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Old September 24 2012, 10:07 PM   #1
Flying Spaghetti Monster
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We gotta talk about: court shows!!!

First I was going to put up a poll, but I always screw it up... so if someone wants to help me create a new version of the thread with a poll, that would be great! also, the other reason I didn't post a poll is that there are probably court shows I'm not aware of.

Well, after having minor surgery done, there's not much to do except watch youtube, and I guess eventually you wind up watching uploaded videos of these court shows. It's better not to watch them at all.. they can be addicting.

So what are your favorite shows? Favorite judges? Favorite cases.. ?

First, I think the first real show, the People's Court, with Wapner, was is and will likely always be the best. The man was was phenomenal, at once both calm and demanding of respect, but without humanity and good humor. He has been irreplaceable. My father and I used to watch his show.. we didn't watch a whole lot together but we watched Wapner. We both admired his smart, well-though-out judgements. The fact that he nearly always had a short recess before giving his decisions (this happens very rarely on the modern shows) gave me and father a little time to talk about the case and try to figure out we would decide or what he would decide.. it really made the show feel like we are contributing to it.. even Doug Lllewellen would ask the audience "what do you think the judge will decide?" so it got me thinking!

The new shows are a bit flashier and a little too trendy. The current people's court judge is a very pretty lady named Marlyn Millian, and she is excellent. She knows her stuff, and she knows how to laugh (this is something that Judge Judy does NOT know how to do) and she also (unless the losing party is a total scum of the earth) will actually ebe courteous with a wish of "good luck" to BOTH parties. She's a class act, but still not quite as even and professional as Wapner was, and the randomized commercial breaks and the over-dramatic narrator really start to take away from her show. Plus the lighting is very very drab. It feels less like a courtroom and more like the studio that it is. Also, instead of inviting us as viewers to consider what the decision may be, Harvey Levin, some snotty lawyer, stands out on the street somewhere with a random crowd and asks what they think. This is not a bad addition to the show, but Levin can be very tiresome.. I like when he offers a bit of legal clarification for each case, but often his "the litigants are entering the courtroom ...right....now...." can be a bit much.

Of course all of this is better than Judge Judy's show, even though that show isn't bad either. She usually makes the right decisions, and I love it when she rips people a new one who are really scumbags. The problem is that she talks down to almost everyone regardless of whether they deserve it or not and she comes across as more bitchy than professional. Her cases are very short and the commercial breaks are more frequent and sometimes are so abrupt that it feels like they can happen mid-sentence. I don't hate her, but she should be less bitchy.

I often get Mathis and Brown confused. They both are more into theatrics and ratings,. Brown will often read the complaints as the case is starting in a very patronizing tone... and he keeps that tone through almost the whole case. Both he and Mathis will allow the litigants to get out of hand and put on a show, and they might even contribute to it if it will make everything more entertaining. It's fun and funny but so far away from the professionalism and trust that Wapner brought to the proceedings.

Judge Alex is kind of cool, but in a bland way. He doesn't quite have the presence and gravity Wapner had, nor the wit and humanity of Milian, but he isn't bad. I don't know a lot about him.

What are your thoughts...?
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Last edited by Flying Spaghetti Monster; September 25 2012 at 02:39 AM.
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Old September 25 2012, 01:34 AM   #2
the G-man
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Re: We gotta talk about: court shows!!!

I used to watch the People's Court when I was a kid and Wapner was on it. I don't think I've seen an entire ep of any of the others, including Judge Judy.

That being said, Judge Judy's book about her experiences as a NYC Family Court judge, Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me it's Raining, is one of the best books I've ever read about the judicial system in the U.S. It's a shame that she turned into a bit of a caricature after she retired and went on TV.
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Old September 25 2012, 02:39 AM   #3
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Re: We gotta talk about: court shows!!!

here's a great JJ clip
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Old September 25 2012, 02:35 PM   #4
Robert Maxwell
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Re: We gotta talk about: court shows!!!

The only one I really liked was Divorce Court with Mablean Ephriam, mainly because she was good at looking flabbergasted by the insanity of her petitioners. You have to figure she'd seen it all by that point, so she must be a good actress.
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Old September 25 2012, 06:59 PM   #5
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Re: We gotta talk about: court shows!!!

what i hate most about the court shows is the lack of financial responsibilty. there's a $5000 "pot" for the people, lets' call them contestants and however the judge rules is how the pot is split.
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Old September 25 2012, 07:42 PM   #6
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Re: We gotta talk about: court shows!!!

Legate Damar wrote: View Post
what i hate most about the court shows is the lack of financial responsibilty. there's a $5000 "pot" for the people, lets' call them contestants and however the judge rules is how the pot is split.
Well, that's basically the only reason people agree to do these shows.
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Old September 26 2012, 12:25 AM   #7
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Re: We gotta talk about: court shows!!!

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Legate Damar wrote: View Post
what i hate most about the court shows is the lack of financial responsibilty. there's a $5000 "pot" for the people, lets' call them contestants and however the judge rules is how the pot is split.
Well, that's basically the only reason people agree to do these shows.
...that and the chance to be on TV. A lot of these idiots would do that for free.
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