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It’s time for another brain dump. These are quick hits on this and that.
The Good Wife
Linda Lavin has been on The Good Wife lately. Her character is part of the plot line to put Cary Agos (Matt Czuchry) in jail. Lavin created a most particular character. She uses exacting quirks to make her character stand out in a show filled with peculiar and unusual characters. Kudos to Linda Lavin on her performance! It’s masterful.
Speaking of unusual characters, Carrie Preston’s marvelous character Elsbeth Tascioni is involved in a sex scene in the “Old Spice” episode of season 6. Elsbeth and Josh Perotti (Kyle MacLachlan) have sex on the desk in Elsbeth’s office. It’s a true bodice ripper in the trashy romance novel style. Delightful!
Did you see the announcement that Archie Panjabi will be leaving The Good Wife at the end of season 6? Kalinda Sharma is my favorite part of The Good Wife. I’m sad about the announcement. On the other hand, Kalinda has never been used enough. My hope is Archie Panjabi will find her way to a show where she plays the lead! #GiveArchieHerOwnShow
Téa Leoni as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord is wonderful. Leoni plays her as unflappably calm, grounded, brilliant, bold, funny, and a great reader of character. All the players around her are outstanding as well, particularly Bebe Neuwirth.
Much as I love Elizabeth McCord as a character, the stories aren’t always believably realistic. Like Buffy, McCord saves the world in every episode. She does it by defying the advice of all her advisers and the POTUS. As an American who feels the system is broken, it’s nice to root for someone who does everything outside the system. Rah, rah, Elizabeth McCord! It’s great TV, but if the Secretary of State could save the world all by herself, Hillary Clinton would have done it already.
I like how much Tim Daly gets to do in Madam Secretary. If this show had a male lead, the pretty wife would be tucked away in the background and used occasionally to show that the hero is straight. But Tim Daly as the husband isn’t tucked in the background, nor are McCord’s 3 children. Daly gets real plot lines of his own. Each child has an individual personality, too, they aren’t merely bodies crunching cereal around the breakfast table in the morning. This may be because of Tim Daly’s pull as a big name, or it may be because the chief writer on the show is a woman – Barbara Hall.
How to Get Away with Murder
I’m struggling with the non-linear style of storytelling on How to Get Away with Murder. It’s meant to build suspense – it is. It’s meant to keep you coming back – but at least in my case, it’s just irritating me. I’m still watching, so obviously I’m not irritated beyond the point of hanging around. But still.
I do want to mention how much I loved the scene in which Viola Davis removes her wig and all her make up. Then she turns to her husband and says, “Why is your penis on a dead girls phone?” BAM! BAM! What a pair of moments.
The Walking Dead
A tweet from Kate Moennig caught my eye. I think she’s referring to the cannibalism scenes.
Well, The Walking Dead finally made me lose my appetite
— kate moennig (@katemoennig) October 28, 2014
I agree with Kate Moennig, the cannibals were extra gross. Actually, The Walking Dead is gross as a standard thing. In the same episode with the cannibals, “Four Walls and a Roof,” there was also a cowardly priest (Seth Gilliam). The priest locked himself in his church with a big supply of food and listened as his parishioners clawed at the door when the zombies came for dinner.
Between the cannibals and cowardly priest, I find more metaphoric fodder in the priest. Everything about The Walking Dead is a metaphor, of course. This one priest could stand in for every kind of horror and evil ever perpetrated in the name of religion. The Crusades, the notion that there’s no God but God, the Westboro Baptist Church, or dozens of other examples of evil done by religious leaders – pick your metaphor and make it work. Will Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang leave him alive when they move on?
The Walking Dead is gruesome and gross and bloody. It depicts killing by all kinds of characters, including children. If you can stand looking at that, it’s worth watching. Why?
Because behind all the gore, it’s a story about what humans do when faced with apocalyptic events.
When they aren’t busy killing zombies, the characters in The Walking Dead do all the things that people normally do – fall in love, have kids, argue, garden, work, build things, take care of each other and look at each other with suspicion.
The Walking Dead is about a zombie apocalypse, which is of course, fiction. What this fictional event does is force the characters to face questions about morality and ethics and self-preservation that go deep into human nature. If other humans threatened your safety, would you kill the them? If people came to you in your safe place wanting to share your food and security, would you allow them in? Would you teach children to be kind and caring, or would you show them how to use a knife to kill as the character Carol (Melissa McBride) is doing in season 4?
Much of the plot deals with how humans – even while surrounded by hoards of ravening zombies – are unable to trust each other and work together for their common good. There are power struggles, there is mistrust, there is no effort to join together to try to solve the problems facing everyone. Sounds like the U.S. Congress, does it not?
There are other possible forms of apocalypse that are not fiction. Nuclear war, climate change, global monetary crises – things could fall apart in many ways. The Walking Dead gives us a template for the kind of thinking that would face us if a catastrophic event overtook the world.
Global warming, for example, is already causing change. What happens when millions of people who live in coastal cities are made homeless by rising oceans? As such climate refugees move inland, will you welcome them, help them, or regard them as a threat to what you have? If you had to move inland because your city was underwater, how would you approach your new situation?
If our infrastructure fell apart around us, would it be every man (or woman) for himself, or would you work with others to bring a peaceful organization to whatever situation surrounded you? Would you put your faith in a leader such as the character Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in The Walking Dead, or would you try to take command yourself? Rick lead for 3 seasons, realized he made mistakes, and turned his leadership over to a democratic process. Do you think something like that would work in a real world situation?
The Walking Dead takes viewers on a moral and ethical journey that’s worth exploring. Our moral and ethical choices don’t involve zombies, but real people, real human failures and behaviors. What would we do in the face of global catastrophe? The Walking Dead makes you think about these things. That’s why it’s worth watching.
What’s your opinion of The Walking Dead?
All images ©AMC Television.