Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies) from The Good Wife is and is not your typical TV mom. She might seem like your average matriarch at first glance: she's a good provider, she's always down for some homework help, and she listens with a fairly open mind. She's pretty awesome and we don't often see her losing her temper with Zach or Grace.
But then there's this other side of her...
1. Sometimes, Your Kids Should See You as This Really Interesting Person Who Lives in Their House
Zach nailed it in this season's 10th episode ("The Decision Tree") when he cocked his head to the side, looked at Alicia and said, "Sometimes I think of you as Mom, and other times just as this interesting person who lives in our house." This was in reaction to learning that his mom was the defense attorney to known drug kingpin Lemond Bishop. Zach honed in on what is, for many mothers, a truly important facet of the child/parent relationship. At some point you want your children to see you as an actual human being with actual interests and a life. This doesn't mean that they need to see you at the club, dancing like a 22-year-old to Beyoncé's "Drunk In Love" (there are very few circumstances where that would be beneficial). It just means that kids get a little thrill when they catch a glimpse of the world you exist in either in you your career or in your creative life.
2. A Little Mystery Goes a Long Way
Alicia's not an open book mom, she's not a friend mom. She's a mom mom. Zach and Grace respect their mom in part because they know they don't know everything about her — and they know that they probably never will. Even though her children know what she does, and they have some access to it, her personal life is shrouded in mystery.
3. Don't Be Afraid to Get Gangsta, Where the Kids Are Concerned
We love Alicia because, while she's calm for the most part she can turn into a lioness at any moment. Did you see the way she snatched her daughter out of the kitchen when Grace was going through that "hot" phase and every guy within a 20-mile radius could smell it (that was the episode when they were running Florrick Agos out of her house)? We saw a similar reaction when Eli got a little too close to Zach during Peter's campaign. As composed as she usually is, when it comes to the kiddies, Alicia doesn't play around. And for that, we thank her. And we kind of want to be her.
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It's remarkable how much Veronica Mars feels like coming home again. Ms. Mars has had nearly a decade off from her detective duties, but the character and the series at large saunters right back into form with such a confident swagger, it feels like she never really left at all.
The product of a now infamous Kickstarter campaign, Veronica Mars is the film sequel to the much beloved but scarcely watched CW series that followed the adventures of a teenage private eye. Mars solved mysteries surrounding the seedy denizens of the fictional Neptune California, a beach town where the rich socialites and working class heroes clash quite frequently and often violently. The series was a terrific mix of Nancy Drew and Raymond Chandler, give or take a Buffy, airing for three seasons before being canceled. But thanks to creator Rob Thomas' audacious Kickstarter and a brewing cult of fans, Veronica Mars has been given a second chance at life, a chance that precious few shows receive.
The film picks up with Veronica (Kristen Bell) knocking on 30's door and enjoying a comfortable life in New York City with her long time boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell). Her youthful gumshoe years are well behind her, but her old life comes back into swing when former flame Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) is charged with murdering his starlet girlfriend. Veronica tells herself that she only wants to consult a friend, but Neptune's magnetic pull becomes too hard to resist.
The film is a ton of fun. It's still as whip smart as the series ever was, and the quips whiz by effortlessly and constantly... often right over the heads of those who aren't already baptized by the gospel of Veronica. The show quickly falls back into familiar rhythms, and the nine years away haven't dulled the character's verbal barbs. Prepare to be bathed in waves of wit. Even outside of the near-relentless banter, the show maintains a nice and heavy sense of tension when the mystery sets in, and things get serious. While the actual mystery itself is far from brilliant, it's still engaging enough to entertain. In any case, the main course here is the characters, and they are as stellar as ever. Keith Mars (the fantastic Enrico Colantoni) is still the easy frontrunner for dad of the millennium.
The most remarkable thing about the film is how much it feels like the Veronica Mars of old, and that's the best compliment we can pay it. The returning cast members slip into their old roles with so much ease, and the film never feels like it's straining to regain that old Neptune spark. It turns out that watching a near 30 Veronica is just as much fun as watching the sleuth in her teenage years. And the fact that the show's general formula doesn't feel out of place now that we're following a load of late 20-somethings instead of high schoolers probably says something about how smartly and strongly crafted the original show was in the first place.
Rob Thomas clearly isn't trying to broaden his formula to catch new fans, and it doesn't make sense that he'd do so anyway. This is clearly a film built from the ground up for Veronica Mars fans, as it should be. A hefty intro montage at the beginning tries its best to get newcomers caught up on the three seasons of the television show, but if you didn't spend at least a couple hours cruising along the seedy streets of Neptune all those years ago, some of the film's charm might be lost on you.
The Veronica Mars film, at its core, is basically a damned good two hour episode of the original series. Now, that's not exactly ambitious, but the fans that put down their hard earned money to fund the film weren't necessarily paying for ambition. What we have here is unquestionably and purely Veronica Mars. So self-assured and comfortable in it's own celluloid skin, it's a film that dutifully embraces everything that made that series so brilliant and fun in the first place. Welcome home, Veronica, it's been a while.