Monday, December 15, 2008

Boston Legal - Recap & Review - "Made in China/Last Call"

Boston Legal
Made in China/Last Call

Original Air Date: 9 Dec 2008

Kathryn – TwoCentsReviewer

I take a deep breath of hot sultry night air that feels like warm pea soup in my lungs and wish that I too could find love and friendship in the crisp cool air of Denny’s beloved Nimmo Bay (even with the crappy fill in backdrop). Unfortunately I do not live in Boston Legal land where good always prevails; everyone is impeccably dressed and either the girl gets the guy or the guy gets the guy; and the Supreme Court gets told to stuff itself six ways from Sunday.

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  1. I take a deep breath of hot sultry night air that feels like warm pea soup in my lungs and wish that I too could find love and friendship in the crisp cool air of Denny’s beloved Nimmo Bay (even with the crappy fill in backdrop). Unfortunately I do not live in Boston Legal land where good always prevails; everyone is impeccably dressed and either the girl gets the guy or the guy gets the guy; and the Supreme Court gets told to stuff itself six ways from Sunday.

    But we can always dream of cold mountain streams and spawning salmon: welcome to the last episode ever of Boston Legal.

    It’s always about the third watching of this show that I turn my head in that Alan Shorish/disbeliefish way and go ‘Kaiser Soze! How am I going to explain this one to anyone who doesn’t talk fluent con law?’ David E. Kelley apparently believes we should all have a really good up to date knowledge of American constitutional law and so he just pops it in left right and centre and you can be danged if you don’t get the references to Roe v Wade or Brown v Board of Education.

    And you should be danged! This is a constitution we are expounding (Marbury v Madison). It’s your country; it’s your constitution and it’s your lives. Americans fight for them every day – in homes, towns; cities, in other countries’ cities and in television shows on the ABC ‘network’ featuring James Spader as an overly verbose lawyer.

    So be a bit proud to be danged every so often:

    Boston Legal fans tended to be a bit on the quiet side. They don’t post much on the Internet and there is only minor squeeing over James Spader (and that’s mostly in his early roles); but if you trip over a Boston Legal fan in the street it is like pulling off the nozzle of a New York fire hydrant. You casually mention you like the show: some people look at you blankly (what is this strange Boston Legal you speak of?), but sometimes… sometimes… people give you the biggest grin and then it all comes bursting out as they pop like Jerry, run in small circles and shower you with everything they love about the show, down to the littlest tiny details and how they watch it with their BFF, drink scotch and smoke cigars. It’s quite unnerving.

    So I’ll quote from a few fans: I know it’s only a television show, but I’m really sad it’s over and I’m gonna miss Alan. Another said: House/Wilson HoYAYers (homosexual = YAY!) eat your heart out (if only House/Wilson people, but Cuddy’s going to be busy with the baby n’ all so there is hope). Only on Boston Legal could Alan and Denny somehow find a sort of logical reason to get married – at a fishing lodge – by a Supreme Court judge - dressed in waders. But it’s somehow in keeping with the whole Boston Legal spirit so we’ll stop right there.

    We start the episode with an old favourite. Say it again - as Buffy might say - once more with feeling… ‘Denny’s been arrested’ (again)

    As you guessed Denny’s been arrested - again. At one point in the episode Denny actually asks Alan how many times he has been arrested. Alan replies: A lot.

    Denney’s not happy Crane, Poole and Schmidt are being bought out by a Chinese financial group Paul/Odo has whipped up so David E. can talk human rights abuses in Tibet. So Denny does the logical thing and shoots the Chinese delegation with paintball guns. Then he does a Robert Downey Jnr and tries to pop into bed with his neighbour Penelope.

    Whatever your opinion on China, human rights or Tibet is… watching Denny take on Communism with a couple of paintball guns is certainly an entertaining opening (green paint this time – in case you are wondering).

    Fortunately Denny got Penelope off when she whacked her husband in the head with a shovel so Penelope is more concerned for Denny rather than her virtue.

    Alan sees through Denny’s excuse that he was just going to ‘play his instrument’ on Miss P’s drum. Denny doesn’t remember a thing. The Mad Cow is taking over. Alan realises they need to get the Supreme Court onside big time – and fast before Denny slips into the wrong bed again.

    Shirley is also shirty. She doesn’t want to be bought out by the Chinese either. She’s taking Odo/Paul to court. Shirley likes China’s walls, but not their female infanticide. Shirley admires China’s financial might, but she doesn’t want to be a part of it. Financial might v integrity, ethics and morals – of course Shirley loses. As David E. might say: global economic crisis here boys and girls!

    Denny got fired - twice!

    The Chinese are not happy with the litigation department of Crane, Poole and Schmidt. The gang are not all that happy with the Chinese either. I’m also taking an educated pot shot David E. Kelley is also not a fan of the Chinese as he makes them out to be a bunch of nasty foul mouthed back stabbing misogynist creeps. I sense issues involving tanks and squares.

    The good guys have a heart to heart in a lovely little Italian bistro and decide on a plan more evil than any Bond villain has ever thought of: Alan will give a speech! Even the ever calm Carl looks a bit worried: Alan’s speeches are scary.

    Alan makes his big speech to the Chinks, including everything and the kitchen sink. The gang gets rehired after Alan fires the Chinese… Lord knows what goes on after that. There are a few references to F Troop (nineteen fifties American television show involving horses and bugles) and it all goes David E. Kelley from there.

    I don’t even want to go near the issues Alan raises in his penultimate David E. rant, but I’m with Jerry: there will never be another fictional television lawyer like him. Big Hoil, Big Tobacca, China, Dick, Rummie, Condie and Bush – David E. has no inhibitions, but apparently that’s life on Mars. Boom boom David E!

    I’m not sure if David E. Kelley is jumping the shark or jumping on the shark?

    ‘Will you marry me,’ asks Denny?’

    ‘Holy smoke’, says Alan. ‘Gift tax benefits are all very well, but this seems a bit extreme.’

    Alan and Denny are getting married. Denny’s a bit worried about the Mad Cow. He’s not sorry he shot a few Chinese, but he wants Alan to be his spouse in case he goes bed hopping again. After being jailed for contempt (again) Denny once asked Alan why his significant others weren’t there to bail them out. Alan said, quite reasonably, there was no one coming to bail them out because they were their significant others. ‘Oh yeah,’ replied Denny. ‘I didn’t think of that’.

    Alan and Denny are not gay, but they do love each other - and by gum do people love the idea of ‘bromance’ (see TV Week and House/Wilson). Alan and Denny have to fight to keep their ‘marriage’ on course, but with about one hundred and fifty issues regarding marriage, gay marriage and love off Alan’s chest it’s off to Nimmo Bay for a double wedding.

    Did I mention Carl and Shirley?

    They have been fighting. Just when you think David E. can’t make it any more complicated Carl’s rabbi and Shirley’s priest got into the whole Palestine/Israel debate at the wedding practice ceremony and it’s all gone a bit Gaza Strip. But, as Carl says, this is not about politics or religion, but more a Merchant of Venice thing where love conquers all, so Carl and Shirley decide to elope to Nimmo bay and have their honeymoon with a salmon – and Denny – and Alan – and Katie – and Jerry – and that nice dark haired lady judge from the last episode – and by coincidence Justice Scalia from the Supreme Court of the United States, who, apparently, also likes fishing.

    Justice Scalea doesn’t seem quite sure who is marrying whom, and neither does anyone else; but what we do know is everyone wants to kiss Shirley (except the judge who wants to go kiss fish). The poor woman is attacked from all sides. After being suckered like it was make out day in Octopus Land Shirley goes off to have a dance with Denny.

    ‘You really are a good sport Carl,’ says Alan.

    ‘You realize who you just married,’ replies Carl.

    ‘Oh shoot,’ thinks Alan, but even though he has just married a sex crazed gun toting nutter he still looks very happy (even with the crappy fake background). Carl looks happy, and Shirley looks happy, and even Jerry has conquered his fear of foreign nations, ie Canada, and looks happy – especially when he gets to kiss Katie.

    Nimmo Bay

    The only trouble I have with the lovely Nimmo Bay is it’s frequent use in any film involving Canada. That film with Anthony Hopkins, a Baldwin and the hungry bear – Nimmo Bay. Grey Owl with Pierce Brosnan – Nimmo Bay. Aren’t there any other places to film in Canada apart from that particular fishing lodge? I hear it’s quite a big place (Canada, not the fishing lodge).

    The final balcony scene

    Because I knew the Titanic was doomed (even without sitting through the nauseating three and a half hours of emotional dribble) I started writing this a while back. I got the tenses wrong. I was writing in the present and now Boston Legal is in the past. While many would dismiss it as a stupid TV show it really hurts the show is ending.

    I’m not a great sentimentalist because things always live on in various ways – take Doctor Who. You can’t kill that show with a shovel. For a start if you did whack him he’d just regenerate. Ironically while I was writing this David Tennant announced he was moving on from Doctor Who.

    But while there can be one hundred and fifty CSIs and Startreks – all with talented and wonderful characters, there can only be one fortuitous moment that brought William Shatner into the same room with James Spader. It was Captain Kirk and Mr Spock ‘one last time’; House and Wilson without the ambiguity; and it was pure fate – the balcony set was there, they shoved the actors onto it and an iconic ideal of friendship was born.

    And apart from the absurdity of watching James Spader and Bill Shatner taking out Boston Legal by dancing on the balcony, it was beautiful.

    They also had a great casting director who I’d pit against King Kong any day – Betty White, those chicks in bikinis, the little gay judge…and Bethany the little person. Tell me any other show game enough to be that brave?


    Interesting facts about Boston Legal you may not have known and might encourage you to go back and have another look.

    1. Serial letch Alan Shore was actually married. We don’t know the exact details, but his wife died.

    2. William Shatner wore an excellent hairpiece.

    3. Alan suffered from a fear of clowns: Couldrophobia.

    4. Tara Summers as Katie Lloyd was probably one of the nicest characters on American television in the last ten years.

    5. Christian Cleminson as Jerry ‘hands’ Epsenson purred, popped and had a few other interesting quirks (including the life size doll and the girlfriend who left him for an I Phone). He was also probably the most honest and vulnerable character ever to reach an audience of something million viewers.

    6. David E had no qualms with the cross dressing black guy either. Not your usual character. Neither was the little nerd lawyer who shagged that other lawyer in the copy department, the series of interchangeable blondes, Whitney! (ruff) and a host of slightly challenging clients.

    7. Candice Bergen always wore outfits with very high collars to hide her wrinkly aging neck. What she didn’t realize is that no one was looking at her neck as the rest of her is much more interesting. Both Alan and Denny would do her in an instant. Tragically she was taken by Carl Sack – bad name, but a great actor: John Larroquette.

    8. Jibber jabber should not happen in courtrooms - but it frequently did – leading to Alan and Denny getting locked up for contempt of court quite a bit.

    9. Denny Crane shot people all the time – and got away with it. Do NOT try this at home unless you are a fictional character on a fictional television show.

    10. One of the associates was a madam and ran a high class brothel – she still does. I’m sorry, but how realistic is this? Lawyering takes time. How does she manage this ‘side line’ business? I’m all for multitasking, but that was just silly.

    11. The episode that aired before the 2008 election was basically an hour long election ad. Which way? A clever pirate once said a slight tilt is okay, but if you lean too far to the right you might fall over. You work out which way David E. is inclined. In one episode he got Alan Shore to insult the entire Supreme Court – in the Supreme Court. He’s braver than I am. Even empty, my country’s high court terrifies me.


    American journalist Edward R. Morrow once said ‘do not confuse dissent with disloyalty’, so to Boston Legal – Alan, Denny, Shirley, Carl, Jerry, Katie, Bethany, Cross Dressing Guy, Denise, Brad, Odo, and to all the others we raise our glasses.

    Edward R. Morrow would be proud.

    Goodnight and good luck.

  2. These both episodes are classic. The story of these episodes always revolves in my mind. These are fantastic story episodes of Boston Legal tv show. Althu these are final episodes of this show but really these episodes has given a big reason to miss it.

  3. I know this is a few years late, but your writing here delighted me. Thank you ever so.


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