Fellow law blogger, Angel the Lawyer, recently had a post about Hollywood's distortions about the "glamor" of the law industry. I couldn't agree with her more. In the words of Lionel Hutz, "Oh, sure, like lawyers work in big skyscrapers and have secretaries. Look at him! He's wearing a belt. That's Hollywood for ya".
There was also another Fox show that took a less sanguine view of the "noble profession" than most of the Hollywood programs: Malcolm in the Middle. Malcolm was never as popular as some of its contemporaries. It was a bit "quirky" and even weird, but it also was at times quite clever and smart for a Fox program about an "out of control" family.
Malcolm didn't have any recurring attorney characters like the Simpsons' Lionel Hutz, but it had some good attorney jokes. For example, in one episode, the bitter grandmother was suing the family for an accident that took place on their property. She believed that even though Malcolm's family was strapped for cash, she could just reap a settlement from their insurance carrier. It turned out, however, that the family's insurance policy had lapsed. When the grandmother's attorney learned the bad news, he picked up his briefcase and headed out. When the grandmother protested, he responded, "Hey, I have no problem throwing a family out into the cold, but I'm not going to do it for FREE."
If you consider that to be just a cheap lawyer joke, fair enough. Malcolm, however, had the most honest appraisal of the law school "investment" of any show I've ever seen.
In another episode, Malcolm's wayward, older brother, Francis is stuck in an Alaskan work camp trying to eek out a living. In this episode, he and the other workers are scrubbing a disgusting vent above the stove. The following exchange takes place (slightly paraphrased from memory):
Francis: This is awful. Remind me again why we are doing this?
Other Worker: I don't know about you guys, but I'm still paying off law school.
[A dead possum falls down from the duct, revolting everyone.]
It's funny because it's true, folks.
On the bright side, assuming that joke is the product of experience, it looks like one of our comrades was able to get a job writing scripts for a television show. Unfortunately, (even though I liked it), Malcolm in the Middle was kind of a TTT of the sitcom world.
[If anyone has a clip of the aforementioned scene or a copy of the script, let me know, and I'll link to it.]