Troubled Water

Season: 3

Episode: 5

Production Code: #3M05

First Air Date: November 22, 1999

Writer: David E. Kelley

Director: Joanna Kerns

# of Times Richard said Bygones: 0

Guest Stars:

Jill Clayburgh as Ally's mother
James Naughton as George (Ally’s father)
Dyan Cannon as Judge Jennifer "Whipper" Cone
Tracy Ullman as Dr. Tracy
Gina Philips as Sandy Hingle (Billy’s new assistant)
Amy Castle as young Ally


It’s that time of year again to break out the festive stash of Pepto-Bismal. There’s some sinister ingredient in turkey and candied yams that slingshots all ‘liars for the greater good’ into ‘deadman walking tell-all novelists.’

What sounds like a worst prospect to you, a family gathering or a bed of nails? Exactly.

The action unfolded quietly enough with Billy’s further descent into the darkside, while his near saintly upon comparison better half partook in a smidge of tongue hockey with the salt and pepper gent that she met at a bar last week.

Since she’s not rapid aging like some cocoa butter sun worshipper, couldn’t Georgia fling with someone who knows The Clash are rockers not a messy fabric combination?

Inadvertently, Ally ended up inviting absolutely everyone to dinner despite the fact that she’s proven time and again that she’s no Martha Stewart. Even Walton’s Mountain has a tendency to crumble in the face of homemade centerpieces, so you just knew there’d be an avalanche of raw (to use a fave NYPD Blue term) truths when Ally slipped on that unflattering white cowl-neck.

The fact that Georgia had actually been getting kissy face with Ally’s father was a shock even for the person who figured out the Murder, She Wrote criminal eons before Angela. This story became unbearably heavy-handed after that smattering of comedy, what with forcing us to endure Ally’s disillusioned just in time for Christmas red-rimmed eyes and the creepy allusions to her father’s fixation that was transferred onto Georgia.

Didn’t you think there should have been different parents cast in these roles? There was no trace whatsoever of Ally’s trademarks whimsy beneath the smothering layers of somber melancholy.

Meanwhile, Richard ran out on dinner to talk to Whipper and assure her that he’s staying with Ling because he’ll never love her, how sweet. At the same time growly Ling continued stuffing her face since she was so not concerned by his absence. It made Whipper seem desperate and also leaves you wondering how long Ling will be staying on.

At least peacock-strutting Billy and Georgia finally put each other out of their ‘Mad About You’ too many seasons misery. He asked out his college co-ed Felicity, uh, no, sorry, his assistant Sandy, while Georgia is contemplating working with Renee and Whipper.

How about Charlie’s Angels style law firm spin-off? Hey, it couldn’t be any worse than Snoops.

A couple of technical guffaws that can’t go unmentioned:

Didn’t Nelle and John break-up again last episode? Or have they done that so much even Mr. Kelley can’t keep track?

And, why was Dr. Tracey working on Thanksgiving, it’s not like she has a generous bedside manner is it?

By the finale it seemed like Ally had the best survival technique of all, curl up in the fetal position on a comfy sofa and wait for Y2K to blow up the universe.

©1999 Almost Human

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