Sex, Lies & Second Thoughts
|The show begins with Ally and Brian at the bar, listening to Renee
and Vonda singing Ally's favorite song. She wonders aloud why Renee is singing, and Brian remarks that perhaps
it's a special occasion for someone. Getting no response from her, he continues until she finally realizes he means
them. Brian gives her a sapphire ring and asks her to move in with him. She is stunned.
Later, she and Renee discuss it. She can't decide if this is what she wants. They both think this requires consulting a therapist.
At the staff meeting, Ally announces that Brian has asked her to move in with him, so if she appears distracted, that's why. The others murmur unenthusiastic remarks, and the ever-tactful Ling states that Brian is boring. Then they discuss their case, which John is handling. An old female friend of his is petitioning for annulment of her marriage, upon learning that her young, handsome husband, with whom she has shared a companionable but passionless union, has been having an affair with a model. She is rather matronly in appearance, and feels that their marriage was a sham, because he obviously did not suffer from low libido, as he claimed, and was therefore only after her considerable wealth.
Later on, Ally goes in search of her therapist, Tracey. Tracey has relocated, and a young man is in her office instead. He asks if she is Ally McBeal. He knows who she is because hers is the only file Tracey left behind. She did not leave a phone #. The young man, Larry (played by Robert Downey, Jr.), asks her what the problem is. She explains about Brian's proposition, and hedges about why she is hesitant. He realizes right away that what she means is that their sex life is not satisfactory. She admits it, but says this isn't necessarily very important. He disagrees: sex is everything, Larry tells her. After awhile couples run out of things to talk about and sex is all that's left. She should tell him that she is unsatisfied, he suggests.
She mulls this over in her office. Elaine thinks she should hold onto him, because it's not that easy to trap nice guys.
Ally confronts Brian. She tells him that their sex life leaves something to be desired. He asks if it's her: has she had satisfactory relations with other men? She tells him it's not her, it's both of them together. They have no heat.
She goes back to Larry's office. She asks why sex should be so important. He tells her that sex is everything - it's the reason why men marry, so they can get it all the time without buying flowers and dinner. She mentions John's case, about the marriage being considered invalid because there was no passion. Larry asks her if she's not really actually worried about losing her own ability to attract men. She tells him he's an ass.
Renee asks if Ally is going to see him again. Ally assumes incorrectly that she means Larry. She thinks this new therapist is cute! Renee warns him about going after men who are wrong for her. Brian is boring, Renee tells her, but he may be right for Ally anyway.
Ally goes back to Larry's office, however. She apologizes for calling him an ass earlier. He tells her she must tell Brian, and must be blunt about it or he will not get the point: in the movies, the girls always say no and yet end up marrying the guy at the end.
Ally finally goes to see Brian again, and tells him that she does not want to move in with him. She gives him back his ring. He tells her to hold onto it until they are ready for that step. She tells him she doesn't want to see him anymore. She can see herself getting tired of him someday. He becomes angry, telling her that she entertains Prince Charming fantasies and has the emotional IQ of a teenager. He then demands that she leave, and lose his phone #.
Ally ponders all of this inside a stall in the unisex. Larry opens the stall door and startles her. He was worried about her, he tells her. She says that no decent therapist makes housecalls. He laughs and explains that he is not a therapist: he's an attorney. Didn't she read the sign on his door? She demands to know why he advised her about her lovelife, then. He says that he was advising her not to settle. They shake hands.
John warns his client, Maureen, that lots of private, embarrassing testimony will be aired in court. He advises her to settle for $700,000. She says this is about her dignity. She can live with being fat, ugly and alone, but not a fool.
John argues the case in court. Maureen takes the stand. They did not have sex on their wedding night, and had it only infrequently thereafter. They were great companions, and enjoyed their time together, but there was no romance. He told her it was low sex drive on his part, but when a trip with some friends was cancelled, she came home and found him engaged in a tryst with a scantily clad model (who is present in the courtroom). Confronted, he admitted he had been having an affair with this model for two years. Thus he had a normal sex drive, but was just putting in time with her so he could get a decent divorce alimony settlement. She insists that the marriage was a sham, and therefore it should be annulled.
She is cross-examined by her husband's attorney. He was not seeing this woman at the beginning of their marriage. And not being honest isn't grounds for an annulment.
Back at the office, she asks John to be honest with her and tell her: how could she have thought this young, attractive man was genuinely attracted to her? She never had boyfriends. Could anyone be attracted to her? John takes Richard aside and asks him to pretend to be attracted to Maureen, to boost her confidence. He tries, not very convincingly, and she wonders if he's making fun of her. He later tries again, and she follows him to his office, shuts the door and does a suggestive dance to Barry White. When she gets close, though, Richard screams. She later admits to John she was just trying out her sensuality. John points out Nelle, and tells Maureen that Nelle used to be with him. She bluntly wonders why, and he tells her that confidence is sexy. He felt good about himself when he was with Nelle.
Back in court, John has Maureen's husband on the stand. He points out that he dated two other models before he married Maureen. Thus, he dates models, but marries wealth. The husband maintains that he did love Maureen, but that she pushed HIM away. He admits their union was passionless and tells of a saying that if a newlywed couple places a bean in a jar each time they have intercourse for the first year, then they take one out each time after the first year, the jar will never grow empty.
The husband's attorney now has his turn with the husband at the stand. He claims that even if the husband married for money - which he insists he did not - it's no worse than marrying for looks or any other quality. And he maintains that his client loved Maureen. John "accidentally" breaks a jar of beans right then!
The jury comes back with their verdict quickly: by a majority of 9 to 3, they decide against allowing annulment. After the verdict is read, the husband comes over to Maureen and tells her that he doesn't want any alimony from her. He insists that he really did love her. She said she had wanted a marriage with affection. He insists she was the one being fraudulent when they married, then, because that was not their arrangement.
The show ends with a song. Ally decides aloud that maybe she will be with someone, maybe she won't, but that the loneliest times of her life were when she was not alone.
PREVIEWS for next week: A man who is dressed quite convincingly as a woman makes the moves on Mark; Marcia Cross also guests.