Part A of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.
Alan Shore is the star character of a sitcom/courtroom drama that ran for five seasons named Boston Legal. Some might say that the main character is his best friend Denny Crane, but for me it's purely Alan. He's my favourite character of any production in any medium. The main reason for that is his amazing complexity.
I don't know how to summarise everything that makes this man great, there's so much going on. I guess his girlfriend Tara summed it up well in the first season when she said that there are three Alans - the good, the bad and the naughty. The good Alan is incredibly compassionate, moral, intelligent, fiercely loyal and thinks very deeply about the world and what's right and wrong. He'll sit on the balcony with Denny every night with a cigar and a glass of scotch and ruminate over the many grey areas he sees in life. This is in contrast to Denny, who tends to see the world in black and white.
The bad Alan hates the good Alan and tries to hide him from the world. He's a smartass, he's cold, he makes people look foolish with his razor-sharp wit. As the very good attorney that he is, he's willing to get his hands dirty to win a court case. He'll emotionally crush people he feels can be crushed and he'll do things that aren't necessarily legal to get a job done. He's an womaniser and will often make women feel uncomfortable with his unflinching sexual discussion. But most of them inevitably find themselves desiring him in the end.
These two Alans fight constantly and make him a pretty conflicted, messed-up guy. He suffers from night terrors, a condition which makes him feel like he's being chased by something horrible in his sleep and makes him physically get up and try to escape. He has a phobia of clowns, he has a strange sexual fetish for getting measured for pants (the seamstress carefully running her hand up the inside of his leg makes him feel at once comforted and turned on; it's important to note that he keeps this fetish completely under control), and of course he still carries emotional scars from an abusive childhood. He feels guilty that he has all the money he'll ever need while there are so many people starving on the street right in front of him. By the end of the series, he decides he wants to start an organisation to allow him to give free legal aid to those who can't afford it.
Then, there's the third Alan, the one that makes him so lovable amongst all the messed-up stuff - the naughty Alan. He loves to make noise and take people on. He does this with a hilarious wit that constantly amazes me...
Brad Chase: I didn't want to do this, but I outrank you.
Alan: Yes, and I'm such a slut for authority.
Judge: (outraged) He's a ho-mo-sexual?
Alan: Judge I believe homosexual is just one word, but for the sake of clarity let's just call him gay.
Alan: Let me tell you three things about myself. I too am a lawyer, I can be painfully vindictive and I don't play fair.
Other Lawyer: That's three things.
Alan: See? Not playing fair already.
He'll take on anyone - big pharmaceutical, big tobacco, his own government and once even his own law firm. He's good at it too. When he gets up on the stand to make his closing argument, he gets so passionate and convincing that the judge, jury and viewing audience are almost always won over. It even becomes a bit of a parody on the show.
Melissa: Can't you just get up and make one of those big long speech thingies and convince them all to let me off?
Alan: (sighing) It's not that simple Melissa. To make those speeches, I have to believe in the cause...
I'll leave you with two of those big speeches. The first shows his poetic defense of an act of civil disobedience. The second is much more raw and showcases the deep love that I feel is right at the heart of this character.