Air date: November 29, 1999
Summary/Review by Dana Bonistalli

Skip summary and go straight to Dana's "Bits and Pieces"

Billy, John and a woman (Farrah Fawcett) are in the courthouse elevator. John is stressing out because the case they are about to start has drawn the press. John says cameras and reporters make him nervous. Billy tells the woman, Mrs. Robin Jones (she's divorced), that they really should reconsider settling this case before it goes to trial. Robin wants to see it through. As they exit the elevator, several reporters and cameras rush towards them. When they ask John questions, he begins to stutter and is unable to stop.

In the morning meeting, Richard plays a video of John's news appearance over and over. The others try to get him to stop but he just keeps on playing it until John walks in and catches him. Richard is unfazed. "Did you catch the news?" he asks John, "You look great." John walks away. Richard says he didn't mean anything by that and Ling tells him, "He knows you're meaningless." She goes on to tell the group that the firm needs more men, adding that she's looking on a personal level. Richard says (sarcastically) that he'll get right to work on that. "He doesn't need to be handsome, clearly," she says, "I'd just like somebody quiet and rich who can please me in bed without chemicals." Richard tells her, "If you really feel the need to humiliate me, just, you know, be seen in public with me." Georgia tells them to grow up. "You just have a thing for grownups, don't you?" says Nelle.

In court, Robin is explaining that she was Managing Editor, then became Editor-in-Chief when Michael Pearlman, the former Editor-in-Chief, passed away in March. She says that right away, people started calling in sick, staging a "blue-flu." It caused the magazine to miss its May publication date and shortly after that, she was fired. The attorney for the employees, Mr. Bender, says that since Robin was the boss, she had the power to fire these employees. He asks her to clarify why she is suing them for sexual harassment. She says they nicknamed her "The Nymph" and they circulated memos claiming they didn't want to work for a sex siren. He asks her how her predecessor died. Robin says he had a coronary. Bender asks if she was with him at the time. She admits she was and that they were making love at the time. "Objection," John says, standing up. "This isn't relevant. Mr. Bender's trying to titillate the jury with sordid sex talk. They had a personal relationship. No need to air out the graphic details of something we've already fornicated to on the record." As he sits he realizes what he said and starts to stutter. "Stipulated….to," he adds. The judge overrules the objection. Robin is asked Mr. Pearlman's age (86) and her job title when their relationship began (editorial assistant) before Bender makes the point that Robin made an incredible leap in job titles when she want straight from being an editorial assistant to a Managing Editor.

Ling and Richard are in his office discussing what happened on Thanksgiving. She's upset because he left her alone during the holiday. Richard tries to explain that Whipper was hurt. "I get it," Ling says, "I don't compete with her wattle. She has creases and crevices and folds I'll never know in my lifetime." Richard says that Whipper also cares about him, and he asks her if she does. "Of course I do," Ling says, "Doesn't it show?" He says they always have a good time, but he wonders what they really talk about. "Your house is wired to prevent any real discussions," Ling reminds him. Richard says it's time for them to face it. He says neither one of them wants to get serious. "We may be smarter than the rest of those dummies out there searching for love," Richard says, "or we may not be." He pauses, then adds, "Maybe we should find out." Ling says, "Maybe" and turns away from him. He comes over next to her. "If there's anything to learn out there, I doubt we'll discover it together," he says. "So we're officially broken up?" Ling asks. Richard slowly says yes. "Wow. I feel relief," Ling says, with almost no emotion. "Do you?" she asks. Richard says yes, then, not knowing what else to say, he leaves.

Bender is still questioning Robin. He says that the staff at Beantown feels she in unqualified to be Editor-in-Chief, adding they believe she slept her way into the position. Robin admits that is a fair assessment of what the staff thinks, but she doesn't believe it is a fair conclusion. He says that once she became Editor-in-Chief, she decided to feature herself in a pictorial wearing revealing lingerie. He asks her why. Robin says it was to promote her own celebrity, which was then used to promote the magazine. "So, you had an affair with the Editor-in Chief?" Bender begins. "You were handpicked to become his successor. Shortly after which, he dies in your saddle, after which you then publish a quasi-nude pictorial of yourself." John stands to object (claiming Bender is badgering the witness) and he stomps one foot on the floor. Something on the bottom of it explodes. The jury gasps and John apologizes to the judge, claiming that the shoes are new and he is still breaking them in. Bender accuses John of pulling one of his famous stunts and John objects again, stomping the other foot. The other shoe also explodes.

In a side room, alone with Robin and John, Billy yells at John. "That was ridiculous!" he says. John tells him not to raise his voice at him. Billy continues yelling, and John again asks him not to raise his voice, then he leaves the room. Billy apologizes to Robin but she thinks it broke up the momentum and was probably effective. Billy tells her that he admires her for sticking up for herself. However, he not only doesn't think they can win, but he feels if they do, it will probably be overturned on appeal. He says the other side is offering 75. Robin won't settle. Billy says he finds it difficult to believe that Robin was in love with an 86-year-old man. "Then I feel sorry for you," Robin says. Robin says she isn't the settling type and she didn't think Billy was either.

At Nelle's, John is watching the news. The footage of him stuttering is airing on every channel. Nelle tells him to turn it off. He is extremely agitated and says just because the case is a big one, that doesn't give the reporters the right to make fun of his stuttering. He begins to stutter again. Nelle tries to get him to take deep breaths and calm down.

The next day in court, Billy is questioning the publisher of the magazine. He says he really had no choice but to fire Robin, since part of her job was to command respect and loyalty from her subordinates and she was unable to do that. The publisher does say Robin wasn't really given a chance since she was only Editor-in-Chief for one issue (an issue that, Billy gets him to admit, circulation was up on). Bender also gets the publisher to admit that circulation was probably up because of Robin's pictorial. He asks the publisher if he was surprised that Pearlman picked Robin to succeed him. He answers that nothing surprises him anymore. Bender asks if he was surprised that they were sleeping together. John objects. "The witness answered that nothing surprised him," John says. "Asked and answered. Asked and answered. Asked and answered. Nothing surprises this witness. Are you going to keep grilling him until you get the answer that you like?" The judge tries to get John to settle down. "What, I can't blow my top, now?" John asks. "I can't blow my shoes, I can't blow my top. Can I blow my nose? Would that be all right? It whistles, you know." He whistles his nose.

Back in the side room again, Billy tells John that he is off the case. John is shocked. He tries to tell Billy that he is an associate and he can't tell a partner he is off a case, but he can't stutter his way through it. There is a short pause before Robin takes the reigns and fires him herself. "I don't want you at my table anymore, Mr. Cage," she says.

Georgia is washing her hands in the unisex when Ling emerges from a stall. "So," she begins, "You and Ally's father. You broke up already?" Georgia reminds her they weren't going out and that they didn't even know each other's last names. She says she doesn't want to talk about it. Ling says she is going through an emotional time, that she and Richard 'separated,' and she was just looking for some emotional companionship. "Forgive me for turning to you," Ling says. Georgia expresses mild concern for Ling and asks if there is anything she can do. "Well…..Ally's dad was really cute," she says. "If you're done with him…" she turns and looks into the mirror, then screams when she sees in that mirror that Ally has quietly come out of another stall and is not happy. Ling tells Ally she would make sure her father was finished with her mother first. Ally says her parents are working it out. "Excellent," says Ling, as she turns and leaves the unisex. Ally walks to the sink to wash her hands and Georgia asks her how it's going. "Good," she says. "Good," says Georgia, walking past Ally to leave. Ally says "good" again, as does Georgia. Richard passes Georgia exiting the unisex. Ally tells him she's sorry that he and Ling broke up. As he tries to touch her wattle, he says he feels the independence will be good for him. Georgia opens the unisex door and says, "Richard. I forgot. I quit." She says she has decided to go to work for Renee. Richard wants Georgia to wait one night, sleep on it, and make her decision in the morning. She reluctantly agrees. When she leaves, Elaine exits from yet another stall. Richard asks her to get the locks on Georgia's office changed tonight so she can't sneak out files.

In Nelle's office, John is pacing back and forth in front of her desk. She keeps telling him to breathe deeply. He says he's upset because he was fired off the case, but Nelle says she doesn't blame Billy or the client. "I'm tired of people thinking I'm this funny little man," he says. She tries to make him feel better by telling him that people don't think that, but Ling comes to the door and asks, "Can you tell me when you're done with the funny little man? I need to talk." Nelle tells Ling to go away. John explains that he is used to being made fun of in every instance except for when he is in his haven -- the courtroom.

One of the people who participated in the "blue flu" is on the stand. He says they were insulted by having to report to the woman who had been sleeping with their former boss. He tells Billy that they decided to start calling in sick, knowing that Robin had the right to fire them.

In the side room, Billy tells Robin that he's got the other side up to 100. She still won't take it. He tells her that the last point made on the stand was a good one – that she could have fired them. "They also have on record that you slept with your 86-year-old boss," Billy says. "What does that say?" Robin asks, "What DOES it say?" She wants Billy to give her his take on all of this. "I think you're a bit of a gold digger, looking to capitalize on a stupid law that works as an equalizer for weak women. And if ever a jury found the right case to take sexual harassment law and say 'shove it,' this would be the ideal opportunity." She wants to know why he took this case. "Because it's also a law that causes insurance companies to push the panic button and they will usually pay off, but here, they are digging in. That's why I'm saying we should settle." Robin calls him a male chauvinist pig. "Card-carrying and proud of it," says Billy. "So, you hate women?" she says. Billy says he doesn't, but he does hate their chances in this lawsuit. "Part of being my lawyer is to get behind me," she starts before Billy interrupts with, "as opposed to being on top of you?" Robin slaps him. "I didn't deserve that from them and I don't deserve it from you." She says the truth is she loved Michael Pearlman. She says she doesn't care if Billy believes her, but she does want to know if he's capable of continuing this trial. He says yes and adds "The jury won't see anything from me but total commitment." "Good," says Robin, "at least one of us is able to fake it for money."

The next morning, in Billy's office, Sandy is massaging Billy's temples. Robin comes up behind them. "Working out those knots?" she asks. Billy tells her she's late. Robin says she usually counts to ten before she sees him but she has upped it to 100. They bicker back and forth for a minute before leaving for the courthouse.

Richard comes into John's office and tells him he had a dream last night that John went into a post office and opened fire with his shoe. John tells him to go away. Richard apologizes for hurting John's feelings when he played the news video over and over again. John accepts the apology and asks if he wants something else. "I've had a bad week," Richard says. "Ling and I split, Georgia quit, and my fellow senior partner, who's also my best friend, he could be cracking up. Is he?" John says that his favorite stories while growing up where the one's about the kid who got picked on. The one everybody thought was strange, but who showed up at the class reunion a new man - the one that everybody else wanted to be. He says that was his dream; to become a successful attorney – rich - with a beautiful woman at his side. Richard tells him that has happened. But John says nothing really has changed. He could walk into his high school reunion with Nelle on his arm and everyone would say, "Well, how did that odd-ball get her? She must be paid for." "We're not going to change, Richard," John says. "We are who we are. Don't you find that devastating?" Richard says, "Gee, thanks for the kudo." John asks if he was in love with Ling. Before Richard can answer, John says, "No, you weren't. She was fun. She was great to look at. The sex was good and that's enough for you. That would be okay if it was a stage you were going through, but it isn't. It's who you are. And I'm not going through a stage of being odd. That's who I am. And seeing myself just pokipping away on television, it hit me that I'm 35 and I am what I am what I am." Richard says, "If you don't like who you are - if you are truly unhappy with your life - that only means you are ready to have children." John asks Richard if he feels that he lives a rather empty life. "Everybody says a man will wake up one day, look in the mirror and say, 'How'd I get here?' But it doesn't have to be that way," Richard says. "There's no rule that says we have to wake up."

Billy gives his closing argument. He goes over all the things the staff did, from emails and conversations by the water cooler, to getting Robin fired. He says they proved that together, they had more power than she did. He says the staff is hoping the jury will feel the same way they do. That Robin couldn't have any good ideas because she's pretty and because she fell in love with an older man. In his closing, Bender says that Robin might have the talent to run a magazine, but she didn't have the credentials and his clients resented that. He says that isn't sexual harassment.

Back at the office, Georgia finds her door is locked. Richard says it isn't personal, it's just that he can't trust her. "One of the reasons I hired you was because I was sure you would steal files from your old firm," Richard says. "That's a compliment, business ethics-wise." Richard starts to work the nameplate off of Georgia's door. Ling comes up and asks if Georgia is really leaving. She says yes. Ling asks if she can have Georgia's office. "I don't know why you two broke up," Georgia huffs, "you are SO made for each other!" She turns to leave. Richard tells her to hold on as he rips the nameplate off the door. "You can't just fly out of here without me have my say," he says. "If things don't work out at Renee's firm and you think you can just come crawling back here and get your job back…. You're right." He walks up to her and hands her the nameplate. "We'd take you back in a second," he says. Georgia starts to cry and she walks to the unisex. Ally is there fixing her lipstick. "What's the matter?" she asks and Georgia says sadly, "I like it here." Ally tells her not to quit then. Georgia says she has to because she can't work with "that pig-ass bastard." She says if she doesn't get space from him during the day, she's going to go looking for it at night. Sandy starts to come in but Georgia yells at her to get out. Sandy says she has to go. Georgia tells her to hold it. Sandy leaves. Ally says she isn't sure that quitting her job is the answer. "You're right," Georgia says, "I should just leave him." Ally says she's not saying that. She tells her that this is just a bump. Georgia asks if she can ask Ally something. "What would you think if I were to go forward with your dad?" she says. Ally says her father is happily married to her mother. "But he is so nice," Georgia says. "He isn't nice," Ally says, "He is just an older pig-ass bastard who you are to stay away from!" Ally says he is a happily married man. "Then why did he kiss me?" Georgia asks. Ally says it was because she was anonymous. "He certainly wouldn't have kissed you had he gotten to know you," Ally says, then, taken aback, says, "that didn't come out how I meant." Ally tells her to just be patient with Billy – that he changed once and he'll change back. John comes in. "People change all the time, am I right, John?" asks Ally. John starts to step into his stall. Obviously frustrated, he yells, "No! People are what they are. They don't change! That's a big conspiracy perpetrated by the fashion designers to sell you clothes. But you can't change people." (He starts to stutter, then hits his head on the stall door) "Only clothes!" he finishes before walking all the way into the stall, then quickly turning around again and coming out. "People leave remnants in my damn bowl," he says, then leaves the unisex.

The foreman stands to read the verdict. There are many charges to read and before he can finish them all, the judge asks him to just say it. They find in favor of the defendants. Billy tells Robin he is sorry, but Robin says she should have just settled. "I admire you for sticking to your buns," Billy says. "Guns," he corrects himself. He tells her that he's sorry for underestimating her. She says they both did.

Georgia is meeting with Renee. Renee says the pay is pretty lousy but Georgia will keep a piece of any action she brings in. (Her very handsome assistant brings her a beverage as she is giving the previous line.) Georgia wants to know how big the firm will get. Renee tells her that for now, it's just herself, Georgia and Whipper. "We're walking a bit of a plank here," Renee says. "We don't have many clients yet. Are you sure you want to do this?" Georgia says yes.

Ling marches into Richard's office and asks if she should quit, too. Richard wants to know why. She thinks it might be awkward. "Why should it be awkward?" he asks. "Do you plan to stop being hostile?" She says yes, that she thought she would try being nice because she is bored with her character. Richard wonders why everybody is changing. "Billy dies his hair. Georgia, I think, is getting testosterone injections and now you want to be nice? A wise man once said to me, yesterday, as a matter of fact - people don't change." Ling asks what wise man said that. Richard hits a button on a remote and Cage appears on his television, stuttering. John has stopped in the doorway but they can't see him. "He's a sage, Ling," he says, then turns and notices John. "And, he's also here again." John walks away and Richard starts to go after him. Ling stops him and says she seriously wants to know if their working together will be a problem. Richard says it will be fine. "It doesn't hurt?" she asks. He says the truth is it hurts a lot. She wonders if they should give it another try. "Suppose we get back to where we were," Richard says. "Where were we, Ling?" She admits there weren't very far. He says they could still date until the right one comes along. "Whipper's not the right one?" Ling asks. Richard says he doesn't know, but Ling thinks he should find out. Before parting, they decide to meet later so they can officially say goodbye to Ling's knee-pit and Richard's finger.

John is in the unisex, wearing enormous, red boxing gloves. He is hitting one of the stall doors. Ally comes running in to find out what's wrong. "Do you think you could wear bigger gloves?" she says, laughing. He says they are to protect the door, and his hands. He continues hitting the door and Ally gets in between John and the door. "Out of my way!" he says. She says no. "In my office!" says Ally. John says no. The next thing we know, she's pulling him into her office by the ear. When they finally get there and she shuts the door, Ally demands to know what is going on. He says he's made a big mistake. "Before you came to this firm, I never went down to the bar after work. I never talked to anyone, except for Richard. I was content to be this litigant savant. Because there was safety in it," he says. "And you brought me out. And, I'm grateful for it, don't get me wrong. But you also made me believe that I was mainstream. And I totally bought into it. But, I'm also fascinated with frogs. I draft my closing arguments in bare feet. Remnants in toilet bowls actually traumatize me. I can only make love to a woman if I pretend I'm Barry White. And, I'll tell you, just when I think I'm normal, my nose whistles, as if to remind me that I'm not." Ally tells him that if he were to look up the word 'normal' in a thesaurus, he would probably see the word 'ordinary.' "You are the most extraordinary person I have ever met. You say I brought you out. If I did, it wasn't because I convinced you that you were normal, it's because I got you to embrace how wonderful all your little eccentricities are." She says she has always considered John to be kind of a soul mate because they are fellow weirdos. He says that when he saw himself in the newscasts, he saw a weirdo. "You'd rather be a standard, typical lawyer?" Ally asks.

Robin exits the elevator at the firm. Richard comes up and asks if he can help her, then tells her she has something on her neck. He pretends to get it off but is just using that as an excuse to touch her wattle. Since she doesn't know about his fetish, she says thank you and continues on to Billy's office. She knocks on his door and tells him she brought him a gift. He's surprised. He says this is the first time a client brought him a gift after losing. "It's a little sweet male chauvinist pig," she says, as he opens it and finds a small porcelain pig. He says he will think of her when he looks at it. Robin acts a bit flustered and Billy asks if she's okay. She says that she had this whole conversation planned to determine whether he was happily married, but she's forgotten it, so she decides to just ask him if he is happily married. He says "pretty much." She goes to say goodbye and kisses him. He apologizes, but Billy says it is okay. "'It's okay,' just forget it, or 'It's okay,' it's okay?" asks Robin. Billy says, "It's okay." They begin to kiss again, this time more passionately.

In Richard's office, Richard makes the moves on Ling's knee-pit while Ling licks his finger.

At a café, Ally and John sit and talk.

And, back at Billy's office, Robin and Billy continue to kiss. She starts to take off his shirt. Billy stops it from going that far, but they do continue kissing as the door opens and Georgia walks in. "Georgia. Hi. This is Mrs. Jones," Billy says, at first sounding a little nervous about being caught. "Mrs. Jones, my wife, Georgia. We were just…um...kissing," he continues, now sounding as if he is standing up for himself. "I thought you quit?" he says. "I quit my job," Georgia says, "and now I quit you." She walks to his desk, taking off her wedding band on the way, then places it on the top of the desk. She turns and walks out of the office. The door closes behind her but before it does, we see Billy's blank expression.


I always find it hardest to write about episodes that I don't particularly like. Every time I do, I get at least one email telling me I shouldn't have a web site about a show I don't even enjoy. Well, to all of you who want to email me and tell me that, I do enjoy "Ally McBeal" as a whole -- a lot -- but there are some episodes that just don't keep me entertained.

This one was one of those.

Isn't Ling supposed to be a designer? (By the way, that's a rhetorical question.) I thought every outfit she and Nelle wore was hideous, and Ally's clothes weren't much better.

I thought Farrah looked wonderful. Her smile can still light up a room. (Note to David: Now that you've had two of Charlie's Angels on, when are you going to get the third angel to appear on the show? I'd love to see Ling represent her, since Lucy Liu is also going to be an "angel.")

I simply adored Cage's boxing gloves, but what was up with the exploding shoes? And why didn't he ever get another remote flusher?

When Georgia walked out on Billy, my first thought was "Good for Georgia!" But then I asked myself, "How can I say that Billy's actions were wrong, and NOT say that Georgia was wrong when she kissed George?" This has been a difficult question for me to answer. The bottom line is both of them were wrong, and if they had a strong marriage, neither one of them would have kissed someone else. But I believe Billy has purposely been pushing Georgia away. That doesn't make what she did right, but it does give her a reason for turning to someone for companionship. Billy's just a stupid idiot. Not only can I not figure out why Georgia has stayed with him for so long, but I don't know what Robin saw in him.

Favorite Lines:

Richard (when making fun of John's stutter): "Warner Brothers may be claiming trademark infringement."

Ally, to Richard, after he upsets John: "I hope you're happy, Richard."
Richard: "I didn't mean anything."
Ling: "He knows you're meaningless. Don't worry about it."

Georgia, to Ling and Richard: "Grow up – both of you."
Nelle: "You just have a thing for grownups, don't you?"

Copyright © 1999 Dana Bonistalli. All rights reserved.