swatkat: (the good wife: kalinda wins)
[personal profile] swatkat
Why is it that both shows of my heart (Fringe*and The Good Wife) have so little in the name of discussion on the internets, flist? My soul craves meta—aches for it, and all I get is Tumblr picspams. In my desperation I have taken to reading the TGW TWOP forums, which are surprisingly fun and full of interesting discussion. The Alienation of Affection thread is here, and the Bitcoin for Dummies thread is here—if you're looking for some insightful discussion and speculation (especially on the Wendy Scott Carr plot, which, frankly, is beyond me, I'm happy to watch it as it comes), you should definitely read these.

*I am yet to watch the last two episodes of Fringe, shh don't tell me what happened.



Kicking ass and taking names

I've wanted to talk about the last two episodes of TGW, but I was afraid they would only be "DIANE ♥♥♥" and "KALINDA MY HEART!!1!", which hardly counts as 'talk'. But there is this little scene in 3.13 that caught my interest: the scene where Diane talks to Kalinda about helping Will.

Diane: So you're helping Will?
Kalinda: Yeah.
Diane: I know Will tries to stay brave about these things but I don't wanna be behind the curtain.
Kalinda: You wanna know when to cut your losses.
Diane: No, I wanna know when to help!
Kalinda: Okay, I'll keep you in the loop.

It is difficult to transcribe Christine Baranski and Archie Panjabi's facial expressions and glances, but there was… something about the scene: not hostility, perhaps, but Kalinda's audacious 'You wanna know when to cut your losses', bluntly asking Diane if she'll put the firm over Will, and Diane's disbelieving, 'I wanna know when to help!' A sense of distrust, maybe? They both care for Will, and they both want to help Will, but they don't exactly seem to be on the same page at the moment. Diane is certainly not a little girl who can't handle Kalinda's bluntness, but I do wonder how the statement went down, especially since I can't help but recall that in the previous episode itself, Kalinda made things difficult for her by telling Eli Gold about David Lee's insistence on Clause 63. In one of my earlier posts this season I wrote: Diane is the BEST. I love that she's the fixer—she asked Alicia and Kalinda to make it better, she confronted Will and told him to make it go away, she showed Eli Gold who the real boss is. Diane has been seen taking that pro-active, fixer role all throughout this season, right from episode one when she asks Alicia and Kalinda to 'make it better'; as Will flails and flounders, Diane has been talking tough and getting things done and drinking scotch with people who need the companionship. 3.12 was a prime example of just how great Diane is at taking charge and fixing things. Just, look at this screencap:



Diane, standing tall; Eli Gold and David Lee seated like two squabbling little boys. Played for
the laughs, but not mincing words when it comes to highlighting who is in charge.

And you know who else is also a fixer? Kalinda, of course, highlighted yet again in 3.13: her blunt question to Diane, her taking the file from Will, her sweeping in to protect Alicia, yet again (more on that later). If Kalinda does not trust Diane with Will, she certainly does not trust her with Alicia—and we know her fears are not unfounded, because as much as Diane respects Alicia, she will throw Alicia under a bus if it's about protecting the firm's interests (she has already said the same to Will), which I fear will be the case once she learns that WSC is after Peter through Will; her attempts to 'mentor' Alicia, while genuine, also stems from a desire to keep Alicia close. I'm terrible at speculation, but I can't help but wonder if we're being lead towards a scenario where there is a significant difference between the two on these matters.

I'm your man

Speaking of Kalinda being protective of Alicia—here's what Emily Nussbaum, the New Yorker's tv critic, tweeted the other day, "But I assume it will always come back to the essential romance of the show: Kalinda's hidden almost Medieval chivalric love for Alicia." Which is just perfect, perfect, because Kalinda is devoted to Alicia. She (like Will), sees in her some sort of essential 'goodness', this incredible thing that she can never hope to possess (that she doesn't desire to possess on most days); some sort of fundamental innocence that needs to be protected by her Knight-in-Shining-High-Heels Kalinda, who has seen the world and known its filth. And if they can't be friends anymore, Kalinda is all right with loving her from afar and pining stoically while looking out for her in every possible way. (Hello, bulletproof narrative kinks.)

It's remarkable how much Kalinda loves Alicia—and how little Alicia perceives, in part because she's generally terrible at perceiving at how she feels or how other people feel, and in part because Kalinda is singularly incapable of expressing herself to Alicia (in a way she isn't to Will). While I'm not convinced that she has handed all the incriminating evidence to Dana, there was never a doubt who she would choose between Will and Alicia, even if it meant breaking the bro code. She broke it for Alicia—Will would probably understand.

I want the next episode now.

Date: 2012-01-28 12:24 am (UTC)
thatfangirl: (tgw | an unrequited thing)
From: [personal profile] thatfangirl
I've wanted to talk about the last two episodes of TGW, but I was afraid they would only be "DIANE ♥♥♥" and "KALINDA MY HEART!!1!", which hardly counts as 'talk'.

That's about where I'm at, alas. It doesn't help that I watch this with my gf, so I have a rl outlet for my ~feelings after each episode. I've actually been impressed by your posts, what with crystallizing the bro code and explaining how Diane is awesome.

the essential romance of the show: Kalinda's hidden almost Medieval chivalric love for Alicia

It's remarkable how much Kalinda loves Alicia—and how little Alicia perceives

Which makes me ask, when will Alicia find out, not about any one specific act, but will she realize the depth of Kalinda's devotion? And what then? Because what do you do with something like that, especially when you don't return it. Or at least Alicia has never thought of Kalinda the way Kalinda thinks of her, nor can she, really.

/rambling

Date: 2012-02-02 02:29 am (UTC)
thatfangirl: (tgw | a thunderhead in my heart)
From: [personal profile] thatfangirl
Okay, I want the Sir Kalinda AU now. (Conveniently already illustrated!)

You're absolutely right, that Alicia can be prompted into realizing how protective she is of Kalinda, even if that protectiveness doesn't spring from the same base. And that 'prompting' relates to what you were discussing below:

Alicia often doesn't say things because then they become true

Performative utterances, almost. Harvey Sacks has this theory that the generative mechanisms of conversation are partly preconscious because dialogue can be exchanged too rapidly for deliberation. I take issue with partitioning consciousness since it relies on some form the of Cartesian theater, but the point is, I like the idea of Alicia not knowing what's going on with her until she's forced to process or shocked into an utterance. And the funny thing is, I had thought of Kalinda as being bad at feelings...

Date: 2012-02-03 02:11 am (UTC)
thatfangirl: (tgw | an unrequited thing)
From: [personal profile] thatfangirl
Continuing the topic of Kalinda's feelings:

Kalinda isn't much for talking about her feelings, but I think she's aware of them. She must be perceptive of the feelings of others since she uses them to manipulate. I think she realizes that it's too dangerous to let her own feelings pass unexamined, lest she be manipulated.

...I guess I'm like Alicia in that I need to talk things out to understand them. ;)

Date: 2012-01-28 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Hi, Swatkat:

First, a question--don't take it as a hostile one, because I'm honestly asking. What do you mean about the TWOP forums being "surprisingly" fun and interesting? I'm a TWOP person from way back (I'm crashdown there, if you want to cyber-stalk me), and for years and years I've considered it *the* number-one place to go for any sort of engaged, intelligent discussion about television. The whole Dreamwidth/LiveJournal world is a bit of a labyrinth to me, and I only found my way here to you by virtue of Googling "Alicia Kalinda friendship" and reading everything I could find. (I seem to have fallen off of the "socially acceptably engaged" train into the "rabid fan" mobile lately when it comes to the two of them!) I think your insights are terrific, and I love to read what you have to say. But they seem very TWOP-like to me. So what exactly do you mean by "meta"? I would normally presume that metafandom would be reflections on fandom itself, rather than reflections on any given show, but that doesn't seem to be how you're using it. Or do you just mean something like "intelligent conversation about television that attempts to read it as literature"? Or something else?

Now, back to the show! I also sense trouble ahead between Kalinda and Diane, and it frankly worries me. Diane has the same sort of odd, careful relationship with Kalinda that she has with Alicia, and it makes me realize that we've never really seen her be friends with *any* woman, even though she talks a lot about women helping women. I'll need to keep an eye on that.

I loved the Nussbaum tweet as well, and I think it's incredibly apt. It hadn't occurred to me until I read what you wrote that, indeed, Alicia *is* just as bad at perceiving how others feel about *her* as she is about how she feels about *others* (I had just been focused on that latter bit.) She doesn't understand how Kalinda feels about her, and I don't think she ever got what she means to Will, either.

(The next episode can't come soon enough for me. These spoilers are killing me!)

Date: 2012-01-29 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Thanks for the explanation about TWOP--such a tale of angst and heartbreak! :-) I've been on TWOP for ten years, a long, long times in terms of Internet groups. Most of that time I would just read and don't comment--every once in awhile (my Buffy era, and now this silly Good Wife addiction that I seem to have contracted), I start posting compulsively. I've never had a bad experience (or witnessed one) on any forum, so what you're saying is very interesting to me. I know that the TWOP moderators can be really draconian, much more than I'd want to be on my own forums. I've always excused that with the argument that, for whatever reason, TWOP is a literate oasis to talk about television intelligently in sea of TV forums dominated by squee's and emoticons. So whatever they're doing seems to be working. (The Good Wife forums aren't intensively moderated, I assume because doing that there would be silly--it's a pretty small group, and nobody fights. So if sometimes we start talking about Alicia on a Kalinda thread, nobody comes in to yell at us.)

Can you tell me what you mean by "rapid anti-fannishness"? Fandom per se is something that I don't dip into very often; I've only been tangentially aware of the whole LiveJournal world, and, as I said, I find its interface a little cumbersome and confusing.

(By the way, you should definitely be reading Jacob Clifton's recaps of TGW on TWOP, if nothing else: they're funny and profound and well worth your time.)

Re: Fringe--I haven't watched it yet, but I haven't because I have the sense that it's going to be a show that I love, and I keep waiting to have time to watch it all in one gulp (something I love to do with television, just spending whole weekends watching episode after episode). Maybe this summer; it's great to know how much you like it, considering that we seem to see TGW exactly the same way.

When I say 'meta', I am using it in a looser sense of the term - not specifically as commentary on fandom, but an umbrella term for commentary on the show itself, episode reactions, character analysis and motivations, intelligent discussion, and yes, also commentary on fandom and writing and such.

Yes--everything I like and want to do and want to read! :-) Good. I did some reading on what "metafandom" means on LiveJournal, and it seems to be a vexed, catch-all term. But I guess that's ok; not everything needs a clearly defined category.

(I follow Nussbaum too, and I also loved that Tweet. I often have the same reactions to shows that she does. Wouldn't it be great to be *paid* to watch television intently and think about it endlessly?)

I go back and forth in my mind about the Owen Chats. Owen certainly does show up as a plot device to get inside Alicia's head to see what's going on with her. It's been especially welcome this season, since Alicia has been deliberately (I'm assuming) withheld from us. But I'm not assuming that what Owen teases out of her is always the exact, whole truth. I believe it *is* the truth as she's currently processing it--that is, when she says she doesn't love Will, I take that as her unexamined feelings. But she's such a repressed creature that I don't know if I can take that as the whole and complete story. What do you think?

I would argue that just because Alicia can't love Kalinda, or anyone, with that single-minded Medieval chivalric devotion that Kalinda is capable of, doesn't mean that she doesn't love Kalinda or isn't protective of her - the absolutely fierce way she went at Cary was an instinctive, stay away from my person response, and it was clearly meant to echo the season two episode where Kalinda asks Alicia to keep her out of jail.

. . . and I agree with this, too. I'm certain that Alicia loves Kalinda, although not in the wordless devotion way that Kalinda does to her (that's Kalinda's alone--nobody else could love like that). The very fact that Alicia managed to maintain such an intense level of iciness toward Kalinda for so long tells me that there's a flip side of deep emotion there--there's only so angry you can be at someone you don't also love. I also believe that Alicia only knows how she feels about things when she receives a shock of some kind. (I've always maintained that she didn't realize that Kalinda was her best friend, for instance, until she uttered the "You slept with my best friend" line to Peter.) I think finding out that Kalinda found Grace was a shock for her that jiggled loose some of her deep feelings toward Kalinda. When she found out that Kalinda was in jail, all of the protective stuff came to the fore as well. Her flying at Cary was instinctive and wonderful to see (and I persist in thinking that Cary also saw all that and secretly admired her for it.)


Date: 2012-01-30 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
(Still very pleased to see you on TWOP. I hope people continue to behave, so you won't flee in terror!)

Thanks for the link to your Fringe post--I'll definitely be using it. I think Fringe will be my summer project. I know I'll like it: alternate universes have always been my thing, for one.

I think the Owen Chats - particularly the two Owen Chat episodes this season and previous one ('I have no friends' and 'I love Will' respectively) - were too significant to be easily discarded as unreliable. But it's certainly not the whole story.

The trouble is, in last season's Owen Chat, Alicia *did* say she loved Will. In this season's Chat in "What Went Wrong," she said she was in love with the *idea* of Will, and with the raw, animalistic sex, but not Will himself. I believe that's accurate on the surface: that is, she's not in an emotional place right at that moment to "love" Will. But I don't think it's really the whole story.

(I'm dying to have Owen meet Kalinda and talk to Alicia about her. I wonder if that's ever going to happen?)

And your bro code between Will and Kalinda is still intact. I thought their almost-hug in last night's episodes was one of the highlights in a string of highlights. I love those two together.

Date: 2012-01-29 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Hey, you posted on TWOP. I'm ridiculously pleased. I was all set to tell you "Come back to TWOP--we'll make you baseball commissioner!" :-)

Date: 2012-01-30 04:47 pm (UTC)
zulu: Kalinda eyes Alicia sideways (the good wife - kalinda looks)
From: [personal profile] zulu
RIGHT? RIGHT? ALL THIS STUFF. *hands* *flails* &SHOW;

Date: 2012-02-04 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Not to sound too greedy or impatient, but I think it's time for you to write another post. What else are we supposed to do while we flap around for another couple of weeks waiting for a new episode?

Date: 2012-02-05 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] randomizer
Yes, I saw that streamed live--I'm *that* much of an insane fan of the show. (I live about an hour from Manhattan, and if it hadn't sold out in the blink of an eye, I'd have gone to see it live.) The cast was great; I really had no idea how smart and interesting Julianna was. I wish Archie had been there, too, but you can't have everything. What I *didn't* love were the FREAKING STUPID QUESTIONS the audience asked. Nobody asked anything that I was remotely interested in, and I'm interested in *so much*. *Sigh*. What I wouldn't give for ten minutes alone with the Kings to barrage them with what I think is important!

Date: 2012-02-27 01:38 pm (UTC)
hibernate: ([tgw] drinking in bed)
From: [personal profile] hibernate
I know this is an old post, but I was rereading it and the comments and now I have ALL THE FEELINGS. This is exactly the reason I don't talk much about this show - it literally reduces me to flailing and making heart-eyes at everyone. Especially Kalinda (cannot even tell you what the ~Medieval chivalric love~ comparison is doing to my emotions), but I just love all of them so much. I really, really enjoy reading your thoughts! ♥

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