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113 Reviews
  • Its got that clean-cut american look
  • Takes itself too seriously
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    113 Reviews
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      12.05.2010 12:47
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      Great legal comedy/drama

      I've always liked legal dramas and Ally McBeal particularly appealed to me when it was on from the late 1990's to early 2000's for about fiver years. The reason being was that it wasn't a straight out legal drama that was serious and was more light hearted than most and gives the viewer some laughs along the way. The show focused on Ally McBeal as the title suggested and she was a female lawyer played by Calista Flockhart. I watched it regularly in it's day and if you've never seen it and you like this sort of programmes it's worth watching.

      In the show we following Ally McBeal in here work life primarily and also her personal life is thrown in for good measure so we get an idea of both sides of her character. The good thing about the show is that we get an in depth looking at her mind and how she ticks and it's great to see how her character develops over the series. She has various boyfriends over the years and some of these relationships are better than others.

      The show begins with a sexual harrasment case that Ally McBeal raises against her boss and is fired from her company, only to meet an old friend Richard Fish played by Greg Germann who hires her to work for his law firm. This sets the scene then for the rest of the episodes over the course of the years. At the start of each show it normally begins with the lawyers all arriving for work and going into their regular daily meeting. There are alot of original cases and storylines throughout which makes it fascinating.

      The cast all do a great job for me and make the show and it is very funny when you get into it.

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        01.12.2009 12:46
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        .

        Ally Mc Beal follows the lives and loves of the title character, as she works for a law firm Cage, Fish and Associates in Boston. It focused on the romantic lives of the main characters and workers at this firm, in particular, the romance between Ally and her childhood love Billy, who is now married to another lawyer at the firm.

        The characters are superb. Eccentric and interesting, they are all very unique. John Cage is an odd man, but very sweet even though socially, he is rather inept. Fish has these sayings he calls 'Fishisms' and is obsessed with older women's necks. Elaine is a feisty secretary who is always thinking up new inventions and then the other lawyers, including one played by Lucy Lui, are all very strong characters! There is a lot of romantic involvement between the characters.

        It is a very surreal show, with various dream sequences and Ally having hallucinations, most notably of a dancing baby. But it is very very funny and innovative and so the show was very popular in the early seasons before it started to fade and was cut after series 5.

        A sitcom with a twist, thi was a genuis show in its hey-day.

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        30.04.2009 22:01
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        started good but then got worse

        Well, if you want a run down of characters and the premise of the show, read Chandler2k`s BRILLIANT opinion - any attempt to explain this show would be a palling plagiarism of that. So, I'll just give my "opinion" on the show.
        I was an avid watcher when the series first began. Couldn't quite make out Ally McBeal - she was funny and definitely an airhead, but at times I really wondered what drugs she'd been on. Remember the dancing baby? I felt for her long lost love and her inadequacies as they arose, but enjoyed the rest of the show too.

        After about the third series, it seemed that the writers were just merrily shoving silliness after silliness at us, and we were gullible enough to let it carry on. I guess some, like me, gave up and moved on to other shows, and they realised they were losing their hold on their audience. Ok, what can we do? Let's add some new characters. Lucy arrived, but for some reason, I just couldn't take to her, so a quick snoop one night turned me off yet again.
        Much has been said about Calista Flockhart in the news and entertainment media - is she/isn't she anorexic? I must say, she did look better way back when, and considering the camera adds 10lbs - she has become very thin. Having said that, who knows what stresses go on in the tv and movie business? It may well have been the stresses of worrying whether the show might be axed, that caused the weight loss. Maybe the adoption of her new baby will enable her to relax a little.

        Overall, I think the show is well acted by those portraying the characters, it's just that the storylines seem to have gone from good to weak and totally off-the-wall.
        Out of all of the characters, though, I think Elaine is THE best. She is attractive, funny, and very feisty.

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          14.03.2009 13:25
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          American comedy drama

          When it first came out I really liked Ally McBeal, an American drama / comedy set in a legal firm, it had a quirky slightly surreal feel to it with the strange mind that was the main character Ally McBeal a solicitor in a firm of rather strange individuals.

          Over time though I soon got bored with it as the plot lines became all the more outlandish and it struggled to attract new viewers and its main star Calista Flockhart almost disappeared from our screens, quite literally in fact as she got painfully thin, however she has returned in another drama called Brothers and Sisters I think.

          My favourite character was one of her colleagues Richard Fish played by Greg Germann the egotistical boss of the firm and with some very strange obsessions.

          When this comedy drama was on form it was very funny, I loved the bitchy banter amongst the main clients and at first the vunerability of Ally as a charcter was appealing as she had a series of mishaps and disaster in her professional and personal life which was chaotic however over time it is hard to maintain that appeal as you get to know the character and as such I lost interest at the time when the cast started to change a lot more frequently as they either got cut or left for other projects.

          Cast List

          Ally McBeal: Calista Flockhart
          Richard Fish: Greg Germann
          Elaine Vassall: Jane Krakowski
          John Cage: Peter MacNicol
          Renee Radick: Lisa Nicole Carson
          Nelle Porter: Portia De Rossi
          Ling Woo: Lucy Liu
          Billy Thomas: Gil Bellows
          Georgia Thomas: Courtney Thorne-Smith
          Larry Paul: Robert Downey Jr

          Overall it enjoyed a couple of great series at the beginning but failed to maintain the momentum over time which was a shame.

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            19.02.2009 12:33
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            Def, must view.

            Ally McBeal is a sit-com based around a law firm and the main character Ally McBeal. She's not like most people, she's quite the narrotic lady always in her own imagination and with her drama. It begins with sexual harrassment (something you will come to enjoy watching on the series), which leaves Ally out of a job... bumping into an old fellow law student, Fish, she is offered a job. Though fish is quite the bigot but honest about his views, this does raised worries for Ally but she needs the job. All seems great, great office, gorgeous law firm, that is until she sees that the firm contains her ex... the love of her life Billy. And thus the story begins, stretching to over four hillarious seasons and one less funny but equally as good.
            The characters themselves all have the quarks, Ally is in her fantasy world, Fish the bigot, Ellaine the sex fiend.... and there are many more. This is a sitcom that is still loved by many till this day and I can't help but re-watch it all over and over. Definetly recommended. This is 'The Firm' but funny, silly and cute.

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              26.09.2008 20:19
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              A highly recommended purchase.

              I used to love watching this show back in School, so when I spotted this complete box set of Ally McBeal for £35 last year, I leaped at the chance to buy it. The show ran from 1997 until 2002.

              From what I can recall, the first season begins with Ally getting touched inappropriately by a boss and trying to sue him, then after leaving court runs into an old friend who hires her at his law firm, and so begins the adventures and misdemeanors of Ally McBeal.

              The show mainly focuses around Ally at work, with a little bit of her life outside of work thrown in. Throughout the show, Ally has various boyfriends including Billy, who was a childhood sweetheart, Larry and Victor (played by Bon Jovi's lead singer Jon Bon Jovi).

              Personally, the show starts off fairly well, but up until about half way through the second series it begins to feel like watching the same episode over and over again. The arrival of Ling (who inspired my username) really spiced up the show somewhat with her cutting edge caustic wit and outrageous antics. Elaine, Ally's assistant is also a hilarious character with her various inventions which include face bra's, ice pants as "heat kills sperm" and condoms with inscriptions on them, although Elaine does mellow out a bit towards the end of the show.

              At some point during the fourth series, it begins to lose it's spark again and for series five, they had to spice it up more with some fairly shoddy twists and turns, and it has to be noted that Dame Edna Average's character really didn't need to be in it for longer than two or three episodes, the novelty well and truly wore off on that front. Apparently they did this for the fifth series as the ratings by this point were flagging, and supposedly they couldn't be saved eventually.

              The show also features singer Vonda Shepard doing the theme tune to the show, and singing a song at the firm's local bar in most episodes. Personally she bugs the living hell out of me.

              This is a show worth owning the complete series on though, I'd still consider it one of my favourite shows and it has enough brilliance to require a purchase.

              The main cast in the show are...

              Ally McBeal: Calista Flockhart
              Richard Fish: Greg Germann
              Elaine Vassall: Jane Krakowski
              John Cage: Peter MacNicol
              Renee Radick: Lisa Nicole Carson
              Nelle Porter: Portia De Rossi
              Ling Woo: Lucy Liu
              Billy Thomas: Gil Bellows
              Georgia Thomas: Courtney Thorne-Smith
              Larry Paul: Robert Downey Jr.
              Maddie Harrington: Hayden Panettiere
              Vonda Shepard: Herself
              Mark Albert: James LeGros
              Corretta Lipp: Regina Hall
              Jenny Shaw: Julianne Nicholson
              Raymond Milbury: Josh Hopkins
              Glenn Foy: James Marsden
              Victor Morrison: Jon Bon Jovi
              Dr. Tracey Clark: Tracey Ullman
              Liza Bump: Christina Ricci
              Claire Otems: Dame Edna Everage

              Guest stars throughout the series include Anastacia, Mariah Carey, Tina Turner, Sting, Josh Groban, Elton John, Al Green, Barry White, Gloria Gaynor, Barry Manilow, Macy Gray and Gladys Knight.

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              10.10.2006 11:30
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              Ally Mcbeal - The comedy set at a law firm.

              Only in Ally Mcbeal would you hear people talking about computer sex, showing off face bra's and sniffing each others butts.

              From writer David. E. Kelly, (Boston Legal and Chicago Hope) comes this fantastic comedy which is Ally McBeal. Airing between 1997 to 2001, Ally McBeal was a fantastic hit both in the states and here in the UK, (Channel 4).

              Season One starts with us meeting Ally (Calista Flockhart) as a child. She sniffed the butt of a boy called Billy (Gil Bellows), which meant she liked him. Many years later the happy couple went off to law school, Ally simply following Billy there, but Billy decided to end it with Ally. So Ally completed law school on her own.

              Many years later, Ally gets fired from her law firm and bumps into an old friend, Richard Fish (Greg Germann) who hires her to work as his law firm. So Ally starts work and then finds out Billy works there with his new wife.

              So that's the scene set. What can you expect from the rest of the season? Well without giving too much away: The fantastic Peter MacNicol also stars as the co owner of the law firm.

              Each show starts with the laywers arriving for work and attending the morning meeting. It's here where Richard gives the lawyers their strange cases. While a lot of the comedy is one liners, funny dances and Peter MacNicol, who players John, making strange sounds all day long, the cases the lawyers work on are also funny.

              But if John isn't playing with his pet frog, using his autoflusher to flush the toilet before he uses it "I like a clean bowl" or the laywers aren't singing in their local bar, sadly we have to put up with Ally's love life. This can at times be funny. It's great seeing her make a fool of herself and having the computer animation team making her 2inch small or turning her green. However, the romance stories can be a little slow at times and tend to repeat themselves after the first few boyfriends Ally has.

              The cast do a fantastic job in their roles. Richard, played by Greg Germann, does a fantastic job as the owner who only wants four things. Money, money, women and money. Like I said before Peter MacNicol is just the best. Other cast members such as Gills Bellows and Calista herself tend to annoy me. The show could have worked so much better without Calista, who some might call a thin stick at best. But you have to let your viewers about cast members slip and simply enjoy the show.

              Starring: Calista Flockhart, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Greg Germann, Lisa Nicole Carson, Jane Krakowski, Peter MacNicol, Gil Bellows, Vonda Shepard

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                21.08.2002 04:53
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                So what's this show about? Well Ally McBeal is all about a Boston law firm, and as you can tell from the title it is basically centred around the life of Ally McBeal, although not heavily as there are many other characters involved. The Law firm is named Cage & Fish after it's two partners John Cage and Richard Fish. John Cage (Peter MacNicol) is undisputedly strange, but adorable in the same sense. He is an extremely talented lawyer, probably the best working for the firm, although he does have his habits. These being things like his nose whistling when he gets nervous and a stammer. He also strangely sees Barry White when he is getting in the mood for lurve :s Richard Fish (Greg Germann) however is a completely different person. He is insensitive, coldhearted, a terrible lawyer, and a womanizer, although no of his faults bother him at all. He has a strange obsession for wattle (The excess skin on the chin) which is basically just vile. The storylines usually focus around Ally and her eventful yet weird life. We share her ups and downs, her break-ups and basically all the rest of her emotional trauma. I can't say I feel that I can empathize with Ally McBeal, because she is pretty and like a twig, yet can't seem to find a man, however I can empathize with the general storylines. Ally is a little weird, to say the least, what with her hallucinations of Barry Manilow, I wouldn?t exactly call him conventional, but Calista Flockhart pulls off the character brilliantly. Although the show is all about Ally that's not to say there aren't some other pretty good actors and actresses in the cast. Ling Woo (Lucy Liu) is basically the ice-queen of the firm, a pretty good lawyer and a good troublemaker too, nothing bothers this woman. She dates Richard, which is perfectly convenient as the two of them are both about as shallow as each other when it comes down to it. Nelle Porter (Portia de Rossi) is one of Lin
                g?s closest and perhaps only friends in the firm. When the two aren't Bitching together about everyone else in the office, Nelle is very intelligent and ambitious and will not be messed around by anyone, man or woman. Elaine Vassal (Jane Krakowski) is the office bicycle. With a passion to sing, she can scare off just about any man within ten feet of her with her somewhat overpowering sex-drive. Larry Paul (Robert Downey Junior) plays a huge part in Ally?s life for some time after a bit of a shaky start. I will let you watch the show to figure that one out. Renee Raddick (Lisa Nicole Carson) doesn't have a significant part in the show but she is Ally's roommate and is often on hand to give her advice. Two of the latest Characters to be added to the show are Jenny and Glenn ending up in a love triangle with you guessed it ? Ally! However much criticism this show receives from the media or from the critics,I cannot deny liking this show. I find it incredibly hard not to watch and I was addicted the first time I saw it. I know that some of the episodes are a little cliché at times I think that's what makes you watch it because at the end of the day, cliché's and a little bit of romance mixed with humor and quick wit are the kinds of things that make us want to watch the show. I for one will be incredibly sad and disappointed when this show ends :( peek xxx The last series is presently being shown on Channel 4 at 10:40 on Wednesday evenings. The previous series? are available on VHS and DVD box sets.

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                  09.04.2002 23:43
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                  Ally McBeal is a Courtroom Drama with a difference. It is set a Boston Law firm called Cage and Fish, now as law firms go this one is slightly different. It has a ecocentric female lawyer (Ally), a sex craving partner (Richard Fish), another partner who can do strange things with his nose (John Cage) and that without even mentioning the face bra, dancing babies and theme songs for each character! The Firm takes unusual cases - the weirder the better. This programme makes for good entertainment, and has the power to surprise sometimes - with it's long list of celebrity apperances (Elton John, Robert Downey Jr, Mariah Carey and Jon Bon Jovi) it is a must for anyone who wants to laugh their troubles away.

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                    28.03.2002 20:52
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                    • "not on often enough
                    • should be daily!"

                    Ally McBeal - woman of the..90s? no, Naughties. The subject of many a philosophical debate, the main one being - is it just a chick flick? Many a guy cuddling up with his lady in front of the telly will have been baffled about the source of the fits of laughter his woman is in - it's a subtle sort of feminine humour, to be honest, but there's plenty in it for the guys, too. Ally represents the average woman. That's her appeal for us, we can connect to her instantly, and for one hour we have the pleasure of seeing that even Calista Flockhart has men-problems, that other women out there think like us, and that Robert Downey Jr still looks as good as he did last week. This is possibly the one show on TV that so perfectly shows the neurotic behaviour and emotions of your average woman. In our household of two girls and three guys, all 18-20, we've been housemates for six months now, but by the end of the second month the guys knew not to mess with Ally. Any other time in the week is fine, but on Tuesdays at 9, the TV is on E4 - we don't care whether England is playing Germany, or whether they're missing Match of the Day. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing comes between us and Ally. So they sit and sulk for the first five minutes, but by the end of the theme tune, they're as involved as we are. Maybe they're only paying attention to the gorgeous blondes and the blokey bonding, but for those 60 minutes there is peace on earth (well in our house anyway), and all is well. Watching Ally is like having a good night in with the girls - loads of oestrogen, loads of ice-cream, and loads of laughs. I wouldn't miss it for the world (cup).

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                      21.12.2001 18:34
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                      Ally McBeal is a fun take on the "legal eagle" comedy-dramas that we've seen over the past few years, with a nod towards 90's sensibilities. If I was to categorise it, I'd say it was somewhere between LA Law and Bridget Jones - it's definitely pitched at the "chick-flick" market. The series centres on the life of a post-modern career lawyer, who finds herself in a law firm populated by oddball characters, run by an old flame for whom her fires of passion still burn fiercely. This premise obviously gives us lots of scope for stories straight out of older series (there's a lot of "LA Law" and "Moonlighting" in there), with some post-AIDS sexual angst thrown in. The casting of the skeletal Callista Flockhart is an inspired choice,as her waif-like appearance and puppy-dog eyes instantly communicate her vulnerability and emotionality. She is the "little girl lost", who is destined never to find emotional satisfaction despite a fulfilling career. The storylines take place in a surreal legal field where very little actual work seems to take place, and all the cases are rather comedic extremes. This fits in with the characters, who over the progress of the series become increasingly stereotypical, but they are entertaining and loveable nonetheless. Many of the cast have gone on to find individual success on the back of "Ally McBeal", which is a testament to the show's accessibility and character. Whilst it's entertaining watching the politics of the unisex toilets, Ally's trips to fantasy land (and its dance routines) and the rest, the series is quite weak in places. The character of Ally seems to be representative of an odd 90's attitude to women, where they can find success but still not be taken seriously. Ally has her head firmly buried in a romance novel, not a legal textbook, and represents an image of women as scatterb
                      rained, prone-to-emotional-outburst little girls in business suits. Is the message of the show supposed to be that a single working girl is never going to find happiness ? Should she be at home cooking dinner for hubby and the kiddies instead ? Am I taking it too seriously ? It's because I don't like the depiction of women in this show that I find Ally difficult to totally sympathise with. The plot is given to girly extremes - she has a couple of Tae-bo boxercise lessons and suddenly she and her friends are describing themselves as "trained kickboxers". The emotional focus of the show is heightened by a background of slushy ballads from Vonda Shepherd, which at first is novel but quickly becomes boring - you keep wondering where she's going to pop up next, and I quickly grew tired of her voice and the sameness of her material. This kind of typifies the show - it's so dependent on characterisations, stereotypes and recurring themes (both musically and in the plot) that you are either going to love it or hate it. For me, it's sometimes intriguing, funny and occasionally immensely watchable, but at other times I grow rather weary of the stupid girliness of the central characters, the over-emphasis of Ally's love-life and the constant drone of Vonda Shepherd in the background. There's a lot there I enjoy, but it's just way, way, too girly in parts, and the brain-in-her-knickers stereotyping of the working woman is a bit too much.

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                        18.10.2001 05:32
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                        I have been a big fan of Ally Mcbeal since the very first episode. The show combines humour with emotion and originality, and you really care what happens to the characters. Which is what my problem with it is. I like Ally's quirks and occasional dillusions, but recently it has been getting to the point of outright insanity. Her constant preoccupation with men is growing boring, changed breifly by the introduction of Larry (Robert Downey Junior) where she had a brief break from the single desperate woman, that she has grown to be over the last few series's. I do still watch the series, but no longer for Ally McBeal's character. I watch it now for the political incorrectness of Richard Fish, the nose whistling of John Cage and the fiestiness of Ling. I'm not sure how much longer the show will be able to survive, unless they change some of the repetition in the storylines.

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                          01.09.2001 05:33
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                          Can her world be for real? Narrrrrrrr thats why its such an interesting American sitcom. We find it so interesting because our life's are just so boring compared to this fictional character. Ally mcbeal(Callister Flockhart ) lives in a dream world of her own hallucinated about dancing babys, she works in a law firm as a lawyer owned by Cage and Fish notice all the girls at the law firm look like models? most recently Robert Downey Jr stared in it as Larry - Ally's on/off relationship. How many relationships has Alley had? most recently Brian Adams and guest appearences from dame Edna and christian Ricci along with Sting and Anna Nicole Smith and a host of other stars made the show the icing on the cake for me! Her law firm is just above a bar where her and her collegues go for a drink at night, dancing and singing is always on up there and it is really funny when Alley dances as she goes into a world of her own! she and John fish are really alike as their worlds seem similar because they have little fantasises about singers or they see things that others don't and they are both wierd in a nice way. Ling the office secretary is fiesty and often bitchy she has an on/off relationship with fish. Nel - lawyer who we found outs real name is morgan had a on/off realtionship with cage until he tried to spank her! she can be bitchy and firm but has a caring side to her. I would rate this sitcom as been up in the ranks with friends! it really is a shame this wierd, quirky funny sitcom is coming to an end.

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                            18.08.2001 22:19
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                            Ok, anyone who says that women like the show Ally McBeal because they identify with the lead character (Ally) has to be a bloke. I don't think that us girls like watching Ally McBeal because we feel some connection to the poor luckless lawyer, it's because it makes us feel better about ourselves. No matter how bad things get at least I'm not that pathetic! Ally McBeal, in my opinion is funny and enjoyable to watch simply because the show takes each cast member and pigeon holes them into some stereotype. There's the neurotic Ally, the chauvenist Fish, the predatorial Ling, and so on. This allows us to see something of ourselves, and of each of our friends in one character or another, but because they are so extreme and unrealistic it's not threatening, it's just funny. Having said that, I think that Ally McBeal at one point began to lose its charm. To begin with it was all very novel, and I especially liked all the little sequences where Ally imagines what she would like to happen to someone, or hallucinates a dancing baby etc (who, incidentally, seems to have a nice little line in spin off merchandising going on), but perhaps that novelty started to wear off. I started to find that I wished the character of Ally would leave, and let the rest of the cast get on with the show without her. There is only so much Ally you can watch without wanting to scream and shake her. Or perhaps that's just me. Any way, that sort of sounds like I am going off the show completely, which is not the case, the arrival of Robert Downey Jr as Ally's love interest really gave the show a much needed lease of life, and a break from Ally's constant break ups. I really would recommend Ally McBeal, but in small doses.

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                              05.08.2001 23:07

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                              A must see! - Advantages: extremely entertaining, great actors, interesting topics - Disadvantages: only on once a week

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