Ally McBeal has always had its share of celebrations at the bar downstairs, and Christmas is one that never gets missed (at least not that I recall). So in my choosing an episode to review, I decided not to watch the episode from the final season, which really is probably its best because of the 9/11 tribute. Instead, I went to one that I hadn’t seen in years.
I decided to go with the fourth season. I remembered that Robert Downey, Jr. was in this season, and he’s really the best fit for Ally, so I figured that it would be a happy one to choose. Little did I know that there were three episodes in this season that were set in the Christmas season, so I watched one in its entirety before realizing that there was a better one. So here’s the better one — at least more Christmasy in its subject matter, amount of holiday covers, and number of sparkly lights. We’ve got “The Man with the Bag.”
Hell, there’s even Santa Land set up in an office! With remote-controlled music, lights, and mistletoe!
This episode very much includes a lot of what we remember Ally McBeal for. It emphasizes Ally’s insecurities, even incorporating a comedic moment where she throws Larry out the window of her building — all imaginary, of course. Then there are the quirks of the characters themselves. John Cage is actually pretty normal in this episode, but you can’t say the same about Elaine, who has tweaked her “vibrating bra” to play jingle bells. Yes, that’s quirky if I’ve ever heard it.
And then there’s the case. Nell’s father believes himself to be Santa Claus. It’s Miracle on 34th Street, Ally McBeal style. But instead of a mom who needs belief, it’s Nell herself. She spends a lot of the episode concerned for and embarrassed over her father. But by the end, she, too, discovers something warm and fuzzy inside her cold exterior.
It’s all about the Christmas spirit and belief, and the arguments and speeches within the case are definitely worth listening to. It’s really nice.
Meanwhile, Ally has her own issues with Larry, whose ex-girlfriend has arrived back in town and is causing a lot of jealousy and insecurity with Ally. Of course, the episode gets a happy ending. Larry’s very much in love with Ally, and that’s one thing he can’t walk away from (if only that carried through the rest of the series, sigh).
Recommendation: As an Ally fan, I like it and recommend it. It’s in the spirit of Christmas. But I understand that to many, the songs in the bar and the drama may be a little boring, so perhaps it’s not for everyone. But it is for me.