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The Practice

Cage/Fish & Associates

AM-101 Pilot

Hi...needed to vent some creative steam.....Again..please be gentle..I continue to bruise easily...

In the beginning of every series it important to set the tone, the mood, and a direction...If the foundation is set improperly, further development and evolution of a show becomes far more difficult....I feel the show started out very well.... Music, especially in this show, has been established as integral to the show itself.... In my opinion, DEK used music primarily to communicate with us. Music is very effective in speaking to is useful in setting the mood....the tone, or in reinforcing existing feelings.... there has been many a time when I heard a sad song, and I would be immediately inundated with a series of overpowering memories of my past....sorrow, nostalgia...The impact of music is undeniable.. I feel music is one of man's greatest tools of communication...

Appropriately enough, in the beginning of the episode we see ally looking out the window....In the background, we hear the lines of the song...... " Here's a photo I've been looking for....its a picture of the boy next door...."

The song is one of memories past, of nostalgia....of regrets unspoken.... What is a photo, but a captured moment of time......we are all blessed, or cursed with regrets of the decisions we made in the past....This song reminds us of all these softer, more ephemeral emotions, and thus establishes early on a tone of nostalgia.....and of course the concept that we must all move on, burdened as we are....In a way an analogy can be made between life and music....What is music but a series of notes with a mental direction....Life can be seen as a series of overlapping events or incidences, with a direction also....The events that flashes through her mind are certainly not uniquely hers.....we all have bittersweet memories of the first time we made love, and of our first loves..... realistically enough, her memories are not always memories of significant facts....Can you imagine she remembers sniffing his butt......So touching, and yet so trivial at the same time....Events, significant or not in objective reality, can be assigned significance in our own personal realities....we are subjected to , and share in her first kiss, the shared experiences in life.... We see the reason she chose to go to law school, and many might laugh at the absurdity...But life can be like that at times... Sometimes we make life shattering decisions based on matters of the heart....She is seen as intimately human, at this point........She may be bright, but even she can be controlled by emotions at times....very few of us are entirely logical 100% of the time....At this point, I am touched, and begin to become involved with ally....She has become my friend... Her decision to stay in Harvard is also a defining moment in her life...At this point, she has cast aside her emotions, and no matter how painful it might be for her...she will do the logical thing...Human beings are very complex creatures....we embody chaos, and contradiction....We often have to struggle to balance love and hate, emotion vs. logic, career and personal life....We see her struggle and love her for it....Nothing is ever easy.. Life is no bed of roses...sacrifices, pain and sorrow define us, and makes us stronger as individuals.....The title song has an impact on us because we, in a sense, understand our tendency to establish regrets...We often feel that we have made mistakes in our lives......This show, unlike the other show on TV, validates our view of life and reality...Life is always a compromise.... And no matter how bad it gets, we always hope that things will inevitably get better... early on, we begin to realize that there are always differences between an ideal, and the reality.....In paying attention to the ideal, we sometimes forget the reality....Ally reveals this to us with the line " Love and law are the same....Romantic in concept, but it can give you a yeast infection in practice..." An interesting analogy, it can be further used for the ideal of sexual harassment...Espoused by the community as an effective means of discouraging sexual harassment, it fails to acknowledge the actual reality....So, she announces she is being harassed...So the harasser should, ideally be fired...but no..reality sets in....The harasser is seen as too valuable, and the law firm would rather be sued by her....Ideal and reality diverges..... Ally meets Fish and is immediately hired.... And she goes to work in a firm where her first boyfriend also works.....Many people feel this is too coincidental.... Maybe...then again, maybe not...Life can be seen as a series of coincidences....My life is certainly filled with unbelievable coincidences....let em give a few examples.... I went to Bronx High School of Science, a full two hours away from my house...I made a friend there...Years later, we find out that his mother and my sister were friends in the past.... I went to college and made a friend there....A year later, we find out that his cousin went to the same high school I went to.... Coincidences might be improbable, but it can happen... Now Ally never likes Richard because he is too overtly greedy..yet the first thing she asked was not the quality of the staff, but how much money she will get....She does not see this might be seen as slightly hypocritical.... This is the essence of the show....To survive and to succeed in a world that is imperfect.....She is working in a law firm for a man she explicitly disapproves of, and she works with a man she has unresolved feelings for...and yet she cannot resolve those feelings....because he is married...Life is often messy....

Classic Fish moment...."Unisex studies show that it helps men and women employees breed familiarity, so long as they do not breed..." This line is so funny and reflects Richard's complexity....DEK seems to enjoy reveling in the fact that language is often very fluid and dynamic....Connotations abound throughout the whole show....Context reigns supreme...."He's your man..." "He's my man..." I find the potential differences in meaning to be quite funny... Ally's reaction to knowing that Billy is there is certainly funny...She wants him, and therefore she unconsciously takes more time to put on makeup so that she will look her best...Her focus on the size of her chest is an allusion to the fact that some women today seem to think size is important to their esteem....Plastic surgery and "boob" jobs are very popular today.... Does she really believe Richard is so bad???He is a complex individual, yet she fails to acknowledge this fact....I do not think he drools over his clients. It seems that Richard and John are diametrically opposed in personality and this only makes the partnership more fascinating....John is the master of understatement, of nonverbal communication... he uses body language, silence, and other very subtle communication cues to get his point across...He is the type of person who does not need to say much... Richard is the master of verbalized communication...Ever notice the complexity and structure of his speeches.... " I'm nothing if not redundant... I also repeat myself...." beautiful.... Ally's unresolved feelings about Billy take center stage in this episode... Her question as to whether or not Billy has kids...can be taken many ways... Is this simply a automatic response to hearing that he is married or is this an unconscious hope on her side...Kids often reinforce the illusion of permanence of a relationship....and if does not have any, maybe she can still have a chance with him.... Ally"s denial as to the impact of Billy's marriage is certainly realistic.... When a person is confronted with earth-shattering news, the typical response would be denial of the event or denial of the importance of the event.... But ultimately she realizes that she is upset that Billy is married.... Ally's actions as she readjusts herself in response to unwanted change is certainly believable..... DEK acknowledges the importance of both verbal and nonverbal communication lines with regards to human relationships..... Renee is essential..She is the anchor in ally's life...She balances, and complements Ally. Renee is a very stable person, whereas Ally is very unstable....Ally is burdened with constant internal struggles.....she needs some form of stability to anchor her... Emotions that are unresolved never go away, do they??? Unresolved feelings often tend to come out at the most inappropriate times, and often interfere with relationships....One needs some form of move on effectively...

The show continues to walk the fine line between objective reality and subjective reality...By showing us what ally says, and what she thinks, we see that differences do exist...and will always exist..

By Kenny Lee (
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