by Linda Holmes
We all have our weaknesses. One of mine is TV courtroom shows.
Not the really loud, gross, out of control ones where it's people screaming at each other and paternity testing and everybody's accusing each other of horrible debauchery.
I'm talking about the ones that generally feature calmer, more mundane issues. The cases about borrowed cell phones and agreements with auto-repair places and people who are stupid enough to loan money to their Internet boyfriends after two weeks and people who skip out and leave their roommates holding the bag. The ones where the judges run a really, really tight ship. Specifically, The People's Court and Judge Judy.
(I will wait here while my respectability hits the floor with a resounding crash.)
I realized recently that the addictive component of these shows is that, in general, a bad person who is lying will lose. (Which is not always the case on, for instance, Survivor.) Eventually, the jerk, or the scammer, or the breacher of the contract, will be told something along the lines of, "Madam, you're an idiot." It's not polite, but it is very, very satisfying for daytime television, in a completely guilty-pleasure kind of way. (Most pleasures I do not consider "guilty." This, I consider at least moderately guilty, in keeping with its legal theme.)
Anyway, it turns out that on November 13, no less a figure than Judge Wapner -- JUDGE WAPNER! -- will return to The People's Court to celebrate his 90th birthday and his star on the Walk Of Fame. He will work the cases. He will be your 90-year-old television judge. Bless your heart, Judge Wapner.
See a clip above from the old show, in which the words "they're accused of failing to control their tree-trimmers" are used.
After the jump, a clip of current People's Court judge Marilyn Milian, taking the head off a young litigant who made the mistake of bragging that he was a student at the University of Miami Law School ... where it turns out she used to teach. It gets pretty good.