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Ally McBeal was a groundbreaking late 1990's television series that followed the professional and personal misadventures of a young female attorney in Boston. The show was an often ingenious confection of comedy and drama, frequently mixing a comic subplot with a relatively dramatic overall theme. Many of the characters in the series enjoyed a healthy fantasy life that was depicted on screen in the form of daydreams, hallucinations or nightmares. One of the most well-known hallucinations that Ally experienced during the series was the dancing baby, symbolizing her ambivalence about motherhood, which quickly become a pop culture phenomenon.

The series was set in the fictional Cage and Fish law firm where the title character was employed. Partners Richard Fish and John Cage enjoyed their reputations as quirky employers, often taking on cases from which other firms would shy away. Their unconventional approach to the legal practice made for entertaining plot lines and created a great deal of conflict with Ally and other series regulars. One of the most notable facets of Cage and Fish was their unisex bathroom facilities, a device that was much talked about when the series premiered.

The Ally McBeal character was often the subject of controversy during the five season run of the show. Critics felt that her ultra short skirts and overt emotional problems did a disservice to professional women. However, fans suggested that Ally McBeal simply highlighted many of the insecurities and pressures that all modern women face. That Ally could take a lighthearted, and often bittersweet, view of many of these problems underlined the complexities for women who feel they must choose between a career and a family.

Many of the plots in the series dealt largely with Ally McBeal's personal travails. She regularly visited a therapist, and many episodes revolved around her search for love and fulfillment. These plot lines were frequently dovetailed with a courtroom plot that might help characters make personal realizations. Unconventional storytelling methods and a distinctly modernist outlook made for compelling viewing.

Most episodes were heavily driven by music. Employees and clients of Cage and Fish regularly patronized a bar where recording artist Vonda Shepard performed on a nightly basis. Many cast members performed numbers throughout the series run, displaying their gifts for multiple talents. Characters within the show often connected through songs, and the music is considered to be an essential component of the series.

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FOX
5 Seasons, 111 Episodes - Ended
Drama, Comedy
7.5/10
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Ally McBeal Full Episode Guide

  • When Maddie suffers a nervous breakdown, Ally decides to move to New York, leading to tearful goodbyes with her friends; Fish and Liza decide to wed.

  • When Maddie suffers a nervous breakdown, Ally decides to move to New York, leading to tearful goodbyes with her friends; Fish and Liza decide to wed.

  • When Fish's father is sued for sexual harassment, Fish's mother asks for a divorce; Elaine has high hopes when she tries out for a role in "A Chorus Line"; Fish finds himself increasingly drawn to Liza.

  • When Fish's father is sued for sexual harassment, Fish's mother asks for a divorce; Elaine has high hopes when she tries out for a role in A Chorus Line; Fish finds himself increasingly drawn to Liza.

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