Synopsis of Hat's Off to Larry
Written by Jennifer W.
Ally and Larry are lying asleep in bed. Ally is having a dream about Larry leaving her and saying goodbye in a note. Ally wakes up and starts calling Larry a pig and hits him with her pillow. Larry asks her what is going on. Ally goes on berating him for leaving her, as Larry tries to reminder her it was just a dream. Ally says she doesn't care and tells Larry not to talk to her. "I'm going to go back to sleep, I'm going to find you in my dream, and I'm going to deal with you there", she snarls, turning over and pulling the covers. Larry is left dumbfounded.
At the morning meeting, Richard wants to know why they are taking the Sam Adams (the latin dance instructor) "intellectual" case. "What's this? We don't do intellectual work here," he says. Nelle explains that Sam has had some dance moves appropriated by a former partner and there is an upcoming latin ballroom competition he wants to enjoin her from using them in. Ally wonders if you are able to claim ownership of a dance move. Nelle counters that Marcel Marceau copyrighted his mime and it's not a big leap to say the protection should be extended to dance. "So, you and Sam Adams are still in touch?" Ling asks. Nelle tells her that she is just on the case. "Doing him. D-d-doing his case." "Doing his glutes. That's what she's probably doing," John stutters. Everyone stares at him. He apologizes, "I didn't realize I was audible." Richard explains that Melanie is out of town and John is feeling a little horny. "I said 'ornery'," John objects. Elaine comes in and tells Richard that Cindy McCauliff is there to see him. Richard wonders why. "What did I do now?".
Cindy tells Richard that he hasn't done anything wrong, she is there because she wants to get married. "Oh, well that is great," Richard says, "You found somebody to love you? All of you?" Cindy says she found a wonderful man but the commonwealth considers her to be a wonderful man as well and so they can't get a wedding license. When she tells him she wants to go to court and challenge it and she would like Richard to represent them, he is shocked and wonders why. "Because you're a lawyer and because I need someone with a firm grasp of the bigotry that we're going to be facing and you sprang to mind," she explains. He asks if he could bring in a second chair. "I'm not always up to speed on the law. It's so boring," he says. Cindy wonders if he is current on his homophobia. "Hey, scout's honor," he says.
Ally walks into her office to find a little boy sitting in her chair. He asks if she is Miss McBeal. She nods her head yes. He tells her he needs a lawyer and asks if she would represent him. "Well, first of all, who are you?" she asks, "And second of all, why do you need a lawyer?" He says he wants to sue his parents for emotional distress. Ally wonders what they did. "They split up," he tells her. He explains, "There is this new book that talks all about how kids get emotionally damaged for life when their parents break up." "I see. Did you read this book?" Ally asks. He answers no, he heard about it. He says he also knows there is this legal thing called a "third-party bene-fishy". "Oh, um, right. Beneficiary," Ally deciphers. He explains that it means if two people make an agreement that helps a third person, that third person has some rights. "I'm the third person," he states. Impressed, Ally says, "Wow, It sounds like you could be a lawyer yourself." He tells her his dad is a lawyer. Ally once again asks his name. "Sam Paul," he says. (It's Larry's son.)
Sam Adams and Inez Cortez, his former dance partner, are arguing in the conference room. Nelle and John are representing Mr. Adams. Nelle asks if Ms. Cortez denies that Mr. Adams taught her the dance moves. She denies it. She says she can do whatever dance moves she chooses and they cannot stop her. Nelle disagrees, "A court might very well enjoin you from doing these maneuvers." "And by the way, you are a fool," Ms. Cortez says to Nelle. "Well, we don't have to get personal here," Nelle counters. Ms. Cortez thinks things have already turned a little personal - as she looks at Sam and Nelle.
Larry asks Sam how he got from Detroit to here. Sam tells Ally and Larry he got there by airplane. They are shocked that he came by himself. Sam explains that he bought a ticket on the computer, took a cab, got on board and took off. "You can even do your own seat assignment," he adds. Ally tells Larry he called Jamie to let her know Sam was there so she wouldn't panic. Larry asks why Sam is there. Ally informed Larry he came to sue him for emotional distress and he would also like damages and attorney fees. Larry sighs and tells Sam it is okay. Sam says, "It's not okay. Mom says it is. Every night, she comes and tucks me in and says 'everything's okay', how you and her are good friends, and how everything's better this way. But it's not better. She goes into her room and she cries. I hear it. And I cry, too, Dad. I know I'm supposed to be a big boy, and I shouldn't cry, and I'm supposed to be strong but I can't help it. It just hurts too much." "So you're suing me?" Larry asks. "I think it's time for you to cry," Sam answers.
Sam tells Ally that his Mom and Dad are probably having one of their big fights. She asks why he says that. "Well, he didn't have to call on the cell phone. He has a phone right here. He just didn't want me to hear," Sam explains. He tells Ally he thought she would be younger than his Mom because they say fathers end up with women younger than the mothers. "But you seem way older than her," he adds. Ally doesn't know what to say. "What are you? 50?" he asks. Ally doesn't know what to say. Sam asks Ally if she loves his father. She tells him she loves him very much. "And he loves you?" he wonders. Before Ally can answer, he asks her if she has kids ("no") and if her biological clock is all ticked out. Ally doesn't know what to say.
Richard is arguing Cindy's case in court. Of course, his homophobia takes center stage. He says states like Vermont are recognizing same sex marriages and even homophobes like himself endorse same-sex unions-because "if they are going to...you know...better in thick, wooded areas, where, well...you know". Cindy's fiancé looks skeptical about Richard's technique in court. Cindy assures him that Richard gets worse and the reason she picked him to argue their case is because he won her last case.
In court, Sam Adams doesn't deny that he discovered the dance move while dancing with Inez-but he was the one who discovered it. "She says you were a team," Nelle says. He responds, "So was Simon and Garfunkel and we know which one wrote the music." "All right, but that's music. This is dance, and like the expression goes it takes two to tango." Sam agrees but says it also takes two to make love but that doesn't mean one can't be teaching a little as he goes. Nelle is flustered. "Um, yes. Why does it really matter if she makes love, um, dances the way she once did with you?" He says it is a national championship competition and if she and her new partner use his style and perform his moves then his dance becomes less original. "Even if I perform better, I will still lose." Ms. Cortez's lawyer cross-examines Sam. "You're talking about the mambo, the salsa, standardized dances." Sam objects, "Songs use a standard, that doesn't mean the music can't be original. The art of dance, just like the art of song, the art of making love. It's about weaving together new forms of expression-from your heart, your soul." The lawyer wonders why he keeps likening it to making love. "In fact, you and Ms. Cortez were more than dance partners--you were lovers?" he asks. Sam says yes. Nelle is bothered by this admission. The lawyer continues, "Ever come up with a new dance move while you were making love?" Sam admits there was one. "So you're in here trying to stop her from employing a move in her dance routine that was actually discovered in a lovemaking session? So I guess when it comes to making love, you weren't equal partners in your mind, you were the teacher?" "Very much," says Sam, "and she knows it".
Nelle is upset at Sam for not telling her Inez and him were lovers. "Are you upset as my lawyer or as a woman who has also slept with me?" Sam asks her. "I'm talking about the sex, um, the, the case!" Nelle says, "It's a little difficult to enjoin her from using a move you two discovered in bed." "Why? Shouldn't the act of making love be every bit as privileged as a lawyer-client communication?" he wonders. Nelle tells him that isn't the law. Sam thinks maybe she shouldn't be the lawyer on this case. Nelle says she can do it and will be fine.
Larry tells Ally that Sam is going to stay with him for a day or two since he came to see his life and asks if Ally will mind. Ally says that is great and of course she doesn't mind. She wonders when she will see him again. "What are you talking about? We are sleeping at your place," he answers. "I mean, you know, he came to see my life." Ally smiles.
"Getting married, huh?" Mark asks Cindy. "Trying to. As soon as I shake off the stigma that goes with having a penis." Mark agrees. She says it was kind of a joke. There is an uncomfortable silence. Mark wants her to tell him about the lucky guy. "Well, he has a lot to offer. And he loves everything that I have to offer." Mark smiles and assures her the two of them should be very happy together. Then adds, "Who are you kidding coming to this law firm, Cindy? Richard Fish is the best attorney you know?" She says she came there because Fish won her last case. She asks if he thinks she is there because of him. "I have no idea, but if you're marrying one man to make another one jealous..." She says she is marrying one because she loves him and the other is a bigot. "Why? Because he can't get past your being a guy? Do you love him?" Mark asks. She says she does. He is skeptical at the odds of her finding a man out there who could love her--"It is a needle in the most enormous of haystacks"--and that in turn, she would also love him. "Maybe his willingness to love me is reason enough for me to love him. Things can work out that way," Cindy sadly admits. "I don't know," Mark says. Cindy agrees, "You certainly don't."
Everyone is at the bar dancing while Sam is singing and dancing. Nelle is really letting loose on the dance floor. Richard and Ling are dancing. Richard wonders if he looks like Sam "when he does his Tom Jones thing". "Exactly," Ling assures him.
Ally is playing the piano for Sam. She ask him if he knows "Puff, the Magic Dragon". He says he does but she shouldn't sing that song because it is sad. Ally asks him if he misses his dad. He nods his head and asks her if he thinks his dad will ever come back home. She tells him he should talk to him about that. But Sam explains to her that Larry doesn't like to talk about stuff like that. Ally wonders why. "I don't know, he just can't. He doesn't do stuff like that. He likes to pretend nothing's ever wrong," Sam says. Ally disagrees. Sam continues, "Remember when I told him how I cry? He's already found a way to forget that--that's what he does."
Ms. Inez Cortez is on the stand. "We'd dance in the studio and get a little worked up. The moves would evolve. It is his male chauvinist arrogance that the moves evolved from him. I am just as entitled to claim ownership as he is." She says she stopped being his dance partner because it became to destructive. "Sam Adams uses his personal relationships to generate creative spark and when our relationship normalized or plateaued to an even keel, he felt creatively blocked. So he would break up to generate want. That is where his inspiration comes from," she says. Nelle objects but is overruled. Ms. Cortez continues, "He likes it better if there's something forbidden about his partner--places he shouldn't run his hands or slide his legs." "Nelle, looking uncomfortable, interjects, "This is so far off the point, your honor. The issue here is did she steal his dance moves?" The judge says she has no idea what moves they are talking about. She asks if the moves have names. Inez says no, because they invented them. "I invented them, you stole them," Sam says. Sam and Inez start to argue. The judge stops them and says she wants to see a demonstration of the moves. "Do you think you two could just give me a demonstration without biting each other's heads off?" she asks.
Larry comes to visit Ally. He says he spoke to Sam's teacher and she said he has been getting into a lot of fights. "Well, he's struggling a little, I guess," Larry says. Ally sarcastically wonders what it could be. Larry says he doesn't know what to do. She tells him he needs to go to Detroit. "Be it a month, be it a year. You can't take him away from his mother and he needs his father. Now, I may be saying something that's not occurring to you, but I'm not telling you anything that you don't know. You've got to go to Detroit," Ally sadly says.
In court, Richard tells the judge, "Your honor, I read that Constitution. I read the preamble, the post amble, the amendments, I read it all. And nothing says marriage has to be between a man and a woman." "Congress passed the defense of marriage act, maybe Mr. Fish missed that while so immersed in the Constitution," the other lawyer sarcastically remarks. Fish continues, "Oh, yes, Congress. Well, I don't think the court should question Congress. By the way, Congress once said blacks couldn't marry whites. Yeah, love that Congress. Look, murderers can marry. Cannibals can marry. But, two gay people? There goes the sanctity. Your honor, I read the book of virtues. I get it and I'll stand up and defend every person's right to be an indefensible bigot--I'm one--but let's at least be honest. This is bigotry, blatant. It's a government trying to impose its own sense of morality and this is exactly what happens when you have politicians who start conforming their views to what the people think because, let's face it, for the people in this country, there are too many red necked, inbred idiots. Where else do people take high-powered rifles with sophisticated scopes, blow the head off a deer and go 'sport!'?" "Mr. Fish," the judge warns. "He's going to keep talking until you declare him a winner. Don't fall for this," the opposing lawyer interjects. The judge says he has heard enough. Mark walks in and asks the judge if he could have a second. He introduces himself as Mark Albert, a lawyer from Mr. Fish's firm. Mark says, "Whether or not you support same-sex marriages or not, the point is being missed here. Sitting next to Mr. Cattleman (Cindy's fiancé) is a woman. I don't care what her birth certificate reads." "Oh, and I suppose if she wanted to enter the Olympics as a woman, we..." opposing council tries to say. Mark continues, "She's not looking to throw a javelin. She just wants to get married. Your honor, I have dated Cindy McCauliff and she is one of the finest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. It's the 21st century. We should be beyond judging people by the color of their skin, their "X" or "Y" chromosomes or their anatomical... Why can't we just look at the person? Simply judge the person? Cindy McCauliff is a beautiful woman who wants to get married. The only appropriate thing for this court or any other court to do, is congratulate the groom."
Larry tells Ally doesn't think he can just uproot everything-his life and his work are here. "We can keep talking about it Larry, but that presumes that you have choices and you don't. Your son is in Detroit and he needs you. Now, you once said to me that "Until you have a child you have no idea the capacity you have to love somebody." You're a lot of things. You're more than anybody I've ever met. But what you are the most, is a dad." Larry asks Ally to come with him. She says she would "in a second" but "this is something you have to do alone. I mean, at least initially. It's not about him assimilating into your new life. This is just about him needing you in his." Larry tells her he will be back. "I know you will, baby," she says. "Or, you will come to Detroit." She nods her head in agreement. "Hey, this isn't how you go about dumping guys, is it? Get their needy kids to visit, then pack them both on a plane to...that's not what's happening here, is it?" he asks. She pulls him close, "Hey, Mr. Larry. I love you." They hug and she rests her head on his shoulder.
Sam and Inez dance very sensually in court, showing the judge the moves in question. Nelle looks very uncomfortable watching them as she notices how hot they are when they dance.
In Mark's office, Cindy ask him why he said that stuff in court. "Because I'm an officer of the court and you are an extraordinary woman, Cindy," he says. She asks him if he wants her to win the case. He does, but only if she loves him (her fiancé). She assures Mark she does and he tells her that no court can take that love away. Cindy thanks him, but looks a little sad.
The judge is giving his ruling in court. "It is a very sad day in my life, in this court, when I find myself agreeing with Mr. Fish. But today, I do. The law against same-sex marriages, well, it may not be as stupid as blowing the head off a deer and calling it sport but it comes damn close. However, just because I don't like a law, it's not up to me to substitute my judgment for legislative intent. Petitioners' motion is denied. Court is adjourned." Richard apologizes to Cindy for losing the case. She thanks him for trying and says it is okay. "My winning streak stopped at one. Bugger!" Richard says. He tells Cindy and her fiancé he has always thought of myself as the captain of his own ship. "I feel something really homophobic coming," Cindy whispers. "No. My firm is sort of my ship. Though it's not technically legal, why don't you let me marry you two. Maybe the court has spoken, but why give it the last word?" he says.
Larry is packing up his stuff. Ally is surprised he is taking everything. He says he will put it in storage since it would be silly to pay rent. She asks him where the "little home-wrecker" (smile) is. "Oh, he's back with Renee, packing his stuff. Our flight is at 9:00," he tells her. "So does that mean we can have an early dinner?" she asks. He tells her he has a problem with goodbyes. "That dream you had, where I left a note? That'd be exactly what I'd do," Larry explains. "Okay, so when I drop you off at the airport, I just won't watch you get out of the car." He tells Ally he got a Town Car to take Sam and him to the airport. Ally is upset. "I can't handle goodbyes, okay? So just bear with me on this. Just know that I love you, and I'll be back," he tries to reassure her. "Okay," Ally responds. He says he will swing by on the way, just real quick. Then, he won't say goodbye, but he will just...leave note. "If I so much as look at you, I'll never get on the plane," he says.
Nelle is upset that Sam has decided to be partner's with Inez again. He says, "It makes the most sense. It's our best chance to win the competition. Otherwise, we'll just cancel each other out." Nelle wants to know what happens if they win the injunction. He says Inez is still the best partner-he realized that while dancing with her in court. "Yes, what else did you realize?" Nelle snidely asks. "Nelle, we were just dancing. We just maximize our chances this way. How about we meet after for a little celebration dinner?" Nelle tells him she doesn't think it's great for them to see each other personally any longer. Sam doesn't understand why. "Look, I know you and I aren't meant to be long-term. But short-term, there's so much wonderful sex to be had," he says and pulls her close. She says she will notify the court they are going to dismiss the lawsuit. She tries to pull away but is only pulled into a kiss with him. She then realizes it won't work and pulls away. "Goodbye," she says.
Richard is presiding over Cindy and her fiancé's pseudo-marriage ceremony. "Then by the powers of me, Richard Fish, rich attorney with his own firm, in the presence of God, our friends, and everybody who counts, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may, um, kiss the bride." They kiss. Cindy thanks Richard for everything. He asks if he gets to kiss the bride. "Would you like to?" Cindy asks. He says he would, but no tongue. "No chance," responds Cindy. They kiss and Richard actually looks like he enjoyed it. John tells Melanie, who has been out of town, he is still waiting for his hello kiss. She bends him back and gives him a big 'ol wet one. Everyone looks at them. Elaine asks Mark if Melanie is a bigger slut than she is. He says no. "Wedding's over. Let's have a reception," Richard says.
Vonda is singing "Tell Him", Ally's theme song, at the bar. "So he can't say goodbye? What's up with that?" Renee wonders. "He writes notes," Ally says, "He's a dream come true right till the bitter end." Ally wonders if Larry requested her theme song be played at the bar-if this is his note to her. Elaine comes in and tells Ally that Larry and Sam are outside in the car. "Oh great, he's leaving you skid marks. There's a note for you," Nelle says sarcastically (she is drunk).
"I thought you were afraid to make eye contact?" Ally says to Larry. Sam tells Ally bye and that he had a wonderful time. She says she did too and he has to come and visit her. "I will," he says, "Now I'll put up my window so you and dad can smooch." Larry tells Ally to keep hearing the song he wrote her. "Don't forget," he says. "And you don't forget," Ally sadly says back. "Chances Are" (the song Larry wrote for Ally) starts to play. Larry gets into the car and it drives away. Ally starts to walk home, hearing the song in her head. She gets to her steps and looks up to find a snowman. It has a note attached to it from Larry. She smiles.
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