Thursday, January 25, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

Since moving to Ohio, we haven't had TV service. Instead, we rented lots of movies and TV shows from Blockbuster, and downloaded new episodes of our favorite programs from the Internet. We thought we were thoroughly entertained.

But recently, we upgraded from nothing to bottom-of-the-line basic cable. We made the splurge so we could watch our favorite evening shows (The Office, Lost, Gilmore Girls) without being sued by the networks. (Apparently, networks don't take kindly to viewers downloading shows from the Internet. In my mind, downloading a show is equivalent to asking a friend to record it for you. And since we don't have friends with DVRs, VCRs, or indoor plumbing, that wasn't really an option. BUT NO MORE!! At the kind request of NBC, we've ceased and desisted our downloading.) Other than making sure we had access to the aforementioned programs, I hadn't given much thought to what I was missing during the day. But my eyes are now opened! I can never go back!

I know what you're thinking: "Daytime TV Sucks! Soap operas are raunchy and fake, talk shows are irritating, and infomercials are laughable." You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but I believe there's one daytime genre that redeems all the others: The Courtroom Drama.

Seriously. Have you checked these shows out lately? In addition to old standbys like The People's Court, there's the feisty Judge Judy, whom I will forever love for her decision in favor of the plaintiff in an assault case where the defendant had slapped the plaintiff after the plaintiff had screamed in the defendant's face and berated her (the defendant) for breastfeeding in public. And then Her Honor awarded the plaintiff damages in the amount of $1.00. You heard that right: ONE DOLLAR.

With all due respect to Ms. Judy, however, my new favorite TV judge is The Honorable Extreme Akim, magistrate in the nontraditional Eye for an Eye courtroom. The motto, "Sometimes justice is a baseball bat," just about sums up his conflict-resolution philosophy. For example, a woman sued an ex-boyfriend for the cost of dates, dinners, and gifts she'd paid for during the course of their relationship. He counter sued for the cost of a laptop she'd stepped on during a fight. The woman lost. Flabbergasted that His Honor did not rule in her favor, she said she did not have the money to replace her ex's laptop. So Extreme Akim ordered her to take her PDA from her purse and give it to the defendant to smash with a baseball bat. Earlier in that same episode, Judge Akim ordered a shady landlord to sit in the bed of a manure-filled pickup truck until he (the landlord) came up with a lease agreement that was fair to his tenants.

And then there was the episode where a diminutive exotic dancer sued for injuries received when he was tossed into a pool during the drunken revelry of a bachelorette party. At Extreme Akim's order, the defendants were, in turn, tossed by large men into kiddie pools filled with condiments (ketchup, maple syrup etc.). This punishment was, of course, in addition to paying the plaintiff's medical bill.

I'll admit, not all courtroom dramas are equally entertaining. I generally keep on clicking when I happen upon Texas Justice or Judge Joe Brown. But I never regret a few moments spent with The Honorables Judy and Akim. Go on. Give 'em a try. If you still don't believe TV judges are the bees knees, take a look at this*.

And for those already converted to TV's best daytime genre, tell me about your favorite verdicts. I know I've missed a lot of good ones over the years.


*(As with many Onion News articles, this selection includes colorful language. Reader discretion advised. Also be advised that this selection is pretty flippin hilarious.)


Lady said...

OK Boss - I must admit that I have watched my fair share of TV Court Dramas and rather enjoyed them. I haven't seen any recently but when I was early pregnant with Ainsley and I was puking my guts out every day - I would lay on my bed most of the day. My boys would be watching movies or Nick jr. on our family room tv and so I would watch the tv in our room that was a very old 13 inch dial tv. It only got about 6 stations and you had to get up to change the channel. In my ever weakened state I rarely got up to change the station so I watched one court show after the other. And I must agree that they are MUCH better than a soap opera.

Tarimisu said...

I know there is another judge on TV, a lady, but I don't remember her name. She has kind of longer brown hair and maybe a Brooklyn accent or something? She's really the only one I catch snippets of. Maybe you know who I'm talking about.
My favorite Judge Judy verdict:
Judge Judy was on a talk show (maybe Oprah?) a few years ago, and people from the audience were able to make their "cases" before her. One "case" was a mother and daughter; the daughter was the plaintiff and wanted her mother to pay her back for shirts she had shrunk in the laundray.
"Madam," said Judge Judy, "Is your mother doing your laundry?"
"Yes," said the daughter.
"Then you have nothing to complain about. You don't want your clothes shrunk, you do your own laundry."

Peanut said...

Marty has occasionally stated how he dislikes those court shows. So I thought it was a little funny one night when I arrived at the hospital to visit him and I was pretty chatty--he shushed me because I was distracting him from The People's Court. Isn't TV fabulous?! Oh, and I tend to agree that the downloading thing is equivalent to getting a recording from a friend.

Mark said...

"Ya get NOTHIN!" The unforgettable first verdict I heard from the Honorable Judge Judith Sheindlin.

I have relied on a few "internet friends with DVRs" when I have missed critical episodes of Gilligan's Island or The Fugitive. I read that its during the "seeding" process, not the actual downloading that they are able to link what content you are sharing with who you are. (I know - don't believe everything you read, especially on the 'net, and not everyone in cyberspace is your friend.)