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Imagine That

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / November 25, 2007

What if their famous characters lived on? A TV critic speculates.

ALLY MCBEAL Maybe the most neurotic lawyer to have served at the Massachusetts bar, Ally McBeal says she's doing much better in New York. "I-I-I love it here," she exclaims. The micro-skirted waif, who catapulted to fame as a feminist nemesis in the late 1990s, says she's no longer troubled by Dancing Baby hallucinations. Also, she has given up her lawsuit claiming she and the baby invented the viral video phenomenon. "Bygones!" she says. She still drinks gourmet coffee and plays seductively with the foam, but, well, her lips aren't as mobile as they once were. And McBeal, who has gained a pound or two since her days as Boston's "Toothpick With Hair," admits she has a jones to move to Indiana.

DIANE CHAMBERS Her script about barmaid Carla Tortelli, The Heart Held Hostage, turned her into a minor literary star. And she helped make on-again-off-again love fashionable among Friends everywhere, both in and out of The Office. But Diane Chambers fell out of favor when she prematurely ditched Boston, and her recent remake of Lady Chatterley's Lover, called Sam Is My Plaything, was a flop. Also, stalking Rebecca Howe Malone and making a reality show called Skinny Actress did not sweeten public sentiment toward her. She says she has found peace since admitting in People magazine that she has Insufferable Snob Syndrome: "Life isn't all happy endings, like on The Brady Bunch," she quips.

DICK LOUDON Old-timers will recall that, before it was turned into a gambling mega-resort modeled after the ones in Massachusetts, the Stratford in Vermont was a quaint little inn run by Dick and Joanna Loudon. In the years since his brain injury, caused by an errant golf ball, Dick has recovered his faculties and no longer believes he is a Chicago psychologist being harassed by an angry patient named Elliot Carlin. Joanna long ago left him, tired of being called "Emily" and forced to wear a brunette wig. "And I couldn't take the relentless dust bunnies at his home," says Joanna - now Joanna Utley. Dick has reunited with his Vermont Today producer Michael Harris for a reality show called Larry, Darryl, Darryl, and Me, in which the men live in a shack with cameras for two months. He has also written a how-to book called So You Wanna Plant Plums 2.

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