Synopsis of They Eat Horses, Don't They?

Written by Dana Hagerty

This episode begins with Nelle standing in front of the mirror in the unisex. She hears a flush, then Cage enters the bathroom, explaining that he likes a fresh bowl. Nelle says she understands, and Cage asks if she is enjoying herself so far. She says she is and begins to put on lipstick. Cage watches her, all the while hearing "boom, boom, boom." Before he can enter a stall, Nelle calls his name (the right one this time) and asks, "Can I ask you something? Are you (pause) drawn to me?" Cage begins to stutter, attempts to say "poughkeepsie", gives up and accidentally hits the button on his remote flusher. Cage finally is able to ask her why she asked him that. At first, she says it's intuition, then she adds, "Plus, Richard told me." Ally comes into the unisex, but Nelle continues her conversation with Cage. "I have certain rules about dating men I work with," she says. "But, (pause), I make them up as I go along." She leaves and Ally announces, "It's official. I hate her."

Cage storms into Richard's office, demanding to know whether Richard told Nelle that he was drawn to her. Richard admits it but shrugs it off with a "bygones." Cage says that is unacceptable. "What I tell you, I have an expectation of privacy," Cage says. Richard says that's why he apologized and adds, "Bygones squared." Cage begins taking his jacket and pulling the back of it over his head. Richard's mind is focused on something else. He asks if Cage knows Harold Wick, the shock jock of the airwaves. Cage says Wick is vulgar. Richard doesn't really care because a client of Nelle's is suing him. "We have an excellent chance to boost our profile and erode the First Amendment in the process," Richard says. "It isn't often we get a case where principle coincides with profit and I'm not about to take time out just because I breached some little trust thing you and I've got going."

In the morning staff meeting, Nelle is discussing her client, Ling, and the upcoming case. Ling is a plant manager at a manufacturing plant, and she wants to sue Wick for contributing to sexual harassment. Billy thinks the case is ridiculous. Nelle says, "Great, it's always more fun when I give a cute guy a giggle as I go about my business." Nelle adds that she could use another body on the case, and asks Billy if he can jump in. Georgia immediately says "NO!" When everyone looks at her, she explains that Billy has another case to work on. Richard says Ally will do it.

A beautiful Asian woman stops Elaine and says she is looking for Nelle Porter. Elaine suggests that she try her office, but the woman says she already did, that's why she is asking for assistance. "Have I come to the wrong person?" she asks. Elaine asks, "You would be her closest friend?" The woman answers that she's a client, and Nelle comes up beside her. This is Ling, and the two give each other air kisses on both cheeks. Ling is nervous, not just because of the case, but because Nelle switched firms. "You know how I am with change," she says. Nelle tells her to relax it's just a deposition but Ling stares at Elaine and offers that maybe it's just "too much newness."

Cage and Georgia are in court representing the owner of a restaurant that served horse meat. The plaintiff, Mr. Daley, had taken his wife to the restaurant for their anniversary and they ordered the "Chef's menu." His attorney asks him if he was told what he was ordering when he ordered it. Daley says that the food sounds so much better in French, so they didn't ask for a translation. The meat was so good that he asked what kind of cut it was. That was when he was told it was horse meat. He and his wife both became nauseous and were unable to sleep. The sound of horses fills the courtroom. Cage stops his tape recorder, apologizing to the court for his prop going awry.

Wick and his attorney walk into the firm and Harold bumps into Elaine. Elaine tells him she's a huge fan, "though I should say it quietly since my office is suing you." She adds that he talks about women as if they are cheap, and her whole life, she's been cheap. "It wasn't until I listened to your show that I realized I wasn't alone in the world."

Back in court, Cage is questioning Mr. Daley. Cage says that some people might like horse meat and asks him, "Shouldn't it be the individual's choice?" Then he asks, "Couldn't you just say 'neigh'?" Mr. Daley says the point is he wasn't told that he would be eating horse meat.

Nelle, Ling and Ally are in the conference room with Wick and his attorney for the deposition. Wick tells Nelle that her name sounds kind of naughty, then he looks at Ally and asks his attorney, "Who's the spinner?" (See the first paragraph of my review for more on this.) "Lucky I took some Viagra with the Ibuprofen," he tells his attorney. He looks at Ally again. "I just know I'd like to take you home and make you my nasty little whore."

Ally and Nelle enter the unisex. Ally thinks that by suing Wick, they are giving him exactly what he wants. She stops Nelle before she goes into the stall and asks, "What is a spinner?" Nelle gives her a look like 'you don't know?' then proceeds to answer "I think it means 'perky personality'."

Ling and Richard are sitting together in the bar as Ling waits for Nelle. She tells him she is very uncomfortable around new people, and she isn't kind about it when she says it. Nelle finally arrives and Ling tells her that she doesn't like her new firm. "The lawyers here are crazy. And the singer bugs me." Nelle takes Ling back up to the office.

Cage is sitting pensively in his office. He reaches into a drawer and takes out a stuffed horse, which he trots across his desk while making trotting noises. Ally comes in and catches him. Cage tells her that the horse's name is Frawley and that he used to make cutouts of the bullies at school and Frawley would kick them. He says that during court, the plaintiff brought up Mister Ed and that reminded Cage that he and Frawley used to watch that show. "What if Wilbur went into the barn on Thanksgiving and said, 'We have no turkey Ed, I'm sorry'," Cage says. "Today it could happen. November. Sweeps." Ally starts to sing the theme song to the Mister Ed show, as Nelle and Ling peer around the door. Cage has joined Ally in the song, but he stops when he sees Nelle and Ling. Ally continues on for a few bars, then she finally notices the two and stops as well.

The next morning, Wick is doing his radio show (which is broadcast on television, too). Renee and Ally are watching it. A caller asks Wick why Ling is suing him. He says it's because she has this "slutty little Asian thing going." The girls think Ling will probably end up on the cover of TIME. "You should see the way she dresses," Ally says. "It's like 'Look at my body now, but just don't talk about it.'" Renee tells her that some of the attorneys and even judges at the courthouse talk about Ally's short skirts. Ally says she wants them to notice her legs and Renee assures her that they do.

In court, the defendant, Mr. Handy, is on the stand. Handy says that it's okay to kill horses for pet food and paint thinner, but Daley's attorney says that for human consumption, the end has to be drug-free. Handy says if people don't want to eat it, they shouldn't order it. "But I shouldn't be hauled into a courtroom for serving it," he adds.

Wick's attorney is asking the court to dismiss the case against this client before it even goes to trial. Nelle tells the judge that even though Wick has no connection to the steel plant, there was also a time when tobacco companies had no duty to people who didn't use their products. She adds that what Wick is putting out is polluting the workplace. "Under the law right now, you can sue an employer for playing Mr. Wick's broadcast in the workplace," Nelle says. "If it results in discrimination or a hostile work environment, he should simply beheld accountable."

Later, Ally is sitting behind her desk with her head in her hands. Elaine comes in to see if she's okay. Ally tells her that Nelle is great. "She's poised. She doesn't pull at her hair. Nothing comes out of her mouth that she doesn't want to come out." Elaine responds, "That bitch." Ally says the judge took the motion under advisement, and she thinks they might even win. She says this as if it would be a bad thing, and Elaine tells her she is "so sorry." Ally looks as if she might cry.

Ling is again alone with Richard while waiting for Nelle. This time, they are in his office. Ling says part of her wants to sleep with Wick because she knows if she did, she'd kill him. Richard reaches out to touch Ling's wattle, and she slaps his hand away. "You're a man without any nice qualities as far as I can see," Ling says. "And a funny name," she adds. "Sticks and stones, LING," says Richard. He tells her that when they first met, she made no impression on him at all. She says that when her case is over, she will be taking her business elsewhere. "No you won't. I can tell," Richard says.

Cage is upstairs in the library, pacing around barefoot. Nelle comes upstairs and notices the bare feet. He tells her he is working on the first draft of his closing and he gets a better feel with bare feet. "Have you ever had horse meat?" he asks her. "Thanks, but I've already had dinner," Nelle responds. "I'm free Thursday night. How 'bout Thursday?" she adds. Cage, caught off-guard, responds, "That would be good."

The next morning, Georgia sees that Cage is still walking around barefoot. She is surprised and asks if he is still working on his first draft. Cage tells her that he may need her to handle the closing. "It is as if I hear voices and they're telling me not to do this," he says. But Georgia insures him that the law is completely on his side. She walks away, and Ally comes in to ask Cage about the voices. "Is it Frawley?" she asks. Cage tells her that Frawley isn't speaking to him. Ally wants to know who the voices are. "I'm afraid if I tell you I would win back the reputation of 'strangest one in the room'," Cage says. Elaine comes in with Ling (whom she calls 'Vicious Ling') to tell Ally that the judge is in with a ruling.

The judge dismisses the sexual harassment claim, but the complaint also alleges negligent inflection of emotional distress and the judge denies the motion to dismiss that one. Ling is happy, and turns to thank Ally. She says she didn't do anything, but Ling disagrees. "The judge got mad at him. You dressing up like this -- baiting him to call you a 'spinner.' It worked!"

Richard, Ling and Nelle are watching a news cast regarding the case in Richard's office. Richard keeps talking to the TV. "Say the name. 'Cage and Fish.' Just say the name," he's saying. The reporter finally does and Richard says, "Yes!" Nelle wants to dismiss now ("We wanted to get the guy. We get him best by getting out while we are ahead," she says), but Richard and Ling want money. Nelle says they will never get it. "Now, we make the First Amendment our best friend in life," she says. She walks away to draft a statement. Ling and Richard are along again. Ling tells him he probably feels special being alone with her. "Ling, anyone with you is alone."

Cage is giving his closing. "This case isn't about horses. It's about people. This person over here is suing this person over here. People. And people eat animals. You might not like it, but the Constitution doesn't start off 'we the horses.' Animals don't get rights. This thing about decency, you have to stop it because next, they'll go after the hamburger. We the people eat animals, and we're not decent about it. As long as folks keep consuming it, don't blame the guy who serves it up. Plaintiff's counsel says we should allow the horse to keep his dignity in the end. We're human beings. This is glue." He takes a bottle of glue out of his pocket and places it next to the jury.

Back at the office, Ling is giving a statement to reporters. "We are grateful to the court for the validation and to the public for it's support. The reason I've decided to dismiss this claim, and you'll have to forgive me for not going into detail. It appears that certain physical or psychological dysfunctions may be the root of Mr. Wick's compulsion to fixate on sexual content. I feel it would be wrong for me to exploit any of his medical inadequacies or conditions." She tells the reporters that she bears no ill will towards Mr. Wick and she wishes him well. As they walk away, Nelle tells the reporters that the suit has been dismissed. One reporter asks, "Have you learned that he is impotent?" Nelle refuses to "parse the statement."

Richard is impressed with Nelle's dirty work. "That was worthy of an earthworm," he says. But Ally is not happy. "What if he turns around and sues us?" Nelle says that they didn't actually come out and say he was impotent, and even so, he's a public figure. He would have to prove 'reckless disregard for the truth' and he can't.

Cage is practicing his dismount in the unisex just as Ally walks in. He kicks her in the back, sending her right into a toilet. She ends up with water all over the back of her suit. "I was just thinking about how this place was going down the toilet and 'boom,' I'm going down, too," she says. Cage wants her to explain what she means. She tells him that she's worried that the firm is becoming something different. Elaine comes in to tell Ally that the producer of the Harold Wick Show has called and invited her to be a guest on his show the next day. Ally agrees to do the show.

The next day, a makeup guy is preparing Ally for the show. She tells him she thought this was a radio show and another guy tells her that the show goes out on cable now.

Georgia comes to Cage to talk about his summation. "I hope we don't lose. Because that summation could give him grounds for a new trial," she says. "Then that would have been very clever of me, wouldn't it?" he says.

The Harold Wick Show starts with Wick telling Ally that she was probably some Cub Scout's Happy Meal when she was growing up. During the course of the interview, which Ally giggles incessantly throughout, Wick asks if he could see her naked, and whether she and Nelle have ever, you know, together. He asks about the skirts she wears. "Well, men are constantly trying to undress me," Ally says. "I'm just trying to save them some time, that's all."

The jury on the horse meat case comes back. They find in favor of the owner of the restaurant.

After the show, Wick comes up to Ally. He is very nice to her and tells her that what he does is not who he is. He wants to know why she agreed to come on the show. She says that while she doesn't like what he does, it is presented in the form of entertainment, but what they did at the press conference, she believes was below the belt. He tells Ally that she's a great lady.

Ling is upset about Ally going on the show. "I had a sick feeling about this law firm from the beginning," she says. Ally comes in, and before Nelle can tell her how she feels, Ally tells the group that at least she extended the firm's 15 minutes. She walks into her office and shuts the door. There is a knock, and Ally opens the door with "Go to hell." It is Cage. He smiles, then tells her, "That was hurtful." He wants to tell her that he also is concerned that the firm might become some place different. "But as long as we have you, I know we'll keep what we have," he says. He leaves, and Elaine enters with a huge bouquet of roses. Elaine has read the card. "To one classy broad. Love, Harold," it says.

That night at the bar, Ling dances with Richard and Nelle dances with Cage. Nelle tells Cage that she is surprised he can dance. "I'm an enigma," Cage says. "Yes. You are," says Nelle.

Ally joins Georgia and Billy at a table, and she watches with wide eyes as Nelle and Cage dance.

©1998 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.

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