Ben Dreyfuss

Engagement Editor

Ben Dreyfuss is the engagement editor at Mother Jones. He's done some other stuff, too. You can email him at bdreyfuss@motherjones.com. But you don't have to. But you can. But you really don't have to. 

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Larry David Just Played Bernie Sanders on SNL—and the Internet Is Going Nuts Over It

| Sat Oct. 17, 2015 11:07 PM EDT

Noted without comment, here is Larry David playing Bernie Sanders on tonight's Saturday Night Live.

The internet is quite taken.

 

I didn't actually watch it myself because I am a millennial cliché who doesn't know how to watch actual TV. I have a TV but I lost the remote and gave up trying to find it months ago, like a good millennial. Anyway, the internet is pretty in love with it.

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Angela Lansbury Is 90 Years Old Today. She Is Why You Are Named Jessica.

| Fri Oct. 16, 2015 3:06 PM EDT
Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher on "Murder, She Wrote"

Come with me down a rabbit hole, won't you?

The most popular name for baby girls in the United States from 1970 until 1984 was Jennifer. In 1985, Jessica surpassed Jennifer and stayed the top name until 1990.

Most common baby name for girls Jezebel/Reuben Fischer-Baum

What could have caused the change? Murder, She Wrote, in which Angela Lansbury played Jessica Fletcher, premiered on September 30, 1984, on CBS.

Did the one cause the other? Maybe! Maybe not! I think it did.

Today is Angela Lansbury's 90th birthday. If your name is Jessica and you are between the ages of 25 and 30, you should thank her.

Unless you hate your name, in which case you should blame her. But it's her birthday, so keep it to yourself.

Recap: "The Good Wife" Would Like You to Stop Selling Photos of Your Naked Children

| Mon Oct. 12, 2015 12:10 PM EDT

RECAP: The Good Wife, Season 7, Episode 2: "Innocents."

The episode opens and the good wife is in bond court and she meets a kid who has been arrested for vandalizing some stupid photo exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Art and this kid, see, this kid just doesn’t know how to help himself. “I did it,” he says over and over despite the good wife’s pleas that he ixnay the whole confession-ay. The bond judge grants the dumb kid bail and as he’s being led away he says to Alicia, “it’s me…in the photo [i defaced.] It’s me.”

Eli visits Governor Bad Wife to apologize for saying some mean things during last week's episode. Peter is all, “great, thanks, apology accepted, Alan Cumming, but you still can’t work in the campaign.” Eli is like “I hear you, buddy. Live long and prosper.”

Can we talk about this whole thing for a second? The entire idea that Peter would fire Eli for Margo Martindale is insane. Peter owes everything to Eli and up until last week’s episode has been acutely aware of that. I get they just needed to set up a fight for Eli to have but it really just makes Peter seem even worse than he already is.

And, look—OK, this is turning into a rant—but Peter, the bad husband, has never been portrayed as an actually evil or nefarious person. Deeply flawed, yes, but never villainous. The whole throwing Eli under the bus thing is really annoying me. But I digress.

Eli bumps into Margo Martindale as he’s leaving Peter’s office and she threatens to kill Eli if he comes near “[her] candidate again.” Eli asks her if she’s seen It Follows. Like me, she has not. Unlike me, she hasn’t even read the Wikipedia summary.

Back to the kid who hates the art. The photo is of him as a child when he was naked. His mom is a famous photographer. His mom is played by Amy Irving! I love Amy Irving. Amy Irving and my dad were in a movie once called The Competition where they played competing pianists who fall in love. The art vandal in this episode is basically my brother.

Alicia needs an investigator because Kalinda is gone so she interviews a few of them. One is this guy who is clearly really good. He’s played by a famous actor whose name I can’t remember, but he was in Watchmen and various other things. He is too famous not be the one she ends up with but also his character is too rich for Alicia’s blood. He costs $5 more than another investigator so Alicia goes with the cheaper one…for now.

Cary and Howard are fighting about something and I don’t know or care what.

Mamie Gummer is back guest starring as Amy Irving’s lawyer. The good wife feels for Amy Irving’s son because he’s clearly a screwed up twentysomething and it’s probably because of all these naked photos of him running around. She is going to try to get the Chicago Museum not to show the photos.

Eli calls the good wife and lets her know that Peter won’t let her hire him as her chief of staff. The good wife is like, “no way, José” and goes to visit her husband and is like “LET ME HIRE ELI OR I WILL DESTROY YOU BY TELLING THE PRESS HOW OUR MARRIAGE IS A SHAM” and Peter is like, “ok ok ok ok.”

Amy Irving and the son she photographed nude as a child meet and he is like, “mom, please don’t put these photos in the museum” and his mom is like, “I’m an artist, kiddo.” Amy Irving is really good at playing a hippy artist here.

Alicia’s case against Amy Irving has to do with whether her son ever gave consent to be photographed nude. Mamie Gummer says Amy Irving gave consent because she is the child’s mom.

Margo Martidale dispatches a spy to be Eli’s assistant and report back to her all his activities because she finally realizes that he isn’t giving up without a fight.

Amy Irving’s son takes the stand and explains how ever since the photographs of him naked where made public he has received emails from pedophiles. “After the book was published I’d come out of school and these…men…would be waiting for me.” Gross.

Cary and Howard are still fighting. I don’t want to bother trying to explain this storyline but one of Howard’s throw away lines is: “I can some up the Cubs turnaround in one word: Jews.”

The investigator Alicia hired screws up a bunch because she is utterly incompetent and Alicia is like “damn i should have hired that famous actor who was far too famous to only appear in one scene of this TV show.”

Amy Irving takes the stand and is all, “look, back off, ok? I am an artist and lots of artists use their children as subjects and if I were a man you’d be throwing me a fucking parade” and then the bond attorney who is now Alicia’s second chair is like, “I’m not in the business of throwing parades for people who take photos of naked children.”

Back at Alicia's house, Eli presents the good wife with a plan to make her “Saint Alicia” again. She needs to go the Democratic party chief who screwed her over last season. I don’t remember all the details of that but he was corrupt and forced Alicia to drop out of the State’s Attorney race even though she had totally won and not done anything wrong. He is a bad corrupt person. That is all we need to know.

The corrupt man asks Eli to let him and Alicia talk privately and is like “I want to put you on the election board. People like people on the election board! But here’s the thing, I need you to do me a corrupt favor. Vote No on the first vote. DON’T ASK ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT THE FIRST VOTE WILL BE BUT JUST VOTE NO, OK?” And the good wife says, “ok,” because the good wife is not a perfect human being.

Alicia fires her shitty investigator and calls the guy from Watchmen but he maybe is going to work for Cary. Cary can offer him a lot more money.

Anyway blah blah the case of the naked child continues and it isn’t going great for Alicia and Amy Irving’s kid but then P.I. Watchmen suggests she put a pedophile on the stand and the pedophile is like, “oh yeah I love looking at those photos of that kid naked! All the pedos love it!” It’s a darkly humorous scene.

The judge isn’t convinced that it’s kiddie porn though and is like “museum can open!” but then Alicia realizes she can go after Amy Irving for lost wages because the kid was a subject of the photo and was essentially working during the photo shoots. She is going to sue Amy Irving for a whole lot of money.

It seems like ol’ good wife has Amy Irving over a barrel but then the kid is like “mom, i don’t want your money I just want the photos so the pedophiles will leave me alone” and the good wife is like, “the photos are still on the internet, kid. You can’t unring the bell. But this money can help you start a new bell.” Amy Irving looks at the kid and reaches her hand across the table. The kid reaches his hand and joins his in hers. This is the end of the scene.

Peter tells Margo Martindale that Eli did a good thing by getting Alicia on the elections board and that she should call him and give him an attaboy. She is disturbed by this instruction.

Back at the good wife’s home we find out that she won the case on behalf of Amy Irving’s son and got a nice chunk of change so apparently that handshake meant Amy Irving was agreeing to pay her kid. The male investigator shows up and is all “knock knock, I have a really good offer. Can you beat it?” We know what the offer is but Alicia does not. Diane offered him $250 an hour. Alicia says, “what’s the offer I have to beat?” And Jeffrey Dean Morgan (thank god, I finally remembered his name) lies to her and says, “$90 an hour.” Alicia offers him $95 which is still way less than the $250 he was really offered but he says yes because he likessssssssss her.

The end.

 

"The Good Wife" Is Back. We Have to Talk About It Right Now. Stop What You Are Doing.

| Mon Oct. 5, 2015 2:02 PM EDT

The best show on network television finally returned last night, but is this Good Wife still the Good Wife we all know and love? Kalinda and Finn have joined Will in that great big green room in the sky and last night's episode felt...different.

Let's talk about it.

Alicia's life sucks at the moment. She has no law firm. She has no male love interest. She has no friends. And where are her dumb kids anyway? She's a pariah! "I'm a pariah," she does not say as the episode begins, but she might as well have. She's whiling away her days in Shooter McGavin's bond court, fighting for pick-up cases with beleaguered unclean lawyers who probably went to a joke Ivy like Cornell unlike Alicia who went to Georgetown, which never pretended to be an Ivy in the first place. Poor good wife.

Governor Bad Husband promised his good wife last year that he wouldn't run for president if she didn't want him to and she didn't want him to so he isn't running for president. OK? Fine, Good. Whatever. But then the good wife changes her mind, because Peter running for president is going to be the plot line for this season—paralleling the plot line in America these days—so she needed to get with it. Peter's chief of staff, the Russian computer hacker from GoldenEye, is very pleased with this development and he celebrates by wooing Margo Martindale, a top-flight campaign consultant, the meth-making matriarch from the second season of Justified.

But Margo Martindale doesn't want to be just another campaign strategist. She wants to be the campaign manager and for reasons not entirely clear, Peter goes along with this and fires Alan Cumming. The good wife's bad husband is also a bad boss.

Meanwhile the attractive young man who used to be Alicia's rival before becoming her law partner before becoming superfluous to the main plot of the show is unhappy at the big fancy law firm that bears his name. Cary's few scenes in this episode are dedicated to him trying to be popular with the first year associates who think he's a stodgy old fart because he spends all of his time with his stodgy old fart partners in their stodgy old fart ivory tower.

Speaking of Cary's aged old partners: Diane and the lawyer who makes the divorces happen are facing off against Alicia in probate court over some meaningless bullshit about a painting that is worth a lot of money. Who will get the deceased's paining? No one cares. But this does provide a nice forum for the show to do what it does best: wink at the audience and acknowledge that the show isn't really about the cases. The Good Wife, more than any other legal drama, doesn't want you to care about the cases. The cases are just a thing for the characters to do. The marathon of random specialists testifying about post-it notes in this probate case are a great example of that. Not even the judge cares about what the post-it scientists have to say.

Anyway, Alicia covers for one of the bond court lawyers—because bond court lawyers stick together— and then the bond court lawyer covers for Alicia in the probate hearing for which she's totally unprepared. Diane and Divorce Attorney are going to school her so hard but then—shocker!—the bond court lawyer is good at law and wins the case. Bond court lawyer is apparently supposed to be Alicia's new friend.

Then Alicia hires Alan Cumming to be her chief of staff because the good wife is also a good friend. Alan Cumming tells Margo Martindale that he is going to destroy her.

Oh also Michael J Fox wants Alicia to work with him. And I think she sort of said yes at the end. (Or did she?) It wasn't entirely clear.

What is this show about now? It used to be about Alicia finding the courage, through crosses and losses, to become the person she wanted to be. Is it still about that? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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