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"The Oddball Parade"
February 28th 2000
by Papa C

episode photos

The Case
The firm takes on the case of four who are suing their former employer, the owner of a graphic design company, for firing them based on their appearance. One is an obese woman, one is a transvestite, one is a man with compulsive hand-clapping and speech tics, and the other is felt to be "scary looking". Each did good quality work and worked at the company many years. However, the company recently grew from a small company to a large one with more of a profile, and the clients now meet the graphic artists.

John takes the case very personally, and is much too aggressive when cross-examining the owner. It hits too close to home.

The defendants offer to settle, but the plaintiffs don't want to. Their jobs were their lives, and this has hurt them. Matthew, the transvestite, tells John that the company even had a parade and all the employees marched... except them. John agrees, upon hearing this, that they shouldn't settle.

By now, the audience is filled with unusual-looking spectators who have come in support of the plaintiffs. John's closing reveals his own feelings of not fitting in as a teen. He says that the reward upon becoming an adult is that one isn't judged on appearance anymore. These people had a right to expect to work, and they did their jobs well. The defendant's attorney's closing remarks are that the American dream is to be able to have our own companies and hire those whom we think are best fit for the job, and to fire those whom we think no longer fit the job. The clients' and potential clients' confidence in the firm is based largely on image, and these four did not attract clients. As the firm grew, they were unable to increase their client base, and therefore weren't performing the sales part of the job as needed.

The ruling is for the defendant. One of the four plaintiffs apologizes to John for not settling - if they had, John would have gotten his contingency fee. John says the money wasn't what he was in it for (though Richard was, of course). John tells them just being heard was their win, and he invites them all (including the spectators who came to support them) to have their own parade outside. They march outside, dancing.

Ally
Ally and Elaine both enter a dance contest, along with many other people, at the bar. The judge is Tina Turner, and the winner joins her back-up singers for a performance at the bar. Ally has always wanted to meet Tina.

Ally is getting nervous about the contest. Billy reminds her of how mortified she was two years ago when she had to tell a joke in front of the audience, and how far she has come since then. He tells her she wants to do this because it's an escape from her life. She tells him that's what his dating Sandy is about. But he tells her to go for it - it's what she wants.

Many dancers are ahead of Ally and Elaine, and they're all very lithe and rhythmically gifted; all are wearing eye-catching outfits, and many are dressed to look like Tina. Ally follows Elaine at the auditions, who is very hot indeed . Ally, in contrast, swings her hips back and forth with an angry pout, wearing her office suit. Somehow, Ally wins.

Elaine is obviously miffed back at the office, and admits to Ally that it's not just that she herself lost, but that Ally won. She needs to believe that she can do something better than Ally, and dancing was it. She promises she'll be there cheering Ally on that night, however.

Backstage on the day of the performance, Ally demands to meet Tina, but is told that isn't part of the deal. Tina comes in and checks herself in the mirror, standing next to Ally. Ally introduces herself, but Tina walks away.

While waiting for the performance, Tina's assistant comes out and whispers to Elaine that she was actually the best dancer, but Tina doesn't like to be upstaged and that's why Ally was chosen. Elaine is thrilled.

During the performance, Ally does her angry pout number. She looks out at the audience and realizes she's only seeing Billy, and she's fantasizing about 1000 Billies cheering her on.

Back at the office the next day, Ally is angrily punching the lockers in the unisex with gigantic boxing gloves. Nelle comes in to find out if she's okay, and commiserates that it's always hard to go back to real life after acting out a fantasy like she got to have last night by singing with Tina. For some reason, Ally punches Nelle out. Billy comes in to see if she's okay, and she punches him out, too. However, he leads her back to her office where they continue talking. He asks why she's so angry, and she blurts out that she's lost him twice: once as a boyfriend, and now as a friend. He says it doesn't have to be that way, but she says she cannot be his friend the way he is now: the hair, the sexist attitude, his trying to mount his secretary. He winces, but says they can get their friendship back. She asks if he's back, and he says yes. They hug, and talk. He asks what she's been up to lately, and she lists her dates with the men she's dumped (the homeless man with the paranoid schizophrenia, the guy with the cow-laugh, and the bisexual man), and adds that she got to dance with Tina Turner. He talks to her about Sandy, and says he really likes her. She seems happy for him.

(Next week - rerun of Changes.)

 
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