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Alan Shore

January 2, 2009

I’ve been enjoying Boston Legal via Netflix, and am currently finishing up season 3.  There are many characters on the show that I enjoy, but from the first or second episode of season 1, I became utterly and completely enthralled with Alan Shore.

aanIt’s taken me nearly three seasons to figure out exactly what it is about Alan that I like so much.

It isn’t his political or social views, because I often disagree with them.  It isn’t his ability to offer brilliant closing arguments in court cases.  It isn’t the way he freely discusses his vulnerabilities and doubts.  It isn’t the way that he approaches problems in an unconventional way, or does whatever it takes to do his job well.

No, I realized that the reason I find Alan Shore so fascinating is that he accepts people as they are.  He befriended Jerry Espenson, a socially awkward but brilliant lawyer with Asperger’s Syndrome.  He doesn’t bat an eye when his cross-dressing assistant Clarence comes to work dressed as his female alter-ego, Clarice.  He is kindly supportive of his friend Denny Crane‘s peculiarities (of which there are many).  In episode after episode, Alan is interacting with people who would drive most folks crazy… yet he remains patient and kind when he interacts with them.  He is — to quote an old “I Love Lucy” song — a friend of the friendless.

Not once have I seen Alan Shore tell someone that they should try to change, to be someone other than who they really are.  But more than not telling them to change, he doesn’t let their eccentricities cause him any discomfort.  When I think about how aggravated I get with people sometimes, I realize I should be more like Alan and just accept them at face value.  After all, there’s no sense trying to get a leopard to change its spots.

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