Romancing the Law: Ally McBeal and the Art of Subversive Comedy

22 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2013

See all articles by John Denvir

John Denvir

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2013

Abstract

The television sitcom Ally McBeal drew large audiences and won many awards, but the series also had detractors who felt that it demeaned both women lawyers and the legal profession. People loved and hated the show, but no one has thought it a serious commentary on the American legal system. I think it is time to take Ally McBeal seriously. I believe that its creator David E. Kelley has used the narrative devices of romantic comedy to make a subtle but powerful critique of the American legal system and to suggest a new future for law. It is an excellent example of what I call subversive comedy.

Keywords: law, lawyer, legal profession, women, populat depiction of the law, television, situation comedy, Ally McBeal

Suggested Citation

Denvir, John, Romancing the Law: Ally McBeal and the Art of Subversive Comedy (October 1, 2013). Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2334440 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2334440

John Denvir (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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