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Cathy's World: Lawyer girls

By CATHERINE SEIPP   |   Oct. 23, 2002 at 3:00 AM
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- If you missed Monday night's premiere of "girls club," David E. Kelley's "realistic" (that's how he describes it) new Fox drama about three young women lawyers trying to succeed in a stuffy San Francisco law firm, let me bring you up to speed:

Okay, first off, it's blonde, beautiful Lynne's (Gretchen Mol) first trial EVER, and wouldn't you know that the rhymes-with-witch opposing counsel accuses her of being "infatuated" with her client. And since it's, you know, a murder trial, her mean old boss (Giancarlo Esposito) who is, like, TOTALLY SERIOUS ALL THE TIME, says she has to INFORM THE CLIENT of this accusation "to protect him and the firm." Could you just die?

Especially since even in his orange prison jumpsuit, the client is a total hottie, although the prosecutor, who is COMPLETELY COLD, keeps insisting that the hottie is also a stalker and a strangler. So maybe he's a stottie. Or a strottie. What-ever.

Then, in one of those "My Most Embarassing Moment" scenes the teen mags are always writing about, Lynne can't come up with any rebuttal to the see-you-next-Tuesday prosecutor's opening argument about the hottie client's guilt other than this:

"The evidence will NOT establish (that he killed the victim.) Because he didn't." So there!

"Did you freeze?" Mean Old Boss harshes her later in the office.

"No!" Lynne says. She just thought brevity would be more, you know, effective. Which it can be! Hasn't Mean Old Boss ever read a Teen People article?

Meanwhile, Lynne's best friend, brunette, beautiful Jeannie (Kathleen Robertson), is so cockeyed-optimist out of it that she doesn't even know to be offended when one of the totally gross, cooties-filled, married, BALD male senior partners gives her a shoulder-rub in the boardroom RIGHT IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!

So Lynne has to run to the bathroom with her other best friend, black-haired -- but with red highlights -- Sarah (Chyler Leigh), to rehash Jeannie's cluelessness about the vomitous shoulder-rubbage.

Luckily, even though it's a David E. Kelley law firm bathroom, it's not co-ed, like on "Ally McBeal," because "girls club" is more realistic remember. So at least this is one place our three young heroine associates don't have to deal with the senior male partners and their cooties and urinals and trouser flies.

But since this still IS a David E. Kelley lawyer drama, they will have to deal with his trademark gag-inducing sexual scenario lawsuits. Jeannie's client in the premiere, for instance, is suing her gynecologist for sexual battery because he had the flu the day before her exam but came to work anyway and fainted with his head between her legs.

And the client had her feet in the stirrups at the time, too. So she couldn't even, as she puts it, "manuever." Which is ridiculous, as they don't exactly attach your feet to those stirrups with superglue. But still, score another eeww.

Back to Lynne and her hottie client. He's shy with women, he says with an adorable aw-shucks smile, so "I gratify myself a lot." Thanks for sharing! Then he confesses that a guard caught him gratifying himself in his cell and he felt obliged to inform said guard that he was fantasizing about Lynne at the time. Again: Eeew. A self-gratifying hottie. A grottie!

Back at the office, poor third-banana Sarah doesn't even have the privilege of being dogged by a mean old senior male partner -- she's stuck with being dogged by a mean young female associate. So she totally loses it and yells that the associate is "a total dyke!" Right in front of EVERYONE! Oops! Boy, does Sarah get in trouble. Especially because this is San Francisco, remember.

And oops again, because in court Lynne sniffily tells the victim's daughter that "I hope you're not confusing me with the kind of lawyer who defends guilty people." (Duh! In what kind of parallel universe are lawyers supposed to do THAT?) But it turns out a witness implies her hottie client IS probably guilty, as he'd raped the victim years ago, when he was 15. But that was sealed evidence, since he was a juvenile at the time, so ... can you say "mistrial?"

But Mean Old Boss STILL isn't happy, because, as he explains, that just means the prosecution can start over and THAT'S why they planted that witness. Sike!

Also, Mean Old Boss adds, Lynne's hottie client just hanged himself accidentally in his cell during a bout of auto-erotic asphyxiation gone wrong. So now he's a dead hottie. A dottie!

And he was probably thinking of Lynne as he auto-erotically what-evered himself too. Eeeww again!

Now let's sneak a peek into the mind of the man behind "girls club." Why the lower case typography? "I guess I should have a good answer for that but I don't," said David E. Kelley at the Fox news conference.

Kewl! And will he be writing most of the "girls club" scripts in that endearingly controlling/preternaturally energetic way he's famous for?

"Any show that I create the first year I'm myopic about, and I don't anticipate that it'll be different here," Kelley said. "Also, it's not something I've totally figured out in terms of the storytelling."

Translation: Storylines about the constantly rutting students and faculty on "Boston Public" may be missing the touch of the master this year.

And Mr. Kelley, Mr. Kelley -- can you talk about your penchant for creating shows around girl lawyers in miniskir ... I mean, your empathy for gutsy women characters?

"I probably deep down believe that women are the superior sex," Kelly said, to approving chuckles all around. "When I see all that's going on the world, in the Middle East ... if the United Nations just said that women had to run countries, I don't think this would be going on in any of them. I could be wrong, but ..."

His voice trailed off in a way that implied yes, theoretically he could be wrong, and theoretically Mothra and Godzilla could take over the earth next week. But the odds are against it.

And, yeah, if the United Nations would just SAY. So why don't they? Hmmm. Ouch, that's a brainstrainer!

Anyway, time for a cute David E. Kelley trip-down-memory-lane anecdote, from the days when he wasn't a megarich TV writer/producer but just a poor lawyer with his head in the clouds and $300-an-hour in his pocket. It may seem a little familiar if you've been on the David E. Kelley beat for a while, but never mind, here we go:

"I remember my very first trial, I think it was for a bicycle theft, and I was up all night before practicing my closing argument," Kelley recalled. "And I had it down to the pregnant pauses. I had a section in the middle where I pretended to lose my way and then recover, just because I thought it would make me feel more human to the jury."

"And the next day, the last witness was finished and now the time had come," he continued. "The judge said to the D.A., 'Do you have anything else?' And the D.A. said, 'No.' And I stood up and I buttoned my coat and the judge said, 'Not guilty.'"

"My client was excited but my look must have been apparent," Kelley added. "Because the judge said to me, 'Counsel, if you'd like to come back to chambers and give me your closing argument, I'll listen.'"

But I wonder: Was the bicycle thief a hottie?

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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