50 Shades of Ally McBeal

My wife has recently introduced me to Ally McBeal. I never watched it when it was out but it was a staple of my wife’s family when it originally aired and it was something she wanted me to try! We have just started Season 3 – this originally aired in 1999. That doesn’t feel too long ago but actually it was almost half my lifetime away! 15 years, jeeze! Technically, if you were 3 when this was airing, I could now visit you to chat about vibrators!

The episode we watched last night was entitled ‘Buried Pleasures’ – Ling (Lucy Liu) had a dream that she had kissed a girl which for her was the most outrageous thing she had ever dreamt. She discussed this with her friend Nell (Portia Di-Rossi who at this point was firmly in the closet) and Nell didn’t think it was an issue – she ended up divulging her ‘dirtiest’ fantasy to Ling, which was to be spanked. You should have seen Ling’s reaction!!! Nell insisted she would ‘of course’ never act it out – she had “no desire to be victimised or dominated by men” and Ling could not see Nell being “so submissive”. Nell replied that in spanking circles it was the ‘bottom’ that was in control – as they are the ones that say when and stop. This was followed by the funniest line by Ling “What, is there a newsletter?!”

In true Ally McBeal style, her boyfriend (the cute John Cage played by Peter MacNicol) overheard her and was equally shocked. Without approaching this with Nell he instead discussed it with his colleague so they looked it up on their new fandangled internet and learned that around 30% of adult women fantasise about being spanked and then read that ‘the surprise factor adds to the pleasure’ – uh oh!!!

I know that for now, this website is all about the sex toy but as it grows I will be expanding into BDSM items. I do just want to say though – never spank anyone without their consent!! It made for a funny yet horrifying scene of John Cage trying to spank Nell without telling her!

The reason I decided to write about this is because I am pleasantly surprised about how things have changed in the last  15 years.  One of the main subjects dealt with in Ally McBeal is the role of the female in ‘modern’ society and there is this constant self-reflection (especially by Ally) on how they are regarded and how they are somehow not complete without a male partner yet are battling to prove themselves as independent women. I get a bit tired of this, and I think the reason I do is because I have been lucky enough to live in a bubble full of strong women, which may be affected by the fact that I am gay and am surrounded by quite a few strong gay women..but the women that tend to stick as friends (straight and gay) are the independent strong ones. A lot of my jobs have had these kind of women too. So maybe my opinion on this is a bit skewed but maybe some of you would want to discuss this and give a different opinion?

It’s just that to me, this programme definitely feels like it is 15 years old. Which is good – for me I can see that society is and has moved on and the woman is more liberated than ever and it is just nice to have a reminder of it. May that long continue and I hope to play a small part in it with this business.


A lot of this episode also followed a bit of a lesbian storyline between 2 main ‘straight’ characters which made me cringe a bit so I could write a lot about this episode! I have digressed though – feminism in Ally McBeal is a PhD paper in it’s own right.

What I am trying to say is that 50 Shades of Grey is a book that brought BDSM relationships right into mainstream and enlightened a huge part of the population. My opinion on the book itself is another blog entry (summed up – good story, but I struggle with the Grey character) but it is interesting to see this subject was discussed on an Ally McBeal episode in the late 90’s and now with the 50 Shades craze, it is deemed quite coy!  Can anyone else think of any mainstream programmes that had discussed spanking in the last 15 years pre-Grey? I’d love to know!

I am going to be stocking the 50 Shades of Grey merchandise/toys in the lead up to Christmas and doing 50 Shades themed soirees over February and March – it will be interesting to see how many of you want a part of Grey as part of your collection and to hear your opinions on male dominance over women.

Am off to Manchester Pride today, hope everyone has a good weekend!

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