The Wildest Prestige Series On TV — ‘The Good Fight’ — Is Back

Justin Stephens/CBS

We live in a time when people believe that every single thing they think has to be vocalized or recorded in some form for the masses to see. That is why I’m starting this off by letting each and every one of you reading this know that, since first seeing the official trailer for The Good Fight’s third season, I’ve regularly said to myself: “The Good Fight? More like the good show.” It’s not particularly clever — in fact, it’s not clever at all and yet I definitely did the same thing when The Good Wife was still on the air — but much like the very concept of Whiskey Cavalier, it is my truth.

Now the show is finally back for said third season, with the premiere available to watch on everyone’s favorite CBS streaming service, CBS All Access. The season premiere, “The One Inspired by the Recent Troubles,” also marks the official return of my weekly reminders to friends, family, and strangers alike that The Good Fight is a show that manages to simultaneously be at the top of the “best show on TV” conversation while also being the most insane show on television.

Seriously, The Good Fight is a bonkers show, with a level of strangeness of which The Good Wife only ever scratched the surface. That The Good Fight somehow pulls off its ever-increasing bizarreness — simultaneously existing in the “real world” while doing everything it can to navigate the depths of surrealism — is an impressive feat, that unfortunately is rarely discussed because of the fact that it airs on CBS All Access. The thing is, The Good Fight would never exist in this form — or possibly at all — if it had to air on CBS proper.

Really, the most average thing about the series at this point is that the third season is apparently cribbing the Friends’ episode title format. (Although, every episode of The Good Fight could technically be titled “The One Inspired by the Recent Troubles.” The recent troubles in this particular episode are specifically #MeToo though.) So in honor of the return of the series and its third season, I’ve narrowed down the three moments in the season premiere that best capture why The Good Fight is a special show that can pretty much get away with anything it wants to do, apparently.

The Good Fight/CBS All Access

The Good Fight Short

This episode is not the first time The Good Fight has gone to the School House Rock well, but it’s the first time it’s ever been so matter-of-fact about it. The first time that it’s ever just so specifically said, “This really is just the type of show we are, so buckle in.” I like to imagine if I ever get the chance to talk to series co-creators Robert and Michelle King (who both wrote this premiere, while Robert directed it), I will only ask them about why their show’s so weird and mean it in the best way possible. (I will not ask them about the Julianna Margulies/Archie Panjabi “feud,” because I’m a professional. And because I’m smart enough to know they’re keeping that secret with them to their graves.) There’s a very “no fucks” given approach to the series, which is interesting considering the fact that everything about the show’s writing and story screams that very many fucks were actually given.

The Good Fight/CBS All Access

Let’s try to count all the red folders in the show today
Y’know what? Who cares? Just pay attention
Put your phone away

As we get confirmation of in the end credits, the final count of NDAs red folders in this episode is seven. This is the type of interactive television I want to see.

When The Good Fight does for numbers like this (performed by Jonathan Coulton), it also reminds me of the Kings’ one-season BrainDead, a series the world (well, the summer CBS audience) just wasn’t ready for. By the way, is it finally time to talk about how BrainDead was wholly underrated and would probably still be thriving had it also gotten the CBS All Access treatment? Who am I kidding — of course it is. I’ll make sure to get the ball rolling on that conversation ASAP.

The Good Fight/CBS All Access

Andrea Martin singing “I Wanna Be Sedated”

This is such a small moment in an otherwise packed episode, but still, it’s now part of television history and it needs to be treated as such. Plenty of television shows have Andrea Martin singing, but how many of those shows have Andrea Martin singing “I Wanna Be Sedated”? And to a baby no less. Just this one, by my count. She also says this to said baby:

The Good Fight/CBS All Access
The Good Fight/CBS All Access

Diane v. back Trump

I’ll let you all in on a little secret: The Good Fight is the only show on television that can get away with all this Donald Trump stuff and somehow not suck. I’m including both Saturday Night Live and the news when I say this. And that was before it decided to take things somehow a step further and make a CGI Trump out of a bruise on Kurt’s (Gary Cole) back for Diane (Baranski) to spit verbal venom at. A CGI Trump that comes with a, somehow, even worse Trump impression than Alec Baldwin’s.

In just typing all of that, I’m aware of how terrible it sounds; in imagining how Christine Baranski must’ve felt when she first read the script and then prepared to do the scene, I’m aware of how terrible it sounds. But it somehow ends up being a phenomenal scene. Yes, points are deducted from its phenomenal status for just how bad the Trump impression is and the general concept of the CGI back Trump talking at all, but Baranski is so great in this, an insane scene in an episode of television.

The Good Fight/CBS All Access
The Good Fight/CBS All Access

In theory, The Good Fight now already has an Emmy reel clip available for Baranski with this scene. In practice, it’s still Christine Baranski having a (dream?) conversation with a back bruise that looks (and technically sounds) like Donald Trump.

If you’re still not watching The Good Fight, first of all, why not? You surely must know at least one person in this world who has a CBS All Access account. If you do not, find one of them and get to watching. (Just to be clear, I am not one of them.) You don’t even need to watch The Good Wife to watch this, though I’d also suggest that people watch The Good Wife, just in general. As for the rest of you, I’m assuming you either watched the premiere when it dropped Thursday at 3 AM ET or skipped work to watch it (and then spent the whole day rewatching it and analyzing every bit) — as this is appointment TV, after all. To that, I give you a hearty Christine Baranski laugh and a thumbs up.