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Fox's once female-friendly -- even empowering -- drama has become a wretchedly misogynist, petty, and completely anti-woman endeavor.
You know a character has gotten into your consciousness, or under your skin, when you talk about her as if she were a real person, and even a friend. I can't quite take it that far. Something about Ally McBeal bugs me.
Writer/creator David E. Kelley uses all of this not only to craft pungent, sophisticated comedy, but to expose emotional truths.
In its present, second season, McBeal has turned into the sort of squirmy embarrassment its detractors said it was all along and those of us who found it an amusing divertissement always hoped it would never become.
The writing remained as sharp as the debut year, but benefited by excellent additions to the cast.
Some of the show's serious turns this year explored new ground -- Cage's realization that Ally is only happy in her fantasy world -- but other times "Ally" rehashed old topics ad infinitum.
Instead of being a moderately off-kilter drama with comedic elements, the show has become a wildly off-kilter comedy with dramatic elements. It's still an entertaining show. But it has fallen victim to the "can-you-top-this?" syndrome.
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