Monday, December 8, 2008
"Hell, you'll probably outlive us all. We'll be dead and buried and you'll still be kicking, doing Priceline commericals."
Alan Shore to Denny Crane, regarding Denny's advanced age.
I have been dreading this day...
Tonight is the 2-hour series finale of "Boston Legal". I can't believe that the show will be done after tonight. I'm in denial and think it's gonna be a few weeks before it actually sinks in for me.
I've never really been a big fan of legal shows, mainly because most of them focus more on the grisly violence of crime and all of the horror surrounding it. But, "Boston Legal" was different. It focused on the Crane, Poole and Schmidt law firm that, with all of the inappropriate sexual conduct amongst the employees, could never actually exist in the real world and, that aspect, is probably one of the reasons that I got hooked.
The ridiculously regular sexual innuendos and situations would never be tolerated in the real world...but, within the context of the show, were often hilarious and rewind-worthy. The image above features Denny (the perfectly cast William Shatner) showing Shirley (Candice Bergen) the life-size sex doll of her that he had custom designed and regularly "associated" with, at times, over the years.
"Outrageous!" as Henry Gibson's (he of "Laugh In" fame) re-curring judge character was famous for shouting at Denny or Alan during their many "ridiculous" court encounters.
But, along with that was another layer of reality that, oftentimes, was profoundly real and relateable. I think I learned more about politics, morality and law from this show than any book, movie or class that I've ever taken. David E. Kelly had an amazing ability to present both sides of an argument somewhat evenly and, during closing, seemed to verbalize perfectly how I really felt about each one in almost every case.
I will definitely miss Alan Shore's colorfully dramatic and always-entertaining closing arguments each episode. As I've told friends, I would pay to have a DVD set of just those speeches. James Spader seemed to natually master every emotional nuance of a speech and was able to deliver them as if each case resonated directly with him and, along with that...the jury.
Here is a sample of one of those speeches...this one discussing the realities of Scientology...
As childish as it may seem to some, David E. Kelly was a genius at finding the right moment to use a fart to make a point (Denny Crane!) or break the show/viewer reality "wall" regularly to speak directly to the audience...and he did it numerous times and, always, to good effect.
Plus, he was able to use so many wonderful guest-stars throughout the series, like Betty White's serial killing, yet sassy sweet, character Catherine Piper.
There just hasn't been a show like it before (David E. Kelly's "Ally McBeal" was close) and, I doubt, there ever will be again.
Most of all, I will miss sitting with Denny and Alan on the balcony at the end of each show as they have their heart-to-heart sessions about their day and lives. Although both characters are straight as the day is long...their relationship was bascially an old married couple who, regardless of their differences, are always there for each other...no matter what.
Here is a bit of dialogue that seems to sum up their relationship best....
Denny: I don't know whether you know this but not many men take the time, every day, to have a cigar, glass of scotch, to talk to their best friend. That's not something most men have.
Alan: No it isn't.
Denny: What I give to you, what I share, I do with no one else. I like to think that what you give to me you do with nobody else. Now that may sound silly to you. But here's what I think is silly, the idea that jealousy or fidelity is reserved for romance. I always suspected that there was a connection between you and that man. That you got something you didn't get from me.
Alan: I probably do. But gosh, what I get from you Denny. People walk around today calling everyone their best friend. The term doesn't have any real meaning anymore. Mere acquaintances are lavished with hugs and kisses upon a second or at most third meeting, birthday cards get passed around offices so everybody can scribble a snippet of sentimentality for a colleague they barely met, and everyone just loves everyone. As a result when you tell somebody you love them today, it isn't much heard. I love you Denny, you are my best friend. I can't imagine going through life without you as my best friend. I'm not going to kiss you however.