YMMV / Ally McBeal

  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Ling. She was originally only a recurring character, but, since fans loved her, she was moved to a full time cast member. After Lucy Liu left the show, the popularity of the show on a whole went down quite a bit.
  • Gratuitous Special Effects: There was at least one Imagine Spot Once an Episode. It typically used CGI, which was extremely rare for a law drama in the 1990s. The CGI dancing baby is another example.
  • Memetic Mutation: The dancing baby hallucinations resulted in animated GIFs of dancing babies spreading like wildfire across the Internet and turning up on many websites and in many mailboxes. Also, the Blue Swede's cover of Hooked on a Feeling became associated with the dancing baby (until Guardians of the Galaxy came along).
  • Retroactive Recognition: Haley Joel Osment as the Littlest Cancer Patient who sues God, before his star-making turn in The Sixth Sense.
  • Strawman Has a Point: John Cage starts noticing that Nelle is a snob, when she doesn't remember Billy's secretary's name and admits that she wouldn't date a janitor. Nelle responds by pointing out that John only remembers Sandy's name because she's cute and asks him if he would date an ugly woman — only to hear that it's different. Josh then proceeds to call Nelle an 'elitist rich bitch snob' and they start to fall out. While Nelle indeed is an 'elitist rich bitch snob' (and does some things to make herself look unsympathetic, like breaking up with John when he's being stuck in the elevator) and John does get called out of his behavior by Richard after he goes out of line during his conflict with Nelle, her initial point that women (or at least herself) are attracted to successful men just as men (or at least John) are attracted to beautiful women, never gets acknowledged in the show. We're supposed to side with John despite the fact that what started their conflict was simply Nelle not being a hypocrite about her tastes.
  • Tear Jerker:
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The first season featured cool CGI antics reminiscent of old Warner Brother cartoons with eyes popping out and hearts pounding out of characters' chests. Later seasons dropped the CGI cut-aways and focused on the antics of the characters.
  • Wangst: Pretty much everybody regarding their love lives at one point or another.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: "Only the Lonely" had Peter Tomarken- the guy who hosted Hit Man, Wipeout (1988) and most famously Press Your Luck- as a random TV reporter.
  • The Woobie: John Cage, a sweet guy who seems to get the short end of the stick from the universe, from rejection to half the cast accidentally laughing at his pet frog's funeral.