Gilmore Girls 2: Lorelai Harder
by DICK CHENEY
How To Get Away With Murder
creators Peter Nowalk & Shonda Rimes
On the first season of How To Get Away With Murder Viola Davis did a great scene every few episodes where she tore off her wig and makeup. This moment arrived when she really had no more interest in portraying the criminal defense attorney Annalise Keating anymore, and she had to break things down to their bare essentials. This is a weird, uncharacteristic event, since How To Get Away With Murder is all about how the outward parts of ourselves are essentially our real selves when there is nothing left underneath.
In the first season of How To Get Away With Murder, the preternaturally gifted Davis was blessed with a storyline out of the newspapers: she had a creepy psychologist husband who spent his time fucking about with one of his students, a very attractive Caucasian-American named Lila. She herself was cheating as well: one of her students, a mysterious Wes (Alfred Enoch and his brutally bad American accent), walks in on her getting head from a detective named Nate (Billy Brown).
The law parts of How To Get Away With Murder vacillate between ridiculous and stupid. Keating teaches a course in criminal law that does not go beyond the rudiments any fourth grader can pick up in a given episode of Law & Order, and spends most of her time doing extremely unethical things to win freedom for consistently innocent defendants. Now in season two, Shonda Rimes and co-creator Peter Nowalk have given up on versimilitude altogether.
Now that Keating is single and free of her husband, she has returned to her real hair. It’s not that she looked better in the wig, but she looked a lot more like the character and not Viola Davis. Her love relationship is with a woman, Eve (Famke Janssen). The number of gay relationships and sex scenes outnumbers the heterosexual ones, to what end I’m not sure. But sexuality is very fluid, and the ensemble cast that surrounds Viola Davis has to keep fucking in order to keep things interesting for the subplots she has no time with which to concern herself. Davis badly needed a credible actress to play off of besides the dull young things she orders around like sheeple:
Enter Bonnie Winterbottom, Esq. (Liza Weil), the real star of Getting Away With Murder. Some of us (all of us) hoped for a sequel/spin-off to Gilmore Girls, where we would see what actually became of Paris Geller after her time at Yale dating some schlumpy worshipper. Now we know: she has become the associate attorney at Annalise Keating’s Philadelphia firm, and she is spectacular.
Liza Weil is an astonishing creature. In How To Get Away With Murder‘s first season, she kind of took a backseat to the unfolding murder mystery that surrounded the sudden death of Annalise’s husband Sam Keating. She mostly showed up to tell her interns that they were beneath her, which they were.
In the show’s unlikely second season, she has pretty much become the de facto main character. Her relationship with the immature law student Asher (Orange Is The New Black‘s Matt McGorry) is how I always thought Paris would settle down: a beautiful, sensitive young thing who knew that she was the boss, but that she couldn’t always be the boss. I love every moment of your new life, Paris.
I realize Shonda Rimes’ deepest motivations is to turn every series she pops out of her Dartmouth-educated head into a ludicrous soap opera, but I don’t know if How To Get Away With Murder really required an AIDS-based storyline in addition to all the murder that is going around. The times the show is really entertaining is not when Viola Davis screams at Paris, “You’re a monster!”
That sort of schlock is amusing in the moment, but we long to take Paris’ new life seriously. Where does she go on vacation? What will her white kids look like? What kind of lotion does she use on her face? What coat has she selected to honor as her winter jacket? Is she as annoyed by Hailee Steinfeld and the new Stephen Colbert as I am?
Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.
“Jellyfish” – Laura Stevenson (mp3)
“Diet of Worms” – Laura Stevenson (mp3)