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"The Practice" And The Changing Landscape of Morality

I've been rewatching The Practice in the last week or so because I'm a sucker for legal dramas and I finally got hold of the last four seasons. I just finished an episode where Jimmy Berlutti defends an ex-GF who was selling her eggs online to men who wanted kids without having to wait to get married (apparently there was quite a market for this in 1999...?) Usually she asks for prior payment, but the one time she breaks her rule, the guy stiffs her and refuses to pay on "moral grounds" because "organ trafficking". Or something. Jimmy is super disgusted with her because he thinks it's against God, and even the judge on the case thinks this is somehow morally reprehensible.

Now, obviously I'm watching this show in a different context than when this first aired so it's entirely possible that things have just changed that much in 13-14 years. The idea of getting paid to donate eggs is not only not foreign to me, I seriously considered it once in college when I saw an ad offering $10K per egg on the student network. (I chickened out though, because needles...) They even had ads for this on the T in Boston. This... isn't considered strange anymore. Add that to the fact that men have been donating "reproductive material" pretty much since the dawn of time, it's a really weird double standard to me, to get all morality police about it.


In the end, I guess the judge decides that even though he thinks this woman is a Slutty McSlutterson, she didn't technically do anything illegal, and so her contract is valid, and the guy has to pay her. Which.... DUH.

What I'm wondering is, were people REALLY that prudish just a few years ago?!?! I would have been around nine or ten when this season of The Practice first aired, but I've been realizing that as much as I love the show, there's a LOT of the politics that I don't agree with. They even had a murder trial two seasons ago where a man cut of a woman's head, so the prosecution wanted to enter his porn collection into evidence as "proof of is depravity". PORN MAKES YOU DEPRAVED?!?!? Lol. If that's the case, every man I have ever met is depraved and is going to start cutting up heads.

They also had a case where a man fired an Iranian woman (who was an excellent worker that everyone loved and had been promoted twice in one year) for being Iranian. Apparently after they found out that she was Iranian, and proudly so, they got all pissy about the Iranian hostage crisis, and were mad at her for still being proud of her heritage. (Which... I mean, I saw Argo and I liked it, but I also looked up the actually history. Sorry folks. #TeamIran here. Don't stone me.) See, it's not racism because they're PATRIOTS. AND THE JURY SIDED WITH HIM! The judge threw it out though, thank God.

Just... little things like that. They accused a judge of trying to kill one of their lawyers because she admitted that she had had a sex dream once about the lawyer's boyfriend. Which... people have sex dreams. That does not make them deviants. They also has an anti same-sex marriage argument about DOMA. (Although I guess at the time DOMA would only just have been created, so that would have been a ripped from the headlines episode?)


Ugh. I know that some shows don't age well because of things like that (values dissonance and everything) but the entire run of this show was during my lifetime (1997-2004). And considering how many things they tackle that are not just seen as problematic now, but outright bigotry, it blows my MIND that these are the kinds of arguments being made on a "fairly progressive" legal show. I mean, it's set in Boston for Christsake.

Maybe the bigots are right? Because if attitudes have changed THIS MUCH in 15 years, clearly their little corner of hatred is getting very, very small. I can see how that would feel threatening.


ETA: I forgot to add that the Jimmy calls the woman a prostitute for selling her eggs. A PROSTITUTE. Jesus Christ, I'm glad I was only a kid back then...

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