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All rise for a silly show about three gal lawyers

People love to hate lawyers, which is probably why lawyer-infested dramas have helped fill prime time since before Perry Mason began pummeling Hamilton Burger.

For those who hate to love lawyers, there's a new Fox drama just for you. You won't have to worry about getting too close to this batch because they're as realistic as a 'Jackass' appreciation course at Harvard Law School.

Amazingly, the show comes from the made-for-TV-lawyer master himself, David E. Kelley. Kelley is the man who brought the world 'LA Law,' 'The Practice' and the recently canceled 'Ally McBeal.'

'Girls Club' (actually in all-lowercase letters, but we're not succumbing here), is about three 27-year-old friends-roommates-lawyers. All of them wear glasses, so you know right off these are serious career types. Premiering Monday, it could be the most laughable new drama of the season. But unlike 'Ally,' this isn't supposed to be funny.

This unfortunate offering also begs the question: Was 'Ally' put out to pasture for this sorry replacement? And was this really created by one of the most brilliant writers in TV drama?

As you can see, the show's so bad it actually begs two questions.

And there are a lot more, including: What was Kelley thinking of when he concocted this 'Charlie's Angels' with suits, laptops and opening arguments?

While 'Ally' was outrageous and 'The Practice' is passionate, 'Girls Club' is nothing more than ridiculous. Turn down the sound and just look at this trio of neophyte law firm associates for a minute. You'll soon realize that there's not an ounce of reality oozing from their pores. No-name actresses Gretchen Mol, Chyler Leigh and Kathleen Robertson have as much credibility portraying the sassy lawyers as Richard Simmons would starring in 'The Barry Bonds Story.'

Turn the audio back up, and it gets worse in a hurry.

'If I ever make partner,' one character says, 'shoot me if I ever act like one.' But in 'Girls Club,' the law firm partners don't act like real partners, the clients don't act like real clients, and the story lines are beyond simplistic.

Kelley tries to push the ever-shifting envelope by using scatological name-calling, disgusting story lines: An OB-GYN falls face first into a patient; another client accidentally hangs himself in prison during a sexual fantasy. It's all tied together with dialogue idiotic enough that 'Matlock' seems practically Shakespearean.

Verdict for 'Girls Club'? Guilty in the first degree.

Pete Schulberg is the host of 'Portland's Morning News' on KPAM

(860 AM). Contact him at pschulberg@ kpam.com.