Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Boston Legal

Recently I have found a new muse. I have been watching the series Boston Legal for a while now. Normally most of the things that I watch deserve the merit to enter my head and make me think about the underlying context or about something totally different from that experience. Boston Legal had the same effect.

Long time ago, I had developed a theory about cultural media. For me cultural media includes, music, films, tv, conversations, art, et al. So my theory was that, if all these things induce a thought inside my head which wouldn't have normally come to me, then it deserves some time inside my head. This theory has made me exceedingly curious at experiencing these things with a decent amount assured new brain activity.

The case with Boston Legal is quite different in many similar ways. Anybody who has heard or even watched one episode (accidentally), will know that it involves a lot of lawyers, intermittent humor and some really quirky characters, some of which want to chant their names multiple times within a single episode. On face of it this seemed very vile to me. When I watched it a bit seriously and serially I was proven dead wrong.

Legal profession invites a lot of moral issues, especially because its a profession based on laws set my humans who are free to interpret it according to their own convenience & better judgement. This increases the frivolousness of lawyers which leads to genius lawyers exploiting the system by creating a philosophical debate inside the minds of the judge, the jury, the defendant and the plaintiff. There is only one other profession apart from Psychology which engages in these games and that is Lobbying.

Although 80% of this series can be easily disregarded as a time filler, there are small moments which are built on our deep seated assumptions (Biases) about life, people, morality and education. These small moments occur during the trials. The whole 80% which we can disregard so effortlessly builds up to those few moments where we are put in the pilots seat to steer our own thoughts till the verdict is announced. I have watched a lot of legal dramas and know that all these trials are fictional, but putting myself in the context of either the defendant, the plaintiff, the lawyers, the jury and the judge suddenly became extremely difficult and riveting.

It wasn't difficult because it was fictional, but it was difficult because it could have been real. Real situations, real people, real life, real everything. What if?

Although the creator of the series, David Kelley, cleverly lightens the whole process with some humour (sometimes good, sometimes really good), it still leaves you with a full awareness that this could have been a real situation. The idea of a work of art for me is that it should make the me (the observer) experience it from the lens of my own life experience. Taint it with my image of what it means to me personally. From that point of view, Boston Legal does stand out as a good example of talented writing in those small places where it really matters.


Shrutika said...

Nice read :)

Raunak said...

Thanks for reading Shrutika, you'll love the show too.