Beautiful TV: The Art and Argument of Ally McBeal by Greg M. Smith

By Greg M. Smith

In the course of its five-year run from 1997 to 2002, the preferred television convey "Ally McBeal" engaged audience in debates over what it capacity to be a lady or a guy within the smooth place of work; how romance components into the healing realizing of relationships; what price eccentricity has and what sort of oddity society should still tolerate; and, what application delusion has within the pragmatic international. as well as those social matters, even though, "Ally McBeal" stood out for being well-constructed, narratively complicated, and stylistically wealthy - in brief, attractive television. ranging from the idea that a lot of tv this day is 'drop-dead lovely' and that television may be studied for its formal features in addition to its social impression, Greg M. Smith analyzes "Ally McBeal" by way of its aesthetic ideas and narrative construction.He explores how 'Ally's' cutting edge use of song, lighting tricks, fable sequences, voiceovers, and flashbacks buildings a particular fictional universe, whereas it additionally opens up new probabilities for televisual expression. Smith additionally discusses the complicated narrative techniques that 'Ally's' writer David E. Kelley used to increase a long-running storyline and exhibits how those serial narrative practices can assist us comprehend quite a lot of prime-time television serials. through taking heavily the paintings and argument of "Ally McBeal", "Beautiful television" conclusively demonstrates that aesthetic and narrative research is an vital key for unlocking the richness of latest tv.

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Which uses of music are most central to the construction of the Ally world, the public or the private ones? If Ally’s innovative use of music makes everything from musical fantasies to commentary to diegetic/nondiegetic crossovers possible, which narrative functions are the most highly valued in the Ally universe? We came close to the answer when we looked at the most devalued use of music in Ally, lip-synching. When certain characters (Ling, Richard, Nelle) fear performing enough to lip-synch their way through a song, they show exactly what they want to hide: their fear of failure, their dishonest vanity.

And yet the musical often reminds us how infrequently musical performance is a part of everyday life. The reason the musical is such a jarring departure from the norm is that people Practical Music, Personal Fantasy 21 generally don’t sing in public much nowadays. For most people, music functions as accompaniment, as a background provided by professional musicians while we work and play. Ally McBeal recognizes the omnipresence of background music both in television and in everyday life while simultaneously refusing to let this music stay unproblematically behind the scenes.

But in Ally McBeal it is exactly those everyday, nonprofessional characters who are expected to sing, and the series creates a space (in particular, the bar, but also spots like Ally’s home piano) where that performance is believable. Unlike the musical, in Ally not everyone can sing and dance well. In the musical, certain roles are written to accommodate actors with limited musical skills (a famous example is the slight musical range of “Send in the Clowns,” written to hide the weaknesses of Elizabeth Taylor’s voice in A Little Night Music), so that almost no one in the musical, even characters who are not supposed to have musical training, belts out clunkers.

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