Synopsis of The Dirty Joke

Written by Dana Hagerty

Well, I guess I should follow Fox's lead and preface this review with an advisory. Dirty jokes and mature themes follow:

I don't think anyone was too surprised to learn tonight that Ally McBeal was voted "Most Likely to Become Julie Andrews" by her high school class. In an attempt to convince Renee that she is not prudish, she gets Renee to tell her a dirty joke, even though Renee tells her that she will faint. The joke: A man's walking down the beach, and he discovers a girl with no arms and no legs. She is crying, and when the man asks why, she says "I'm 21 years old, I've got no arms and no legs, and I've never been kissed." He gives her a soft, gentle kiss. She says thank you – He says you're welcome and starts to walk away. But she is still crying, and the man asks her again what's wrong. She says "I'm 21 years old, I've got no arms and no legs, and I've never been screwed. So he picks her up, throws her into the ocean, and says "You're screwed now." Ally thinks the joke is sick. Renee proceeds to sing "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music."

The next day, while Ally is trying to get Richard, Billy and Georgia to agree with her about the joke, Elaine pops in and tells Richard to fasten his eye sockets, he's got a delivery. The mail girl comes in and delivers to Richard a certified letter. Only it's not just a certified letter. The mail girl's suing the firm for sexual harassment, and she's not upset at the guys -- she's complaining about the women. She's claiming the women have been hostile to her because they don't like the way she dresses.

Later, Ally and Renee are in a dress store looking for a suit for Ally's date with the rabbi (see "The Attitude" review). Ally considers a black suit, which she thinks is too conservative for a date, even with a rabbi. Renee tells her to tell him her joke, and bets her he will laugh. But Ally has a better idea. She wants Renee to tell the joke at the bar. But Renee won't do it unless there's a bet, and the bet is if people laugh at Renee's joke, then Ally will get up on stage and tell her flea joke (the only dirty joke she knows).

Caroline Poop (Sandra Bernhard) is back, but this time she's representing the mail girl, Jennifer Higgin. After a short meeting with Richard, Billy and Georgia, Caroline (she asked that they call her Caroline) leaves, but not before giving Georgia a very weird look. Richard then announces a new firm policy. Anytime anyone sues the firm or Richard personally, then everyone drops whatever cases they are working on and uses all their efforts to ruin that person's life. Richard asks Georgia to handle the case, but she refuses. She says Caroline hit on her -- with a look.

Elaine is being deposed, and says that the women don't blame Jennifer for dressing the way she does, but that they thought she should stop walking around in her slutty little way. Elaine admits that she herself dresses slutty, in an understated way, but that Jennifer oozes too much sexuality.

Richard decides that Ally will depose Jennifer. He tells her that because she's got that "Julie Andrews" thing going, they won't expect her to pick Jennifer apart. Later, Renee insists to Ally that she didn't say anything to Richard about the "Julie Andrews" thing.

That night, the singer calls Renee to the stage to tell her joke. (Thank you, Renee for in turn introducing Vonda Shepard, the wonderful voice behind the music on "Ally McBeal"). She warms up the crowd, then tells her joke. And they love it. The crowd goes wild. Ally is not pleased. She says that Renee gave a big butt waggle and added "baby" to the line "You're screwed now." Ally does her best to wiggle out of the bet, but Renee won't budge.

Caroline and Jennifer come in for Jennifer's deposition, and Caroline gives Georgia that look again. Ally insists that Caroline isn't gay, and adds that she's married.

After a very easy deposition, in which the only thing Ally gets is the admission that Jennifer felt hostility after the lawsuit was filed by the women at the firm (see "Drawing the Lines" review), Ally says she is done. Richard isn't pleased, and tells Billy that maybe Ally shouldn't be handling the case. He doesn't think she can be objective. He says that as a rule, women hate pretty women. But, they also sympathize with other women victims because they are women. Women want other women to be destroyed, but they don't want to be the destroyers themselves.

At the bar, Georgia tells Billy that she thinks some women think that because she has a low voice, she could be gay. She then tells Billy that Richard touched her neck the other day, and she thinks he was checking to see if she had an Adams apple.

Vonda calls Ally to the stage, and before she can get there, Vonda starts singing "The Hills are Alive." But that doesn't faze Ally. She remains confident. And after warming up the audience, she tells her joke. Two fleas that vacation together every year meet at a bar in Florida. The second little flea arrives and he is freezing cold. He tells the first flea "I was just zooming down from Jersey in the mustache of some guy on a motorcycle, and I am frozen." The first flea says, "That's no way to come to Florida. Let me tell you what you do. You go to an airport bar, have a few drinks, find a pretty flight attendant, crawl up her leg, and nestle yourself right in her warm, soft….well, you know. You get a good night's sleep, and you end up in Florida." The next year, the two fleas meet in Florida again, and the second flea shows up freezing cold, again. The first flea says, "Didn't you take my advice?" The second flea says, "I did exactly what you said. I went into a bar, I had a few drinks, I found a beautiful flight attendant, crawled up her leg, nestled right in and passed out all snuggled up. The next thing you know, I was zooming down the freeway in the mustache of some guy on a motorcycle." The audience doesn't laugh, and Ally imagines she has shrunk to a size where no one can see her, and slinks away.

The next day in court, Ally tells the judge that she agrees with Ms. Poop – that sexual harassment shouldn't be limited to opposite sex situations. However, she says that the plaintiff only felt harassed as a result of a lawsuit filed by the women at the firm, and adds that a complaint can't be the basis of a sexual harassment claim. The case is dismissed without prejudice.

Caroline comes to the office to tell Richard that her client intends to return to work, and she again looks Georgia up and down. Georgia stops her and tells her she doesn't like the looks she's been giving her, and she knows what they are all about. Caroline tells Georgia it's nothing like that – she says she collects Barbie dolls, and meeting a grown up living one blew her away.

Billy confronts Richard about touching Georgia's neck, and says he knows it is a sexual fetish for Richard and he doesn't appreciate it. Richard says it won't happen again.

Jennifer comes back to work, and Richard asks to speak to her in his office. Ally insists she come along. While Richard starts out by telling Jennifer that she "is a tall girl with enormous breasts," he soon apologizes for the men in the office and says the women at the firm were mad at the men, not her. He says he will see to it that the men don't act like idiot sophomores, and adds that she deserves a lot more respect than they've given her. Ally is surprised, and gives Richard a peck on the cheek.

©1997 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.

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