Synopsis of Reach Out and Touch
Written by Jennifer W.
Ally stares out her window, looking at the falling snow and thinking of Larry. A song starts playing in her head. She turns to see Barry Manilow standing in her room singing to her. She screams. Renée runs in worried. Ally tells her she saw Barry Manilow. "Call 911," Ally says.
At the morning meeting, Richard announces that the good news is the firm is making money, but the bad news is he can never get enough. "John and I have hired a new associate, rainmaker big portables. I'd like to introduce you to him now. Unfortunately, he's late," Richard says. Nelle wants to know who this person is. "Nobody has to feel threatened. I love you all. Nobody's job is in peril as we speak at (looking at his watch) 9:10. And by the way, Nelle, you didn't complain when we brought you in as rainmaker, light drizzle that you turned out to be," he adds. Richard continues to speak as Ally looks up and sees Barry instead of Richard. He is singing to her again. She gasps and everyone stares at her. She apologizes, looking embarrassed. Ling wonders if Ally is going to get all weird again now that Larry is gone. "Ling, I never stopped being weird," she answers. Richard continues, "I was just going to extend our support in your time of newfound loneliness. Ally, we're all here for you." "Yeah, and I'm going to find someplace else to be weird," Ally says, as she gets up to leave.
Looking down, Ally runs (literally) into the new lawyer, Jackson Duper. She imagines his clothes flying off of him and smiles. He introduces himself as Ally apologizes. She tells him that everyone is waiting for him in the conference room. He says he first needs to use the facilities and asks where they are. She points and he thanks her. Ally starts to follow him but stops herself, shaking her head. She runs into Elaine who has also noticed the new man of the firm. Elaine groans and smiles.
A woman gets of the elevator carrying a big bunch of Valentine's Day balloons. She asks for John Cage. Elaine points to John who is walking out of the meeting with everyone in tow. The woman walks up to John and gives him the balloons announcing they are from Melanie West. John thanks her. The woman grabs John and kisses him on the lips. He pulls away and says he is spoken for. "So am I," the woman says, as she takes off her wig. It is Melanie. Everyone claps. Ally sadly walks away, obviously missing Larry. John notices this and excuses himself to go and talk to her.
John tells Ally he knows it is tough for her-spending Valentine's Day apart from Larry. He asks if she has heard from him yet. "Yeah, we talked this morning and we're going to talk again tonight," she says. "You know, I'm fine, John. The long distance relationships--well, they've certainly been know to work." John agrees. She tells him she has to concentrate on this silly little annulment case--which she is late for. She asks John to take the case for her. He says he doesn't think he would be able to since it starts today. She says she doesn't think she would be able to handle a broken relationship case right now. Plus, she is hallucinating a little.
Richard wants to know how Ally is hallucinating. Ally dismisses it and says it isn't important. "Ally you're asking a lawyer to take over on the day of trial," Richard says. Ally reminds him that Ling has been second-chairing on the case. Ling says she is not ready to take over the case from Ally. She finally admits she is having Barry Manilow hallucinations. "You're off the case," Richard says immediately. Ling suggests she is going to need back-up since this case is a tricky one. Richard assigns Jackson Duper to it. Ally agrees to bring Jackson up to speed on the case.
Melanie admits she loves Barry Manilow. John is surprised and tells her he loves Barry Manilow too. He says for his sexual persona he has always gone to Barry White but for his solitude, it's always been Barry Manilow. John decides he wants to share something big with Melanie.
Ally and Jackson are in her office with the client, Clayton. Ally assures him that Jackson and Ling will be fine on the case. When Jackson asks what the case is about. Clayton tells him he married a nymphomaniac. Ally fills in, "Well, see, we're trying to annul the marriage, we sued the minister and the judge joined the complaint." Jackson is confused why he is suing the minister. "Because my wife was having an affair with him at the time he joined our hands in holy matrimony," he says. "Your wife was sleeping with the minister?" Jackson is shocked. Ling walks in, sees Jackson and asks what he is doing there. She cannot believe that he is Jackson Duper and walks out.
Jackson follows Ling into her office. "So, Jackson Duper, you don't tell women your real name?" she asks. "Hey, for all I knew...," he starts. "You knew me enough to go to bed with me," she concludes. She wants to know why he used an alias. "Excellent, do I get to talk?" She interrupts, "Fine. Quick, think up something." "Look..." "Back to "look"." "Hey..." "We're back to "hey"." "Ling..." "How'd you know my real name? Oh, that's right I gave it to you. What an odd thing to do," she concludes.
John brings Melanie into the unisex. She wonders what the big secret is. He says it is big and no one has ever seen it before. He carefully checks to make sure no one else is the bathroom. "When you showed me your apartment a few weeks ago, I almost showed you then. Melanie, you must promise never ever to tell anybody?" he asks. He pulls her into the stall. "Well, I've seen your toilet, John," she says. He hits the button on his toilet flusher remote and a wall opens behind the toilet. He says he calls it his "Hole in the Wall". The room is set up like a little living room. Melanie is shocked. He tells her he goes there for solitude. "Imagine my surprise when I saw your home. I always thought it was a bit of a miracle to find a beautiful woman. One who has Tourette's, likes small places, and one who also loves Barry Manilow," he explains, "Melanie, will you marry me?" She squeals. John squeals. Richard walks into the unisex and hears squeals. "Hello?" he asks, to no one in particular. Melanie asks John if he is serious. He says he is. "Don't tell me I'll have to wrestle your father again to get your hand." Ally walks in and Richard tells her he keeps hearing sounds. Ally opens one of the stalls to find Barry singing to her. She screams and slams the door. Richard tells her she has to confront him. "The way to fight nightmares or demons or hallucinations is to take them on. Take his head off. That's the only way to deal with ghosts," he suggests. Ally agrees. She opens the stall again...it is empty.
Ling is questioning Clayton on the witness stand. He says the first time he noticed was during their wedding videos. Ling shows an enhanced video that shows the bride and minister swapping tongues when the minister kisses the bride after the ceremony. Clayton says he confronted Marcia, his wife, after he saw this and she admitted that she and the minister had been having a torrid affair. He says their marriage was a fraud. Mr. Milter cross-examines Clayton. "Mr. Hooper, you're seeking an annulment from Mrs. Hooper saying that you were never really married. Well, I'm not clear how you can then be suing my client, Reverend Compton for interfering in a marital relationship if you claim that no such relationship existed," he states. Clayton says there possibly could have been if the Reverend didn't insert his fat, wet, Episcopalian tongue into the bride's mouth. "Your honor, I'm not comfortable with the response. I'm going to go ahead and object," Mr. Milter interjects. The judge overrules him. Mr. Milter continues, "Granted, Mr. Hooper it wasn't right for Reverend Compton to buss your wife, but how did..." "You call that a buss? He practically "bussed" her tonsils," Clayton argues. "I'm not comfortable with that response, your honor," Mr. Milton says. Marcia's lawyer cross-examines Clayton next. "When you confronted my client, she told you she had a disease didn't she, Mr. Hooper?" he asks. Clayton says she told him she has an infidelity disease. "Let's throw her a fund-raiser," he adds. "Your wife told you she was a nymphomaniac did she not?" Clayton answers, "So what? I was there. I betrothed my penis to her till death or, impotence do us part." "Your honor, my client is a minister. I'm not comfortable with the vulgarity," Mr. Milter objects. The judge tells him to sit down.
John wonders why Melanie really hasn't given him an answer yet. "Well, John, you can't just propose to somebody inside the wall of a bathroom stall and expect a quick answer," she says. He asks her if she needs time to think about it. Melanie pulls him away so they can talk in private.
Ling tells Richard that Jackson doesn't believe their case is a real one. Jackson explains, "I get put on this thing because the lead attorney is hallucinating Barry Manilow. Then we got the minister who's french-kissing the bride, who's a nymph. All the while, there's this wacky lawyer who keeps saying how he's not comfortable. Now, I'm beginning to wonder if..." He stops talking when he notices Elaine making her Vi-Bra enlarge her nipples, over and over again. He is speechless.
Melanie explains that it is not that she doesn't want to marry him, it is just that the idea of being institutionalized is a little repugnant to her even if the institution is marriage. John is confused. She admits she doesn't believe in marriage. John is shocked. She says the custom is silly. She further explains she doesn't feel love is something you contract. "Well...," John says, perplexed. "You've suddenly gone from with me forever to wondering whether you want to be with me at all?" she asks. He says he is surprised at her answer. She assures John that she loves him. "Okay," John says.
Ally is talking to Larry on the phone. She tells him about what has been going on and vice versa. She also thanks him for the flowers. The linger trying to get off the phone. Ally finally hangs up. She walks over to a freezer in her room, where she stores...the snowman he made for her when he left for Detroit. She starts to hear and see Barry Manilow again.
Jackson and Ling are bickering in her office. Richard wants to know what is going on. Ling says "nothing" but Jackson volunteers to put it out there. "Richard, Ling and I got biblical one evening after we met in a bar." "Biblical? You mean like pray together?" Richard wonders. "Well, if by praying, you mean on your knees..." Jackson says. Ling hits Jackson. Richard realizes they had sex. Ling introduces Jackson to Richard, her boyfriend.
Ally tells John to calm down and think things through. "Don't tell me to think, Ally. When I think, it hurts. I feel pain. It does me no good to distract myself from pain by thinking about it, if thinking about it brings me more pain," he says, "Think, feel, think, feel. Balls!" Ally says they should talk about it but John doesn't see the point. Ally says she will talk about it then and John will listen. She tells him that Melanie didn't reject him, she is just afraid of marriage. "Now, she loves you. She has doubts about marriage. And if you go and you talk to her, John you cannot be defensive, because when you get defensive, you start to attack. And when you attack, she is not going to feel that you are entitling her to her feelings and if that happens, then you keep reminding yourself over and over again that she loves you," Ally suggests.
Richard walks in and says that Ling slept with Jackson. He explains they met in a bar a couple of years ago, she went back to his place and concubined. "I want to just beat him up. I want to just take him by the throat and pound him," he adds. "Oh, who you trying to kid, Richard? You couldn't even take Ling," John says. Richard lunges at John and Ally tries to break them up. She assures both of them that each of their loves, loves them. "And of course, she slept with people before. Now what you two are feeling is vulnerable. And when you feel this way, the best thing to do is communicate, communicate, communicate, okay? You to Melanie, you to ling. And I want you two to shake hands to make up for that shove, too." They both apologize to one another. Ally leaves them alone in the office.
Mark is on his way to find Richard. Ally tells him it isn't a good time. She asks him what is the matter. "This new guy, I don't like him," he says. Ally wonders why. "Well, to be honest it's Elaine. She hasn't stopped sweating since he got here," he explains. Ally says he is exaggerating. He points to Elaine, who is ridiculously dripping with sweat.
In court, the Reverend says that he got involved with Marcia under duress. "Though I've committed myself to God, he created me as a man with man's urges." He explains how it happened. "Marcia and I were planning the wedding in my office, going over the ceremonial options and what for and suddenly, I look up from my desk and there's this areola." Everyone is shocked. "She just opened her blouse, took off her bra and womp! Plopped it right down. Well, I'm not proud of what happened next, but I licked it." The lawyer asks why he did that. Reverend Compton says he has urges, like any man, but unlike any man he had never had access. "Truth be told, the only breasts I'd ever seen before were in National Geographic, and they were the saggy variety. But this one was so alive and right before my eyes," he explains. Jackson cross-examines. "Okay, uh, you're planning the wedding, the bride's breast falls in front of you and you, lick it? What type of a minister are you?" he asks. "Your honor, I'm not comfortable with..." Mr. Milter interjects. "You keep talking about how you're not comfortable. I have a lawyer over here who can't find comfort, a nipple-licking minister talking about saggy breasts he saw in National Geographic. Your honor, this is whack! And we haven't even gotten to the nymph yet," Jackson says. The judge tries to interrupt Jackson, be he continues, "Your defense is duress? What, you just had to lick it? What were you thinking?" The judge tells Jackson that is enough. The Reverend tells Jackson "God made man weak". "God made man weak? Don't you have rules? Isn't it written in some minister's handbook "Thou shall not lick the bride's left nipple"? Jackson wonders.
Ally admits to Mark and Nelle that she is seeing Barry Manilow ever since Larry left. She tells them Richard said she should confront him. "I had some friends who thought their house was haunted. They went to some ghost specialist. That's what they were told: Confront the ghost-aggressively," Mark says. "Ghosts are like men. Unless you're vicious, they just keep haunting you," Nelle volunteers.
Melanie walks into John's office and says she needs to speak to him. He and Richard are hanging upside down from a bar. He does a dismount. Melanie tells him she does gymnastics too. "Look, I met somebody who tics and stutters and likes gymnastics and small, tiny spaces and Barry Manilow but the longer people are together the more they discover all their differences, John, and eventually those differences outnumber the things that they have in common and since the things they have in common have long since been celebrated it's the differences that...The most alone people I know are married--some happily," she says. John doesn't know how to respond but he says that is ridiculous. "Given the complex nature of the human being the human psyche a person could spend a lifetime discovering who he himself is let alone who others are. Given the capacity for change, the capacity for love to grow, to nurture change given how every single little equation of love is infinitely compounded when two people come together I mean, the idea that discovery whether it be of commonalties or differences, could be finite I find that utterly devoid of logic, not to mention hope," he says. "Wow. That's a lot from somebody who didn't know how to respond," Melanie responds. John continues, "Melanie, we're at the beginning and the only thing you can feel is that all things must end." She says that is not what she is saying but he says it is. "If you want to turn me down, do it. If you want to condemn the institution of marriage, fine but please, for your own sake don't reject the idea that somehow, someplace two people can make it work and be happy in the process," John pleads. Melanie says she has never seen it.
Nelle introduces herself to Jackson as she walks into the unisex. He introduces himself and tells that this is a men's bathroom. She corrects him and says it is a unisex-we all go together here. Jackson opens a stall door. The toilet flushes as John says he likes a fresh bowl. John enters the stall and closes the door. Jackson is speechless. Elaine walks out of the next stall, sweating uncontrollably at Jackson, her Vi-Bra moving up and down. Melanie walks in and squeals. Jackson squeals. She goes into the stall with John. Jackson has nothing to say about the odd behavior at the firm.
Marcia says she wasn't really in control when she put out her nipple. "I get this urge for gratification and it overwhelms me. I was as shocked as anybody when he started licking," she says. She says she Mr. Hooper and intended to spend the rest of my life with him as she would still like to do. Jackson cross-examines her. "As you planned to walk down the aisle, as you shared the mutual intent of spending the rest of your life with him did it ever occur to you to say "by the way, honey, I'm a nymphomaniac"?" She says she was afraid he wouldn't marry her if she told him. Jackson questions the witness about her real motive-alimony. "You're actually here because you want alimony. You don't have the integrity to just walk away. You've destroyed this man. Now you want his money? What diagnosis do you have to defend your indecency?" Jackson continues, among many objections. Marcia admits she was unfaithful and even though she was unfaithful 106 times over their three year marriage, it was because of a sickness.
In John's bathroom room, Melanie asks him if he still wanted to get married. "Melanie, I don't want to be with someone who can't conceive of happily ever after," he says. She promises to work on that but he says it is not enough because she has to "believe". She asks if they can continue their courtship. Before John can answer, she says she has a surprise for him. She again tells him she loves him.
Jackson gives his closing summation. "I am embarrassed to have pulled you away from your busy lives because this here is ridiculous. We have a nymphomaniac who's holding out for alimony after having slept with 106 men during her marriage. We have a Reverend who claims to have slept with the nymph under duress, and the Reverend is being sued by the wounded husband for emotional distress. This is silly. And I'm sorry for taking up your time and I won't take up any more of it except to say that you know what you know. There never was a marriage here. My client never knew he was saying, "I do" to a compulsive sexaholic. There was no meeting of the minds, just annul the thing and let that be that." Mr. Mathers, Marcia's lawyer, gives his summation. "Why isn't there a marriage? They took vows: For better or worse. Granted, nymphomania would be worse but that is what a marital union is about--accepting your spouse for strengths as well as flaws." Mr. Milter gives his summation. "Since she is a nymphomaniac and all sides are agreeing that she is how can you really hold the Reverend responsible for breaking up this union? It was going to end anyway. Now, this is not to defend my client's tongue insertion into the bride's mouth during the ceremony. Nor, am I condoning the extracurricular activity with the breast but the Reverend didn't cause anything to come apart that wasn't destined to break apart."
Richard is trying to console Richard. She says if him and Ling were meant to break apart, it probably has nothing to do with Jackson Duper. Richard disagrees. When Ally asks what he loves about Ling, he says her soft, creamy skin and deep down, he loves her hair. Ally wonders what he thinks Ling loves about him. He says his money. "Hmm. Yeah. Well that seems like a pretty tough bond for Jackson Duper to crack, don't you think? Soft skin, hair, and, um, money," Ally assures him.
The jury has reached a verdict in the Hooper v. Hooper case. The jury finds that the marriage should be dissolved but the Reverend should not be held accountable for the marriage breaking up. Clayton says he would love to have nailed that minister. "Your former wife did that," Jackson assures him. After Clayton leaves the court room, Jackson and Ling find themselves alone. Jackson says he thinks, considering the circumstances, he should no longer work at Cage and Fish. Ling tells him it won't bother her if he stays. "But you are with Richard Fish, right?" he asks. She assures him that she is. He says he respects that. She thanks him and asks if he came to work there because of her. He says he doesn't remember. He starts to apologize. "Yeah, well, to your first victory at Cage and Fish," she says. As she walks away, Jackson says to himself, "And my first defeat."
Everyone at the bar is cheering and clapping for the night's performer...Barry Manilow. This is Melanie's surprise. She says she got him there with Ling's help. Ally and Renée walk into the bar. Ally sees Barry Manilow on the stage and thinking he is another hallucination, goes up and tries to slug him! He ducks and the music stops. Ally is shocked he is the real thing. "Lady, you want the mike that badly ask for it. Here," Barry says to Ally, handing her the mike. Ally tries to protests but then breaks out in song. Everyone claps and cheers.
Ally is talking to Larry on the phone. She tells him how she thought Barry was a ghost. So she went up to the bar, and the next thing she knew, she was singing "It's A Miracle" with Barry Manilow. She wishes Larry could have been there. She tells him she loves him and sadly says bye. Renée walks in and asks Ally if she is ok. "Is it harder than you thought?" she asks. Ally says yes. "Well, I've got you. That's all I need," Ally tells her. "Thank you. I'd rather be with Jackson Duper," Renée responds. "You bide your time, Renée. I'm going to bed."
With the music playing, Ally slowly dances with a pillow, thinking of Larry. John and Melanie are in the bathroom room slowly dancing. Ling and Richard dance at the bar.
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