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The Good Wife confirms that infidelity has become a spectator sport


The Good Wife  proves that infidelity has become a spectator
sport.  Promotional photo

I’m not surprised that The Good Wife is being hailed as a standout among the season’s new TV shows. It confirms something I’ve been saying for the past few years:

Infidelity has become the new spectator sport.

The Good Wife is a TV series whose time has come.

Inspired by an ever- increasing list of cheating politicians that constantly make front page news, this show, staring Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, the cheating politician’s wife, is sure to be a hit.

In the case of The Good Wife, that old saying about art imitating life, certainly seems to hold true. The theme of the show – infidelity, a cheating politician, the politician’s wife standing silent behind him as he confesses all – is one we’ve seen played out many times.  

Public Interest in All Things Infidelity

As an infidelity expert frequently called on by the media to comment on high profile infidelity and popular infidelity issues in the news, I can personally attest to the public’s burning interest in infidelity, cheating spouses, and extramarital affairs – especially if politicians are involved.

Whenever a politician on any level of the government - local, state, and federal - cheats, or is rumored to be cheating on his wife, the public wants to see, hear, know about every detail as the drama unfolds.

The same things holds true if the cheater is a celebrity, sports figure, entertainer, corporate executive, or someone else in the public eye.

As I said: Infidelity has become a spectator sport.

It’s a recurring theme in most forms of entertainment, including soap operas, TV talk shows, movies, and best-selling novels

Editors, reporters, producers, radio and TV talk show hosts know that adding an infidelity element to the mix, almost guarantees an increase in viewers, listeners, or readers.

Why Infidelity Has Such Universal Appeal

Infidelity has become so widespread, that most people can relate to it in some way. Almost everyone has at least one friend, relative, or co-worker who is cheating, or has been cheated on. Many have been victims of infidelity themselves.

A USA Today/Gallup poll reported that 54% of Americans said they knew someone who had a cheating spouse.

If you factor in the number of unmarried people in committed relationships who are cheating on their mates, that percentage is even higher.

Infidelity in one form or another (physical or sexual infidelity, emotional infidelity, online or internet infidelity, female infidelity, same-sex infidelity, workplace infidelity) affects an estimated 80% of all marriages and committed relationships today

The Good Wife is Worth Watching

Given the popularity of The Good Wife’s subject matter, husband and wife writing team, Robert and Michelle King seem to have come up with a real winner. It’s a show that should have widespread appeal.

The Good Wife with Julianna Margulies, Chris Noth, Christine Baranski and supporting cast, is worth watching, if for no other reason than to confirm that art really does imitate life and that infidelity has truly become a spectator sport.

*** © copyright 2009 Ruth Houston

Ruth Houston is a New York-based infidelity expert who is frequently called on by the media to comment on infidelity issues in the news. She is the author of Is He Cheating on You? - 829 Telltale Signs, the founder of and publishes the Infidelity News and Views blog.

For more information about cheating politicians, infidelity and extramarital affairs, please see: 

Why Politicians Cheat and What Their Wives Can Do

Why Women Stay with Men Who Cheat

Jenny Sanford Shows Betrayed Wives How to Take a Firm Stand

How Wives with Cheating Husbands Can Gain the Upper Hand    (free tip sheet)

Go or Stay? – How to Decide Whether to Give A Cheater a Second Chance   (free tip sheet)

An Infidelity Expert’s Comments on Jenny Sanford’s Vogue Interview and the Sanford Affair

What the Sanford Affair Can Teach Us about Emotional Infidelity


  • jz 5 years ago

    I'm betting Love and Marriage jumps on this.

  • Cheryl Williams, Charlotte Love & Marriage Exa 5 years ago

    Ruth...Great commentary on the show and infidelity. I agree with you that it definitely has become a spectator sport.

  • Wearing Hipwaders 5 years ago

    Did you even watch this show before you wrote this article? Your analysis of the theme is off the mark. The infidelity is treated a plot device to get the main character into a situation, not as the central theme. The theme is the struggle of a now essentially single mother reentering the workforce after 15 years.