How Shows Like “The Good Wife” Make You Smarter

This sounds like a very grand statement but watching The Good Wife has genuinely made me smarter. By smarter I mean that I am more aware of the world in which I live.

Obviously there needs to be certain components in place in the person beforehand for this ‘smartening’ to take place. The main thing is a desire to know more about the world in which you live. I’ve always been a person who likes to buy the Sunday papers, peruse their pages and absorb a wealth of knowledge, and then whizz through a cryptic crossword. I’ve also always been the kind of person who is perhaps a little too lazy to do this. Granted, I try to remain aware of my surroundings and I follow the news to stay up to date on culture and arts, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this in the first place, in all likelihood.

Now, back to The Good Wife. What are the ingredients involved that have encouraged this self-improvement?

A good storyline is the most important thing. It has kept me engaged from the beginning, which surprised me because, as a rule, I’m not into courtroom dramas.

Being a woman and very much into the portrayals of strong, capable, and layered female characters, a strong female lead is another important factor for me.

Next, and probably the clincher for my newfound voracity in news sniffing is its relevance. The Good Wife, though it is smart enough, is not overly smart—I can follow it without an even remote awareness of the United States law systems. But it keeps up to date with current affairs and introduces them into the plot. This is key, why I’m so annoyingly in love with the show. I’m not saying they always get everything completely on point, I’m saying they make me think about stuff. That’s not something you always get from your post-work drama series binges. It basically made me feel really stupid when I watched seasons past and couldn’t quite figure out what they were referencing because, back then, when it had been current news, I evidently wasn’t paying attention.

It’s not just The Good Wife that does this though, it’s just my poison of choice. House of Cards is likely to make you want to keep up to date with politics; Masters of Sex will make you research gender politics and sex in history; or maybe you’d rather stick to the really real-life stuff like Serial. Either way, it’s nice when your down-time helps educate you in your more proactive hours.

So, go forth aspiring or accomplished script writers and do more like this. If more kids grew up watching this kind of content (perhaps without all the steamy bits), we’d have a pretty cool generation on our hands.


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