Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How have I been missing this?

I only recently started watching Boston Legal.

I’ve caught a few episodes now and then and liked it, but last night the HD network was running some kind of Boston Legal marathon , so I managed to take in several episodes.

Holy shit, what a weird, quirky, utterly hysterical show.

I suspect I’m preaching to the choir here. However…for those of you who live in a remote village in central Zimbabwe and haven’t seen it:

The core cast is terrific, both Candice Bergen and James Spader are truly funny people, but William Shatner completely steals the show – the guy is just absolutely, insanely, hilariously brilliant.

Case in point: Last night they aired Season 3, Episode 16: The Good Lawyer.

Denny’s (Shatner) girlfriend, Bethany (played by the utterly gorgeous little person, Meredith Eaton) makes him go to Temple. Denny claims he can’t go because he’s a Christian. When Bethany asks what kind, Denny flounders around and finally says he’s Lutheran. Bethany then asks him what Lutherans believe in, and after a minute Denny replies: “Luther.” Obviously he has no clue and is just trying to get out of going to Temple. It doesn’t work, and later in the show you see Shatner sitting in Synagogue, utterly lost. First he won’t sing, then after Bethany jabs him, he starts belting out nonsense pseudo Hebrew words off key, until Bethany jabs him to shut him up. Then he falls asleep, and two kids a couple of rows ahead of him notice his snoring – so they shoot him with spitballs. Denny wakes up with spitballs glued to his face, realizes what’s going on about the same time Bethany does, and whips out a pen, which he proceeds to disassemble into his own peashooter. Bethany realizes what he’s doing and tries to stop him.

By this time I’m laughing hysterically, mostly because of Shatner’s maniacal intensity, but I still had some control of my bodily functions.

But when Bethany leaps on top of Denny – the image of Shatner wrestling with feisty midget Meredith Eaton, his eyes bulging out and his jowls wagging, while attempting to chew a wad of paper into a spitball, I pretty much lost all control.

Denny flings Bethany away, and as she slides down the polished wooden seat he loads his peashooter and takes aim at the two kids. He lets fly just as Bethany comes leaping back like some kind of mini-westler and body slams into Denny…and the spitball hits the Rabbi dead in the eye. I think at that point I was lying on the floor making hiccuping noises.

And the final scene…Denny and Bethany sitting across the table from the Rabbi and his lawyer, Denny explaining his version of Middle Eastern politics – and you suddenly realize the Rabbi is wearing an eyepatch and they’re suing Denny. It’s a wonder I didn’t completely pass out from lack of oxygen.

Boy, if I only had a nickel for every time a midget has broken up with me over politics…


  1. You asshole. Since you're 5 hours behind me, I actually emailed you a few different weeks telling you that you had to watch 'such and such' episode. (I think it was when Denny and Alan try to join the Navy and then Coast Guard.)


  2. Well, I did watch it the few times you emailed me.

    And it was you who told me how good the show was - but until last night when I could actually watch four or five episodes in a row and get a feel for the characters and the story arc, it didn't quite hook me. Now, I'm looking up listings to see when it's on again.

  3. "...However…for those of you who live in a remote village in central Zimbabwe and haven’t seen it..."

    Uh, that'd be me. Though around here we call it "Midtown Anchorage."

    Television. This is a hobby for people with time. (Also some sort of cable box, I hear.)

  4. Um, I think the actress' name is "Meredith Eaton," and the character's name was "Bethany Horowitz." Just sayin'.

    I love that show, and I've seen every episode at least once. Spader and Shatner's on-screen relationship really made the show special.

    I can't believe you're just now watching it.

    Where did you think all my "Mad Cow" references came from?

  5. Never watched it and not a David E. Kelley fan (I thought The Practice, Ally McBeal and Boston Public were abysmal overrated shows when I caught episodes, tho' I admit I did sorta like Picket Fences and was kind of a Chicago Hope fan for awhile, though that mostly might have been due to Inigo Montoya).

    But Shatner's an underrated comic genius. He really is. A problem as a serious actor, very uneven--I recently read a thing in The Onion A/V Club that claimed that Nicholas Meyer had to repeat scenes in Star Trek II over and over again until Shatner got bored and stopped overacting--whereupon Meyer got maybe the best serious performance of the Shatenator's career. But in comic roles? Surprisingly, the guy kills. Rent Free Enterprise if you haven't seen it, which features Shatner as "himself" wanting to stage a musical version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar when he's not serving as a demented guru to an obsessed Trekkie who's flailing around in his life.

  6. Eric, you'd like Boston Legal. James Spader's character is famous for his liberal rants. He made me think of you, actually. :-)

  7. I just discovered the reruns of this show myself. This, in spite of the fact that J. has been pestering me for YEARS to watch it.


  8. Yeah, Eric, Spader does remind me of you. His rants are great.

    And Eric? you're right Shatner is a comic genius - nobody parodies Shatner like Shatner. And I love his Priceline Negotiator commercials - they're one of the few commercials I'll watch with the sound on.

    "Nofee doesn't like it when people pay too much. It makes him...angry..."

    You know what would be good? Shatner and Nathan Fillion in the same room.

    Janice, I'll fix the name mix up. Give me a minute

  9. Eric, I LOVE Free Enterprise. I have trouble watching the very end, because Shatner doing bad rap to Shakespeare is more than I can take, but everything else about it is priceless. Including Shatner, who is not a favorite of mine. And the bookstore where our heroes first run into Shatner used to be a block from my old apartment. Both it and I have since moved.

    I've only seen Boston Legal a few times, but I've enjoyed it when I've seen it. (BTW, here's a cute photo of Shatner and Eaton together.)

    CuteFilmNerd adores the Priceline commercials - all life must stop when one pops up. They're fun, yeah, but I rather preferred the ones with Leonard Nimoy threatening Shatner's place as the Priceline guy. Damned funny.

    You know what would be good? Shatner and Nathan Fillion in the same room.I'd just about die. I loves me some Fillion and I think he could hold his own with Shatner.

  10. Wow! I didn't know that I've moved to Zimbabwe (or was it Timbuctoo?)! I am just not a TV person, so I don't watch series. Although I may actually have to watch this episode, just for the sheer joy of contemplating spitballs in temple...

  11. We just showed Pretty In Pink to a friend who had only seen James Spader on Boston Legal. She was quite amazed.

  12. It's funny you should say that, Mensley. I think the Boston Legal Spader would make about three of the Pretty in Pink/Stargate Spaders. It amazing how much he's changed - just like Shatner.

    And we were just comparing Some Kind of Wonderful Eric Stoltz to Rob Roy Eric Stoltz. It's amazing how little he's changed (of course, RR is fairly old now - still a great, great movie though).

  13. Spader was in Pretty in Pink? He WAS? You sure?

    I caught Boston Legal with the very last episode and have been flailing around trying to find more.

    Maybe Shatner could guest on Castle as Fillion's father?


  14. Cassie, yep. He was Steff.

    I haven't seen Castle, but it looked good from the commercials.

  15. OMG, Castle is a riot. Fillion's got a comic streak you'd never suspect. The casting for the whole show is marvelous.

    I didn't watch Boston Legal much the first few seasons, it was on against something else I'd been watching for a while. Once I started watching, geez, I know the neighbors thought I was there is a local station that runs it for 3 shows every Monday night.

    The sad part about Spader & Shatner's on-screen relationship is that they really were not that comfortable with each other off screen. I think it was Shatner that mentioned in an interview. Of course, some episodes look like the sci-fi actor's refugee camp!


  16. BL was in our weekly viewing schedule throughout the five seasons it ran. Hilarity surrounding Denny Crane - and other assorted characters - aside, it was Alan Shore's courtroom performances that always were a highlight.

    Eric may be too close professionally to the setting to enjoy it as much as us laymen...

  17. ... kinda like Jim with NCIS, I wanted to type and forgot...

  18. I've been a Boston Legal fan since just after the beginning. I always like the Boston cut-shots, and make sure I know what they're showing.

    My brother was a DEK fan, too, and we discussed Boston Legal a lot. Then came the episode where Mark Valley cut off the fingers of a priest, and my brother stopped watching the show. I didn't see that as any kind of reason to stop watching, but it meant we weren't able to discuss it much any more. Oh well...

    And speaking of Ally McBeal, I have all but 3 episodes on video tape. I'm going to have to get them transferred to DVD while I still have a machine capable of reading the VHS tapes. Or, maybe I could just buy the complete DVD collection somewhere...

    I love watching TV on DVD. I did that for much of the early West Wing, and for almost the entire Alias. Much better than commercials, and waiting a week or more for the next episode. Maybe that's why I record almost everything on the PVR and don't watch it live.

  19. Actually William Shatner and James Spader have both said on numerous occasions that they became friends and enjoy each others company.

  20. "... kinda like Jim with NCIS, I wanted to type and forgot..."

    Cindi loves NCIS and just cannot accept that I CAN NOT WATCH IT.

    Of course, nothing could be as abominable as the freak show that was JAG. I'd rather be waterboarded than watch that putrescence...

  21. "... kinda like Jim with NCIS, I wanted to type and forgot..."Cindi loves NCIS and just cannot accept that I CAN NOT WATCH IT. It's probably a good thing they're not going to do a TV show any time soon about administrative workers in a NASA type facility.

    (I don't know enough science to be offended by any TV show that was set at NASA. "Heisenberg compensator?" Sounds good to me! Hand me that differential magnetomer, while you're at it!)

    Wendy, Fillion is high-larious. I suspected it from with Firefly, but his blog entries on his MySpace page cinched it. He was the first celebrity that I friended on MySpace, which I did just so I could read the blog entries that were marked "private."

  22. Just as an update, I decided to see if I could get all of Ally McBeal on DVD. Amazon doesn't have it, and they don't know when or if it might ever be back in stock.

    But it seems that foreign-manufactured, region-free DVDs are available. The sellers specifically mention that they are NOT BOOTLEG, but just authorized foreign manufacture.

    So I ordered the complete set, seasons 1 - 5. For $67! 30 DVDs at slightly more than 2 bucks apiece. Wow!

    Now I only have 2 concerns. Will the DVDs actually be shipped to me? Will my credit card be charged for other stuff either now or in the future? It was a PayPal site that did the credit card charge, so I feel pretty good about that part.

  23. Jim & Janiece,

    I understand why y'all can't watch NCIS, and I can't speak to the veracity of the show, but DAMN, they make the Marines look good.

    Also, Mark Harmon's smile makes me all melty inside. :)

  24. I just want to point out that people often confuse me with Mark Harmon...


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