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The Overwhelming Appeal of Ally McBeal

by Dorothy Oja

Ally McBeal often sports a wistful, dreamy, slightly melancholy look. That's when you want to pay close attention, because right after that, the lights go on somewhere inside Ally. You begin to see her build that secretive "cat that swallowed the canary" smile. It's a mischievous look and now it's anyone's guess just what Ally will do or say next.

And who the heck is Ally McBeal really? Could she be the hidden self inside us all, saying and doing what we'd wish we could, if we only had the guts, if only we dared? Ally is outrageous, controversial, wistful and even waif-like. She's been left out in the cold, she's smart, she's lonely, she's gifted, she's surrounded by friends who love her, she speaks her mind, she's gainfully employed as a lawyer in Boston. In short, she is an amalgam (and a contradiction) of a half dozen people or more. Unabashedly, she'll show you all her varied sides with no apology. Her candor, her unaffected directness is refreshing and completely endearing to her loyal viewers!

Neptune Poster Child

Yet, woven into these characteristics, Ally expresses a decidedly Neptunian energy. What's that you say? Well, how's about that dreamy, magical, slightly hazy, loopy, somewhere else, quizzical, listening to something else, prophetic kind of presentation. Neptune is noted for imagination, fantasy, escape, empathy, romance, artistry and blending, to name just a few. Her internal dialogue and her vivid visual images are part of the artistic and dreamy imagination that Neptune imparts and gifts us with. But there are so many ways to use (and abuse) the Neptune factor that exists in all of us. Ally seems to have found the perfect outlet for her intense reactions to people and life. She plays out exactly what she wants to do, in fantasy, and then she quickly regroups, acting almost normal, and adapting to the situation at hand. It's a fascinating interplay of inner and outer reality.

Quite a play of emotions pass across the face of Calista Flockhart's Ally character. Do actresses in some way resemble the roles they make famous? Is Ally McBeal wildly successful because Calista Flockhart is more than a little like her? Ally's vivid imagination and fantasy games are easily seen in Calista's birth Sun in Scorpio conjunct (both planets at or near the same degree and sign) Neptune also in Scorpio. The Sun (basic character) in water-sign Scorpio is intense, deep feeling, magnetic, often compulsive. Influenced by Neptune, The Sun quickly becomes obsessed by certain fantasies, is strongly sensitive and nurses an over-active imagination -- a very real and a very vivid imagination just like Ally McBeal. Neptune represents the necessary escape we all seek and find (in our own favorite ways) from the perplexities, pain and disappointments of life. Ally channels her fear, pain, longing, jealousies, anger, indeed, all her most powerful emotions by escaping into very realistic images that enact her wildest fantasies of what she'd really like to say or do. These essentially harmless enactments obviously help her resolve and release her emotional turmoil. To be as successful as she is, Callista Flockhart must identify with this aspect of Ally. Being an actress demands that you fully "become" someone else for the duration of the role. Neptune, the smooth flowing shape-shifter, allows Calista to blend easily by removing the barriers and boundaries and flowing into the character we've become so charmed by, Ms. Ally McBeal.

Direct Communication

Ally McBeal's character is a smart, sassy, wide-eyed and successful lawyer in Boston, with a compassionate heart. Calista portrays Ally's wide-eyed, verbal skillfulness through her Mercury (mode of communication) in Sagittarius. Mercury, placed in the fire sign Sagittarius can make a case for just about anything and then sell it to you wholesale. This is a precocious, witty, wise and simultaneously irreverent position for endless verbal banter and continual internal/external yarn-spinning. Essentially a positive risk-taker and somewhat prone to exaggeration, Merc in Sagg is joyous, outspoken and a conversational gambler. It's a great Mercury placement for a lawyer! Verbal twists and traps come easily to a Mercury in Sagg who want to win its point at any cost. It becomes a fun game

Aquarian Controversy

Callista Flockhart is no stranger to controversy (and probably finds it on a regular basis) with her birth Moon in the unique, individualistic sign of Aquarius. This fits Ally perfectly. Ally McBeal thrives, by active and endless involvement, in one controversial situation after another. A Moon in Aquarius learns early that the manner of their upbringing or way of perceiving life is not like everyone else's. And, in fact is considered by most others as unconventional, counter-culture or even eccentric. Moon in Aquarius natives eventually examine all the sacred cows of the culture and challenge them one by one, eventually forging their own individualistic reality. This creative, independent, erratic and often abrupt Moon can feel lonely or displaced and finds solace with groups of friends who are equally unusual or at least tolerate the Aquarian Moon's uniqueness. Could this be our beloved Ally? Could this be the self-same alienation we identify with? Ah, to live vicariously with Ally, to send our truths spinning and tumbling. Thanks Ally, how did you know we needed that?

-- Copyright D. Oja 12/99. All rights reserved
Originally published by
No portion may be copied or used without the author's permission.


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