There are going to be spoilers in here. I’m warning you now.
FROM JASON’S BRIEFCASE — Well, I said goodbye last night to Denny Crane and Alan… Shore-Crane.
As stupid as it sounds, I’ve lost two of the best (fictional) role models I’ve ever had.
William Shatner and James Spader cultivated over the past five seasons the most real relationship, in my opinion, to ever appear on television. Two grown, heterosexual men who unabashedly share their feelings, their money, their fears, their beds, and their scotch with each other: what a rare situation to see on television.
I was raised pretty blue-collar puritanical, even a little homophobic (I’ve gotten over that). Men drink beer together. They talk about sports. They joke about sex. They don’t share cigars on a balcony and peel away their emotional masks while saxophones play — which is how just about every Boston Legal episode ended. It’s just not manly.
Flamingos are not macho.
But those final scenes of each episode between Denny and Alan always left me aching for that kind of deep friendship that knew, really, no boundaries at all. Sex didn’t matter. Politics didn’t matter. Age didn’t matter between them. Here were two men who couldn’t be much more disparate, yet they found they were perfect for each other on a fundamental level — so perfect that they often joked about being married.
- Denny: We drink.
- Alan: We smoke.
- Denny: I’m unfaithful.
- Alan: Not to me.
- Denny: Never to you.
- Alan: We’re not setting examples. We’re just being true to who we are.
- Denny: Who are we?
- Alan: Denny Crane.
- Denny: Alan Shore.
- Alan: Leaders of men.
- Denny: With bull’s eyes on our asses.
Well, the final episodes aired Monday night validated that little in-joke about their husband-wife relationship as Denny and Alan married each other.
Sure, it was for tax reasons, so Denny could give Alan millions to start up a legal aid charity without Uncle Sam cashing in. At least on the surface. Really, looking back, there’s no more profound way such close friends could have ended their run, same sex or not. And what’s wrong with that? The whole point of marriage (allegedly) is to be with your best friend.
“You’re the man I love… Take my hand, Alan. Take my money,” Denny said.
It sounds schlocky, I know.
The finale left me wanting a little more in the way of exploring Denny’s deterioration and Alzheimer’s disease. He suffered a big lapse, but I would have liked to see it play out over another few episodes — something that the shortened 13-episode season order wouldn’t allow.
Another major turn of events, in which Crane, Poole, & Schmidt was purchased by Chinese investors (to become Chang, Poole, & Schmidt) also felt rushed. I think both the (rather hostile) takeover and Denny’s condition should have been stretched over another 13 or so episodes.
I would have also loved to have seen former cast members pulled back into the story (Denise, Brad, Jeffrey, Garrett, Claire, Sarah, Tara, Lori, Sally).
Oh well. I own all four released seasons on DVD, and there’s no doubt I’ll be buying the fifth. I’m just very sad to lose such an intellectually honest and challenging commentary on issues. Boston Legal gave me so much to think about, challenged my beliefs, and often started paths of contemplation that led me to change my mind about some very controversial topics.
That’s not something that can be said for much else on the air today. It’s not like Chuck, Fringe, or Family Guy are likely to do. There’s simply nothing to replace this highly educational and poignant show.