‘The Good Wife’: ‘Anatomy of a Joke’ Puts Christina Ricci in the Hot Seat

Christina Ricci in "The Good Wife" (Photo: David M. Russell/CBS)

This week’s episode of “The Good Wife,” “Anatomy of a Joke,” is one of the few hours of television ever devoted to the rule that networking plays in job hunting. That’s probably because watching episodes about people getting hired thanks to connections is an all too sobering reminder that you don’t have a chance in hell at getting most of the jobs you have applied for on Monster because the State’s Attorney is not going to put in a good word for you.

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The case of the week involves a Chelsea Handler-like comedian named Theresa (Christina Ricci), who bared her breasts on a talk show. Now the network is facing FCC fines and is suing Theresa. This is a pretty cheeky inside joke, since TGW is a CBS show and CBS spent years fighting the FCC about Janet Jackson’s Superbowl halftime nip slip. In court scenes, some strategic car horns keeps TGW from running afoul of FCC rules. Theresa’s excuse is that she was spreading awareness about breast cancer, and that it was unplanned. That story gets shot to hell when a make-up artist testifies that she applied make-up to Theresa’s boobs. So the network offers to drop the suit if she will go to D.C. with the head of the network to persuade all of the FCC commissioners to vote against fining the network. At the meeting with the first commissioner, Theresa manages to turn her mother’s tragic death from breast cancer into a joke. By the way, Theresa would be a far more sympathetic character if her jokes were actually funny. I’m not sure if the audience is supposed to think they are, but they were really lame.

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The other meetings go a little bit better, but Theresa then goes on Bill Maher and jokes that she stripped for the FCC commissioners calling them out by name. The final commissioner cancels his meeting with her.

Cary (Matt Czuchry) runs into his Dad who is a D.C. heavy hitter. They aren’t close. Cary and his dad have dinner. He tells Cary he is proud of him and that he is sorry he has been out of touch. He makes reference to things being too late, making it sound like he is dying.  Back in Chicago, Cary calls his dad, who tells him he has a chance to get a job as an Illinois senator’s press secretary and wants Cary to get Diane to put in a good word. Cary hangs up, disgusted. Cary’s dad is angry that Cary won’t call Diane. When Cary says he didn’t call him on his birthday, his dad says he shows his affection him by asking him for a favor. Worst dad ever! It’s a miracle that Cary is such a good guy.

Cary suggests they pretend they never got the message canceling the meeting and crash the final commissioner’s appointment with an organization that is just like the Parents Television Council. The commissioner grills Teresa about rape jokes in her act. The commissioner asks her to sign a pledge that she will never do anything like her striptease again. She kisses Cary, proving she does have some taste, then leaves. At the court hearing, Will (Josh Charles) argues that the talk show’s ratings have risen since Theresa flashed America so the suit should be dismissed. The judge agrees.

Eli (Alan Cumming) deals with press questions about Maddie’s candidacy. A reporter claims that crazy Indira has seen a birthmark on Peter’s (Chris Noth) penis shaped like Brazil. Well, at least that’s a big country. Sorry. Theresa’s bad joke are contagious. Eli tells Peter they need to find a way to change the subject. Peter suspects his republican opponent of egging on Indira. Another campaign staffer tells Eli that Maddie is sleeping with her female staffer. Kalinda sees Indira coming out of Maddie’s house. Peter tells Alicia about the penis rumor. Alicia is amused and is happy to deflect the rumor. Then she watches Theresa’s lame  joke routine about Peter’s genitalia. She finds it funny. So maybe it’s just me. Watch the episode and decide for yourself.

The Army Captain from last week’s episode has left the military after losing her lawsuit against her rapist. She needs another job. Alicia (Julianna Margulies) tells Peter he should take consider her for Cary’s job, Geneva is discouraging when she interviews, but Peter interrupts and hires her on the spot. It’s all about who you know.

The opposing counsel in the lawsuit against Theresa wants to buy out Lockhart-Gardner.  Diane (Christine Baranski) confronts Clark (Nathan Lane) about trying to sell the firm behind their backs. He says he is just looking for money. Will and Diane go to David in search of a bailout. David interrupts their negotiations. He claims he is free as soon as the firm is sold because hos contract was just rewritten. The guy rescinds his offer. Clark yells to will and Diane that they are slitting their own throats.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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