Why would a series that debuted almost a decade over have one hooked? In this era of fast moving TV series and even shorter public memory, there has to be something about Boston Legal that Star World is telecasting it long after it should have been buried and forgotten. One of the wittiest series I have seen, Boston Legal obfuscates all lines between black and white taking us into the hitherto unchartered areas of grey. There is no doubt that the series owes its success to Alan Shore and Denny Crane. Played superbly by James Spader and William Shatner with their Mad Cows, inimitable style and unparalleled chemistry, the duos are the heart and soul of the series. Rest of the cast could at best be a supporting cast. That is not to say that they aren’t good. Candice Bergen as Shirley Schmidt, Julie Bowen as Denise are all great. Just that they are not Alan or Denny.
Probably the best courtroom drama series I have seen, Boston Legal’s genius, to my mind, lies not in the questions it raises about “America” or all that America stands for or the Bush administration but the human, philosophical issues it makes one think about. Who would have thought that an American courtroom series, with a bunch of eccentric, if genius, lawyers could make you delve into the deeper philosophical questions about human existence. “Is it fun being you?” – Ever since Denny Crane asked this seminal question, I’ve been wondering the same – “Is it fun being me?” Never mind the roller coaster ride that life is with all its successes and failures, at the end of it all it has to be “fun” in the wider sense of the word. If all that you do and go through, it is fun being you, the world be damned. If not, well, you are damned.
Alan Shore and Denny Crane, with their lopsided personalities, eccentricities and psychological issues exhibit a male camaraderie and bonding that is rarely seen. Be it with cigars in their ears in their private balcony, or dressed as flamingos or tied together with a rope around the ankle, theirs is a relationship not easily seen especially among men. In fact, Denny Crane himself points it out- what they have, not many men have. With subtle sexual undertones and witty repartee they are soul mates in the true sense of the word- “I can’t imagine going through life without you as my best friend. I’m not going to kiss you however”.
If we are lucky, we’ll perhaps have one person in life that we can say this about – someone we can agree to disagree with; someone we can expect to pull the plug on us as effortlessly as sip scotch with- someone who will make it “fun being you” and who you look good together with. If not, one can live it vicariously through Alan-Denny madness- lock and load!