Welcome to the premiere of Ally McBeal II: Long on Hemlines, Short on Promise. Viewer discretion is apparently advised, because when you're trying to crack the glass ceiling, you need to swear at it a lot.
A pretty, round-faced blonde named Lynne (Gretchen Mol) sneaks into her roommate's bedroom. Her roommate is Kathleen Robertson -- a.k.a. Clare Arnold from 90210 -- but her official name on this show is Jeannie. I think I have to call her Clare anyway; this actress will have to work a lot harder to shake that mantle. Anyway, Clare is clutching a teddy bear. Lynne wakes her up and begs her to listen to her opening statement one more time. "Read it to Sarah," Clare mutters, rolling over. "I just did," Lynne whispers. Clare rolls over, bites her glossy bedtime lips, and groans as Lynne launches into her speech. Her eyelids flutter shut. "Are you sleeping?" Lynne pouts.
Cut to the living room, where Clare and the third roommate, Sarah (Chyler Leigh of Not Another Teen Movie and That '80s Show), both struggle to stay awake during Lynne's oratory. Their hair is messy and Sarah actually has dirt on her face. The makeup department went a little too far with the realism there. I may not sleep in full makeup, but I don't usually Pigpen myself before bedtime, either. Lynne does not seem bothered that she is both boring and annoying. Lynne, I feel, will be a microcosm of this entire show.
San Francisco scenes. Freddie Mercury and David Bowie start crooning "Under Pressure." Sarah slams off her alarm and jerks awake. Lynne is still practicing her speech in front of the mirror; we learn it's a death penalty case. The camera whooshes into the next room, where Clare is still cuddling her teddy bear. I would make a crack about what a stretch it is that a twenty-seven-year-old would be snuggling with a teddy bear, but then the two bears that perch on my bed at night might stage a revolt, and I have enough going on this week without coping with soft, beary rebellion.
The show starts intercutting shots of the girls with pictures of staid, suit-clad old men getting out of shiny Jaguars with their rich leather briefcases. Clare sleeps; old men valet-park their cars. Sarah and Lynne take a spinning class; old men shake hands. Clare cracks a morning Mountain Dew; old men drink morning tea and coffee from silver cups and pots. Freddie Mercury wails about pressure.