Ally McBeal
Mr. Bo

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Dead can dance.

Melanie strums a guitar and sings "Mr. Bojangles" to her class. I'd be annoyed if my kids' teachers traumatized them like that. The kids rock back and forth, probably because they have to pee. Then they sing along, as if they know that song. Maybe they do, though. Maybe their parents force them to listen to that album and Peter, Paul, and Mary, too. John sings the word "dance" and everyone laughs at him. The recess bell rings and all the kids run out like a swarm of seventies-tune-singing locusts. One little boy asks Melanie when they're going to see Mr. Bo again. She answers vaguely and shoos him out. She explains to John that Mr. Bo is a homeless guy on Tremont Street, and she'd like to introduce him. You know how they love homeless people on this show. Hannah of nakedsometimes.com was kind enough to email me this advisory: "Anne Heche pronounced Tremont St. 'Treemont,' when anyone who lived here for more than two seconds knows it is Trimmont St." I'm not surprised at all.

Elaine informs Ally that Mark and the new client are waiting in her office. Ally complains that this is silly -- that new clients don't hire lawyers on the day of trial. Elaine says, "Anything can happen around here Ally. You keep forgetting we don't live in a real world." I have to smile and say touché to that one. Then Ally says, "Does chauvinism live in the real world? Firing a receptionist for being fat? Is that what the world has come to?" Well, I'm fat, and I started being a receptionist in November. I'm not one anymore. I got promoted to Communications Manager. Maybe my world's not real, either, though. I mean, there are plenty of fat women in my world who actually get to have sex. There are lots of gay men who aren't completely dismissed and belittled. There are lesbians who don't serve as masturbatory fodder for straight men. There are even people who aren't lawyers or teachers or judges. I admit, however, that I'm sheltered. I don't socialize with many people who watch Ally McBeal, Golden Globe winner. I guess that makes mine the loser world, huh?

Ally is surprised to discover that the new client is a woman. "Et tu, Portia?" we see her thinking. The woman's name is Jerry Hill. She's played by Brenda Strong, who looked familiar to me. I checked the IMDB. Brenda was in lots and lots of movies, but I recognized her from The Craft, because that's the kind of movie I bother to remember. She was also in Sports Night and Starship Troopers. That Brenda gets around. Ally assesses the facts. The receptionist was fired for being overweight and therefore not attractive enough to do her job. Ally again balks at taking the case, fingering her chin and lower lip all the while. Ms. Hill says, "I need you, Ms. McBeal." Ally doesn't believe people should be judged on first impressions. Jerry Hill points out that Ally certainly seems to be judging her. Speaking of superficiality, I just have to say that Mark's looking pretty sweet in this scene. He has this new gelled-volume '80s thing going on with his hair, and his eyes are all sparkly hazel or green. He's also keeping his mouth closed, keeping me from imagining what some of my readers would say about his teeth. I don't care, though. I'd do him. Oh, wait. I forgot. I'm fat. Let me get back to doing my job until I get fired, then.

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Ally McBeal

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