Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Is Denny Crane a racist? Hard to say, but shouldn't someone tell Chimpy the Prez that Denny's against the war now? (And tell McCain he "can't win"?)


Alan (James Spader) and Denny (William Shatner) digest the day on Boston Legal.

"Anybody in America can grow up to be president, that's what I say. Except Hillary. She wins, I puke."
--Denny Crane, explaining that he might vote for Barack Obama

Since the rain gods don't seem to give any consideration at all to what I'm supposed to watch when they choose to wipe out a given evening's home-team baseball activity, I got to look at my Tuesday Night DVR Twosome, House and Boston Legal, a mere day late this week.

The House episode was just plain spectacular; we really ought to talk about it sometime. It took us ever deeper into the strangely fascinating friendship between Drs. Wilson and House (Robert Sean Leonard and Hugh Laurie, right), and gave Foreman (Omar Epps) an episode of his own, a gripping exploration of fuck-ups, and death, and medical fuck-ups that result in death, and the question of where we come from and who we are--with the great Charles S. Dutton returning as Foreman's father and Beverly Todd appearing memorably as his Alzheimer's-afflicted mother. Wow!

The Boston Legal episode had its moments. It was only to be expected that by the time I started writing about the show, it was about to begin its plunge into the personal crapper to which writer-producer David E. Kelley seems to consign all his creations. It's hard to break the habit, though, and this week's traditional episode-closing scene of best friends Alan Shore and Denny "I'm Denny Crane" Crane nursing their cigars and drinks on Denny's terrace was a corker, ranging through questions of racism, the presidential candidates, the war in Iraq (and, Denny hoped, newer and fresher wars to come), and the fact that America is hated in the rest of the world.

Alan lost his case this week, failing in his attempt, on behalf of a former girlfriend with a six-year-old daughter, to prevent a chain department store from marketing "prosti-tot" dolls to children--and failing honorably to his old friend Jerry "Hands" Espenson.

Denny, meanwhile, who was probably a number of cards short of a full deck even before his affliction with "the mad cow," planted his foot even deeper in his mouth by telling a hotshot young African-American litigator the firm was eager to hire that he doesn't "sound black." But Crane Poole Schmidt's other remaining on-premises name partner, Shirley Schmidt (Candace Bergen, above), managed to rescue Denny by explaining at a press conference that he was speaking in the context of a mostly white law firm that has to cater to the preferences (prejudices?) of a mostly white clientele.

We pick up shortly after the start of the Alan-Denny scene, as Denny--who reminds us regularly that he's never lost a case--muses on Alan's having lost his.

DENNY: What's that like, to lose?

ALAN: You almost lost in a very big way today, my friend.

DENNY: Oh, you should have seen Shirley. If anyone wonders how she got to be Shirley Schmidt, the evidence was on full display today. She was as strong and as powerful and as dignified as any woman I've ever seen. Made me want to flip her on her back and have sex with her.

ALAN [after a pause]: Do you think you're a racist, Denny?

DENNY: Oh . . . no, I . . . I don't know. Do you think it's racist to say a man "sounds black"?

ALAN: I think it's more offensive to say "street" or "urban" when the inference is you mean "black."

DENNY: So what do you say?

ALAN: Well, Barack Obama referred to the "black sound" as a black "idiom," more like jazz and less like a set score.

DENNY: They let him get away with that?

ALAN [laughing]: Evidently.

DENNY: I might vote for him, you know.

ALAN [astonished]: Obama?

DENNY: Anybody in America can grow up to be president, that's what I say. Except Hillary. She wins, I puke.

ALAN [contemplating]: Barack Obama.

DENNY: Yeah. Handsome, great photo op. I don't know what he stands for. [Sudden realization.] Be a perfect president. He speaks perfect white, as well as black--you never heard me say that.

ALAN: What about McCain?

DENNY: He speaks Bu-u-ush now, can't win.

ALAN: Obama is against the war now, you know.

DENNY: So am I. [Alan is startled.] It's boring. I'm ready for a new war. Time to blow up Iran. We got Saddam. Now we've got to get, uh, Aminadouchebag. And that nutjob in North Korea. They've both got to go, and not . . . because . . . they're not white.

ALAN: Okay. Denny, does it bother you at all that America is so hated by the rest of the world?

DENNY: Well, of course it does, Alan. You just can't please everybody. Better to just . . .

ALAN: Blow them up!

DENNY: Exactly. And not . . . because they're not white.


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At 3:30 AM, Blogger Sam Hasler said...

Oh, great. I was trying to find the time to write about Boston Legal, too. Wonderful job. I have never really cared to watch any of Kelly's shows but Boston Legal is probably the most sharply political and most whacked show on television.

At 3:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whacked or watched?

At 3:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We did not get House recorded this week. Sounds like we missed a good one. Damn!!!

At 9:34 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

'Fraid so, Teach. I'll be damned if I've been able to discern any pattern to USA's Friday and Saturday late-night House repeats, where shows from this season seem to pop up suddenly amid shows from the (intermingled) earlier seasons, but I'll try to watch the listings and sound an alarm when this episode is scheduled.



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