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FUCKING DAY

Fucking Day: Ally McBeal’s Ass CPR Episode 🌭

If there were a Yikes That Didn’t Age Well Olympics, Ally McBeal would be a shoe-in for the gold. Earlier this year, I was so out of feel-good television, and still not at all feeling good, that I thought I should watch the series and write something about this classic ’90s show as a whole. But I only made it through a little over two seasons before giving up completely.

The biggest hurdle on my Ally McBeal triathlon was Season 1 Episode 6: “The Promise,” in which Ally almost lets a man die rather than give him CPR because he’s fat. Then she cock blocks him, and tells him no one will ever love him, so he might as well marry his girlfriend that he’s not attracted to or in love with because she’s also fat. I wish I was exaggerating even a little.

I just want to start with the fact that, in general, there are so many problems with Ally McBeal. No one even Googled, “Law how work?” a single time before creating this show. There’s a weird recurring thing where the entire cast will be out at a bar at night, and someone will get a phone call, and they’ll all have to rush to the courthouse at 11 PM because the judge or the jury has a verdict. Courthouses typically close at 5 PM. No insane judge is forcing everyone into a courtroom in the middle of the night because they thought of a ruling in the shower.

Also, all of the women on the show are famously gorgeous, Lucy Liu, Portia De Rossi, Calista Flockhart, Jane Krakowski, Courtney Thorne-Smith, who you might not have heard of, but she was beautiful enough to play the nagging wife to a male comedian on According To Jim, so you know she’s super hot. The male lead of Ally Mcbeal that everyone calls hot so often that at one point they call him a “Ken Doll,” looks like an extra-large suit salesman who insisted on cutting his own hair for the first two seasons.

The hotness disparity on this show is a travesty. Nell, played by Portia De Rossi, is the acknowledged most beautiful person on the show. She’s got waist-length blonde hair, is super thin, and generally looks like what beer and underwear commercials tell us is the human ideal. This is what women were expected to aspire to, while men get to aspire for mediocrity. If a man has limbs, and a mouth, and 56% of his hair, he’s a God in Ally McBeal world.

If you’re not aware of the overall premise, Ally McBeal was a show where hot lawyers try sexual harassment cases and sexually harass each other. The overarching theme is, “haven’t these silly sexual harassment laws gone too far, and shouldn’t we all just shut up and kiss each other since we are all hot. (Please note once again, only the women are hot, and they do kiss each other occasionally but only for those sweet ’90s Gay Panic laughs). These are the other two men on the show. 

Anyway, “The Promise” opens with Ally being told she’s going to court against Harry Pippen, who is described as “a fat man, no wind, moves like continental drift.” So, right away, a very charitable reading of the person whose love life will become the focus of this episode.

Ally meets Harry Pippen, who immediately has a heart attack, which is played for big laughs and then gets weirdly sexual. She tries to give him CPR but isn’t strong enough, so she starts bouncing up and down on his chest with her ass, causing everyone in the gathered crowd to gasp but no one to help.

As this man continues his hilarious heart attack, Ally’s like, “Oh God, oh ick, here we go.” She can’t believe she’s actually going to put her mouth on this loser so he doesn’t die. Luckily she scraped together enough human decency to give this guy CPR even though he’s fat, and she saves his life. Of course, we immediately cut to her gargling just in case you forgot how terrible the experience was for her.

“You saved his life!” her friend says.

“Not before he ate a Spanish omelet. Oh God, the onions!” We all laugh at what a loser this guy is again—eating breakfast? In the morning? Ugh, what a fat person thing to do.

Harry Pippen’s fiancé, Angela, shows up at Ally’s office and thanks her for saving Harry’s life. They’re getting married in a week, and Harry is her whole entire world! That’s probably going to go great for her, as you can imagine. 

Angela feels so indebted to Ally for giving her fiancé ass-CPR that she invites her to their wedding! Ally agrees to go, even though she clearly hates everyone in this situation, and we’re all supposed to think it’s funny because, again, I think the punchline is just haha Ally has to go to a fat wedding for fat people. They’re like regular people but fat. It’s hilarious. Maybe I’m not explaining it right.

This is probably a good spot to note that David E. Kelly, the creator of Ally Mcbeal, single-handedly wrote every episode of the first season while also writing for his other TV show, The Practice. That’s a lot of writing to take on. Usually, it takes a room full room of people to write an episode of television, and that’s a good idea because if a single other human person had looked at this script before it went into production, they might have noticed that even in 1997 “fat guy has funny heart attack” was the Yellowstone National Forest of well-trodden comedic territory.

We cut to the C-plot for a while, which is about how all of the men in the office think the mail girl is so hot they can’t stop staring at her open-mouthed when she’s around. The other women in the office blame the mail girl for being too hot and want her fired. It sucks! 

Then Harry comes to Ally’s office and says he’s called off his wedding because “he’s never been kissed like that before.” He was literally completely unconscious during their “kiss”, yet it has changed his life. Previously he was marrying Angela only because they were “good friends with limited options.” Kissing Ally while nearly dead has made him believe in love again! For some reason? Not in an “I can only get a boner if I’m in danger now” way either; he’s just in love with Ally.

Of course, Ally tells him to get the hell out of here with that love shit. She tries to picture the two of them on a date, and the fantasy sequence is the car tipping to the side when he gets in. The joke is, in a hilarious turn of events, that this man is fat. 

Harry accepts Ally’s rejection at first but then returns, asking for her advice. He explains that he’s considering marrying Angela after all because he wants kids and she’ll make a great Mom, plus she’s a nice person, but she’s never made his heart bounce, and he doesn’t even think about her during sex. “Do you think it’s wrong for a person to marry someone not because she’s the one but because she’s the only?” He asks.

“Why the fuck are you asking me, a plucky TV lawyer and not like, I don’t know a therapist or someone you’ve known longer than three seconds while you were actively dying, Harry?” Is not what she says, which is a real bummer.

Instead, she comes down hard on the side of waiting for true love. She makes a big speech about it. Love is the most important thing! It’s very on-brand for the show. Ally McBeal is obsessed with two things: the sanctity of love and her married ex-boyfriend Billy “The Ken Doll.”

So, Angela comes back and tells Ally that Harry broke up with her to hold out for his one true love. She’s not super thrilled about Ally ruining the wedding she JUST got invited to.

Angela tells Ally that no one else is going to want to take care of Harry and, “Sometimes when you hold out for everything, you walk away with nothing.” A pretty big dunk on the guy she wants to marry. 

“Remember that the next time a fat man walks in asking you for advice,” Angela says before sadly walking out to a Vonda Shepard song. Don’t worry, Angela; this show is never allowing a fat person on it again unless it’s to comically roll down a staircase with their hands full of jelly donuts. Sorry, I’m looking at a list of bits cut from the show David E Kelley released with the script notes entitled “groundbreaking bits from visionary genius David E. Kelley.” 

Ally sees Harry flirting with a client of hers who is a sex worker at the courthouse between cases and immediately cock blocks him. “Hey, remember all that stuff I said about how love is the most important thing, well apparently, you didn’t hear me whisper (for skinny people). You should marry Angela!” She says. This is creative paraphrasing, but she literally does say, “last night, I was thinking of all of my friends who might be right for you, and I realized none of my friends would go out with you.”  

Yay! Ally successfully bullies this guy into settling for a woman he doesn’t love by telling him that, realistically, no one else will ever love him. I’m sure this set them up for a long and happy marriage, Mazel Tov!

He looks up at Ally like he’s very much still in love with her and regrets his decision.

Ally flashed him the peace sign because she’s completely checked out of this entire situation. She’s planning her grocery list right now. She has not a care in the world about ruining this man and woman’s life. PEACE!

This might not actually be the worst episode of Ally McBeal. It’s insane to think about, but I have no idea what lies in the black hole of episodes beyond season two. I vaguely remember something about Christina Ricci having a diving board in her bedroom for sexual purposes? And I know there was an episode that mixed the happy vibe of small town Christmas with a 9/11 tribute, so…it definitely doesn’t get better. 

Lydia will never ever discuss this again, but if you want to hear her talk about other TV shows, check out her Twitter.


This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Adrienne Hisbrook, who has never been called on to revive a life with their ass, but is pretty sure they would if nobody else stepped forward.

11 replies on “Fucking Day: Ally McBeal’s Ass CPR Episode 🌭”

There is a worse (par of) episodes! Or at least just as bad. So the first episode is about a trans woman who’s employer wants her to get a medical examination, but she doesn’t want them to know she is trans. The case itself is resolved immediately but one of the lawyers, not on the case, has a meet-cute with her in the office and starts dating her. The rest of the episode is everyone running around in a panic that they can’t “warn” his that he is dating a trans person and just spewing general transphobia about the very idea. At the end she tells him herself and he responds “I’m sorry I can’t see you… as anything but a woman!”. Anyway, they break up the next episode because he doesn’t want to have sex with a person with a penis. (The trans woman is played by a cis woman too, obviously).

I did not watch this show when it was on and I will never watch it now, but I would happily tune in every week to read about your slog though it. Incidentally, that can’t be Ally (Is that short for Allison or was she named after the location of her conception?) flashing the peace sign. Human wrists don’t work that way. There was clearly an anorexic child trying to sneak his hands into the shot.

I take back at some of the mean and profane things I’ve said about people who watch Big Bang Theory and Two and A Half Men.

Not because I intend to go easier on those annoying dumbshits, but because I need to borrow those words to use on the people who watched Ally McBeal.

luckily I dont have to take back jack, I’m very good at recognizing garbage immediately and can say I have never seen ally mcbeal. big bang, or two and a half men. or melrose place. Or frasier. Or 2 broke girls.. Nope. All i watch is Porn. Like a boss.

petition to make this a regular feature, in part to just watch Lydia’s descent into madness

Never watched the show when it was on. Probably something else my parents watched at the time. Only thing I remember from the show is that there is apparently a unisex bathroom? But in the dumbest way possible and just a regular-ass multi-stall public restroom and not several single stall ones? Probably ruined the concept for a good decade since I’ve only been seeing them recently.

This was one of those shows that would be made if an unfunny person got to make a comedy show. Someone who’s always telling everyone, “They should make a sitcom out of my life!” to which everyone responds by thinking, “…but you’re not funny.”

This person is so unfunny, that whenever they tell a story, the end is so anti-climatic that you don’t even realize it’s over and expect there to be more until they break your silence with, “Isn’t that CRAZY?”

“So then this fat guy gets into a car. He’s so heavy, the car lifts to one side.”
“…..”
“Isn’t that CRAZY?”
“Oh…sure is? ha ha?”

This is the genius mind of David E. Kelley, a man who could only ever write about lawyers for TV, and only about waterfront property for films.

And as much as I want to hate Ally McBeal viewers for “how could you ever like this?” scorn, I remember back to when I loved Entourage 15 years ago.

Holy fuuuuuuuuucK was that show a badly aging douchefest.

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