The Good Fight is going all in with a Bachelor in Paradise-inspired episode.
On Sunday's installment, Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) finds herself in the middle of a reality TV pickle. Her client, Melanie, an attractive female contestant from the fictional popular dating reality series, Chicago Penthouse, is suing the show after she was filmed having drunken sex in a hot tub with a male contestant, Blake, long after she lost the ability to say no. If the scene sounds vaguely familiar, it's because it was loosely inspired by the real-life events of the Bachelor in Paradise scandal last summer that prompted a temporary production shutdown and an alleged rule change for how much alcohol is allowed.
For creators Robert and Michelle King, the episode isn't so much their take on what happened on Bachelor in Paradise, but the issue of consent, which has become a prevalent topic of discussion in the Time's Up and #MeToo movements.
"I love reality TV. I will admit it's a guilty pleasure. When the Bachelor in Paradise scandal happened, it inspired us to write something basically around that world and inspired by those events," Robert King tells ET. "It also touches on the issues of consent because I do think that's an issue more right now. It's almost misunderstandings about what consent is and what had happened."
As details emerge, over the course of the episode, from various Chicago Penthouse sources -- a cameraman; a producer who nixed filming after the incident; the male contestant in question, Blake -- the situation gets murkier when it becomes clear Melanie may have been unintentionally coerced, which ultimately led to the scandalous hot tub incident.
"What's interesting here is the woman in our fictional world is unconscious and doesn't know what really happened. But it's reality TV and there are all these cameras running," Robert King says. "It inspired us because it plays off of reality TV, which is the major reason why Trump is in the White House right now, and the lead in our reality show is [portrayed] as a bimbo, but she's actually a very smart woman."
"They knew that they were having to pump the sex factor because they had to up their own brand, but also the show would give them more screen time if they were more sexy. The bottom line is we're trying to unpeel the superficiality of that world a bit," he adds, with Michelle King noting that there is also a "racial element" that is explored within the context of the fictional scandal.
In ET's exclusive sneak peek from the episode, investigators Jay (Nyambi Nyambi) and Marissa (Sarah Steele) are in a Reddick, Boseman & Lockhart conference room sifting through various camera angles of raw footage from Chicago Penthouse, as they argue over the legitimacy over reality shows of similar ilk. Jay's not a fan, while Marissa is an avid viewer. Robert King offers this observation about why America's fascination with "train wreck" reality TV sees no end in sight.
"I think it's the interest in pop culture in general. Within the last eight to 10 years, the way pop culture is influencing our politics is fascinating. I think people are not interested in political topics as they are interested in narratives. This show tries to be a little meta in looking at the way narratives control our lives," he explains, "and that was one of the ideas with The Good Wife from the very beginning. The lawyer who wins in court is not the lawyer who gives the best speech, who makes the most moral sense, it's the person who tells the best story."
"The basis of this reality TV episode is just that -- the narrative is fake and created by the producers who use alcohol on the reality TV stars and egg them on to be more of what their character would be," Robert King adds.
The Kings shared that because the case relies heavily on what would have been unedited and unseen footage, they were interested in providing a realistic glimpse into what that footage may look like -- but keep the nudity (and there is some NSFW moments) to only the bare necessity. "We wanted to lean into the reality, which is, what would this raw footage look like? What would they have to pixelate [for network television]?" Michelle King poses.
"We wanted to have enough nudity to suggest the oral sex that actually becomes the big question mark at the center of the episode. That's at far as we wanted to go," Robert King confirms. "There is a lot more footage that we could've used, but it seems at a certain point when you watch a lot of cable or streaming, sometimes nudity is used to signify that we're not network. We wanted to joke about that but not have that be the reason for the episode."
New episodes of The Good Fight are available to stream Sundays on CBS All Access.
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