In this past week's episode of The Good Wife, "After the Fall," Will was actually enjoying his forced leave from Lockhart Gardner until he was descended on by both his sisters, Sara (Nadia Dajani) and Aubrey (Merritt Weaver, so wonderful as Nurse Jackie's Zoey), who promptly decided that he "needs someone," or maybe even already has found someone -- enter Kalinda (Archie Panjabi). Diane (Christine Baranski) is sure happy to see him back in the office.
"We get lumped in with lunatics."
-- actor-director David Hunt, husband of actress Patricia Heaton
To minimize likely confusion, let me straightaway answer the question I posed in the post title: No, of course my recently heightened personal feelings about these two actors isn't going to make me like either show more or less. I have a feeling, though, that there will be some spillover in the respective pleasure I get from watching the actors (not to be confused with watching their shows).
We'll come back to that, but first I think a quick word is needed to David Hunt, in response to the above-quoted cry from the heart, quoted yesterday by the uncredited writer of HuffPost Celebrity's "Patricia Heaton Apologizes For Joining Rush Limbaugh's Attack On Georgetown Student Sandra Fluke,"which was an add-on to a declaration of his wife's in a PopEater interview last year, in which she told Rob Shuter "that she has many gay friends and doesn't oppose gay marriage, Patricia gets frustrated being automatically lumped together with other conservatives." And --
"We know for a fact there are some people who have said they wouldn't want to work with us because of our politics," [Heaton] said, with her husband David Hunt adding, "We get lumped in with lunatics."
Gosh, Dave, that must be terrible, getting lumped in with lunatics. Who would want that? But say, as long as we're on the subject, did you read these (now-deleted) tweets of the missus?
"Hey G-Town Gal: Plz let us also pay for your Starbucks, movie theater tickets and your favorite hot wings combo deal at KFC! Anything else?"
"Hey G-Town Gal: If your parents have to pay for your birth control, maybe they should get a say in who you sleep with!" Instant birth control!"
"If every Tweaton sent Georgetown Gal one condom, her parents would have to cancel basic cable, & she would never reproduce -- sound good?"
"Hey GTown Gal: How about only having sex on Wednesday? (Hump day!)."
"Hey G-Town Gal: turn your underwear inside out! Then u only have to do laundry every 2 weeks—saves on detergent & trips to Laundromat!"
The premise, you see, is that the Hunts are victimized because, as the HuffPost Celebrity scribe put it, "Heaton has never hidden her conservative views from typically left-leaning Hollywood." Of course there is some superficial truth to the image of "left-leaning Hollywood," but only superficial truth. The people who yammer about it never, ever look an inch or two below the surface to see an industry that is as deeply and fiercely reactionary as any in the country.
There are no doubt lots of reasons why some people in Hollywood don't want to work with other people in Hollywood. I wonder if it's ever occurred to Patricia and David that maybe people don't want to work with them because they're assholes. That's Just a theory I'm throwing out, but "asshole" might be a kinder description than "lunatic" for the person who sent out all those tweets.
As noted, the tweets have been deleted -- not because our tweetybird sees anything wrong with the substance, but because she now sees them as "disrespectful."
After feeling the backlash, on March 3, both Limbaugh and Heaton issued their own apologies. Heaton deleted the tweets and apologized to Fluke for her comments .
"re @SandraFluke Mea culpa Sandra! Wasn't being respectful 2 u re my tweets as I hope people wd b w/me. Don't like you being dissed -so sorry," she wrote and again on March 5th she reiterated the apology to her followers. "I apologized to Ms Fluke last week. I may not agree with her views but I didn’t treat her with respect and I'm sorry. I was wrong. Mea Culpa."
Well, good for her for apologizing. It does seem kind of a shame, though, that it took the shitload of grief dumped on her to awaken her to her unfortunate disrespectfulness. Apparently in the course of all that tweeting -- and tweeting and tweeting and tweeting and tweeting -- it never once occurred to her that, well, what actually happened might happen.
I loved the lead on that Huffpost Celebrity post, by the way:
Yet another publicist is likely cursing the invention of Twitter after The Middle star Patricia Heaton joined Rush Limbaugh's attack on Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke.
By contrast, this tweet -- quite brilliant, I think -- was sent out by actor Josh Charles in response to the appalling homophobic blithering of onetime Growing Pains teen throb Kirk Cameron, whose parents were played by Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns.
I guess Pat was trying to be witty in her
I was already a huge Josh Charles fan, dating back to his spectacular work on Sports Night, the lamentably short-lived (damn that gutless ABC -- oh wait, that's Ms. Heaton's network, isn't it?) comedy written by Aaron Sorkin. One happy result of this episode is that I'm seeing other fans of Sports Night crawling out of the woodwork. Which is only fair. That show was so good for its two seasons that if you were to make a short list of the greatest series in TV history, no matter how short the list got, you couldn't leave off that show about a nightly sports-news show produced by Isaac Jaffe (Robert Guillaume) and Dana Whitaker (Felicity Huffman) and anchored by Casey McCall (Peter Krause) and Dan Rydell (Josh C).
Nobody writes better for actors than Sorkin, and the cast assembled for the show was all but unimaginably brilliant. Given the caliber of the company he was keeping, it says something that Josh C may have done, week in, week out, the most memorable work on the show. To focus on only one of Dan's plot lines, his pursuit of, then winning of, and then loss of Rebecca (an absolutely radiant, mesmerizing Teri Polo) was one of the most beautifully imagined fictional relationships I've ever encountered -- and this on a show that itself included as well the altogether extraordinary relationships between Casey and Dana and between Sports Night staffers Natalie (Sabrina Lloyd) and Jeremy (Joshua Malina).
Sports Night's ill-fated Dan and Rebecca (Teri Polo)
Even the best actors are dependent on their material, and while Josh has worked a lot since Sports Night, and I've never seen him do anything that wasn't first-rate, I haven't seen him do anything that made comparable use of his talents -- except maybe for his season of HBO's In Treatment -- until The Good Wife, another show with an amazing ensemble cast, and writers (overseen by creators Michelle King and Robert King) who know how to write for good actors.
I've made no secret of my fondness for The Good Wife, most recently (I think) here. I notice that I early on I wrote that the show --
has passed some of my toughest tests: Not only do I look forward to it each week, but I'm now pretty regularly watching it in real time rather than trusting to the DVR for time-shifting, and so far I've been really sorry as each episode ended.Three seasons in, that's even more true.
I like The Middle too. But I notice that this is a show I almost always entrust to the DVR, and I don't usually pounce on recorded episodes. I know I've still got the last new February sweeps episode sitting unwatched. When I get to it, I'll probably wonder why I stalled, but the fact will remain that I did. It's not because of Pat Heaton's politics. It's Frankie Heck I"m watching, after all, not Patricia Heaton. Just as on The Good Wife it's not Josh Charles but Will Gardner (along with all the other characters, of course) that I'm watching.
At the same time, I'll probably get even more of an extra kick out of being able to watch Josh Charles, who gives evidence of being a mensch as well as a terrific actor.