Review Boston Legal: Season 2, Episode 2 - Schadenfreude


Apparently, the title I have chosen for this review is the closest thing we have in the English language to the German word 'schadenfreude', as you all already know, meaning 'taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune'. I prefer the German as a sort of loan word into the English language; even Denny's butchering of the word (shutterbug?!) is far superior to this unnecessarily long e-word that traces its roots back to Greek and apparently means the same thing as schadenfreude, even though you may not find it in many dictionaries.


Whatever word you want to use to describe it, you can't ignore it, and we've certainly all been guilty of it at one point or another. Alan played on that universality of the feeling - even went as far as to suggest it is a biological, physiological fact of the human brain, not merely an ugly unexplainable facet of the way the human mind works. And he was right in his assertion that the only way anyone could convict Kelly Nolan of the murder of her husband was through a sick happiness they would draw from it. People want murders to be solved, the criminals to be apprehended and punished for their evil deeds. But things don't work out that way, all cut and dry, prepackaged and ready to go. Is it possible that Kelly was in fact guilty? Certainly. That isn't what counts though. It is absolutely possible that she is innocent, and so Alan argued that it would be flat-out wrong to find her guilty.


Throughout Kelly Nolan's appearance on the show, she has been defined not through what she has done, said, or felt, but rather a lack of all three, especially the last. Instead of witty dialog, as is usual between the litigators of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt, it is rather her almost calculated reservedness and reticence, and a detached demeanor that has cast doubt on her innocence from the the moment she walked into the firm's offices. She is a powerful character not because she cries on the stand at the loss of a loved one; but because she seems to feel nothing at all. This sets off the media blitz that dubbed her 'The Black Widow', and subsequently worries her representation, namely Brad, whose straightforward nature leads him to believe that unless she starts to act like a woman who has lost her husband, she's going to start acting like a woman who picks up garbage on the highway in an orange jumpsuit.


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