DOMA and Marriage Equality on the Good Wife

Anissa Ford's picture

It's been a minute since "The Good Wife" writers created parallel story lines for a single episode.

This week writers shed light on marriage equality and took a look at the unfairness of the Defense of Marriage Act with a singular emphasis on financial bequeathing after the death of a spouse.

Successful conversations and scripts on marriage equality typically depend on public empathy for a victimized spouse in a gay marriage. This was an interesting move because until this episode, homosexuality has been par for the course on the series. Homosexuality has been embraced on the show as part of the locale's diverse landscape.

In other words, writers stepped up from gratuitous gay sex scenes with Kalinda and her FBI agent lover and moved into serious legal and intellectual conversations on marriage rights. The Thanksgiving holiday script highlighted the injustice of leaving spouses destitute due to laws or some other unfairness.

Wisely, writers used Alicia's widowed mom as the parallel story that elicited much needed empathy for a successful and informative conversation on marriage equality.

Opposition to gay marriage typically stems from a group or an individual's opposition to homosexuality. But when people, normal, reasonable people, listen to arguments for gay marriage with an understanding that embraces more than the sexual and physical components of marriage, and examines legal obligations and contracts that marriage naturally presents, then the conversation advances into an adult conversation on responsibility.

Responsible marriage partners prepare prenuptial agreements and wills, in the event of the unforeseen. Managing financial business is not about selfishness or the chance that couples may fall out of love one day. Taking care of insurance, financial and legal issues within in a marriage are priorities all responsible couples have because their love isn't short sighted.

Last night, Stockard Channing played Alicia's mom, Veronica Loy. Loy locked arms with Lockhart and Gardners' unscrupulous David Lee to overturn her ex-husband's will---a document that left her penniless. The will was rearranged at the last minute to exclude Alicla's mom because Alicia's mom had been accused of infidelity. Alicia told David that her mom had indeed been unfaithful, but considering how short tempered Alicia is with Peter's mother, why Alicia volunteered her mother's history to Lee is suspect.

Certainly Alicia doesn't wish to take care of her mom. Her mother's presence at Thanksgiving, coupled with the first Mrs. Florrick's arrival stressed Alicia out enough to seduce Peter in her bedroom behind unlocked doors. Alicia's mom appealed to Alicia's free spirit (if Alicia actually has one). Veronica told Alicia that the older she became, the more she'd realize the importance of being happy. Alicia listened, but said nothing. The re- union of Alicia and Peter is one for Team Florrick. It's also the first time we've seen Alicia passionate for Peter.

But the sympathetic character in all of this is Will Gardner who doesn't have a girlfriend. And had a very costly and passionate relationship with Alicia just last season. From the looks of it, Will can't have Alicia anymore either. tt looks as though he's not allowed to think about her.

As the season moves forward, Will may be the last man on Alicia's mind. The extent of Alicia's vanity or her ego has yet to be fully gauged because Alicia didn't grow despondent for Will last season until well after Will had become involved in a rather serious relationship. Will's relationship with the quirky journalist girlfriend couldn't compete with Will's desire for Alicia .

Instead of admitting to wanting a serious relationship with bad boy Will, said journalist girlfriend accepted an offer to work in London. She waited for Will to say he wanted her to stay in the U.S. And when that didn't happen she flew away. If nothing else, audiences know that Will is patient and unselfish. His girlfriend's career motivated his decision. And, Will honestly, wasn't going to commit in any way other than sexually.

"The Good Wife" isn't focused on personal, intimate, romantic relationships this season. The fire and romance that stirred throughout last season has, it appears, reached its conclusion. The end result of any workplace relationship is a ruined career, and Will experienced a huge fall after his relationship with Alicia went bust. Alicia, audiences know, isn't keen on men recuperating from scandal.

Alicia barely supported Peter when he was down. As Peter recovers and moves into a greater position of power, Alicia's attraction to Peter is unmasked, unleashed and without pretense.

Does that mean Alicia's a woman who is intrigued and excited by powerful men?

Thus far it appears that way and it would appear that the only way for Alicia and Will's relationship to reignite is if Diane makes a major move into the judges' cloak and chambers. With Alicia as partner, or Diane's replacement she and Will are freed up to resume a closer working relationship.

Take Home Message:

Smart television informs. It brings words and ideas to life and it does so with a balance. In a country that is strongly divided into red and blue states, bringing forth sympathetic, gay male characters advances a cause that many in this nation would rather ignore. Marriage equality isn't about who people have a right to love, it's a financial conversation in a very capitalist U.S. society.

Last night, Good Wife writers, directors, producers and actors made that clear.

photo credit: CBS/The Good Wife


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Well it's ABOUT time -- Alicia and Peter back together. I hope the writers will make it permanent and find someone else for Will.

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