We begin "Once in a Lifetime" with Ally telling Renee that she senses the "ick," even though she and John Cage haven't had a real date yet. Renee tells her to just tell him. Ally decides to be boring so that he will lose interest.
The next day in the morning meeting, Richard brings up a woman who wants to sue Burger King because she says the new crispy fries were her idea. Cage says it's stupid and tells Richard to speed it up. Richard moves on to Seymore Little, an elderly artist who wants to marry a much younger woman. His son, who is his guardian, won't let him because he thinks she is really after his money. Seymore also wants to open a small art gallery, and his son won't let him do that either. Ally majored in art history and is thrilled that Mr. Little is their client. She is given the case. Cage again tells Richard to move on. Richard calls him into his office and tells him his disrespect is unacceptable. Cage apologizes, Richard says bygones. Cage tells Richard that he is afraid Ally is retreating. Richard discovers that Cage hasn't kissed Ally yet. "If you don't kiss her on the first date, you're a gentleman --," Richard says, "if you don't on the second, you're gay." Richard tells Cage to be aggressive.
Ally meets with Seymore Little and his bride-to-be, Paula, in the conference room. After telling him how honored she is to meet him, he responds "tell someone who cares, and send in the lawyer." When Ally says she is the lawyer, he tells her he wants one with pants and a penis. Richard comes in to see how it's going, and when he learns that Seymore wants pants, he whispers to Ally to go change her clothes. Billy comes in, Richard says "Pants, penis, co-counsel, done." And, we have Billy and Ally working together on a case.
Ally tries to run after Richard to discuss what happened, and John stops her. He puts his hands on her shoulders, and announces "dinner, tomorrow night, eight, we'll go right from here." Ally says sure, and when Cage turns to leave, he doesn't let go and they both almost fall.
Ally and Billy are in the unisex discussing the case, and the talk turns to her date with Cage. Billy says he is surprised that she would go out with him, and Ally asks if it is because he is odd. Then a toilet flushes. Ally walks over to the stall, looks under, and finds no one in the stall. Cage then enters the unisex, and explains that he has a remote toilet flusher that he uses because people sometimes leave in haste and forget to flush. Unclean bowls trouble him.
Billy and Ally learn from Sam, Seymore's son, that the guardianship isn't based on insanity. Seymore is simply incapable of running his own affairs. He also tells them that Seymore still talks to Sam's mother, even though she's been dead for seven years, and she apparently talks back to him. Last summer, she asked him for a boat and he bought her a $300,000 yacht. Billy and Ally wonder why Seymore wants to marry Paula. Sam says he doesn't know, but he does know that he's not in love with her. When they ask him how he knows that, he says, "There are some people who meet that somebody that they can never stop loving no matter how hard they try. My father met that somebody. There are some loves that just don't go away."
Cage is still concerned about his date with Ally, and he tells Richard that he's a poor kisser because he secretes excess saliva. Richard suggests Cage talk to Billy, since Billy grew up kissing Ally.
The case goes before Judge "let me see your teeth" Boyle. Not to disappoint, he asks to see Seymore's teeth. He takes them out of his mouth and throws them on the bench. Judge Boyle picks them up then announces he wants a full hearing. Seymore takes his teeth back.
In the hall of the courthouse, Ally stops Paula and asks what is going on. Ally "smells a rat in the wedding cake," and Paula says she is willing to sign a prenuptial agreement that says she get nothing. She tells Ally to figure out her client's interests and protect them.
Cage goes to Billy's office to get kissing advice, and instead is told (rather coldly) that as a senior partner, it doesn't make sense for him to be dating associates. Georgia overhears this, and mentions to Billy that he sounded a little miffed.
Sam has asked for a meeting with Paula and Seymore's attorneys. He says he will sign over $800,000 in liquid estate to Paula if she walks away. She counters. She tells him to keep Seymore's entire estate, provide living expenses, and in exchange give up his guardianship and let them marry. Neither one gives in.
While preparing for the case that evening, Billy and Ally skirt around the issue of themselves. All they admit is that they are still going through a stage, and they are making progress. Ally says that most of the time she doesn't even think about Billy. They finally get back to the case, and we see Georgia at home, reading a book in bed.
The next day, Billy and Ally are getting ready to go into the courtroom, when Billy softly touches her face, and says there is something he has to do – just once. He kisses her, slowly and softly. Ally hears something. It's Billy, calling her back to reality. (I can't even begin to tell you how scared I was that he was REALLY kissing her!)
Cage is in the unisex, lip synching to Barry White's "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Baby." Richard comes out of a stall and catches Cage dancing. Elaine comes in as Cage is telling Richard that he's decided not to kiss Ally. When Richard asks her about kissing a guy with too much saliva, she says it's easy to fix. Just suck the other person's tongue. Then, she asks if she can show them. She grabs John's tie, and begins an open-mouth, tongue-sucking kiss like I've never seen before. When she's done, she says "See, you secreted, but I swallowed. No slobber." Cage responds, "I need ice."
In court, the judge allows Sam to ask his father some questions. He asks him why he says he loves Paula, when he isn't over Sam's mother. After several questions like this, Seymore gets upset and raises his voice. He says he wants his gallery and he wants to marry whomever he wants. He then begins saying he is sorry, and it is obvious he is talking to Gail, his deceased wife.
Ally again confronts Paula and asks what is going on. Paula admits that all Seymore wants is to open the art gallery and paint pictures of Gail. If they get married, she can be named guardian and she will let him open his shop. Ally and Billy tell Sam this, but he says he can't let his father open an art gallery because his art isn't what it used to be. He says Seymore is an important American impressionist, and his legacy would be ruined if people saw his current paintings. He only wants to preserve his father's reputation, and there was a time when his father said that was important to him.
John comes to Ally's office to get her for their date. They begin walking toward the elevator, and Ally begins talking. Actually, it's more like rambling. Billy watches all of this, and Georgia watches Billy watching Ally.
Ally and John go to the downstairs bar, and as they dance, she feels like she is in "70's hell" and envisions him in a polyester suit. Cage walks her home, and she is still rambling on. Cage calls her on it, telling her that the rapidity of speech puzzles him. She tries to blame it on the case. Cage finally kisses her. The "Elaine" kiss. Ally's eyes are wide open and when he lets her go, she falls to the ground. "Knocked me off my feet with that one," Ally says. After getting back on her feet and announcing that she had a great time, she says "Night buddy." Cage says to himself, "She called me buddy."
The next day Ally visits Seymore at his studio. She needs to know what their final argument should be. He says all he wants is to paint what he feels, and to share it.
Ally goes back to the office, and as she exits the elevator, holding her head, she runs right into Cage, who is also holding his head. Cage falls. "I suppose we're even," he says. He tells her that he has replayed their date over in his head, and realizes that her babbling was meant to "incur his disinterest." Ally explains that sometimes she just knows that it isn't a match. She and Renee call it the "ick." He says she is in love with somebody else, but she doesn't think that's it. As Ally walks away, Cage says, "something tells me he's still in love, too."
In her closing before the judge, Ally says that Seymore still loves his wife, and he wants to continue experiencing that and sharing it. She says we should all be that lucky to end up with somebody who never lets you go. Judge Boyle says he will determine a guardianship that allows Seymore to open shop.
That night, Billy comes to Ally's office, and asks, "Will you ever forgive my
letting go?" Ally says she can forgive it, but she's not sure she will ever
understand it. Later, Billy and Georgia dance, as Billy stares into the
distance. Seymore stands in his studio, surrounded by paintings of Gail. Cage
stands in the library, his fingers on his temples. And Ally walks home, alone.
©1998 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.