Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Webb Report: In appreciation of the binge-worthy ‘The Good Wife’

Eric Webb
ewebb@statesman.com
Julianna Margulies, left, Josh Charles and Christine Baranski star in “The Good Wife,” which is streaming on Amazon Prime. Contributed by CBS

The worst thing about floors is that you can’t actually sink into them. After a hard day in 2018, you know you’ve stumbled into your home and gone fully horizontal, silently willing the hardwood to claim you like quicksand in an episode of “Gilligan’s Island.”

Because of the roiling sea of partisan turmoil in America, for one thing. Those Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh could take the wind right outta your sails, no matter how you vote.

Because, hey, we all have our personal strife and struggle sucking the life right out of our bones. School’s back in session. Summer vacations are over. You fill in your own blank there.

Because, man, it is just really hard to get an even eight hours each night.

If I could, I would not recommend offering yourself up to the floor gods. Instead, offer yourself up to Emmy Award-winner Julianna Margulies.

Oh, yes. This is an appreciation of CBS legal procedural “The Good Wife.” (Spoilers ahead, but no court would convict me if I didn’t warn you about spoilers for a show that aired from 2009 t0 2016.) Here at the Webb Report, we occasionally take a look at what’s worth streaming online these days. Accordingly, if this newspaper is willing to dedicate an entire daily section to sports, then I can devote a few column inches to our nation’s true national pastime: wearing a smart skirt suit and throwing steely glares at guest stars.

The premise of “The Good Wife,” in case you missed it the first time around like me and need the brief: Margulies plays political wife Alicia Florrick, whose husband (Chris Noth, essentially still “Sex and the City’s” Mr. Big) is sent to prison on corruption charges … and also exposed for cheating on his wife. At rock bottom, the woman who stood by her man (see, that’s where the title … anyway) resurrects her long-dormant legal career as a junior associate at the law firm of her college flame (Josh Charles, smarmy but good smarmy). Topical cases-of-the week follow; so do political machinations and endless grade-A guest stars. Michael J. Fox! Martha Plimpton! Ana Gasteyer! Amy freakin’ Sedaris!

Why are we talking about a TV show that’s no longer on the air? You see, it’s important to have a good streaming TV show on your binge rotation at all times. (This one’s on Amazon Prime.) These days, you wouldn’t be blamed for picking out something escapist. Escapism is its own genre: light, carefree art that tickles the lizard brain and doesn’t engage the tender spots, doesn’t tell a story that pulls the thread on your tenuously woven emotional sweater and make you wonder why you even bothered. “Great British Bake-Off,” for example. That show is 98 percent quick-cuts to goats in a pasture and an elderly woman telling people their croquembouche is “scrummy.” Marvelous premise. Doesn’t really make you feel empowered so much as sedate.

What makes me want to tackle the day-to-day drudgeries of work, however, is channeling Christine Baranski’s character in “The Good Wife,” immaculately coiffed lawyer Diane Lockhart, who spends a good deal of the show sitting behind a desk, throwing her head back and uttering a patrician “Ha!” while her dragonfly brooch glimmers. What gives me drive to check off the items on my impossible to-do list is thinking how the in-house investigator for fictional law firm Lockhart Gardner, Kalinda Sharma (as played by Archie Panjabi), zips up her leather jackets and gets to solving crimes with the help of a baseball bat that never met a window it liked. If you’ve never seen Alan Cumming play a political fixer who has to outwit teenage con artists and society matrons in headbands, you have not seen a true role model.

What truly gives me my second wind — and I know this is a TV show, but if you’re not able to draw inspiration from pop culture, you probably stopped reading long ago — is the arc of Margulies’ character, holding it all together with perfect posture. She’s much like the title character of another cult favorite, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Surrounded by more colorful characters, Alicia builds courage visibly and without flash. Courage to kick her philandering politician husband out of their apartment; courage to take a partnership or strike out on her own; courage to square off with drug dealers and murderers; courage to try really hard and not always quite get there.

Lately, I do not want to sink through the floor. I want to punch through the floor. I want to overcome the creeping ennui of 2018 by shattering the linoleum (editor’s note: the writer’s apartment contains no linoleum) and tirelessly clawing my way through the water pipes, through the limestone, to come out the other side, where I can try to fight the system and still enjoy a glass of red, just like Alicia Florrick.

You’re not my egg

What is the exact opposite of an egg? It’s hard to say, but a snake has got to be pretty close.

Texas woman Sara Allison posted a picture of a truly unnerving scene she walked in on recently while caring for her parents’ chickens.

The picture, posted to a South Texas snake identification group on Facebook, shows what Allison calls a “stubborn” chicken laying on a snake who “wants a meal.”

“Look at this dummy!” Allison captioned the picture. She also asked the group what she should do, saying she was nervous to move or hurt the snake, which she identified as a rat snake.

Although many commented suggesting that she move the snake immediately, Allison updated the group later saying she had left the snake alone and returned later to find it gone.

The snake is clearly not a stranger to the family, as Allison commented that it is her “Dad’s buddy so he’d be really sad if it was gone.”

Still no word on whether the chicken has come to terms with the loss of its “egg.”

— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff

Yep, still expensive here

Are you renting in the most expensive ZIP code in Texas? If you’re living in Austin’s 78701, the honor is all yours, according to a new list by real estate site Rent Cafe.

The 78701 ZIP code is located primarily in downtown Austin and, according to Rent Cafe, has an average monthly rent of $2,658.

The second-highest rent in Texas can be found in Dallas’ 75205 zip code, with an average of $2,503.

Unsurprisingly, 26 of the top 50 most expensive ZIP codes were located in Manhattan, with the most expensive averaging a rent of $5,657.

In compiling the list, Rent Cafe compared the rents of 130 major markets across the country as of July.

— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff

Newsmakers

Former Beatle Paul McCartney has told a British newspaper he believes he once saw God during a psychedelic trip.

The 76-year-old star told The Sunday Times he was “humbled” by the experience.

He said that “it was huge. A massive wall that I couldn’t see the top of, and I was at the bottom. And anybody else would say it’s just the drug, the hallucination, but we felt we had seen a higher thing.”

The Beatles’ music was heavily influenced by psychedelic drugs in the band’s final years.

McCartney also spoke of allowing himself to believe that his lost loved ones, including his late wife Linda, are “looking down” on him.

The singer is promoting a new album and a tour. He remains one of music’s most popular concert acts.

McCartney headlines Austin City Limits Music Festival in October.

— From wire reports

ABOUT THE WEBB REPORT