I’ve rarely enjoyed a TV series more than Ally McBeal. The start of the Wiki entry on the series:
Ally McBeal is an American legal comedy-drama television series, originally aired on Fox from September 8, 1997 to May 20, 2002. Created by David E. Kelley, the series stars Calista Flockhart in the title role as a lawyer working in the fictional Boston law firm Cage and Fish, with other lawyers whose lives and loves were eccentric, humorous, and dramatic. The series received critical acclaim in its early seasons, winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy in 1997 and 1998, and also winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1999.
So it started airing a little over 20 years ago. How time flies. I was a sprightly 39 at the time. Given the ‘sexual harassment at work’ hysteria we’re all being exposed to now, it would be interesting to see how its running theme of women exploiting their sexual power over men in the workplace looks today. The Wikipedia entry has, needless to say, a section, Feminist criticism. It contains a number of references if you check it out, but here’s the content of the section:
Ally McBeal received some criticism from TV critics and feminists who found the title character annoying and demeaning to women (specifically regarding professional women) because of her perceived flightiness, lack of demonstrated legal knowledge, short skirts, and emotional instability. Perhaps the most notorious example of the debate sparked by the show was the June 29, 1998 cover story of Time magazine, which juxtaposed McBeal with three pioneering feminists (Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem) and asked “Is Feminism Dead?” In episode 12 of the second season of the show, Ally talks to her co-worker John Cage about a dream she had, saying “You know, I had a dream that they put my face on the cover of Time magazine as ‘the face of feminism’.”
This brings me seamlessly to the topic of karma. The start of the Wikipedia entry:
Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in many schools of Asian religions. In these schools, karma in the present affects one’s future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives – one’s saṃsāra.
With origins in ancient India, karma is a key concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Taoism.
Now I’m not of a spiritual persuasion, but every now and then I have an experience which appears karma-like. One happened today. I ordered a cup of tea in my favourite cafe in the throbbing metropolis of Bedford, handed over a £5.00 note, was given £1.00 more in my change than I should have been given, so returned it to the surprised man behind the till. After I’d finished my tea, on the way home, I happened to glance in a charity shop window, and spotted The Complete DVD Collection of Ally McBeal. Online (e.g. Amazon) the collection tends to retail at £25.00+ so I was delighted to see it retailing at just £10.00. It’s in pristine condition, too. Almost 80 hours of comedy gold.
So a cafe operator is happy, I have The Complete DVD Collection of Ally McBeal, and a charity has £10.00 more to do good work. Maybe there’s something to this karma mullarky after all…