Synopsis of Compromising Positions

Written by Dana Hagerty

Say you see something you're not supposed to see - or hear something, and you know there are people you should tell. But telling them would break their heart. We've probably all been in this situation more than once, but I've never seen it done in a more fun and touching way than in this episode of "Ally McBeal."

This happens to Ally twice, and she handles each time differently. In the first, she is having dinner with her boss, Richard Fish, his girlfriend, Whipper (played splendidly by Dyan Cannon), and Ronald Cheanie (Tate Donovan), who Fish is courting as a client. When Whipper and Cheanie retire to the bathrooms together, Ally soon discovers Fish only asked her to come so Cheanie would sign with the firm. He was hoping she would smile and flirt a little -- entice Cheanie into signing. Ally decides to visit the bathroom to compose herself, and sees that Cheanie is being enticed plenty by Whipper. They are sharing a very hungry kiss.

Ally struggles with whether to tell Fish. Break his heart or let him continue dating a woman who will ultimately break it.

In the meantime, the other founding partner, John Cage, is arrested for soliciting a prostitute. (Cage is played by Peter MacNicol, who was so great as attorney Alan Birch on "Chicago Hope" -- I hope they use him effectively on "Ally"). Billy and Ally are assigned to defend him, but before the arraignment hearing is over, it's clear to Ally that Billy knows the judge, and maybe knows more about him than he should. The charges against Cage are dropped.

Ally has already figured out that Elaine (her know-it-all assistant) probably knows everything about everyone in the firm, so she asks her about Billy and the judge. Turns out, Billy does having something on the judge -- he attended Billy's bachelor party, where they both enjoyed the services of a hooker. When Ally tells Billy she knows, she learns that Georgia doesn't know.

In the case of Fish and Whipper, Ally decides to tell her friend and boss that his girlfriend kissed another man. In the case of Billy and the hooker, Ally tries to encourage Billy not to tell his wife. And when Billy attempts to tell Georgia, Ally stops him.

So what's the difference in the situations? Why should Fish know that Whipper has kissed another man, and why shouldn't Georgia know that Billy slept with a hooker before their wedding? That's a tough one. If I were Georgia, would I want to know? Probably. But I would also be so pissed my marriage would never be the same. (However, if I were Ally, I'd be awfully glad I didn't marry this guy). As for the situation with Fish, a kiss is a lot different than sex, so I would have taken the same route Ally did on this one, too.

In the end, Whipper, who happens to be a judge, and Fish makeup in a bathroom stall, and Georgia shows Ally that men and women are totally different when it comes to sex. During lunch, Georgia tells Ally "watch this." She offers sex to the guy on the next bar stool and he accepts. Of course, she promptly tells him she thought he was someone else. Ally tries it, and is shocked to discover her attempted conquest is an old friend of her brother's.

©1997 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.

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