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Ally McBeal – Narrative Structure, Characters And Setting Essay, Research Paper
Ally McBeal. What is it about her that makes people stop and notice? Perhaps it’s her girlish voice, her complex insecurities, her quirky yet realistic thoughts, and her simple nature. As a girl, I must say, I totally identify with Ally. Let’s face it, we’ve all had arrows shot through our hearts, felt like our faces were burning when we’ve said embarrassing things in front of others, and, surely, at one point or another, felt a scary sense of loneliness. In any case, Ally McBeal is a reflection of human essence. Intelligent yet underestimated at times, funny yet lacking a sense of being, dark yet focused, insecure yet hopeful. Combine that with a stunning lawyer and what do you have? A giggly, repressed, tense, yet wonderfully charming character. Ally McBeal.
The episode ?Compromising Positions? teaches the viewer several things about Ally. She is the show?s main character, and many of her distinguishing traits are revealed; her conservative personality, her morals, and her opinions on certain issues, in particular love, trust and morality. Her outlook is a curious mix of angst and optimism. Her mission on the show is not to win lawsuits but to figure out who she really is, what she wants, and if she has any hope of attaining it. It is revealed to the viewer, that what Ally is looking for, is in fact true love.
Different characters in the show assist in developing different themes. The incident with Richard Fish?s girlfriend, ?Whipper? kissing prospective client, Ronald Cheanie, for instance, helps to explore the themes of love and the truth. When Ally walks into the bathroom at the restaurant to discover Whipper and Cheanie engaging in forbidden kiss, she is thrown into a spin. Should she tell Richard about the kiss, confront Whipper and make her tell Richard herself, or just stay quiet? After all, as Ally is quoted to say, “Sometimes there’s no point in the truth if all it’s going to do is cause pain.”
Ally meets the firm?s other founding partner, John Cage, when Fish assigns her to defend him on charges of soliciting a prostitute. At the hearing, Ally and Billy represent Cage, and Billy asks for a sidebar, and it becomes immediately clear that the judge and Billy know each other. The judge drops the charges, to Ally?s shock, and the case is closed. The next morning, Ally learns that the Judge attended Billy?s bachelor party, where they both partook of a prostitute?s services. Ally confronts Billy about it, and the discussion that they hold introduces us to the theme of betrayal, but also explores the boundaries between truth and morality. Billy claims that the incident was inconsequential, because ?Men can separate love and physical sex.? He and Ally discuss the issue of telling Georgia, but Ally convinces Billy not to, insisting that ?It would?ve crushed her.?
Despite her own lacking of that special someone, Ally wants to see people around her happy, to make her believe in love, as she tells Billy -: “I think I need to believe that it works. Love. Couplehood. Partnerships. The idea that when people come together they stay together. I have to take that with me to bed every night, even if I’m going to bed alone?? Ally is content on making other people happy, which is why she chooses to confront Richard about witnessing Whipper kiss Cheanie. Richard is hurt by this revelation, as can be told by the background music, which is a piano solo that reflects the sad and melancholy atmosphere in the room when Ally informs Richard of the kiss. It can also be seen in the expression on his face ? It falls as soon as he realises the full extent of what Ally has just said, and Ally is unsure that she has done the right thing by telling Richard about the kiss: – ?Was it wrong? I just felt that he should know.? Yet Billy thinks that she did the right thing. The pair discuss the merit of telling the truth, and Billy is tempted to tell Georgia the truth about the Bachelor party, but Ally stops him, saying ?You would?ve destroyed her. She doesn?t have to know.?
Ally?s own quest for true love is helped along by her seeing to other people?s happiness. She is somewhat jealous of the relationship that Whipper and Richard have, because she envies them both for having someone special there for them, someone that they love, which is something that she lacks and is constantly searching for. She is the voice of reason for Richard in his confusion: – ?No, stay, anything you say I want them to hear. If whipper tries to get me to take her back, talk me out of it.? Whipper attempts to apologise to Richard to get him to forgive her and take her back, but Richard stubbornly refuses. Billy puts his own two words in, appearing to be supporting Whipper, by stating that ?Anyone can be guilty of indiscretion, even once.? Later, Ally realises that maybe it should be left between Whipper and Richard, and that maybe she has dashed their hopes of making up, when her stream of consciousness reveals her to be thinking, ?They love each other. Its all my fault!? Ally proceeds to Richard?s office to reveal her thoughts on the issue to him, saying that she thinks he should forgive Whipper, because she thinks that he loves her. She doesn?t want him to make the same mistake that she did, and she demonstrates this by saying ??Whoever said there were other fish in the sea was lying. Sometimes there?s only one fish. Trust me.?
Essentially, the whole show revolves around Ally?s search for her true self, her search for love, and her search for ultimate happiness. This is reflected in her attempts to see to other people?s happiness, to make her believe that love really works, and that it is possible for two people to be perfect for each other. She also believes that there is someone out there who is perfect for her, and that someday she will find him, and her life will be complete. In this sense, she appeals to the viewers, because Ally is only human, she isn?t perfect, and people can relate to her. She appeals to men, because she is petite and vulnerable, and doesn?t come across as ?too masculine? or macho.
She is a career woman, so in that sense she appeals to women, because she?s got the power and independence, without a man by her side. Overall, Ally McBeal appeals to everyone because she has the qualities of a ?human being?, which characters from most other drama series lack. Shes not perfect, she has her flaws, problems and conflicts, and that is what makes people like her.
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