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TV Review: Boston Legal – “Dumping Bella”

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After Bella Horowitz (Delta Burke) gets blue paint thrown on her by angry protesters, she goes running to the firm of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt for help. Bella tells Denny Crane (William Shatner) she wants the entire firm's backing. Trouble arises when Bella's daughter, Bethany (Meredith Eaton-Gilden), represents the other side. The ensuing trial is a debate on cruelty to animals versus beauty.

Meanwhile back at the firm, Alan Shore (James Spader) notices Vanessa Walker's (Nia Long) yellow dress. When he remarks how nice she looks, it's clear he is taken aback. He later reveals his high school memory of a girl in yellow whom he was too shy to approach. By the time he got up his courage, it was too late.

Brad Chase (Mark Valley) has a more pressing issue to deal with after Alan hints he is a topic of a swirling rumor mill. Although he doesn't say exactly what, Brad wonders if it refers to his involvement with Denise Bauer (Julie Bowen). He asks her outright if she is sleeping with anyone else, and she refuses to answer.

This should have been a clear sign to drop the subject, but Brad takes matters into his own hands by using a substance known as 'Wilderness Ink'. Suffice to say it shows up under ultraviolet light. Brad takes Jeffrey Coho (Craig Bierko) into a closet and pulls out a portable ultraviolet light source. It isn't long before he has proof positive of his suspicions. Denise is seriously offended when she hears about Brad's trickery and confronts him. He doesn't deny anything, which earns him a well-deserved slap from the object of his affection.

Brad later finds Denise and states he wasn't trying to embarrass her, but merely wanted to know the truth. As she replies how decent Jeffrey is, Brad says he is going to walk away from being 'friends with benefits'. Casual sex, like Denise is into, is not what Brad wants out of a relationship. She accepts his words, but her look when Brad leaves gives the impression of second thoughts.

Claire Simms (Constance Zimmer) is shocked when her assistant, Clarence (Gary Anthony Williams) asks if she might be available to be more than friends. She agrees to have dinner, and later tells him she likes him a lot.

At Denny's trial, Shirley gives the closing argument. It works, but not completely. The defendant is ordered to stay away from Bella, but any protest at her place of business is fine. Denny then has to tell Bella he is still in love with Bethany. She is shaken, but says her daughter's happiness is what she's always wanted. Bethany hears Denny out when he says he loves her, but she has not agreed to anything.

Paul Lewiston (Rene Auberjonois) decides to throw an office costume party, making appearance mandatory. Since it's not Halloween, the theme is the person each attorney admires most. Shirley hears Alan is planning to dress up as her and forbids it. She should know better than to give him orders, and so he comes as 'Shirley Schmidto', the sex toy Denny has in her likeness. Paul is dressed as Albert Einstein, Claire is a Rangers hockey player, while Clarence is Oprah. Vanessa is in the yellow dress again, and dances with Alan.

Denny comes as Vice President Cheney in a hunting outfit, a jab at the time the VP shot a close friend in the face. When Mr. Crane waxes ebullient with his shotgun about the incident, guess what happens? People duck as the ceiling rains on their parade. After the time Denny shot up a courtroom ("A Whiff and A Prayer"), one would think he might remember what the safety catch is for.

Jeffrey arrives as Buzz Lightyear, which irritates Brad to no end since HE also dressed as that character. The war of words prompts Paul to tell them to take things outside before it gets ugly.

As Alan and Denny chat on the balcony, Denny persuades Alan to have one dance with him. He is so enamored with Shirley that he is willing to accept any substitute. Alan agrees so the founding partner will stop harping about it. When they look down to the pavement below, Brad and Jeffrey can be seen slugging it out in full costume.

Whew! Who had the idea to put five storylines in the episode at once? Three is about the limit to have viewers follow each plot. If memory serves, Eric Stoltz directed this episode. Hopefully, overloaded shows is not a typical characteristic of his work. An article in TV Guide says Currie Graham, the actor who has a recurring role as the DA is now a cast member on Men in Trees. Couldn't ADA Winant (Tyler Labine) be brought back? I'm guessing Vanessa joined the Boston bureau, although Nia Walker has yet to be in opening credits.

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About NancyGail

  • http://bulanjing.blogspot.com bulanjing

    I find it preposterous that two adult men working for the same company should wish to dress as “Buzz Lightyear” for a costume party.

  • mike

    Well, thanks for telling us the whole plot! Goodness, 9/10ths of your writing is telling us what happens, and one little paragraph is a critique.

    Also, Eric Stoltz may have directed it- but David E. Kelley wrote it, and I believe the writer is the one responsible for all those crazy plotlines. The director is almost never responsible for overloaded plot lines.

    Which I loved, by the way. This is a bold and daring and absolutely crazy show, thank God, like nothing else on TV today. Yeah, some things are TOO silly- but at least it’s not the same old same old tv drek we’re fed every week.

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com Nancy

    bulan,
    I think Jeffrey dressed as he did to irritate Brad. And this was the person you admire most, remember? If the character of Buzz Lightyear embodies respected values, I don’t see a problem with it.