Thanks to memorable turns on screens both big (Cruel Intentions, The Birdcage, Mamma Mia!) and small (CYBILL, THE BIG BANG THEORY, UGLY BETTY), actress Christine Baranski has made a career of making audiences laugh for the better part of two decades now. Which is why we couldn’t help but wonder why the talented comedian would let herself be tied down to THE GOOD WIFE, a dramatic CBS procedural that is an odds-on bet to last for the better part of the next decade?
“I’ll tell you why,” she explained during a recent chat with the TV Addict. “I had no trepidation because I’ve already had a career where I’ve done plenty of hopping across all three mediums. It’s not like I’m thinking, ‘God I still haven’t done a play,’ or ‘Gosh I’m going to be tied up for years!’ I should be so lucky to be on the show for seven years!”
We don’t know about the next seven years, but it looks as if WIFE will most definitely keep Baranski busy in the foreseeable future, what with CBS having picked up the series for a full season and many experts speculating that it is all-but-assured a renewal come fall.
And while the first half of this season saw tough-as-nails alter ego, litigator Dianne Lockhart, playing second banana, portrayer Baranski assures us that was entirely by design.”The first six-to-eight episodes of any new show very much has to be a repetition of the pilot to really establish what the main themes of the show are and what dilemmas face the lead characters,” she reveals. “Julianna [Marguilies] had a tremendous amount of work in the first half of the season as the writers established [her character Alicia’s] relationships with her husband, her family and her workplace. They were really feeling their way in terms of how the supporting cast fit into the plot. In fact, I only just had a meeting with the writers a few weeks ago about where my character’s going!”
And, um, where might that be? “The obvious thing is to have Dianne be competitive and bitchy towards Alicia and the other woman in the firm,” Baranski admits. “But I can tell you is that we’re really trying to avoid that female stereotype. I don’t reveal spoilers,” she adds coyly, “but I can tell you that there are certainly some surprises ahead.”
What she’ll happily discuss is what drew her to the show in the first place. “Women are often portrayed very badly on television. Young women are sex objects or objects of derision, whereas older women far too often become the butt of the joke ,which all becomes so undignified,” she shares. “As I’ve gotten older, I have thought for a long time that as an actress, it would be great to portray a very accomplished, smart, pulled-together character in a drama. And I think we’re all very lucky on THE GOOD WIFE to portray really complicated, interesting, multifaceted women.”
Plus, with THE GOOD WIFE shooting in New York and Baranski calling Connecticut home, the short commute certainly doesn’t hurt.
“I don’t work every single day, I don’t carry the show so right now, when I’m not working, I’m thinking about what’s playing at the opera. Living in Connecticut and shooting in New York allows me to have a life.”
THE GOOD WIFE airs on Tuesday nights at 10PM on CBS (Global TV in Canada)
Photo Credit: John P. Filo/CBS