A few months ago, Fox pulled the plug on Kelley's high-school shock-drama "Boston Public," a new standard-defying low for Kelley. It premiered in 2000 by sticking its scaly, dirty fingers right in the viewer's eye. A female student facetiously told a male teacher that she masturbated while fantasizing about him. Another surveyed male students about the teachers with whom they'd most like to have sex, then informed at least two of those teachers of the results. A week later, Kelley even referred to a cartoon on a student's Web site in which a teacher was shown (not on camera) taking down his pants, bending over and eating his own excrement.
I'm sure absolutely no one outside of Kelley's cast and immediate family is mourning this show's demise.
Even "The Practice," Kelley's once-successful show, publicly dismissed most of its cast in a financial dispute after ABC moved the supposedly prestigious drama around the prime-time schedule. Since this year's patchwork "Practice" showed actor James Spader can be a TV star, Kelley is building his only remaining drama around the Spader character for next fall. But Television Week reports that Kelley will not be actually writing that show -- the first time Kelley hasn't been writing and producing a TV show since Reagan was president.
This is not a bad thing. It's hard to forget some things Kelley has written, like the Catholic-trashing episode of "Ally McBeal," when Ally defended a nun who wanted to have sex and still be a nun, too. Ally said to the sister, "Making love is wonderful, but ... nuns are not supposed to have sex, you know, except with other nuns." In court, a lawyer for the Church says to the nun, "You had sex with a man." The nun responded, "A priest has sex with a boy, he gets transferred. At least my lover was of legal age, for God's sake."
Eventually, even the envelope-pushers can lose their edge and go from boiling-hot to has-been in Hollywood. Even so, it must be noted that the envelope was successfully pushed. The bar was successfully lowered. The stain on our culture remains. There's not much joy in watching the torch of trash get passed to a new generation of garbage-makers.