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Body Language is the 14th episode of Season One of Ally McBeal.


Ally comes up with a "creative" strategy to convince a prison superintendent that an inmate should be allowed to marry; Whipper breaks up with Fish; and Cage undergoes "smile therapy."


Ally beats out Renee in the bouquet toss at a wedding. However, later, as they burn their ugly dresses, she vows never to be a bridesmaid again. The next day, Ally and Georgia try to convince a judge to allow Michael Young, a prison inmate with a life sentence, to marry his fiancée, Janie Bittner. The judge grants the prison superintendent the right to make the decision. Georgia and Ally meet with superintendent named Donald Yorkin, who says that inmates should only be allowed to marry if they have children and that no conjugal visits are permitted that might create children if they don't already exist.

Back at the office, Fish asks Cage, who has been undergoing 'smile therapy,' to get the entire firm into that same therapy, hoping it will make everyone happier. That night, at the bar, Fish flirts with U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno after he spots her. When Whipper sees Fish touching Reno's wattle, she immediately breaks up with him. The next day, Fish is both unhappy and unsmiling, despite Cage's best efforts. Ally goes to talk to Whipper on Fish's behalf, but Whipper says the Reno incident wasn't minor as Fish has had a major crush on the Attorney General for a long time. Back at the office, Fish tells Cage he doesn't think he can get back together with Whipper without resolving the marriage issue, something he's not prepared to do. Cage shows Fish how to look in a mirror, smile, visualize how he wants things to be, and then go after them. Ally asks Janie why she wants to marry a man she cannot be with. In reply, Janie insists that, even though it is not logical, it's what she desires. Ally decides to try flirting with Judge Smart, hoping this twist on Cage's smile therapy might help her get the decision she wants. But the judge catches on to Ally's act immediately, so the judge bluntly lays out another plan: if Janie were to be inseminated with Michael's sperm and conceive a child, they should be allowed to marry. Meanwhile, Fish goes to see Whipper, and tries to make up by complimenting her beauty. Her response is to knee him in the groin.

Back at the office, Ally presents her new plan to Janie, who is a bit stunned, but agrees. Ally and Georgia go to the prison and present the insemination plan to Michael. He, too, is stunned, but accepts. Ally and Georgia give Superintendent Yorkin a cup and a magazine to give to Michael. A while later, Yorkin returns with the filled cup. Ally and Georgia race back to Janie, who's waiting at a fertility clinic. But they get pulled over by two cops, who demand to see what's in the cup. The male officer identifies the substance lets them go and finally, they make it to the clinic, only to find Janie has changed her mind: she still wants to marry Michael, but feels this is no way to conceive a child. Just when it looks like all is lost, however, Yorkin enters and says he has decided to allow Janie and Michael to marry in any case. Janie is thrilled and asks Ally and Georgia to be her bridesmaids. Despite her recent vow, Ally cannot refuse.

Fish returns back to Whipper's chambers and finally they fight it out. Whipper says that 'no commitments' was fine when they first started their relationship, but now that they've fallen in love, it just doesn't work any more. Fish apologizes for flirting with Reno, vows he loves Whipper, and offers a commitment until Valentine's Day. Whipper kisses him. As they hug, she discovers he's wearing a protective cup, in case she tried to knee him again. They both dissolve into laughter.

At the prison, a minister marries Michael and Janie. After the ceremony, Ally warns Yorkin that they'll be going back to court now to argue for conjugal visits. Michael takes Ally and Georgia aside to thank them for their help and to admit that he came up with his sperm donation by thinking of them together. Later, Ally dances on the street in the falling snow, with all her friends watching. This time, everyone's smiles are genuine.


Full transcript can be found here.


List of songs in the episode.



Calista Flockhart as Ally McBeal
Courtney Thorne-Smith as Georgia Thomas
Greg Germann as Richard Fish
Lisa Nicole Carson as Renée Raddick
Jane Krakowski as Elaine Vassal
with Peter MacNicol as John Cage
and Gil Bellows as Billy Thomas

Special Appearance By

Dyan Cannon as Whipper Cone

Guest starring

Kathleen Wilhoite as Janie Bittner
Lawrence Pressman as Judge Harland Smart
J. Kenneth Campbell as Donald Yorkin
John Thaddeus as Michael Young
Vonda Shepard as Herself
Nancy Stephens as Dr. Karp