Two of my favorite US generated TV shows are The Good Wife and Mad Men. That statement does not mean for a second they are my favorite bits of TV fare. In truth I find such UK offerings as Doc Martin, Lewis, Call the Midwife and New Tricks to be superior at all levels.
Call me a TV snob but frankly I think the Brits do it better. Oh, and I shall be honest enough that, with a few very, very rare exceptions, Canadians do it worse. So shoot me for that opinion if you will.
Anyway, of the two American offerings, which I think are exceptionally well done, I must also acknowledge the fact that my dear wife doesn’t really like them. Not that she thinks they’re badly done but just that they are so depressing and the characters are utter shits almost to a one in both.
And they are and I won’t argue the point about how sleazy everybody is. On Mad Men it seems that the only individual who is genuine and shows character is bountifully buxom bodacious (howsabout that alliteration?) Joan. Most of the rest aren’t worth the powder to blow them to hell. But that’s what I find enteraining about them. I almmost revel in their respective potential denouements. I want them to go out. They ain’t lovable. And eventually the boozing, the screwing around, the smoking and the double dealing will destroy them like a huge Greek tragedy. I like that. Wendy hates it. Not that she’s seeking all sweetness and light, she just doesn’t want to watch people who will drag her down.
With The Good Wife I am having a secret fantasy love-affair with Juliana Margulies (Alicia), but confess to being fascinated by Archie Panjabi’s duplicitous, double-dealing, bisexual Kalinda who you would definitely want to have your back, otherwise she’d stick a shiv in it. These are not nice people. And Alicia’s philandering husband, sleazy politician Peter, is something of a latter-day Don Draper who would do anyone who would give him the chance but then cry character assassination if found out. But, Alicia screws around, too. As I said, interesting, but not particularly nice folk. More Greek tragedy.
It is interesting that Wendy finds these programs depressing – which they are, to a degree, but that to me is part of their charm. As I indicated, I am intrigued by the morally unscrupulous (and where could you find collections of the depraved in greater numbers than in a big law firm or an ad agency?) because they make me feel a little bit superior (OK, not a lot superior) in the ways in which I handle my own life.
It’s also odd that she finds those programs distressing, whereas she doesn’t find Lewis to be so, despite all the murders most horrid amidst the stately spires of Oxford, and hell, if you want to find morally bankrupt, lawyers and ad folks have to take a back seat to certain fictional (and sometimes real) academics.
And, there is virtue in having two TVs sometimes.