Once In a Life Time

Season: 1

Episode: 1

Production Code: ALY-115

First Air Date: September 28, 1999

Teleplay: David E. Kelley

Story: David E. Kelley & Jeff Pinkner

Director: Elodin Keene

Creator: David E. Kelley

Main Title Theme & Score: Danny Lux

# of Times Richard said Bygones: 1

Guest Stars:

Renee Goldsberry as Vonda's back-up singer Vatrena King as Vonda's back-up singer Sy Smith as Vonda's back-up singer


The ying-yang roommates hold tandem yoga postures while dishing about Ally’s limp romantic life. Very ‘Sex and The City.’ Very ‘Beautiful Stranger’ Madonna. Very obviously two years ago. Our favorite over-exposed waif exhales precisely what we’re all computing, “I’m feeling the ick!”

It’s never a good thing to be waxing nostalgic for the old days especially when it leads you to thinking that at least Milli Vanilli had the decency to dupe the world on a far more elaborate scale. There is no such effort made in this repackaged rerun.

Do you get the feeling the network execs believe we’d watch paint peeling for a half hour as long as it was a pretty color?

In case you missed the first five hundred unabridged airings of this episode, it finds Calista at her adolescent squirmiest attempting to Houdini herself out of a relationship with John Cage.

Am I the only one missing the Ryan and Hanks sparks here? These two have about as much chemistry as Rosie O’Donnell and Donny Osmond.

Of course, John is oblivious to Ally’s recoiling upon sight of him, too wrapped up in his own excess saliva issues. The Biscuit immediately fast forwards his romantic comedy to the part where the boy gets wayward advice via a female-challenged pal like Richard; and a pariah, namely Elaine, doing her best sweater popping Lana Turner impression while teaching the pitiable John a tongue trick that would leave Gene Simmons reeling.

Just a thought, but aren’t we all well past the hilarity of the automatic flusher?

Anyway, on their date, just prior to Ally collapsing under John’s thin lips, Calista gets to throw out the best line of the show: “I had foreplay with a mirror.” This was supposed to be faux narcissism, in fact, it’s the character at her most honest.

We mercifully reach the finale, where Ally has the Biscuit turtling upon declaring him her buddy. Which is more devastating, buddy or George Castanza’s tried and true, “It’s not you, it’s me,” speech?

The half hour time limit does jettison much of that walking-talking post Billy and the increasingly tedious courtroom scenes, giving the show a brisker pace. Yet, when all is said and done I’m still not quite sure I’m understanding the concept of this ‘new’ series. Let’s see now, if you add two-thirds old footage and one-third music video speed motion camera work (technical wizardry, no?) then you get the recipe for a brand spanking new.......REPEAT!

©1999 Almost Human

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