comScore Panel Nerds: “The Good Wife” is Better TV | Mediaite

Panel Nerds: “The Good Wife” is Better TV


Who: Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, Josh Charles, Archie Panjabi, Matt Czuchry, moderated by Matt Roush
What: “An Evening with The Good Wife
Where: Paley Center for Media
: April 21, 2010
: Up

When Christine Baranski accidentally let a spoiler slip about “The Good Wife” episodes that have yet to air, the crowd reacted with a mix of laughter and discomfort. Our fellow members of the media frantically typed away on their phones or stepped outside to make what appeared to be important phone calls. And Baranski was visibly embarassed by the entire ordeal.

Baranski, without considering the implications of her comment, revealed that the main character’s husband – played by Chris Noth – moves out, to some of the audience’s delight and others’ dismay. Based on the crowd’s reaction to the news, this development seemed like a pivotal twist in the show’s story. It had the capacity to overshadow the rest of the night’s discussion. But we witnessed other (more deliberate) highlights that shouldn’t go overlooked.

Julianna Margulies is the star of this show about a family rocked by political scandal. Despite Margulies’ and the rest of the impressive cast’s years of TV experience, CBS wasn’t sure at the onset that it had a hit on its hands. Before the show got picked up and could afford to build its own courtroom set, the cast and crew shot those scenes at a courthouse in Queens. The cast seemed unfazed, though, recognizing not only the uncertainty to shows’ successes, but also what could be gleaned from being around a real courtroom; many of the actors spent time shadowing real lawyers to prepare for their roles.

It was obvious that the cast genuinely likes each other. Josh Charles, Archie Panjabi, and Matt Czuchry all had plenty to add to this panel, throwing in welcomed punchlines when applicable. Refreshingly, none of these actors seem to take themselves too seriously. Even when Baranski made her faux pas, her fellow cast members made light of the mistake. They credit the popularity of the show to the writers who brainstormed a show that keeps everyone guessing, and bracing for, what will happen next. Margulies says that people come over to her on the street and express their admiration for her character’s loyalty and devotion.

Even Elizabeth Edwards contacted CBS when the show first began to express how the show gets the character right. Margulies was quick to qualify that that call took place before the real John Edwards scandal came to light.

What They Said
“I just went online and looked at pictures of the wives before and after.”
– Julianna Margulies describes the extensive research that went into her role as a scandal-ridden wife

“I was pleasantly surprised when we killed [The Jay Leno Show] in the ratings.”
– Julianna Margulies is on Team Coco

“I found my cable show…it just happened to be on network.”
– Julianna Margulies learns it’s always in the last place you look

“What you see on television these days is episodic – formulaic with a beginning, middle and end – or reality TV.”
Julianna Margulies is amazed by the writers’ abilities to surprise and break standard form

What We Thought

  • Moderator Matt Roush did a good job combining professionalism with his own excitement over the show. With TV shows more than any other subject we cover, it takes a certain insider knowledge and personal obsession to bring out the best in the panel.
  • We approve of the producers’ initial decision to cast the fallen politician as more of a Bill Clinton-type than an Eliot Spitzer.
  • The show carefully intertwines elements of technology and social media into the plot of the show. This includes Twitter, Google alerts, and online polls. When Margulies punishes her children, she takes away their computers. It’s nice to find a show that tries to capture the lives of teenagers today in an honest and straightforward way.

Some audience behavior seems to repeat itself panel after panel. We’ll be updating a running list of “PANEL RULES!” that will help ensure that you are not the dweeb of the Panel Nerds.

Panel Nerds don’t like…Stawkards
No matter how much the word “blog” has become mainstream, it still conveys a certain level of pause when you meet someone and her first words are “I run a blog.” And if you do lead with your blog, don’t follow that up with an off-hand remark that the cast shouldn’t be scared of you if you show up on their set someday. We don’t even know if you asked a question at the end of your short time with the microphone. We were just watching the panel struggle to keep half-hearted smiles on their faces while adjusting in their seats. For all our sakes, we urge you to stay off the mike next time. Also, please don’t find us.

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