CBS's sexy "The Good Wife" clip gets press hot, Margulies bothered
If there is one thing more that weighs upon the minds of The Reporters Who Cover Television, it's the thought that they often stray from covering TV shows the American public watches in great numbers in order to devote themselves to minor blips on the TV landscape like "Real Housewives's'" Michaele and Tareq Salahi, "Jersey Shore's" Snooki, or the latest publicity stunt of some bit of cable news talent.
CBS, for instance, has been the country's most watched television network for seven out of the past eight TV seasons. And yet, these reporters so often leave CBS flat in order to concentrate on networks that are CBS's ratings inferior, but whose stars turn up far more often in police reports.
CBS has decided to correct this tendency.
This week it invited a select group of TV reporters based in New York City to an on-set Q&A session with the cast of "The Good Wife," which was one of this past season's most successful scripted series launches and which was watched by an impressive 13 million people each week, but which got far less press attention than it deserved because, as mentioned above, it's on CBS and does not star "Jersey Shore's" Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.
Before the cast took questions, reporters were treated to a super-sexy clip from an unedited version of the show's season debut - a version that had not yet been vetted by the network's Decency Police and the best bits of which we're guessing will never be seen by you and me, unless we buy the second-season DVD box set.
The results were sensational.
The press went gaga over the clip, an actress became outraged over about the sexy scene, the whole incident went viral - and CBS never actually has to air the naughty bits and deal with those pesky FCC fines and angry watchdog group chain letters.
And if that's not marketing genius, I don't know what is.
But we can see TV Column readers now, mumbling to themselves that they do not give a hoot whether CBS has an executive suite full of marketing mensas, and that what they do want to know is what exactly was in this sexy scene, who threw the hissy fit, and did she slap the reporter - and they want it fast or give them back their 75 cents.
"The Good Wife" stars Julianna Margulies as attorney Alicia, wife of philandering louse-of-a-husband-cum-politician Peter. Peter is played by Chris Noth, aka The Former Mr. Big, aka fantasy partner of millions of adult women. In case you haven't been following, Peter is now out of prison, and Alicia is back at work at a law firm and doing well, thank you very much.
In the clip, Peter (who, we cannot state often enough, is played by Chris Noth, fantasy boyfriend of millions of American women) is seen clearly getting turned on at the sight of his gorgeous wife in court, acting all competent and in control. Later that night, when Alicia's in the bathroom brushing her teeth, he comes up behind her and, after waggling her about a bit, the scene "fades out [and] it's clear that the couple engage in oral sex," as the Associated Press reporter on the scene, Dave Bauder, described it.
"I was wondering if there is going to be a little more sex in the second season," asked another reporter, speaking for us all.
"That wasn't enough for you? I mean, I think that is the first time network television has had an oral sex scene - no?" Margulies responded sweetly.
That is what is known in journalism circles as Handing a Reporter His Lead.
Bauder, whom we know and who we can attest works very hard to make sure he gets his facts straight, asked Margulies if she could substantiate that "network first" claim, according to a transcript of the Q&A session, a copy of which was obtained by The TV Column.
"Have you researched that, Julianna?" Bauder asked Margulies. "Is that the first time there has been an oral sex scene on a network television show?"
"Honestly, is that the question you are going to ask me? That is despicable!" Margulies shot back, clearly offended, according to witnesses.
"You brought it up," Bauder noted, correctly.
"I didn't bring it up!" she shot back, incorrectly. Bauder did not belabor the point.
"That is disgusting! This is what media is now? I mean, that is truly the stupidest question I have ever heard!" Margulies continued to vent.
Bauder's question, we feel compelled to mention here, might better have put to a CBS exec. Actresses are, after all, mostly accustomed to getting asked how they did research for a scene. And, in fairness to Margulies, Bauder had used the word "research" in his original question about the sexy scene.
"It's the stupidest question you have ever heard?" he asked incredulously; we can picture Bauder trying hard to remember if she had ever attended a Summer TV Press Tour.
"I'm just saying, is this a point that you think television hasn't really gone to?" Bauder persevered, as he tried to straighten out what, he told the TV Column afterward, had by then started to dawn on him was a misunderstanding on her part as to exactly what he had asked.
"I'm insulted right now," Margulies replied. "Oh My God! It's bad enough we have 'Jersey Shore'."
Lisa de Moraes
August 18, 2010; 7:22 PM ET
Categories: TV News
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