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November 27, 2014

Boston Legal saves its silliest for the finale

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 9th 2008 1:02PM
Boston Legal finaleLet's face it; Boston Legal has always been a silly show. A show that dealt with serious issues and spun out some seriously stern sermons on the status of the human condition in 21st century America, but always in front of a backdrop of chaos at Crane, Poole and Schmidt.

From cases that even Don Quixote would think were lost causes to the inappropriate behavior of Alan Shore, Denny Crane, and others, to the not-so-subtle references that these lawyers know they're on a TV show, Boston Legal was always was one moment away from drowning in its own silliness.

But last night's series finale descended into more silliness than I think even the show's most ardent fans could handle. There were sincere moments, but most of them barely had time to breathe and linger on people's consciousness before we got even more silliness.

Let's rattle off all we saw in this finale:
  • Denny and Alan finally made their bromance legal by getting married; this way, Alan could take care of Denny in his declining years, and Denny can transfer his wealth to Alan without legal or tax implications.
  • Both couples -- Alan and Denny and Shirley and Carl -- get married by a fishing-vest clad Antonin Scalia, right before the justice leaves for a fishing trip with Dick Cheney.
  • This is after Shirley's priest and Carl's rabbi start giving each other lectures about religion, Israel and the Holocaust during the couple's rehearsal.
  • For the second time, Alan completely insults the Supreme Court during an argument, going way off-topic like an overheated blog commenter while trying to get Denny the right to try an experimental Alzheimer's treatment. However, despite his antics and the impassioned plea by the opposing counsel, Alan still wins.
  • The firm is bought by a Chinese corporation, and after Denny shoots the investors with paintball guns and Shirley tries to get an injunction to stop the deal, the whole litigation department is fired. However, in yet another hysterical speech, he manages to convince the new owners to hire them all back. But the firm's name is changed to Chang, Poole and Schmidt.
Lord amighty, that's a lot of silliness. It almost made me forget that Alan finally got off his high horse to make an impassioned argument to the Supremes about how he loves Denny and wants to see him get access to the drug he wants. It almost made me forget the tender moment between longtime friends / new couple Jerry and Katie (and in a show that had more turnover than a Starbucks at 8 AM, how did Tara Summers last on the show for as long as she did?). It almost made me forget that a show I've enjoyed for the most part over the last five years (six if you count the Alan-and-Denny-heavy last season of The Practice) won't be coming back.

What it didn't make me forget was why I didn't watch the show with any kind of consistency. It was just exhausting at times, and the finale was no different. As much as people love BL, it was time for it to go. Hopefully, David E. Kelley's next show will be more straightforward, less preachy, and not think it's so clever. That kind of stuff only goes so far, and he might not be so lucky to get five seasons the next time around.

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Derek

A great great show. One of the few shows I laugh out loud constantly too. The cowboy episode when the two of them were on a ranch was one of the best shows this year. I will miss it.

December 10 2008 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SN

David E. Kelly is one of the best author of today, always bringing up issues that should matter to us, both that most people disregard because they are to busy buying stuff. He is sarcastic..., funny, a genious if I can say so myself!!!

December 10 2008 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AJ

You clearly didn't watch the show that much because it was silly, yes, but no more than any other episode. Denny shooting the Chinese? Been there done that. Religion war? Seems perfectly fine for the show. Alan's ridiculous speech to the chinese and insulting the supreme court? Perfectly normal. The only thing that was too far fetched for the show was alan and denny getting married. However it was "almost as fun as jumping a shark" so it's all good.

December 10 2008 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah

I thought the finale was perfectly befitting of the characters and the show and would not have left it any other way :)

Five years of fervent loyalty definitely rewarded.

December 09 2008 at 11:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vera Badertscher

I never missed the show, although I got furious sometimes at the preachy uber liberal rants. I laughed so hard at the self-referential comments! Refreshing.
I also loved William Shatner's character, and was amazed at what a really good actor he proved himself to be in this show.
I'll be sorry that it is not on my list of shows to record every week.

December 09 2008 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug Nelson

I'll miss it, one of the best comedies on tv for years. (so decrying it as less-than-serious is just silly)

December 09 2008 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

I'm one that loved this show off and on. I didn't even mind the over the top preachy episodes when they were clever. But there is a difference between clever and silly. Silly for silly sake isn't always funny, and that is what happened last night. I was sad.

I wanted a truly great finale and this was just...eh.

December 09 2008 at 6:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yourstarla

Silly? Of course. But that's what made this show great. They never took themselves too seriously, never forgot it was just a tv show, never forgot to stand for something - anything - even the most idiotic stance, and never stopped making me laugh.

I thought Denny and Alan getting married was absurd - stupid even - but it's just a tv show - and legalizing their love and commitment was just about as far over the top as they could go. So why not go out with a bang? In the end, it was touching, as you never have to question how far those two would go for each other.

Nobody would ever get away with talking to the Supreme Court like that - and Scalia certainly never would have married those fools - my only wish was that they'd skipped that idea and gotten the older judge who can't stand them (the "namsy pamsy" judge) to marry them. That would have been icing on the cake.

December 09 2008 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yourstarla's comment
Harold Love

Henry Gibson from Laugh In.

December 09 2008 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ellie Kligman

I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The humor and satire were there, and it required some discipline to pay attention to the show and enjoy it. The show was definitely for the masses as the show required some "intellect" to appreciate all of its nuances. I will truly miss this show and pray that David Kelly has another show on the horizon.

December 09 2008 at 4:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ric Kaysen

The silliness of this show is exactly why I never missed an episode. I'm not nearly as liberal as the writers and their preaching would have grated on me if it weren't for the cleverness of the scripts. I for one have always loved shows that break the fourth wall. I find myself laughing out loud when that happens because it's so unexpected on television. I will miss Boston Legal.

December 09 2008 at 3:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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