I’m Denny Crane

Denny and Alan, looking cool

I’m not really Denny Crane. Actually, I empathise a lot more with Alan Shore. But Alan has speeches, and Denny has the one liners, and they make for better headlines.

In any case… The show is Boston Legal, and, yes, I’m going to evangelise it to you, both my loyal and my Google generated readership. For those who don’t know, it is another show from David E Kelley (you know, Ally McBeal, The Practise, etc.). It is awesome: somehow William Shatner has acquired acting skill, and James Spader… well, he’s as brilliant as you’d expect. The additional bonus of Murphy Brown adds to the overall impact the cast is capable of generating.

As before, we’re in a law firm (Crane, Poole & Schmidt), in Boston (you may have guessed). The action centres, albeit non-exclusively, around Alan Shore, a misogynist, honourable, liberal but callous associate and Denny Crane, a partner with his name on the door, a Republican who loves guns, has seen the best years of his career and is struggling to maintain his legacy in a world that sees him as past his prime. Perhaps its not surprising Shatner does so well in the role.

The thing that makes the show quite so wonderful, apart from the deeply entertaining dialogue, rich with comic moments and classic Kelley politically motivated showboating (Alan Shore presents Kelley’s views on the US and its attitudes to the environment, immigration policy, privacy laws, the war, the Patriot act, unemployment, Katrina, the homeless, Medicaid… it goes on)… is the relationship between Denny Crane and Alan Shore. Both “strictly hetero”, the two men nonetheless develop a deep and profound friendship, punctuated by semi-moralistic epilogues with the pair pontificating on the events of the episode (often with unashamed references to the fact they’re in a TV programme), whilst drinking whiskey and smoking cigars.

There’s something incredibly desirable about that kind of friendship. Huge loyalty, trust, mutual respect, mutual interests (if differing opinion)… and the ability to enjoy it all at the end of the evening with a scotch and a view that makes you feel that the world is a wonderful place.

I should probably add, unlike House, there’s little realistic about Boston Legal’s representation of the US judicial system. I’m sure the stictures and laws cited are technically accurate… but, well, even if there did exist a lawyer as capable of theatrics as James Spader’s Alan Shore, I do think it is unlikely that he would win quite as often as Alan does…

In any case – as well as law, ethics, the US, justice and friendship… it’s a show that revolves around love. The characters’ need for it, its general capacity to bend our perception of the universe, and perhaps even the law. Cheesey, perhaps, but really well done. I am recommending it to you all. Watch it. Now.

I can’t wait for Season 4. What will Alan and Denny get up to?

Photo from ivanovash‘s photostream.