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Ally McBeal

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox television

Missing image
Timeallymcbeal.jpg
Time magazine, June 29, 1998. This cover depicts pioneering women Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem juxtaposed with McBeal and asks "Is Feminism Dead?" It is an example of the debate which revolved around the show and how it depicted women's roles in American society in the 1990s.

Ally McBeal was an American television dramedy devised by David E. Kelley, with Calista Flockhart in the title role as a young lawyer working in the fictional Boston law firm Cage & Fish, filled with a cast of similarly young lawyers who live and love highly melodramatically. The show ran on the FOX network from 1997 to 2002.

Despite its legal settings, the show pays little attention to the actual practice of law, using legal manoeuvers as plot devices to push the main thrust of the show—the romantic lives of the main characters—forward.

The show's use of fantasy sequences to illustrate the character's inner thoughts was particularly notable, along with the character's regular visits to a particular bar where singer and cast member Vonda Shepard regularly performed (though occasionally handing over the microphone to the characters).

Ally McBeal was hugely successful, but received much criticism from TV critics and feminists who found the title character annoying and demeaning to women because of her lack of demonstrated legal knowledge and extreme emotional instability and unreliability. Flockhart's visible loss of weight by the second season also caused much media speculation.

However, Ally's search for true love struck a chord with young female audiences, and the eccentric characters around her were developed further, giving the show a wider focus.

In the fourth season, Robert Downey Jr. joined the regular cast as Ally's boyfriend Larry, resurrecting the ratings of a show that had lost its novelty and thus much of its audience. However, when Downey was forced to leave as his drug addiction caused him legal troubles, and other central cast members such as Lucy Liu also left, the ratings sank again. Not even Matthew Perry and singer Jon Bon Jovi's regular guest appearances in season five were enough to save the show.

The major cast members of the show have included:

Notable guest stars on the show included comedian Tracey Ullman as Ally's unusual therapist, and singers Barry White, Al Green, Sting, Tina Turner, and Barry Manilow as themselves. Special musical guests included KC and the Sunshine Band, Elton John and Josh Groban.

Barry White's music was frequently showcased on the show as a sexual stimulant; when one of the characters mentally "heard" the music, other characters would be attracted. This action was often accompanied by dancing and took place in the unisex bathroom.

At the height of its popularity, re-edited half-hour versions of the show ran under the name Ally.

The show is also noted by many for introducing the 'dancing baby' computer-generated image (CGI) to mainstream American pop culture.

Known for controversial topics, the show was well-known for the infamous Cro-Magnon episode, whereby a well-endowed male model becomes the focus of the protagonist's attentions. Some critics have claimed that this penis size obsessed view of female sexuality is distorted and reflects more of a male point of view, as the show was written by David E. Kelley. Others have charged that the ridiculing of modestly endowed men is sexist and harmful, contributing to body issues for men similar to that of young women over their weight. On that note as well, the show has been criticized for the "anorexic" main character as being a bad role model for girls.

External links

fr:Ally McBeal he:אלי מקביל ja:アリーmyラブ gd:Alli Nic a'Bheoil sk:Ally McBealov

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