The lion's share of the episode involves a DC trip for Alicia and Cary, which has good results (an intense/gross reunion with Cary's selfish WASPy father, John "Lex Luthor" Shea, doing an uncanny impression of somebody who would be related to Cary) and bad (Christina Ricci as a person who is funny in any way).
That sense of unease you get when a show goes into overdrive with the stuntcasting, well, we've never had that because the show has always been like this. But if you ever wondered what happens with stuntcasting gone wrong, I point you to this episode: I love Christina Ricci. And I love shock-jock comediennes, unless they are fat. Put it together, though, and you have a tone-deaf, Scientology-type empty creepy manneredness that makes the entire plot kind of moot. Bitch ain't funny. She's funny looking, and she has it in her power to be funny, but I mean so does Emma Thompson. So does Gwyneth Paltrow.
Picture Gwyneth Paltrow on this show as, essentially, Chelsea Lately. Doesn't that make you sick to your stomach to think about that?
And so it goes.
Anyway, they have to go up against the Parents TV Council, which is like one ugly guy somewhere in a basement, because she flashed her boobs on TV. And then this devolves into going around to all these jerkoffs at the FCC and trying to first guess their moral code and then pretend to follow it, and it's so stupid, and the morality shit is so stupid and so financially motivated and whatever, eventually the FCC drops the case anyway so it doesn't matter. The only result is a lingering weird taste in the mouth.
Amanda Peet has left the military, and comes to Alicia for advice and references on getting a job in the mean ol' real world. After an interview with Lutz from 30 Rock provides an example of how gross men actually are IRL, Alicia gets the strange idea to send Amanda Peet -- surely one of the world's most desirable women -- to Peter Florrick -- her philandering husband -- as a present of sorts. He hires her on the spot, pissing off Geneva Pine and tripping nobody's bullshit alarms for some reason.
Hayden Clarke (Clarke Hayden? I don't think I will ever know) decides to sell the firm to F. Murray Abraham, whose Burl Preston character is one of my least favorite antagonists, but Will and Diane manage to use David Lee's evil as a weapon against Hayden. In the coming days, I presume Cary's love affair with him will backfire, since the Littlest Trustee has now openly declared war on both the L and the G in L/G basically for being shit with money.
Meanwhile, Maddie Hayward steps up her nasty feminist agenda in several key ways: First by maybe being a lesbian, then by being behind the entire "Indira Starr" scandal all along, by finally getting Kalinda to ditch Eli's manipulations to keep her on the campaign trail with him, and finally by releasing a rumor that Peter has a Brazil-shaped birthmark on his penis. Did you ever wonder what it would be like to hear Chris Noth say the word penis like fifty million times? I sure haven't ever wondered that. But now we know.
Maddie Hayward has something to do with Indira Starr, but nobody has noticed that yet, so the story that is not one continues to be one. Cary's cozying up to the Trustee just as Diane's losing all faith in him. Oh, and Alicia had another run-in with military justice which may well prove to turn into a major plot point.
Christina Ricci is many wonderful things, but funny she is not. Impulsive, certainly she is not. Her character in this episode, a standup comedienne named Therese Dodd, is painted as this can't-control-herself sort of edgy comic type, which admittedly results in exactly one very neat moment down the road, but certainly doesn't sell the other 90 percent of the scenes where we're supposed to buy it. She's awkward, but the wrong kind. She's smart, but a very different kind of smart. I like Ricci, a lot, and I am a fan of lady comics -- as well as of people who can't shut up when they really ought to, as you can imagine -- but it's altogether an ugly little stuntcasting misfire.
Christina Ricci is a "get" to the precise amount that you're able to leverage her most basic quality as an actress -- her inviolable integrity, so much strength and intelligence in such a tiny, tight little package -- and this role is about the opposite, about a sloppy brilliant woman whose power resides in the fact that she's got nothing to lose. A lovely role, for a very different girl: Give me Amy Schumer, give me Mary-Lynn Rajskub. Give me my darling Natasha Leggero, she certainly deserves the world in my opinion. Give me, just off the top of my head, Zosia Mamet. She would have fucking killed this.
But worse, we'll never, now, get to see Ricci as a Tupperware sex-toy or vitamin-shake pyramid-schemer with a little square purse and razor-cut bob, or Parker Posey's rabid and righteous campaign manager (Those uncompromising eyeballs! That fierce/terrifying sexuality!). A lifestyle mommy-blogger/samizdat-publishing Anonymous anarchist who got brutally assaulted due to a Craigslist miscommunication. The fifth-column public relations lieutenant at ChumHum who betrayed and finally dethroned Neil Gross. Any of the literally dozens of roles she was born to play on this show. But no, now she will always be this.
Anyway, Therese Dodd was on a late-night, Jimmy Fallon type show hosted by Christian Finnegan, when she decided to pull a Silverman and demonstrate how to give a breast exam. Not exactly cutting-edge, but cute enough for this show.