Judge Shows: Reality Television with a Punch

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Everyone knows that reality shows are sweeping the nation, portraying horrendous stories of Mom’s switching places, women battling for the attention of a man, and groups of people trying to survive the African wilderness. I have never been a fan of reality shows because they are nothing like my reality – I don’t ever go to Africa, I have no desire to fight for a man’s proposal, and I can’t imagine integrating myself into another family for a week just to see what fights might ensue. However, I know that they are currently the rage of the nation, and more are cropping up every week.
There is one brand of reality show that seems to succeed where all others have failed. The judge shows that grace morning television all over America have become extremely popular with those who are home to watch them. Most are televised between nine o’clock in the morning and five o’clock in the afternoon, which are the times during which most people are at work. My job allows me to be home in the mornings on certain days, and I have recently become enthralled by these courtroom dramas.

I suppose that I am as guilty as the next person of watching the tragic, cruel, and inhumane things that people do to one another. I continue to watch because each episode makes one fact extremely clear: there is more hatred and deceit in this world than there has ever been before. The cases that friends, family, business partners, and complete strangers bring against one another are appalling.

In any event, I took it upon myself to research several of the Judges on television, and I came upon some interesting information.

Judge Judy

The first time I watched an episode of Judge Judy, I hated her. I thought that she was a coarse, pompous, narcisistic human being who took the bench for the sole purpose of making other people feel bad about themselves. She is known for belittling both defendants and plaintiffs for poor decisions and “stupid” behavior. She has no qualms with telling people exactly what she thinks of them and assigning blame to those who deserve it.

I discovered through my research that Judge Judy has written three books. They describe her career as a New York judge, and her experiences in the Juvenile Court System. Her first book is called Don’t Pee on my Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining, and it talks about the lack of responsibility among parents and teenagers. Her second book, called Beauty Fades; Dumb is Forever, is about the empowerment of women and her experiences as a television judge on network television. Her third, Keep It Simple, Stupid is about prudency n relationships.

After reading some of the things she has risen, I am now able to watch her show with a better perspective. She truly is dedicated to making sure that people take responsibility for their actions and for their children. I think that sometimes we have to be sharp and even angry when it comes to people who fail their families and friends.

The cases on Judge Judy are as diverse as Judy is harsh, though they seem to usually involve family members or friends who arrive at a cross purposes. Judy rarely rules in favor of the plaintiff unless there is substantial evidence proving their case, which I think is a testament to her integrity on the show. She doesn’t award judgements based on the plaintiff’s ability to deliver his or her side, but on the evidence that either proves or disproves the case.
Visit Her Website: www.JudgeJudy.com
Judge Hatchett

This is by far my favorite judge show because Judge Hatchett is one of the most compassionate human beings to grace television. She is honestly dedicated to improving the lives of those she meets, and she expresses care and concern for every case presented before her.

Most of Judge Hatchett’s cases involve misguided teens, paternity disputes, and relationship issues, which seem to be the subjects that she is most apt at tackling. She portrays an intense concern for people who cause harm to others, and for the victims of abuse and of emotional issues.

This show often seems to be more of a conservative talk show than a judge show because the people in her courtroom are encouraged to explain the intimate details of their problems and disputes. Often, it is clear what the ruling will be, but the episode is stretched into an entire half-hour show. I think part of this is because the juicy details promote ratings, but I also think that Hatchett encourages these dramas so that the plaintiff and defendant get to the root of the problem. Whether this is an ingenius thereputic method or a ploy for increased ratings, I’m not sure, but it makes for compelling television.

Judge Hatchett is also harsh with people who anger or disrespect her in the courtroom, which gives her some of Judge Judy’s edge. She doesn’t have a problem with telling people what she thinks if it’s possible for her to get through to the person.
Visit Her Website:
Judge Joe Brown

Judge Joe Brown is one of my least favorite shows to watch because he fails to take control of his courtroom. I think some of it has to do with letting defendants and plaintiffs get feelings out, but when they start screaming at one another and talking all at once, I get frustrated with the Judge’s inability to take control.

Most of these cases are about monetary arguments over rent, bills, items, and loans that have not been repaid or are disputed as gifts. Very few of the plaintiffs possess proof one way or another, so it is up to Judge Brown to rule on opinion only.

Judge Joe Brown grew up in an inner-city neighborhood filled with gangs, violence, and poverty. He overcame those obstacles to finish education, college, law school, and then to begin practicing law. He doesn’t accept excuses of origin or upbringing as defenses from his litigants, which is extremely refreshing.
Visit His Website: www.judgejoebrown.com
Judge Alex

As the newest face in Judge television, Judge Alex is a force to be reckoned with. He is opinionated and experienced, with both logical and emotional arguments entering into his judgements. He is a former police officer, lawyer, and federal appeals court judge, and now he brings his expertise into the television arena on Judge Alex, which airs right before Judge Judy.

Amazingly, Judge Alex has been the topic of much conversation since he first began to publish law articles and speak openly about political topics. He has extremely strong convictions, which he carries into the courtroom, and though some say that he becomes too emotionally involved in his cases, I think that he is always reasonable and fair.
Visit His Website:www.judgealex.com

The People’s Court

Judge Marilyn Milian is known as the “hottest judge on television,” and she is the sixth judge to take the bench on the People’s Court, which began airing in 1991. Milian attacks disputes of every angle and every topic, and she shows a great amount of compassion toward her litigants. There have been a few times when I have seen her ‘blow her lid,’ and each time that she has lost her temper, the person on the receiving end was well-deserving of her wrath.
I am always impressed with Milian’s ability to win the trust and respect of the litigants in her courtroom. She manages to deliver judgements without making anyone angry (unless it is deserved) and to lecture without appearing overbearing. She usually concludes her cases by explaining why she can or cannot enter a judgement, and she always tells everyone to have a good day.

Judge Milian is assisted by the court officer, Douglas McIntosh; the court reporter, Curt Chaplin (a.k.a. ‘Hallway Guy’) and host Harvey Levin, who stands on the streets of New York, discussing the case with passerby.

Visit Her Website: www.peoplescourt.com

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