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Ally McBeal - Narrative Structure, Characters and Setting

Essay by review  •  February 5, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,126 Words (5 Pages)  •  929 Views

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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 aloneвЂ¦Ð²Ð‚Ñœ 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 вЂ" 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

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