Upon Revisiting Ally McBeal.

I like to listen to things while I work. Sometimes it’s music, sometimes it’s a tv show or movie, but I prefer some kind of background noise, especially sitting in an office by myself 90% of the day. I had been listening to a lot of music in the past couple of weeks, but as some of my favorite shows have been dropping new episodes, I have also gotten pretty heavy into revisiting a few different series that I particularly liked.

Now that we have Hulu again, I have the chance to re-watch Ally McBeal, and y’all. It’s still funny. I know that a lot of people considered Ally the “Gen X that did”, but her brand of “flawed” is just too dang quirky for the snarkism that belongs to Gen X. And looking back at “office politics” of twenty-something years ago? Whoah Nellie. Skirts too short for the office? That was an oddly defining moment at the time. People lost their minds over how unprofessional that was!

Remember when it was the watercooler discussion topic for WEEKS about the dancing digital baby? That was cutting edge CGI stuff – and would eventually render itself into the likes of Gene Kelly dancing with a vacuum, or Jar-Jar Binks. Yay.

In the first season, they tackled the topic of a transgender woman who was arrested. In 1997! And (speaking as a cis woman), it didn’t translate too terribly poorly to 2020. Oh, aside from Ally trying to float an insanity plea, based on the character of Stephanie working as a prostitute because she didn’t have another way to survive. The storyline arched into Stephanie not being characterized as “crazy” (and standing ovation to Wilson Cruz for that performance!) but as a whole person who needed a hand up. But, in the true spirit of 2020 still, the story did not have a happy ending. Poor Stephanie. I actually cried over her.

I’m at the tail end of Season 1 right now, but I’m looking forward to seeing what else I have since forgotten. I mean, who can forget the FaceBra? Robert Downey Jr’s return to acting, if only for a brief, fleeting moment? I can say that after watching the first season as a forty-something, I’m 100% prepared to see myself more as Cage, taking a moment in times of ridiculous stress, some nose-whistling, and I am definitely declaring whenever I feel troubled by a situation. When I was younger, it was definitely somewhat an Ally (hello, Neuroses and Unrequited Love City!), hopefully more Renee, but I was never Georgia. And Fish? Oh, what a host of annoyances in one body, barely redeemed by the few times he gets anything right. Was I ever supposed to root for him? Or was I meant to hate him right off the bat?

Are there shows that you like to go back and re-watch? Yes, Friends is the King of the Re-Watch, but what else do we watch? What things do you notice, or find yourself being amazed at being an “issue” from older shows?

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