John Denvir, University of San Francisco School of Law, has published Romancing the Law: Ally McBeal and the Art of Subversive Comedy as a University of San Francisco Research Paper. Here is the abstract.
The television sitcom Ally McBeal drew large audiences and won many awards, but the series also had detractors who felt that it demeaned both women lawyers and the legal profession. People loved and hated the show, but no one has thought it a serious commentary on the American legal system.
I think it is time to take Ally McBeal seriously. I believe that its creator David E. Kelley has used the narrative devices of romantic comedy to make a subtle but powerful critique of the American legal system and to suggest a new future for law. It is an excellent example of what I call subversive comedy.Download the paper from SSRN at the link.