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Happy Birthday, Baby is the 19th episode of Season One of Ally McBeal.


Ally is mortified when her friends throw her a surprise birthday party because she hates birthdays. A man with a foot fetish refuses to use insanity as a defense.


Elaine plans a birthday surprise for Ally but Ally immediately objects to the main staff to sing Happy Birthday - it is allowed to sing that song on television. In any case, Elaine plays Tom Jone' song 'It's not unusual' and each main staff member walks out to let Ally witness a stripper. Dr. Greg Butters escorts Ally up the steps to her apartment and gives her a kiss. She invites him upstairs, but he declines, asking for a rain check. When Ally enters the apartment, she grabs hold of the inflatable doll and yanks it into her bedroom. The following morning, Ally laments to Renee that she is about to turn twenty-eight. The conversation is interrupted by a telephone call, which Renee answers. Ally's ears perk up when Renee mentions the name Mark Henderson. Later, when Ally enters the conference room, she informs her colleagues that Renee was assigned to prosecute the case.

In court, Renee questions Cheryl Bonner, who describes how Henderson entered her apartment in the wee hours of the morning and began tickling her foot as she slept. When Bonner awakes, she began screaming and dialled the police. On cross-examination, Ally notes that Henderson and Bonner were dating at the time, and that Henderson found that the door to her apartment was, in fact, unlocked. Later, Ally and Renee discuss the caseand Ally grabs one of Renee's feet, and removing her shoe, gives her a massage, in an attempt to talk her into a plea bargain. Cage and Fish listen from the doorway as Renee's moans of pleasure reach almost orgasmic proportions. An agreement is however not reached, and the trial continues. Henderson explains that his third date with Bonner went very well. When she revealed her love for foot massages, which she described as erotic and Henderson took it upon himself to surprise her. He describes in loving detail how he entered the apartment and caressed Bonner's foot. Later, Ally is taken aback when Henderson refuses to allow her to submit an insanity plea. Elaine meanwhile invites Greg to sing at Ally's upcoming surprise birthday party, learning that he studied drama in college. During a rehearsal at the bar, Greg sings a number that attracts the attention of every woman within earshot. He is blessed with a dreamy, erotic voice.

Ally invites Henderson and Bonner to the bar, hoping they can work out their differences outside of court. Suddenly, a spotlight hits Ally, and Vonda dedicates a song to her, Peggy Lee's I am a Woman and Ally is mortified. Elaine then picks up the lyrics, dancing erotically. The spotlight then pans to Renee, who also joins in to Ally's surprise. A short time later, after the singing subsides, Ally meets with Cheryl, Henderson and Cage. But the scheme does not go well, and Cheryl labels Henderson as sick. Ally pulls Cheryl aside for a private talk. Cheryl explains that, for once in her life, she thought she had met her Mr. Right. She was mortified when she awoke and discovered him tickling her foot. Henderson overhears part of the conversation and apologizes for his behavior. Shortly thereafter, the spotlight returns back to Vonda, who remarks there's one last gift for the birthday girl. Greg's voice and appearance suddenly overwhelms every one audience. Suddenly, Renee joins Greg in completing the song which is Elvis' Love Me. The pair make a steamy duo, causing Ally to grow enormously jealous.

Back at their apartment, Renee insists she has no interest in dating Greg despite Ally's disbelief. Their discussion is interrupted when Greg drops by for a visit. He takes Ally's hand and informs her that he has accepted a new job at a Chicago hospital which explains why he was reluctant to begin a sexual relationship. He believes that, had things worked out differently, he could very easily have fallen in love with her. Ally remains stoic, pretending she is not hurt. Greg remarks that Renee is nosey and they her Renee slamming her room door. The next morning, Ally awakens in an upbeat mood only to discover she's lying to herself. She grabs hold of the inflatable doll and sits on it, causing the doll to explode. Later, in court, Ally presents her closing argument in the Henderson case. She maintains that the issue isn't feet, it's about entering a person's dwelling without being invited inside. She blames Henderson's action not on insanity, but on loneliness. Instead of being passive, and allowing his personal life to slip by, Ally believes that Henderson took control of his destiny. She admits her client was too assertive and also states that he is not a criminal.

Greg approaches Ally in the courthouse corridor. He tells her that since he won't be leaving town for another two weeks, he sees no reason why they cannot continue seeing each other. But Ally maintains she is not a 'que sera' kind of girl. Greg then gives her a kiss on the cheek before he leaves. The jury finds Henderson not guilty. Afterward, he and Cheryl decide to meet for coffee.


Full transcript can be found here.


List of music in the episode can be found here



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

Guest starring

Jesse L. Martin as Dr. Greg Butters
Harriet Sansom Harris as Cheryl Bonner
Barry Miller as Mark Henderson
Vonda Shepard as Herself
Alaina Reed Hall as Judge Elizabeth Witt