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Boston Legal: Tabloid Nation

tabloid.jpgThe episode begins with Melvin Palmer - one of Alan's most persistent rivals - arriving late for a court case, just to get a rise out of Alan (with a chorus of uncontrollable pops from Jerry). The court case is certainly an infuriating one - a girl is murdered after refusing her unstable boyfriend's proposal on a sleazy talk show. Now the girl's father - Alan's client - is suing the show's producer. Alan several times explodes during Melvin's successful attempts to bait him, and Lorraine formulates a theory Alan is regressing to a state of childhood, where he "murdered" several of his childhood toys, not the least of which was an inflatable Bozo clown which would not stand down. After another outburst, Alan manages to trap Melvin with a killer closing reminiscing about the classic film "Network." Following the trial, Lorraine brings a blow-up doll of Bozo to help Alan reconcile childhood. Alan is not amused and begs Denny to see how the Bozo doll won't back down, so Denny does the sensible thing - he shoots the doll, ending the threat for good. Not surprisingly, Alan wins the case, netting 4 millions dollars for his client's grievances, but Melvin isn't the slightest bit perturbed, seeing a cash cow in future appeals.

Meanwhile, Shirley takes on another ex-boyfriend client - an unstable Vietnam Vet named Ethan (Stephen Root), charged with hunting seals in Boston Harbor with a shotgun. Arrested numerous times, things certainly don't good for Ethan - especially when he's clearly bi-polar and refuses to allow Shirley to plead insanity on his behalf. Despite Ethan accusing her of trying to undermine the case with mention of his mental illness, Shirley manages to secure a victory for Ethan by exposing the growing plight of veterans which had lead to Ethan's tragic situation. Shirley offers to buy Ethan dinner after the win, but Ethan graciously refuses and leaves - though Shirley sadly suspects her old friend is far from alright.

Denny, meanwhile, goes truly above and beyond to win back Shirley - by having a make-up artist attach artificial tear ducts to his eyes so he can cry on cue during his dinner with Shirley. And yes - it backfires big time, as Denny ends up overdoing it - and spraying Shirley in the face with his own fake tears! Afterwards, Shirley tells Denny she doesn't seem them getting back together - leading the genuine article to stream down Denny's heart-broken face.

On the balcony, Alan still fumes about Melvin Palmer, while Denny quietly grieves over the upcome with Shirley. Alan admits Lorraine is hesitant to start any relationship until he has overcome his mental quirks. Denny admit he loves Alan - and for once his friend doesn't ruin it with a pun - as the two continue to enjoy their cigars and scotch.

Overall, this was a great episode filled with some priceless laughs and poignant moments. The only qualms I have (other than by storm-battered satellite connection) was Jerry's basically background role - there for purely comic relief. Considering he was the one who so expertly dispatch Melvin Palmer in both character's debut, I've long wanted to see some reoccurring indication of Jerry's lawyer skills. Everyone else - including Lorraine and Carl Sack - had decent supporting roles, so it seems something of a waste to see Jerry in the background once more. However, I'm hopeful the next episode, which deals with a return focus to his and Katie's relationship, will set things in balance once more.

Posted by Richard on April 8, 2008 11:05 PM
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