One of the best things about 2014 so far is that we can have a fun, real debate as to whether political stories would be better on The Good Wife or Scandal — here are our arguments as to whether Chris Christie and Bridgeghazi would be better in the hands of Olivia Pope or Alicia Florrick. Both shows are hitting their stride this season with the introduction of new characters, like Scandal's Lisa Kudrow, and in The Good Wife's case, lighting everything we knew and all that was sacred on fire.
Now, for your amusement, our arguments on which show should bring Bridgeghazi to life:
Be Serious, "Bridgeghazi" Is Already a Good Wife Episode
For one thing, and not to get too pedantic about it, but is this story about a Governor or a President? It's about a Governor. So isThe Good Wife. So you can easily slot in Alicia's underhanded husband and Illinois governor Peter (Chris Noth) as the beleaguered/retaliatory politician in this case. Peter's administration is already rife with ethics concerns. That's why the show brought on awful actress Melissa George to play a deeply strange ethics advisor.
Also, can you imagine how much fun Eli Gold (Alan Cumming) would have in this storyline? Not "fun" from his perspective, probably, but it's always good TV to have Eli running around Chicago wondering who did what to deep-six the Governor's political career. The Good Wife can initially play it like Peter really didn't have any idea any kind of traffic-blocking schemes were going on, and Eli can hire Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) to investigate the possible guilty party.
This story is also bursting with guest-starring possibilities, and no show on television (sorry, Scandal) does better with guest stars than The Good Wife. Imagine the possibilities! Amy Morton as the mayor of a small Illinois town whose refusal to support Peter may have led to retribution. James Marsden as an ambitious Florrick staffer who gets thrown under the bus to save face for the administration. Will Gardner (Josh Charles) stepping in to represent Marsden in his wrongful termination lawsuit against Peter. Florrick/Agos wanting to represent Peter but realizing they have about eighteen different conflicts of interest, so they hire the dream team of Nancy Crozier (Mamie Gummer), Patti Nyholm (Martha Plimpton), and Louis Canning (Michael J. Fox) to step in and join the defense team. It'd be like the Good Wife/Road Rules Challenge. In short: perfection. —JR
That's Nonsense, "Bridgeghazi" Would Be Better on Scandal
It's hard to make out what Chris Christie says in Olivia's office. The television is in the other room. "Traffic study ... 8:45 ...work out ... blow-dry candidate ... 8:45? Is that when he finished?" Bridget thinks, trying to calculate exactly how many hours it took before the the governor of New Jersey fired her and ruined her life, her career, her ....
"Bridget." Olivia says, with force. Bridget stiffens, straightens her coat. Olivia's office is cold. She's still wearing her coat. She's usually warm.
"Do you want to survive this Bridget? Do you want your career to survive? Then let me do my job," Olivia Pope says, her face sharpening into a glare. Bridget nods.
"You." Olivia says, looking at the stick-thin woman in a North Face fleece in the corner—Bridget's assistant.
"Cheryl. I need you to go Bridget's apartment. We need one grey suit. Charcoal not taupe. Taupe isn't serious. We need one blue suit. Navy. One black suit. Pencil skirt. White shirts. Crisp. Three pairs of shoes. Heels. Not kitten heels. We need heels that demand respect. Underwear. Lots of underwear. A toothbrush. Hers. Cheryl?"
"Can you do this Cheryl?"
"Go." Olivia says. The hot on Cheryl's face has turned her red as she bolted out of the room.
"Liv. I don't think she ..." Abby yells, her disembodied voice sneaking into the room during Cheryl's departure.
Olivia slams the door.
"Bridget, if you want me to my job and save your career, I need to know everything. From the beginning. I'm listening"
Cue: The O'Jays's "For The Love of Money", roll title credits and fade into a commercial.
My slap-dash fan fiction aside, the point is that "Bridgeghazi" is perfect for Scandal. Let's be clear: Scandal might not be a better show than The Good Wife, its actors might not be better, and it might not be as intelligent. But it is the perfect show for a political scandal like "Bridgeghazi."
Part of that is due to the show's structure and the way this scandal has played out. For the past few seasons, The Good Wife has shined when the topic isn't about the scandals or politics. No one cares about Grace being a politician's hot daughter, or Zach working on the campaign trail, Diane Lockhart's Republican husband, or Maddie Hayward. Oof, rest in peace Maddie Hayward.
The point is: The Good Wife writers have had tried and flung plenty of politics-driven stories at the wall, and none have stuck. How exactly would they approach Bridgeghazi? What legal angle would they take? Wrongful termination? No. Manslaughter of the 91-year-old lady? Nope.
On the other hand, the most riveting parts of Scandal (aside from watching Kerry Washington gulp down red wine) are when Olivia Pope gets a new client. Remember what a breath of fresh air it was to see Josie Marcus (Lisa Kudrow) join this season? We got to see the fast-talking, strategizing Olivia Pope drop the Fitz stuff for a second get to work, name-check journalists like Diane Sawyer, and set the table for speeches like Kudrow's "the night, the lights went out in Georgia-esque" speech.
Bridget doesn't need a speech. She might not even make it to the end of the episode. But the point is, Bridget finding her way to Olivia Pope and Associates would let us see of how the sausage (okay, well the Shonda Rhimes version of the sausage) is made. And it's exciting — much more exciting than The Good Wife. —AAS
Full Disclosure: Alex hasn't fully finished the first season of House of Cards, and that show is possibly a better fit for all this nonsense than these two.