S2E8: Martyrs and Mud-Slinging


Previously: Ling was around, generally, and started a lot of law suits, Elaine had a bunch of different inventions, Ally dumped Fitzy.

Short pre-credits scene this ep: Elaine and Ally appear to be messing around with the remote flusher when they and Georgia get bad vibes all of a sudden. Creepy music plays and Ling steps out of the elevator. As soon as she’s out of earshot, the ladies all go, “She’s baaaackk”, but she was definitely in the last episode so, um, good one?

Now let’s get to some actual development: Richard enters Nelle’s office, just as Ling is telling her that she’s overwrought. She’s the one being taken to court this time, as a Million Moms type group is trying to shut down her mud-wrestling club, on the basis of a nuisance complaint. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything, Richard didn’t know she owned a mud-wrestling club either. Ling pouts, asking why everyone is out to get her.

At a staff meeting a bit later, Richard lays out the case for everyone: the group, Mothers Opposed to Pornographic Entertainment, thinks the club destroys the nature of their community. Ally gets shitty about the “tramps” that work at a place like that, and yet Richard decides to put her on the case, along with Georgia and Nelle. He’s assuming that MOPE will use the “degradation of women cliche”, so he figures the female lawyers will have better luck. Oh, plus he hasn’t been able to sleep with Ling yet, so anything he can do to help his case. Nelle says the judge will want a hearing, so someone should check out the club, but when she volunteers Billy for this task, Georgia objects vehemently. Nelle tries to point out that these kind of places are for married men, but in the end they decide that Richard and Cage will be their spies.

We get to find out what Elaine was messing around with pre-credits, which turns out to be an automatic toilet seat warmer for Cage. She demonstrates the device for him in the Unisex, mentioning that it also raises and lowers the seat (a feature she included for married couples). Cage looks pleased.

The gang heads in to court, but are stopped short when Justin Theroux calls out Georgia’s name. We are thusly introduced to Ray, who exchanges greeting with Georgia while Ally looks on lustily. He manages to get in the fact that he’s single before Ling interrupts to say that she doesn’t want Georgia all congenial before she goes to litigate for her. Georgia tells Justin that their case is really dumb, but it turns out that he’s repping the plaintiff.

Cut to this dramatic showdown in the courtroom, where Ray shoots Nelle down when she tries to argue about zoning laws. He then fast-talks about how the club creates traffic and congestion and stigmatizes the neighborhood, but Ling jumps up to claim defamation when he tries to compare it to a “strip joint”. The judge overrules her, and Ray continues that the club is offensive to women and demeans the neighborhood, and here to talk about it is Ms. Stokes, one of the residents. The judge says they’ll hear from her after lunch and declares a recess.

Outside the courtroom, Ling makes it known that she’s displeased thus far and departs with Nelle. Ally immediately asks Georgia for the scoop on Ray. Georgia tells her they were law school classmates and she had a crush on him before she met Billy. They went on one date but didn’t have anything in common, so she offers to fix Ally up with him. Ally suddenly does an about-face and gets weird about him being opposing counsel, but Georgia is all for the match, since conflict can breed passion. After worrying to her that “you like all the men I like”, Ally admits that she does want to meet Ray properly. We get a quick scene of Cage and Richard in the Unisex, where Cage says he wants to arrive at MudWrestlemania separately so they don’t damage the reputation of the firm, but it doesn’t really merit its own paragraph.

It’s after lunch and Stokes is on the stand, complaining that the neighborhood where the club is located is both commercial and residential, and it shouldn’t embrace the idea of reducing women to sex objects. She also calls mud a “wild lubricant”, so have fun with that mental image. Nelle also has some questions for Stokes (is this still a hearing? Do they do cross-examination without a jury? Zeke, help!), getting her to confirm that any mud wrestling clubs in residential areas should go. Nelle then asks about movie theaters that show films with sex scenes, which Stokes admits can have redeeming qualities. Not so fast, though, as she says she’s not going to let Nelle trap her with “sleazy” questions. She asks for permission to make a speech, which the judge grants, but then basically makes the same point again about a negative impression of women being bad for the community. Interestingly, when Nelle acts if actresses are also degraded by their work, she says no, since “they’re paid tons of money”. I mean, you have to have standards.

The ladies of C&F are out in the hall again prepping for the next portion of the hearing when Ray approaches and mentions to Ally that Georgia thought they should go out. Ally stumbles through the interaction with her usual grace, shrinking back at first before agreeing to get a drink with him. Ling asks what’s going on with people being nice to each other, as it makes her uncomfortable, but Georgia looks pleased at this development.

Renee finds Ally rifling through stuff at their apartment, and Ally explains that she wanted to change her underwear for her date. Renee is confused, but Ally has two lucky items, a pair of underwear and an old shoe, and she can’t exactly bring the latter with her. Renee asks if Ray is that cute to have her so flustered, and Ally babbles about how she likes him because he talks fast and reminds her of Jack Webb. She imitates Ray’s arguments in court and rubs her lucky underwear instead of, like, putting it on like a normal person.

Cage and Richard are getting ready to go to Ling’s club (Cage is dressed all in gray to blend in), and Nelle reminds Richard that she’ll need a detailed report, since Ling might lie on the stand. Basically she wants to make sure that there’s no nudity or sexual touching, so she can go back and argue with a clear conscience. She takes Cage’s hand and thanks him for going undercover for her, and spy music plays in the background.

In the Unisex, Georgia tells Ally that maybe she and Ray should go to VONDA Bar for their date, so that everyone else can dilute it if it goes bad. Ally says she doesn’t want them all watching, but I’m definitely sure she got Renee to chaperone for her before, so I give up trying to follow her dating logic. Ally ducks into a stall while Elaine tells a story about how she was so nervous for her date with the college quarterback that she went out with the whole team, but just before Ally sits, the seat pops up and she falls into the bowl. Cage and Richard come in, Cage having triggered the seat-lifter before entering, and Elaine gets the stall door open so they can see what they’re dealing with. Ally’s hip seems to be wedged, and she is stuck.

Elaine goes out to the main office and announces that the Unisex is temporarily out of order because Ally is stuck in the toilet bowl, but all non-speaking extras should continue working. Cut to Billy and Georgia keeping Ray busy in someone’s office, where they lie that Ally is touching up her makeup. Meanwhile, a bunch of firemen are in the Unisex trying to free Ally, and they tell her they’ll have to break the toilet. Since this is Cage’s usual stall, he’s aghast at the news, and Billy comes in to check on the status of the situation. Ally tells him not to tell Ray the truth, but her shouting is interrupted by Elaine triggering the remote flusher for Ally’s toilet. Her response is surprised but pleased.

Over in the attorney’s office, Ray asks Georgia what she thinks he’ll like about Ally besides that she’s pretty, which I think is a good question. Georgia says it’s her sense of humor (?), but he notes that he didn’t like long hair back in law school. Georgia suggests that he also didn’t like that she met Billy the week after they went out, and he remarks that sometimes he wonders what could have been. She disagrees, being happily married and all.

And now for the oft-mentioned mud wrestling club. Even though this is not the usual bar, we get a VONDA singover (“Secret Agent Man”) as Cage, wearing a trenchcoat, wanders in to join Richard, who’s been touching waitresses’ wattles and smelling his finger. Nobody seems to notice this grossness, as the place is packed with shouting men who are loving the muddy women on display. No sooner has Cage sat down than his face is splattered with mud, and an MC starts “auctioning” of a wrestling match with one of the girls. Richard bids and wins, and when his opponent emerges in a bright green one-piece his and Cage’s tongues unfurl comically.

Ally is still stuck and awaiting help from the firemen. Elaine is hovering around wearing a fireman’s helmet, but none of them look particularly friendly with her so I have to assume she stole it to be flirty. One of the guys tells them to stand back, and whacks off the lip of the toilet. Ally is free! She stammers that she’s late for a date and runs out.

Richard and the mud chick are all in on their wrestling match, and Cage gets further splattered as they fight with some boob-grinding and definite sex-like positions. But yeah, no objectification here.

At VONDA Bar, not only have Billy and Georgia showed up as backup for Ally and Ray’s date, it’s actually a proper double. Ray asks why C&F took the mud wrestling case if they’re so disgruntled about representing the club, and Georgia cites the “Ling Principle”, starting in on a rant about Richard. Billy tells her he doesn’t think they should give away the firm’s “trade secrets”, but I thought “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” was common knowledge. Ray asks Ally to dance, but she declines due to her “sprained butt” (I thought she didn’t want him to know what happened?), so Georgia volunteers to go in her place. Nelle and Ling are seated not too far from them, and Ling asks why the C&F gang is being friendly with opposing counsel. Nelle tries to distract her by coaching her for court, but she couldn’t care less. Meanwhile, Billy asks Ally about Ray, but she replies, shooting a look at him dancing with Georgia, that she hasn’t been able to talk to him yet. I mean, he’s trying, I think you’re the one in your own way here.

But of course Ally doesn’t see it this way, as at home she rants to Renee that Ray and Georgia are still attracted to each other. She insists that they shouldn’t even have had dinner together (but Billy was there?). Renee asks if exes can’t ever have lunch or anything, and I could swear we had a near-identical conversation like two episodes back. Ally cites Renee’s transgressions with Matt, and declares it wrong, even if the parties are too responsible to act on their attraction. Renee naturally brings up the example of Ally and Billy working together, and Ally gets huffy that she tricked her (even though, again, Renee used the same example defending her thing with Matt really recently).

At C&F, Cage examines the broken toilet in its stall, and Richard assures him they’ll replace it. Nelle comes in to ask how their club mission was, and Richard recaps that it was a bunch of guys staring at breasts and butts, not much else. Nelle is pleased, as this is about what she’d bargained for.

But she may not have bargained for Ling, who she’s now examining in court. Ling says that every woman wants to be thought of as desirable, and it doesn’t matter if they’re objectified since some of them make upwards of $100k a year from the “drunken Neanderthals”. She continues that teasing men with something they can’t have is the “very essence of a woman”, and sex is their God-given advantage to use as a weapon.

On Ray’s turn, he asks if Ling sees nothing wrong with putting women into mud to titillate men. She claims that mud-less male boxing is worse, and when asked if she’s met any of her employees, replies that she doesn’t care enough. Ray asks what impression this kind of work gives to young girls, and gives the hypothetical of her niece wanting to take up mud wrestling. Ling rants that other jobs, like football players, figure skaters, and actresses, can be equally demeaning, and is finally cut off by the judge. Ray gives it a last shot: does she agree that women at the club are exploited? Ling starts up again: women are already exploited by shoes, makeup, and other products, so this just lets the women exploit men for their “pigdom”. Her rant trails off as she says she’s getting tired, but Ally looks impressed.

Back at the office, Ally raves to Billy that Ling is vicious, but also her hero, and Cage walks by carrying a broken piece of toilet. Billy says he’ll see Ally on their next double date tonight (who operates their social life like this??), but Ally’s not sure she’s into it. She goes upstairs and finds Georgia, so she can ask her what’s going on. Ally thinks that Georgia set her up with Ray just so that she could spend time with him without betraying Billy, and Georgia is incredulous at the thought.

Ling is applying makeup in Nelle’s office, and admires the “martyr glow” she gets from being a defendant. Nelle has been thinking of other things: the other day she bumped into a former coworker while she wasn’t wearing makeup, and he didn’t even recognize her. Ling, great friend that she is, asks what the point is, and Nelle tells her that women are still things to be looked at, and these clubs don’t help. Ling tries to argue with the fact that a man growled at her in a store once and she liked it, but Nelle insists that she won’t do the summation, as she can no longer sell it.

There’s a completely random bit where Cage walks into the office to the “Hawaii Five-O” theme, examining and taking different objects around the area, and bumps into Georgia. I must be missing something, I have no idea what it has to do with Georgia then going to Ally’s office to continue their discussion. She brings up Ally’s date with the teenage client, which she went on “just to remember”, and Ally agrees that she had wanted to stare into the eyes of an eighteen-year-old, which isn’t creepy at all. Georgia tells her that when you’re married, you don’t get that “date high” anymore, and her flirting with Ray doesn’t mean anything. Ally calls it an affair and wrong, and she is way overreacting, especially when she says that Billy going to watch mud wrestling women would be less wrong than this. Georgia is petulant, but I would have slapped her, so she has better control than I do at least.

The C&F team has called a male witness to the stand: he testifies that he was a lawyer, but now dances at the “Squat and Gobble” (lol). He makes great money dancing and likes how the women respond to him, and doesn’t find it degrading at all. Nelle asks how he’d feel if she told him everything she wanted to do with him, but he denies that he’d feel like a victim. Nelle rests her case.

Out in the hall, Ally complains that Mr. Squat was a stunt, but Ling likes the strategy. Nelle tells them she wants Richard to do the closing, but is interrupted when Ray comes up behind them and scares Ally. He wants to see her again (it sounded like they already had a second date set up), but she declines. He’s great and seems fun, but she’s not comfortable fraternizing with opposing counsel. Yeah, she only does that with her own clients. He’s confused, since Georgia led him to think… “Georgia’s been doing a little too much leading lately”, says Ally, and if she doesn’t get down off that high horse on her own I may push her. Once he leaves, Georgia rushes over for an update, but Ally says she just didn’t want to date him.

Nelle has run back to the office to ask Richard to close, figuring that the mud wrestling club is a place for men and he can explain the allure. He argues that he hasn’t been part of the case thus far, but Nelle tells him that none of the women get it like he does. She reminds him that the judge is male, and tells him to speak from “that thing inside you that makes a man a man”, as she flicks a rod on his fancy desk clock. The hammer… is my penis.

Ray catches up to Georgia before court resumes to ask her why Ally isn’t interested. Georgia admits that Ally figured out that she was still attracted to him and was enjoying being in his company. She did inadvertently set them up so that she could spend time with him. Ray suggests that if they’d kissed way back after their date, there wouldn’t be loose ends now. Ally enters within frame and sees them talking close. When Ray touches Georgia’s shoulder, she hears a klaxon and screeches to interrupt them. Class all around. Go worry about your own disastrous love life.

Ray starts his closing argument with the statement that it’s a free country (no really), and that while women can dance naked and men can watch them, you can’t be free under the oppression of degradation. These clubs contribute to violence and gender inequality, and no community should allow that. Richard has arrived for C&F’s summation, and tells everyone that he’s tired of this equality argument. He gets a bit jumbled as he blames testosterone, mangles the Pandora’s Box story, and mentions the Bill Clinton scandal, until the judge asks what this has to do with wrestling. Richard says that post-puberty, men know they’re idiots, but clubs like this make them realize they’re not alone in their idiocy, and prevent insecurity from becoming neurosis. Since I guess this is still just a hearing, the judge gets to rule immediately. His speech is equally off-track, bouncing from graphic comedians to “There’s Something About Mary” to community standards, until Ling stands up and asks him to announce that she won. He’s reluctant, but confirms that he finds for the defendant.

Everyone is out to celebrate at VONDA Bar, and when Richard tries to suggest that they go to Ling’s club instead, she mentions that she doesn’t like his level of participation in the undercover mission. Ally asks Billy to dance, since Georgia is off picking up paperwork at the courthouse, and that’s where she runs into Ray. He’s dejected since both Ally and the judge turned him down today, and they get in the elevator together. They chat about their law school days, and agree that any relationship they had would just have been physical. Ray asks if she’s happy, and although she says that she is, he PUSHES THE STOP ELEVATOR BUTTON and asks for a kiss, so they know what could have been. Jesus, dude, that is the most intimidating way to go about this thing that you should not be doing in the first place. Georgia refuses and he thankfully starts the elevator, but she stops it again. They lean in and she keeps stalling the elevator switch out with her changes of feelings. They get really close to a kiss, but they’re interrupted by the elevator hitting the ground floor. She says good night, and he wistfully watches her leave.


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