The days grow longer and the weather (for the most part) warmer, and tomorrow is May, which means the sweet, sweet easy times of summer are soon upon us. This is, for the most part, great news. But there is one terrible thing happening as everything else gets good: TV shows are ending. Yes, network seasons are wrapping up, meaning soon there will be so little to watch. For example, The Good Wife, smart sudsy show that it is, ended its third season last night. We're gonna miss it!
As we said a couple weeks ago, The Good Wife often gets ignored in the praise department in favor of all the fancy cable shows that also air on Sundays, but TGW is certainly at least better than The Killing and, at times, has the same workplace snap to it as many a Mad Men episode. Last night's finale certainly thrummed with that same tense/exciting office intrigue, as Martha Plimpton and Michael J. Fox showed up again in their recurring lawyer-antagonist roles, threatening to bankrupt our heroes' firm and salt the earth behind them. The sharkiness was cut with some absurdist sweetness, as Plimpton's character's baby was occasionally seen zipping around the office floor in a musical walker type thing. It was the kind of messy but specific detail (like Take Shelter playing on a television in another scene) that this show specializes in, never cloying or overused, just weird enough to ground the high-stakes situation in the human world.
Of course there was some drama involving the Wifey-ness of the show's premise, with Julianna Margulies' Alicia maybe sorta starting to consider making her family a foursome again, now that her estranged husband has bought the old family house and the kids seem happy and all it would take to be a part of it again would be to walk through the door. That was the episode's emotionally ambiguous endnote last night, with Alicia looking at her husband and kids eating dinner through the window, turning to look at her car (one last Cadillac placement!), then back to the window, and then a cut to black. As the small scene demonstrated, the show never (or, OK, rarely) overstates and has a keen knack for depicting ambivalence, which is a tricky thing to do. We must admit that, despite Peter's many mistakes, we kinda wanted Alicia to go back inside. It was just such a happy scene, and there she was standing outside alone in the dark. What will she do? Well, we now have to wait five months to find out.
The worst cliffhanger of the night involved the show's sometimes silliest but mostly slickest character, investigator Kalinda, who is spooked as all get-out about the prospect of her husband, whom we've only barely ever heard about, coming back to town to find her. Basically Alicia seems to have accidentally outed Kalinda's location to a menacing-sounding man that Kalinda confessed is her husband, so she spent most of the episode in flight-mode panic, tearing open a hole in her wall with a sledgehammer only to unearth several guns and stacks of bills. These were town-fleeing supplies basically, and Kalinda fully intended to leave, but in the end she decided to stand her ground, partly because the guy had called Alicia's house, and wait for the inevitable knock on her door. Or rather she sat her ground, with a pistol safely tucked in next to her between the cushions of her chair. Then the light behind the peephole disappeared and there came the knock and.... And, again, we gotta wait five months. Oh cruel summer!
Of course there is going to be summer television — True Blood, The Newsroom, Breaking Bad, Franklin & Bash (haha just kidding), Teen Wolf (sigh, not kidding) — but so many shows are going away until the fall that, despite the emergence of summer series, the landscape is still going to be pretty sparse. Maybe that means we should, y'know, get out of the house or something, do something instead of staring at screens, but realistically we'll just spend those warm nights flipping around looking for something to watch. We'll reconnect with HGTV, slip back under the dim spell of Bravo, that kind of thing. But all the while we'll know it could be better, that a fertile time of six-nights-a-week original programming awaits us past Labor Day. Sigh. So, goodbye Good Wife. See you in September. Have a great summer! Don't change too much.