You Never Can Tell
Air date: November 23, 1998
Summary/Review by Dana Hagerty

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This episode was supposed to be the 6th episode of the season, but was aired as the 9th.

Ally is standing in her living room, hearing her theme song, "Tell Him," in her head. She takes a deep breath, then lets it out. She starts to move her shoulders to the beat, but it isn't long before the record slows down and scratches to a stop in her head. Trying it again, Ally finally is able to hear the music and dance to the beat for a minute or so until it slows down again and stops. She picks up a cushion from the couch and starts beating it on the floor. Renee walks in just as Ally throws the cushion and catches it. She wants to know what's going on and Ally starts ranting and raving about all the awful things she has to give thanks for this Thanksgiving. "And, thank you for Thanksgiving and knowing that Christmas comes next," she says. I guess it's going to be a long holiday season for our Ally.

Ling and Richard are in his office as he attempts to talk her out of her latest conquest. He calls her sweetheart and she asks him not to call her that because she isn't sweet. He tries "darling," and she vetoes that one, too. He finally just asks what he can call her besides Ling and she says, "Sugar. Or honey -- pumpkin. Anything food. You can call me food." Ling says that she was harassed and "you can prove it if you're good lawyers." Richard wonders how Ling feels about settling. She wants to know what they are offering. "Nothing now, but I think we can work them up to an apology." She says no. She throws a Rubik's cube at him that she's been working on during this conversation and Richard catches it. Taking a good look at it, he notices that she has solved it.

In the unisex, Ally, Billy and Georgia are complaining about Ling's latest suit as Richard comes out of a stall and tells them to, "Hold on. Quiet." he says, "Let me ignore you one at a time." Ally says this is a ridiculous case and those types of cases are supposed to go to Georgia. Billy tells Richard that at some point the firm should draw the line. He says he knows that Ling is Nelle's friend and he knows that Richard wants to sleep with her, at which point Ling enters the unisex and the girls say "Ling." Ling says to Richard, "Have you been taking my cases because you want to sleep with me?" "Bacon bits," Richard says, "I'm nice to you because I want to sleep with you. I kissed you because I want to sleep with you. But taking your cases? I do that only because you're wealthy and a potential cash cow for the firm to milk in perpetuity." Ally tries to help by telling Ling that suing a man because she thinks he is having sexual thoughts about her isn't a good case, and Ling says that she thought she and Ally were friends. Ally starts laughing. "You're a mean and spiteful group," Ling says. "Where's Nelle? I need comfort." She walks out of the unisex.

Later, Renee comes into Ally's office and tells her that she has set her up on a date with a guy that Ben knows. (Ben is Renee's friend that attended the dinner party several episodes ago.) They are all going bowling. Ally doesn't want to go, but Renee reaches over, twists her ear, and tells her "We're going bowling."

In the conference room, Georgia is meeting with Ling and tells her that it's important for her to appear sympathetic. "That's within your range?" she asks Ling. Her answer is a growl. She goes on to tell Ling that the part about her being a little psychic is going to be a hurdle. Ling says she's only "penile-psychic. I can tell when a man is thinking with his unit."

Nelle is wearing her hair down, and an outfit that includes a black skirt, white shirt, and long red tie. She approaches John upstairs, and he stares at her outfit. She tells him that Ling designed it and that it is called 'the steward.' "Men go for it, though I don't know why." she says. "Anyway, can we go out?" she asks John. He begins to whistle through his nose, and she says that she knows he prefers to cover her from afar, but she would really like to have a real date, with a beginning and an end. "Just whistle once for yes," she says. He does.

Elaine brings Georgia and Ally files for their case, and they notice that she looks very pregnant. She explains that it's a pregnancy dress and that she invented it because pregnant women get certain allowances. For example, in the grocery story if you have a full cart but you are in a hurry, you can wear this and go through the express lane. Also, it's good for speeding tickets. "There's an inside water packet," Elaine says. "You can break it and make it look like the real thing." Ally asks Georgia if she can talk to Elaine alone. She wants to know what's up. "You're looking to be noticed again," Ally says. Elaine comes clean. She says that George dumped her. Ally asks if she is okay and Elaine insists that she is. She does, however, admit that she hates being alone on Thanksgiving. Ally invites her over for Thanksgiving and Elaine accepts. She also tells Ally that George told her how he felt about Ally and how she wouldn't see him out of loyalty to Elaine. She tells Ally that on Thursday, she will be giving thanks that Ally is her friend. Ally says, "Same here." They hug, and Elaine's water packet breaks.

In court, the attorney for the man Ling basically says that the man can't be sued for his thoughts. Ally keeps looking over at the attorney as if she is interested in him. The judge tells Ally that this case is pretty 'out there.' She says that she suspects that the other attorney thinks that she is interested in him. She goes on to say that she could have been more subtle, and shows the judge several looks she could have given attorney. One of them is her 'I want to sleep with you' glance. She says, "I want it. Right here. Right now. Rough." This causes the judge to take a big drink of his water.

Billy takes some papers into Cage's office and puts them on his desk. As he turns to leave, he finds Cage sitting on the floor. Billy asks John if he's okay and when Cage says he is at a precipice, Billy shuts the doors and sits down with him. Billy is able to discover that John is thinking about his upcoming date with Nelle. "As much as I'd prefer to covet from afar," John says, "I do have glandular pulls." He goes on to say that he doesn't see himself with Nelle for the long term, and is afraid that even in the short term, what might be fun for her could be dangerous for him. He asks Billy to give him an honest answer about whether he could see the two of them working out. Billy says no, he doesn't see them working out.

Ling is on the stand, describing how her employee that she is suing would give her a 'full-vertical scan.' She says it happened every time she walked into the plant. She also says that she couldn't fire him because he's union. She is asked to tell the court what else the man would do, and she says that he would call her by her name, Woo. But he said it in a sexual way, like the post-coital "whew."

Billy comes into the unisex, finds Nelle, and starts to tell her something. Before he talks, he looks under all the stalls. He tells Nelle that what he is about to say is probably none of his business. "Then the discussion should end there, shouldn't it." Nelle says. He tells her that Cage is a vulnerable guy and he hopes that she isn't dating him either out of curiosity of sport. A toilet flushes, and Billy gets a scared look on his face. Nelle turns and shows Billy that John gave her his spare flusher. She adds that if he is so afraid that John might have overheard him, chances are Billy wasn't being loyal to him by saying it.

John is in his office, dancing to "Gimmie That Thing." He leans over to pick up something he's dropped, and Nelle opens the door, hitting him in the head. They leave for their date, and John says he wants to just go to the bar downstairs. He feels more comfortable there.

At the bowling alley, Ally can't find a bowling ball that she can use because the holes are too big for her fingers. Ben arrives with Wally, who is definitely not Ally's type. He asks Ally, "May I offer you something to drink?" She chuckles and says, "Maybe later. I have to find a ball that fits." She drags Renee away to help her and Renee pulls Ben with them, too.

At the bar, Ling and Richard are dancing, even though Ling says it is hard for her to dance because she's a little wrought. "I was thinking, after this is over, maybe you could take a break from suing people?" Richard asks. "In which case," Ling says, "how would you milk me?" Richard asks if she just made a joke, and they both laugh.

John and Nelle are sitting at the bar. He doesn't think she is having a good time, and she says she would like to get him out of the bar sometime. A nice looking man comes up to Nelle and introduces himself. She introduces herself, then turns and introduces John as her date. The man gets the message and leaves. Nelle wants to dance, but John says he's a little beat and would like to cut the night short. Billy watches them from a table.

Ally is having a very difficult time at the bowling alley. First, she drops the ball behind her. Then, a man named Seymore Martin comes up and encourages Ally to use his dead wife's bowling ball. "She, too, had little hands," he says. Seymore says that it would make his wife happy to know that someone enjoyed the ball. Ally takes it, puts her fingers in the holes, and is amazed that it is a good fit. She gets ready to bowl, and this time, instead of dropping the ball behind her, she goes down the lane with it still attached to her fingers.

Cage and Nelle are going home in a cab. He drops her off at her place. She leans over and kisses him on the cheek. Cage leans over to kiss her, but he's too late, she's already stepping out of the cab.

Ally, Seymore, Renee, Ben and Wally are at the hospital. Wally says that fingers swell during the menstrual cycle and he asks Ally is she is "men-strew-ating." (That's how he says it.) Seymore convinces Ally not to have the ball cut off her hand.

At the office the next day, no one can believe that Ally is even thinking about going into court with a bowling ball attached to her hand. Wally arrives. He's been worrying about Ally all night. Ally tells him that she has to get to court, and pulls Elaine into her office. She says she'll give her a $50 raise if she gets rid of Wally. "It's Thanksgiving week," Elaine says. "He's got a pulse doesn't it beat being alone?" "Does he look like he beats being alone?" Ally says. Wally starts serenading Ally with "You are my Sunshine." Ally tells Elaine that she should take Wally because she's on the rebound. Elaine is upset by the remark, and tells Ally that it wasn't nice. Ally apologizes, and as she does, the ball falls off her hand and lands on her foot. She yells "damn it" many, many times.

John is in his office and Millie is on his nose. Richard and Billy come in. Richard tells John that he has a big bugger on his nose, then realizes it's the frog. Billy tells John that he noticed him last night with Nelle. John says, "The think you've got to realize about Nelle is," (Nelle walks in) "she's standing right behind you." Nelle tells them that what is happening between her and John is between her and John. "If you want to tell them what's going on, go ahead," she tells John. "But, at some point, I'd appreciate you telling me."

Ling is very upset. "What's going on, soybean?" Richard asks. She says that they lost the case.

John comes to Nelle. He tells her that he let his frog run free and he doesn't want his hope to meet the same fate. She asks if he is afraid that he'll get hurt. John tells her that she is beautiful and smart and could get anything and everything she wants in a man. Nelle says she is loosing interest while John speaks because she isn't drawn to victims. She adds that if John thinks she is the kind of person that is only interested in an attractive package, why would he be drawn to her in the first place.

Billy comes into the unisex to apologize to John. He says the truth is, he doesn't really know whether Nelle and John could work out, and he asks if she is a good person. "I think so," John says, adding, "the main thing is, she's standing right behind you." Billy leaves, and John tells Nelle that he would apologize for his behavior, but "I fear I would sound like a victim." Barry White music starts up, and at first, it looks like John is hearing it in his head. Then, it becomes clear that Nelle hears it, too. They walk over to a stall, open the door, and find Elaine, playing a boom box. Nelle is exasperated. "Ling's right," she says. "You're all nuts!" She leaves. Elaine tells John to pull her arm. He does, and she does a little turn. She tells him to pull it again. He does, and she turns into his arms. Elaine tells him to ask Nelle to dance, pull her arm, then "take her."

Nelle comes into Billy's office and basically tells him that she likes John and he should stay out of their business.

Ally learns that Wally is on his way to see her. He's on the elevator, so she doesn't have much time. She pulls Georgia into her office, and tells Elaine to bring him in when he arrives.

Ling and Nelle are at the bar having a drink. Ling says that only the handsome men ask them out because they are the only one's who think they have a chance. "And handsome men are dolts," she says. Ling believes that true happiness can only be found in shopping.

Wally arrives and asks if Ally is there. Elaine takes him to Ally's office door. She opens it, and they find Ally and Georgia standing on the other side of Ally's desk, kissing. Wally drops the flowers he has brought, and turns and leaves. Georgia tells Ally that she owes her big time. Ally says she isn't sure that she does owe her, because she left Georgia's tongue. They argue a bit, and Georgia leaves, insisting she did not give her tongue.

Elaine comes into John's office, where he is practicing the arm pull. She tells him he will be great. John wants to know how Elaine always stays so cheerful. "Isn't it hard for you," he says, "being alone?" Elaine thinks that Ally told him that George dumped her, then she thinks about it and realizes that he just assumed. He asks if she ever gets lonely, and Elaine admits that she has never spent an unlonely day in her life. John doesn't understand, because, he says, she always seems so happy. "Happy is easy," Elaine says. She says that if you act happy, people see you as happy, and you see yourself as happy through their eyes. She says that doesn't work for lonely.

Wally returns to see Ally again. She yells to Georgia, "Honey, I'll be right out." Wally asks her why she went out of that date if she likes women. She tells him she was in denial. She yells to Georgia again, this time calling her 'babycakes.' Ling comes to the door and wants to know if Ally was calling her. "I heard someone yell food." She says. Wally tells Ally that he doesn't believe in homosexuality, so this has to be goodbye. He does say that he will pray for her.

At the bar, Ally, Renee, Elaine and Nelle are sharing a table, when Nelle asks if Ally has ever fantasized about kissing a girl for real. She keeps pushing, until Ally finally answers that 'maybe once' she has thought about what it would be like. Ally asks Nelle if she, too, has ever fantasized about it, and Nelle says "never." John asks Nelle to dance. She acts like she is thinking about it, so John says, "let's go." They dance for a minute, then John pulls her towards him. They both end up on the floor. Renee tells Ally that if she can kiss Georgia, she can dance with her. They ask Elaine if she wants to make it a three-way, and she says, "Oh, I'm in." The three girls get up and make their way to the dance floor.


I wonder if anyone told Billy about what happened in Ally's office. The way things work around there, I'm sure if Georgia didn't tell him, Elaine did. Now what I want to know is: what kind of fantasies is that boy having about his ex and his wife?

I really like both of the new characters this season, but I think Richard is right about Ling. I'm getting tired of her being in court all the time. I want to see some new cases that involve people we don't know.

I realize that Ling doesn't smile much, but when she does, she lights up a room. I really didn't like Richard and Ling as a couple when she first came on the show, but with that one scene in the club, when he made her laugh, I could see that they really do compliment each other.

Elaine can still drive me crazy, but Jane Krakowski is at her best when she has to show Elaine's 'lonely' side.

I really do wish that someone would explain exactly who Ben is. Yes, I know he's a friend of Renee's, but he just appeared in one episode, then showed up again in another, but there has never been any explanation as to how Renee knows him.

Portia de Rossi does have gorgeous hair, but as Nelle, I thought she looked awful in that 'steward' outfit with her hair down. I like the character much better when she is dressed professionally at the office and lets her hair down outside the office.

I almost felt sorry for Wally. (Almost.) I really do think that Ally needs to learn how to just be honest with a man. And, if honesty doesn't work, well, she could do lots of other things that don't involve having your secretary dump him or kissing another woman.


  • Nelle's face when she heard Barry White in the bathroom.

  • Richard's pet names for Ling.

  • Nelle scaring Billy with the remote flusher.

  • Elaine opening up about loneliness with Cage.

  • And Nelle always being behind the guys when they were talking about her.


    Ling: "Have you been taking my cases because you want to sleep with me?"
    Richard: "Bacon bits. I'm nice to you because I want to sleep with you. I kissed you because I want to sleep with you. But taking your cases? I do that only because you're wealthy and a potential cash cow for the firm to milk in perpetuity."

    Copyright © 1998 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.