The Playing Field
Air date: March 16, 1998
Summary/Review by Dana Hagerty

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We begin this episode in Dr. Tracy Clark's office. She's the therapist (played by Tracey Ullman) that Ally first saw last week. They are discussing the baby that Ally keeps seeing, and Ally says he doesn't just dance, he also plays hockey. Dr. Clark wants to know if he's any good. Ally says she doesn't know because she doesn't watch hockey. "I think it's cruel to the animals to dress them up and make them skate like that," she says. Dr. Clark says that "befriending little Chuckie" obviously isn't working, so she urges Ally to take a more aggressive approach. "Kick his ass," she says. The doctor then moves on to the "underwater thing" Ally's been experiencing. She thinks Ally isn't feeling it so much anymore because she's met a man, and she thinks that makes her weak. "Gee, you could latch on to a husband. Your life's not a total waste. That's why you're not feeling so underwater. Aren't you the All-American little weakling?" the doctor says. Ally becomes defensive and says she isn't a weakling. Dr. Clark tells her that the next time she feels like she is drowning, she should stand on her own two feet and walk. But first, she wants her to deal with the baby. "Get him," she says. Ally repeats it, makes a face as if she is determined to win, and slightly shakes her head yes.

Later, Ally and Dr. Greg Butters (her client from last week) are in his car, discussing her therapist. Greg is driving, and when he asks her if she feels better, even though she isn't really sure about the doctor she is seeing, she says she does feel more free. They smile at each other, and the smile lasts a second too long. We immediately see a stop sign, hear brakes and then a crash. Ally (thinking it's only one of her visions) tells Greg that sometimes she has these fantasies, and when she saw his smile she had a vision of a giant stop sign and then they hit somebody. Greg informs Ally that they actually did hit somebody. They get out of the car to see if the other driver is okay, and he is, so Ally keeps pushing to just exchange information and not for anyone to admit liability. The other driver then tells her she is "one of them." A lawyer. She fires back with "So what are you, an accountant?" He is.

Later, in the morning meeting in the conference room, Richard announces that he wants to argue the case for a new client, Eva Curry. Georgia doesn't even think there is a case. "How do we make a claim for sexual harassment when she wasn't harassed?" she asks. Richard answers "Res ipso retainer."

In the unisex, Ally is discussing Dr. Clark with Cage. He admits she is aggressive, and says she charges him double if he takes a moment. But, he says, she gets results. Cage is working on a new courtship smile and asks Ally if she wants to see it. She says okay, and he gives her this small smile, while looking to the side, then at Ally, then back to the side and back to Ally. Elaine interrupts to say she's received a call from Oren Koolie's office the lawyer representing the man involved in the car accident. Even though Ally could be a witness, she says to go ahead and set up a meeting. Elaine says "Hi" to John, and he gives her his courtship smile. "Excellent," she says.

In Ally's office, she and Greg are discussing the accident, and Ally says she could be a witness. Greg thinks she could be the other driver's witness, because she saw that he was distracted. She says, yeah, she did see something like that. They look in each other's eyes for a moment, then Greg says he has to go he has patients waiting.

Eva Curry meets with Billy, Richard and Georgia and tells them that her boss never asked her for sex. In fact, she hasn't even met him. But, she says some of the other women who have been promoted have been granting the boss sexual favors. She feels that if she isn't getting anywhere, it doesn't make a difference that she hasn't been asked for any sexual favors.

In court, the judge is trying to make sure he understands the case. After the judge goes over all the facts, Richard asks, "Do we win?" The judge says no, and wonders what he's missing. Richard says the laws of sexual harassment are designed to prevent women from being victimized by sex in the workplace. He says if others go up by offering sex and his client stays in the same place by not offering sex, she is being victimized. The judge agrees there should be an evidentiary hearing.

At home that night, Ally tells Renee that Greg makes her so nervous that she sweats. "He's in my office for two minutes today and I get all pitted," she says. Renee says she doesn't bother to see a guy twice if she doesn't get pitted. She goes on to tell Ally that when she gets nervous, she locates her esteem in her bosom and sticks her breasts out in her mind. When she asks Ally what men like about her, Ally says they probably like her eyes. Renee says that's a big lie and asks "what else?" "My lips," Ally says. Renee tells her the next time she gets nervous, just think lips. When Renee goes to her room, Ally grabs her purse and pulls out a makeup mirror. Renee peaks out of her door to watch as Ally looks at her lips in the mirror.

The next day at work, Ally is getting her messages from the front desk when she hears "ooga chucka." She turns and sees what she thinks is the dancing baby, looking the other direction, wearing a coat and hat. She does one of her kickboxing moves, and kicks him in the back, knocking him down. When people come running from every direction, Ally realizes it wasn't the dancing baby it was a little boy. She apologizes to him several times, and he says he's okay, but he thinks she is a mean, mean woman. Cage then formally introduces the boy to Ally. He's Oren Koolie, the lawyer for the driver of the other car.

In Ally's office, Cage explains to Ally that Oren is a child prodigy (he went through law school in 11 months). He is nine-years old, and has a hormone deficiency that prevents him from growing. They meet with him in the conference room, and he says if they give him what he wants, he will go away. He wants $125,000 in punitive damages, up front. Ally tells him she doesn't even know what punitive means. Oren thinks she should play nice after all, she kicked him. When Ally asks if she can take a moment, Oren says he will be back, and he gets down from his chair and walks straight under the table and out of the office.

Back in court, Miss Curry's boss is on the stand, telling his attorney that he did initiate the affairs with the women in his office, and he did promote them. But he says there was no "quid pro quo." When Billy questions him, the boss says that people tend to promote their friends, and maybe that's what happened in these cases. But he says the promotions had nothing to do with any promise of sexual favors. He does admit that because his days are typically full of meetings, the only way someone would be able to get to know him better would be after hours.

Ally and Greg are having lunch, and Ally has told him about kicking Oren. Greg smiles, and Ally tells him not to do that because that's what got him into that accident. He says he thinks it was her smile, and Ally imagines her lips getting larger. Greg breaks the mood again by saying he is late for a procedure, and he leaves. Ally lets her head fall to the table.

Ally then meets with Dr. Clark, who tells her that Greg is afraid of her. "Men are supposed to pounce when they are interested," Ally says. "Hello. They pounce on the wrong girls," Dr. Clark says. "When it's the right girl," she continues, "they turn into bumbling little chickens." She then tells Ally she has butter on her forehead from dropping her head on the table. Dr. Clark asks if Ally has tried using her theme song when she gets nervous around Greg. Ally says she has, but it's not enough. So the doctor tells her she needs Pips. Like Gladys Knight's Pips. The doctor says Gladys Knight is great without the Pips, but she's fantastic with them. She tells Ally to visualize her very own Pips behind her when she plays her theme song.

In court, Miss Curry says her boss is a single man who likes to date, and the women at her workplace prey on him. She admits she probably has the same opportunity to throw herself at him, but she chooses not to.

As they exit the elevator back at the office, Georgia tells Richard that she has a problem with this case. He brushes her off by saying he has cramps. Georgia decides to take a long walk.

Ally and Cage meet with Oren in the conference room again, and Ally tells him she isn't denying or admitting anything. She says that she might have to disqualify herself because she was a witness, and Oren asks her why she is even there. Cage starts humming to himself, and Oren thinks he is humming a munchkin song. Ally says she doesn't think Oren can prove liability, so she offers to pay his client's deductible, but that's it. Oren gets upset and starts crying. Ally tells him she is sorry, and he tells her she hurt his feelings. Cage offers to go and get his mother.

Mrs. Koolie tells Ally that Oren hates to lose, and when Ally suggests that maybe he shouldn't be a lawyer, Mrs. Koolie says that's the only way he can get anyone to sit in a room with him. Oren is in the conference room, throwing his shoes. Ally tells him to hold his fire, and she comes in and uses a remote to close the conference room door. She sits down, picks Oren up, and puts him on her lap. She tells him that he is a child, and if he is such a genius, then he should know that kids need childhood. Oren says he's only going to be a lawyer until he's 12, then he's going to be an ophthalmologist. He leans back on her, and she rocks with him side to side. The moment is broken when Oren says "What about 75? I think I can sell that to my client."

Richard and Billy are ready to go to court, but Georgia isn't there. When she finally appears, she has gotten her hair cut. Billy asks, "What did you do?" "Do you like it?" Georgia asks. Billy answers "It's shorter". "Oh no, I asked him to cut it longer." Richard tries to touch it and says he thinks it is a good length. Georgia tells him if he touches her wattle, she will break his finger.

In court, Richard tells the judge that he hates sexual harassment laws, and believes that disgruntled lesbians were the original force behind them. He says women are victims and they need special help, so they should qualify under the Federal Disabilities Act.

Later in the elevator, Richard tells Georgia to give him her shoe. She does, but only after he promises it isn't a fetish. He asks her why a grown person would walk around in something like that. He wonders what kind of person spends the equivalent of two years painting her face. Women do all that. And they do it because men like it.

In Ally's office, she tells Greg that she is taking Oren to the aquarium. Greg says he wishes he could get her to take him to the aquarium. Ally's Pips appear behind her, and she appears confident. "Where do you want to go?" she asks. Greg responds "Where do you want to take me?" "Maybe over my knee," says Ally. Greg is caught off guard, and says, "Excuse me?" The Pips disappear, and Ally says she was kidding. Greg says he thinks it's time to turn the case over to his insurance company, and he leaves again. Ally imagines the office filled with water, but this time she stands on her own two feet and walks through it.

Ally, Georgia and Dr. Clark are sitting together in the downstairs bar. Ally has asked the doctor to come and see her world. The doctor tells Georgia she thinks she should make an appointment to see her. She also thinks that both of them can't stand being liked for their sex appeal, and they can't stand not being liked for it. Georgia tells Dr. Clark not to analyze her, and Dr. Clark responds, "Yes, you don't need me. All you need for a life change is a haircut. A cheap one at that." She then tells them to look at Renee, who is out on the dance floor dancing with three guys. "She's in charge. She uses her sex appeal as a power," Dr. Clark says. She thinks the problem with Ally and Georgia is they assume it's the man's playing field, when it's really the woman's. Dr. Clark's theme song starts playing. Billy walks up to the girls and Dr. Clark asks, "Who are you?" When he says "Billy", she says "Ah, Billy", and takes him off to the dance floor.

The next day, Oren, Ally and Cage are again in the conference room, still trying to work out a settlement. They have offered 60, and he says that is less than nuisance change. Oren gets upset, and goes under the table. When they ask him to come out, he says no, and announces he may even sue Ally. Why? He says she kicked him and fondled him on her lap. Ally's had it with the kid. She gets under the table and asks him if he plans on using extortion to practice law. She tells him he has been nothing but arrogant, and the day before he practically tried to breast-feed. Oren tells her to take that back, but she won't. She tells him he doesn't get special exceptions because he's tiny. He again starts crying.

In court, the judge says he has failed to find a way to dismiss the plaintiff's "preposterous" claim. He says he isn't sure she hasn't been victimized, and he needs a trial to find out.

When the trio returns to the office, Georgia tells Richard that he insulted women's rights with this case by making a mockery of the sexual harassment laws.

In the unisex, Ally is telling Oren that mentally, he's up to being a lawyer, but not emotionally. He says he may not be a man, but he believes it can be a child's world. She offers him $35,000, and he says he will take it to his client.

Ally and Georgia are sitting in Ally's office, venting. Ally asks, "Who says it has to be a man's world? Who the hell made up that rule?" "Men," answers Georgia. Then Georgia starts talking about how she would like to get Richard in the ring and kickbox him. They both get really riled up, and Richard happens to walk into the office. Georgia starts yelling at him about how she took on her old boss for sexual harassment and she kicked ass. She has backed him up against the wall, and Ally joins in, telling him that it is unacceptable for him to call women disabled. Georgia says it is unacceptable for him to sniff her shoe. They go on for a little while longer, and finally ask him if he gets it. He does, but he says he's also aroused. In stereo, they tell him to get out. Before he leaves, he tells them that verbal spankings titillate. Georgia takes off her shoe and throws it at him, but it hits Cage instead. "Please stop throwing shoes at me!" Cage yells. Then, he smiles.

Later that night, Greg is in Ally's office and she tells him that they settled the case. She says his insurance company will sign off on it, unless he wants to drag it out forever. He admits that part of him does want to drag it out. The Pips come out again, and when Ally tells him that there is obviously something going on between them, Greg tries to leave again. Ally says she will not let him leave the room this time. He admits that she scares him, maybe because she's so honest with him. "You've got those Pips in the room right now, don't you?" he asks. Greg still tries to leave, but Ally walks around the desk and stands in front of him, telling him he isn't leaving the room. He says he has never kissed a girl he hasn't at least danced with first. She takes his hand, and imagines she is swimming in the water-filled office, only this time, she is swimming upwards, towards the surface.

Everyone is at the bar, and Richard says he expects to settle the sexual harassment case soon. He asks Georgia to dance and tells her there is a level playing field on the dance floor. She says okay. Cage tells Billy he is troubled because his therapist knows that women will eventually lead, and she's telling others. Renee walks up to him and says, "Come on, you." They go dance. Georgia waves at Billy. The camera pans over and we see Ally and Greg, slow dancing.


BITS AND PIECES:

What did Ally mean by that hockey comment? My take is it just proves once again that Ally knows nothing about sports. Remember, just a few weeks ago in "Forbidden Fruits," Ally made that remark about John Elway, but she called him Elroy.

I think Dr. Clark made too much of Georgia getting her hair cut. I know that I have often just decided to get my hair cut, hoping that maybe it would brighten my day.

And, while we are on the subject of the hair cut, I personally thought it looked great. Okay, I admit I didn't like it that much at the beginning, but how often do you really like what a stylist does to your hair when you first get it cut? (I'm probably only talking to the women here.) Once you have a chance to fix it yourself, you usually like it better.

And, I still have more to say about the entire "hair" thing. I'm sure some couples might not do things this way, but most women I know want their men to simply say "I love your new haircut" when they come home after doing something drastic.

So Greg knows about the Pips? I don't recall her actually telling him about them, so I guess that happened off camera. But it did kind of throw things off for me when he mentioned them. Also, if she is supposed to use the Pips to bolster her confidence, I don't understand why she would tell him about them?

I thought the little boy was really cute, and I even thought the part where Ally mistook him for the dancing baby was funny, but I was disturbed by him saying that Ally fondled him on her lap. I know he was only saying that to get her upset, but I don't think that subject is a humorous one.

Favorite lines:

Ally: "This is not normal therapy."
Dr. Clark: "You're not a normal person."
Ally: "Therapists are not even supposed to use the word 'normal'."
Dr. Clark: "You used it first."

Ally: "Listen, I don't need to pay a therapist to give me crap. I have a roommate who does it for free."

Dr. Clark (regarding Ally kicking Oren): "Who knew he was real? Fluke."

Dr. Clark: "An imagination is a terrible thing to waste."

Richard: "I want Georgia at our table. It's important we speak not only from strength but estrogen."

Richard: "Res ipso de facto quid pro quo E pluribis penis."

Copyright 1998 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.