The Only TV Show That Gets Life Under Trump

NOTE FROM LB: This is the review that I should have written about The Good Fight. But Michelle Goldberg has done it much better, so:


by Michelle Goldberg

In the second season of the serial drama “The Good Fight,” Diane Lockhart, an attorney played by the regal 67-year-old actress Christine Baranski, makes a heated speech at a meeting about a legal strategy for impeaching Donald Trump. “I have spent the last few months feeling deranged,” she shouts, though she uses an expletive before “deranged.” “Going numb! All Trump, all the time. What’s real, what’s fake? Well, you know what? I just woke up.”

This captures a pretty widespread feeling among Americans right now — consider all the women who mobilized for Democrats in the midterms — but it’s surprisingly rare to see it expressed in pop storytelling. Part of the dystopian character of Trump’s presidency is his ubiquity; he dominates the news cycle, late-night TV and book publishing. Yet Trumpism has, with only a few exceptions, gone weirdly unprocessed by fiction, either written or filmed.

Perhaps that’s because people are desperate for a respite from Trump, or because the imagination can’t compete with the strangeness of reality. It means that while there’s an explosion of news stories about the current moment, there’s a lack of the sort of human tales that might help discombobulated Americans make sense of what we’re going through.

Sure, “Saturday Night Live” makes valiant attempts to parody Trump, but it’s hard to caricature a caricature. And there are shows coming out that seem at least obliquely inspired by Trump’s odiousness, like Ava DuVernay’s dramatic mini-series about the Central Park Five, a group of wrongly imprisoned teenage boys demonized by Trump, which debuts at the end of the month. But the feeling that makes otherwise sane people wonder whether we’re all living in a computer simulation gone glitchy hasn’t yet been successfully channeled into any art that I’m aware of.

Except, that is, for “The Good Fight,” the only TV show that reflects what life under Trump feels like for many of us who abhor him. Its showrunners, the married couple Michelle and Robert King, have figured out how to alchemize our berserk era into entertainment. When historians look back at this ghastly moment — if there are still historians when it’s over — this fizzy, mordant cult series is likely to be one of its richest artifacts. It’s a balm, a reminder, on days when I feel like I’m cracking up, that it’s really the world that’s gone crazy….

Read it all at nytimes.com