Alan Shore Bar Pick-up

I remember the following scene from Boston Legal where Alan Shore was pretending to pick up his girlfriend Tara Wilson at a bar:

Alan Shore: [to Tara] Hello, I’m a complete stranger and I’m here to pick you up.
[notices Joe]
Alan Shore: Oh, I see, there’s two of us. I’ll be evens, you be odds.
Joe: You got a problem?
Alan Shore: No, actually. I just saw this fair maiden here talking to a tree trunk, and since I’m an arborist I thought I could help translate.
Joe: Here’s a health tip. Walk away.
Alan Shore: Why would I do that?
Tara Wilson: All right, guys.
Alan Shore: Don’t be deceived by my cushy appearance.
Tara Wilson: Excuse me. I actually am with him.
Joe: I don’t care. Walk away, or I lay you out.
Alan Shore: I don’t mean to be a stickler, but isn’t the object to lay her out?
[Joe punches Alan]
Tara Wilson: Hey!
Joe: Oh, gee, I’m sorry, I was reaching for my wallet…
Alan Shore: I see. Allow me to reach for mine.
[walks away to the other end of the bar]
Tara Wilson: Are you all right?
Alan Shore: Fine.
[to Mike and friends]
Alan Shore: Hello, big people. Sorry to intrude, but you seem rather strapping. Here’s three hundred dollars. Would you be so kind as to go hit that man down there?
Mike: [laughs incredulously] Really?
Tara Wilson: Alan!
Alan Shore: There’s an extra hundred if he goes down.
Mike: You’re on.
Alan Shore: Make it a good one.
Tara Wilson: Oh, for God’s sakes.
Alan Shore: [Mike hits Joe; fistfight ensues. Alan gives money to Mike’s friend] Here’s a hundred; go help your friend.
Alan Shore: [watches the fighting] Gee, seems Joe has buddies.
[passing out money to Mike’s friends]
Alan Shore: One for you, one for you. I’ve got plenty of them. Hit him hard, now. For you, and for you…

I thought that was rather amusing, but Tara wasn’t a bit pleased. On the contrary, she was very pissed and said to Alan, “It would have been one thing had you had any Neanderthal reaction and swung back! But your response was considered! You reflectively, calmly, orchestrated your violence.”

To make matters worse, Alan Shore was charged with conspiracy to commit assault and battery. And as he did his own closing argument, he told the jury:

I’ve been accused of reflectively, perhaps even glibly, orchestrating a little revenge. Well, I guess that’s how I wanted it to look. A man punched me in the face, in front of my girlfriend, and while my instinct was to hit him back, the truth is, I was afraid. I was fearful, that if I retaliated he would beat me up. So I got somebody else to do my fighting, then things got out of hand, and…well…I had to send more and more troops to a war that should have ended quickly. But, make no mistake, my reaction that night was not so much reflective, as it was, primal. A man hit me, and while we like to think of ourselves as being evolved…maybe I should have just hit him. There’s a warrior that lies within the belly of every man, a warrior who, in my case, has always gone unsatisfied. I tried to satisfy it, but without pain. That’s what the craven do sometimes. They stand out of the fray, thump their egos along with their chests, and let others do the fighting.

Good speech for the jury, but I think Tara was right. Alan Shore’s response was indeed considered as he reflectively and calmly orchestrated his violence. He is a fierce warrior – but in the courtroom and not in a bar brawl. And though he says that his act was cowardly, I think it was wise and effective. It’s what an evolved, intelligent man who is in total control of his emotional responses would do. Why swing back at the big guy and lose not only the fight but also a few teeth when you have a lot of money to pay even bigger people to do the job?

That may seem cowardly, and surely there must be this primal warrior inside every man, no matter how evolved he is. But the fight need not be primitive, and the battlefield need not be a bar. And the weapons need not be your own bare hands.

2 Responses to “Alan Shore Bar Pick-up”

  1. 1 mymyandong
    July 18, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    in an article i read it said “in a fight, u don’t get angry, u get even”, how u do it, that’s the tricky part, so be creative.

    oh no, brain lock…i don’t think i can say more, hahaha. nalaglag ang IQ…haha

    • 2 jong atmosfera
      July 19, 2009 at 10:05 am

      Brain lock. Hmmm…I like that term…actually heard it the first time here. People often use “writer’s block”. I use “creative knot”. But “brain lock”. Hmmm…I like it.

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