Did Last Night’s “The Good Wife” Help CBS Get Out of the Gay Doghouse?

Julianna Margulies and Dallas Roberts in last night’s The Good Wife

So a few months ago GLAAD called out CBS for not having any
Kevins, Scottys or Kurts on its schedule. And cancelling that gay Super Bowl ad
for the gay dating site didn’t help either. CBS responded by adding three gay characters
to its shows this season.

Last night viewers met one of those characters on The Good Wife. We were introduced to
main character Alicia Florrick’s long lost brother, math professor Owen Cavanaugh, played by Dallas Roberts, who some of us know as Jonathan
from A Home at the End of the World, the
“manny” on The L Word and fewer of us
know as Miles on Rubicon.

If you’re under 57 and don’t watch The Good Wife, you should. Even without the gay bro, it’s an
entertaining legal procedural.

Julianna Margulies
plays Alicia, whose husband, state attorney Peter Florrick, gets caught in a
sex scandal. She stands by her man but goes back to work as a defense attorney
at a fancy Chicago
law firm. This season, Peter is out of jail and campaigning for his former job,
with the help of a Eli, an advisor played by Alan Cumming (straight character but gay actor! Well-played, CBS).

The latest episode was plenty gay. Not only did we get gay
brother Cavanaugh, but also Dreamgirls’
Anika Noni Rose and the gay guy who
went on a date with Charlotte
on the last season of Sex and the City.
Those count, right?

No doubt CBS hopes so since the rest of their line-up is so

Last night’s drama centers on a political controversy accidentally
started by Owen, who lives in Oregon but is in
town teaching at Chicago’s DePaul University
for the semester.

Math geek Owen, who loves his sister “more than the golden ratio,” tells a
student in class that he doesn’t visit Alicia because her homophobic politician
husband doesn’t like gays. Oops! It turns out a student was taping it on his
smartphone and uploads it to a site called, I kid you not, VidTrope.

Um, CBS, even most old people know about YouTube by now.

Watching the clip online, campaign manager Eli basically
chokes on his lunch, (the only thing a gay actor can choke on during network
primetime). Eli confronts Alicia, tells her about her brother’s comments, and
she laughs and walks away. “It’s just Owen,” she says. “He just talks.” You know, as us gays are wont to

Still, a chatty gay brother is bad for politician Peter, who
needs the Chicago
gays to give $800,000 in soft money to his campaign. “The Chicago gay population is small but it’s
powerful. It has money,” Eli informs

The lesson: thank God gays have money, otherwise no one
would care about offending us!

Money stops flowing from the gays, and Eli tracks it down to
one holdout, who he’s invited to dinner at the Florrick house to smooth things
over. Eli meets up with the Power Gay (David
) to see what’s up.

It turns out he’s not only a Power Gay but Jewish too!
Someone rehire Rick Sanchez. Power
Gay is worried Peter is soft on Israel,
not hard on gays, which Eli disagrees with, since he’s Jewish too.

So, political opportunist that he is, he lies on the spot
that the political dinner is actually for Yom Kippur. “Your gentile friends
just happened to be breaking fast?,” Power Gay shoots back. Eli quickly lies
saying the dinner was originally for him.

As you well know, I have no life.” Or maybe he said wife; I couldn’t hear properly.

”So c’mon,” Eli insists. Talk to Peter, find out how much he
loves gays and Israel.”

Pesky minorities, always demanding you agree with them if you
want their money.

Meanwhile, Alicia’s brother shows up on her doorstep dressed
like the leather daddy from the Village People. “I wore this for Peter,” says
Professor Cavanaugh, who also brought some gay rag from the 1970s a fake
TV porno mag called Man Time. CBS has
great fake brands this episode.

Enjoying some brother-sister time on the couch, Alicia and
Owen get real about the political dust-up.

“It’s true, Peter doesn’t like me,” Prof says.

“Yeah, but he doesn’t like you because you’re a jerk, not because
you’re gay,” Alicia responds.

“Oh right,” he agrees.

Being gay is never a problem in this episode, just being a
jerk and/or Jewish.

Professor Cavanaugh makes sure Alicia knows their mom is
getting divorced for the third time. She knows, but got a letter, not a phone call.
It turns out Alicia is icy and mom didn’t want to hear her daughter’s

“You make me seem like I’m a bitch!” Alicia exclaims.

Prof: “No, just … proper.”


Owen asks if Alicia is going to get a divorce from Peter,
clearly wanting her too. Alicia says no. Prof psychoanalyzes that her decision
is “about mom and Dad.” Everything doesn’t have to be about their parents,
Alicia says, but Prof read it in the Times,
which all gay professors read. (I’m serious).

Later at the gay Jewish dinner, Mama Florrick is preparing
food. “So you don’t put pork with cheese? And bacon right? No bacon?”

The series never misses a chance to show how WASP-y she is.

At the dinner with Power Gay, Peter lays it on thick about
how much he loves Israel.
Brother Cavanaugh chimes in twice to say Peter loves gays too, but everyone is
distracted because, guess what, it’s Daughter
Florrick who is critical of Israel!

Now nobody cares about gays anymore and everyone’s debating Gaza and flotillas.

Owen uses the opportunity to pull Alicia into the kitchen to
admit that he deliberately said Peter
hates the gays. That makes sense. Of course he wasn’t fooled by some undergrad
with an iPhone!

He wanted to hurt Peter because he thinks Alicia is crazy to
be standing by her man. He thinks she’s just afraid of divorce because everyone
gets divorced. “You’re like that person who on the Titanic who drowns because
they won’t leave their room.”

Ouch again. Gay brothers can be so harsh.

“I can see it in your eyes. You don’t love him. Not anymore.
I get it… You’ve got kids. Just don’t stay with him if you don’t love him.”

Gays ruining marriage! Alicia tells him to back off. I guess
Brother Cavanaugh is a jerk.

Later when Owen is alone, Peter walks in and tells him off,
saying he doesn’t visit or call and so has no right to criticize Alicia’s life
decisions. “My wife deserves better from her family. You can hate me but don’t
hurt her,” he says.

Meanwhile, Daughter Florrick is “sentimentalizing Hamas” and
the Power Gay is a little peeved. WASP Grandma Florrick, rushing to the defense
of her surprisingly political granddaughter, delivers the line of the episode:
If you get marriage, you’re still going
to run around like little boys with your pants down

Grandma! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a funnier or more
peculiar bit of homophobia. Brava.

Finally, Alicia gives a smart toast and, as usual, saves the
day by calling on everyone, on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, to atone. Pitch perfect, short and clear.
Very Alicia. Power Gay has been pacified. We assume.

At the end of the episode, we walk in on Owen reading one of
Peter’s gay-friendly speeches. It’s good, he says. He tells Alicia he thinks
it’s her words, not Peter’s. Alicia
is Hillary Clinton! Doing the political legwork for her cheating husband:
another backhanded compliment from our chatty gay brother.

Alicia says she and Peter believe the same things. Then he
gets teary and apologizes for not being there for her and not staying in touch.
She tears up too. They hug, and he goes back to Oregon. But not before telling her to “have
fun,” which I think means go out to gay bars with her new Power Gay friends.

We know that Owen is will be back for three more episodes so
it will nice to see what they do with what is so far a nice, non-stereotypical
gay character.

Was Owen enough to get CBS out of the doghouse? Only time will
tell. In the meantime, we’re all distracted waiting for Kurt’s boyfriend on Glee.