In her paper, "Courting Desire and the (Al)lure of David E. Kelley's Ally McBeal," Kathleen Kelly Baum compares the tropes of desire and the law in David E. Kelley's television series Ally McBeal with similar motifs extracted from Lacanian theory. In her study, Baum explores the psychological and social implications of thematic characterizations and situations from the television series' five seasons by engaging Lacan's premise that subjective identity results from an economic relation between self and other -- a relation that is continuously mediated by symbolization and governed by social mores and cultural imperatives. In addition, Baum traces ways in which Kelley's consistent use of intersubjective conflict as a stylistic device in his writing may be interpreted as serving the programming demands of commercial television, but, also, functioning to generate scripts that effectively challenge contemporary culturally accepted gender roles and behavioral models.

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