving Grey’s Anatomy. Announcements get made. There’s no official announcement about Ksenia Solo and Lost Girl parting ways.
Do you think Kenzi will be back?
A Quick Note on The Good Wife
I wrote this post before last night’s episode of The Good Wife, which took me completely by surprise and will be all over the news today. If you have any comments about how they handled Josh Charles leaving the cast of The Good Wife, feel free to include them in this discussion.
Here are a couple of articles in The Hollywood Reporter to fill you in with details on The Good Wife.
The Josh Charles story is a little different from Dan Bucatinsky leaving Scandal and Ksenia Solo possibly being done with Lost Girl because he was one of the lead characters, not a supporting character.
In the season opener of Grey’s Anatomy last week, we saw the first reaction by Callie (Sara Ramirez) to Arizona’s (Jessica Capshaw) infidelity. Hurt and angry, Callie takes Sofia and leaves. She takes up residence on Derek and Meredith’s couch for a while.
It takes Callie one day to talk to Arizona about a schedule for sharing Sofia. She can’t discuss anything else about their relationship without crying, but she’s willing to talk about Sofia.
(IMDB does not give the real name of the child playing Sofia.)
Before the wedding, before the baby, Arizona had to be converted to the idea of parenthood. I clearly remember the episode when she embraced the idea of mothering Sofia. In fact, I wrote about it way back then.
A quick recap: Arizona and Mark argued about who was more important to save after the car wreck – Callie or the baby. Mark argued that he should have more say in the decision because he was the baby’s biological father and Arizona was “nothing.” Both Callie and the baby were saved, of course, and Arizona was at Callie’s bedside when she woke up. Arizona said, “I don’t feel like nothing. I feel like our baby’s mother.” Here’s what I wrote earlier:
It’s the line I feel like our baby’s mother that I want to talk about as important. Once the heart moves into that place of parenting, a family is born. For same sex couples like Callie and Arizona, or for adoptive parents from any configuration of family you can imagine, this is the bond, the spiritual tether. The parental bond, once formed, is what creates a family that will cherish and nurture a child.
This is what’s remarkable about Shonda Rhimes and this particular story about a two-mom family: from the first suggestion that there might be a split between the two women, they were written as equal parents to little Sofia. Shonda Rhimes gets the “parental bond” between both parents and their daughter.
Shonda Rhimes gives us drama and conflict, and plenty of it. Bumps in Callie and Arizona’s relationship are a part of that, but it looks as if their baby isn’t going to be a source of the conflict.
I’m rooting for Callie and Arizona to work it out. I really hope Shonda Rhimes wants them to be together and happy, too. Until we find out what happens, I’m glad to see her treating an adoptive parent as equal to a biological one. It’s further proof that Shonda Rhimes can write about same sex couples and treat them as she would any other couple.