Thursday, May 21, 2009

28 things I've learned by watching TV Court shows

I’m a sucker for TV court shows.

I’ve long been fascinated by the racial and gender dynamics of these shows, but that’s a topic for another day. In the many hours I’ve wasted logged watching TV court shows, I’ve learned a lot about court show conventions and human behavior. I’ve compiled the things I’ve learned in a convenient list.

About TV court shows:

1. The judge and the bailiff must be from different racial groups.

2a. There will never be a white WASP male hetero TV judge. (there is a white guy now, Judge David Young, but he is flaming; there have been Jewish male Judges; and there have been white Southern male redneck-ishjudges, but they are really like ethnics).

2b. The judge must dispense homespun wisdom with a touch of ethnic sass.

3. Because it makes for interesting TV, the judge will let the litigants tell each other’s personal business (drugs, sex, appearance) that has nothing to do with the case.

4. The litigant who interrupts or disrespects the judge will lose.

Practical financial advice:

5. Never let anyone put any bill in your name.

6. Never cash a check for anyone.

7. Never buy an old car as is.

Practical legal advice:

8. Always call the police after an accident or an incident.

9. Always get it in writing.

10. Read the fine print.

11. Never confess to or threaten anyone over the phone.

Practical relationship advice:

12. Never move in with someone you’ve only known for a little while.

13. Never lend money to family or friends—either give it to them or don’t.

14. Never trust a man who ignores his kids from a previous relationship.

15. Never take nude pictures/videos with a partner unless you are OK with other people seeing them.

16. Never trust a stripper (see 27.).

Phrases that indicate someone is lying:

17. “Okay, This is what happened…”/ “What had happened was…”

18. “Let me start from the beginning…”

19. “That’s what I’m trying to tell you! If you’d just let me talk…”

20. *Repeating the question before answering* (e.g., “Why did I walk over to his car? I walked over to his car because…”)

Phrases that really mean “I’m not going to pay you”:

21. “I’ll pay you back when I get my tax refund.”

22. “I’ll pay you when I receive this lawsuit settlement I’m waiting for.”

23. “I’ll pay you when I get back on my feet and start working again.”

24. “I was gonna pay, but then you started harrassing me.”

25. “I was gonna pay, but the bill was too high; you are trying to gouge me.”

Life lessons:

26. You get what you pay for.

27. Money can’t buy love.

28. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


MilesEllison said...

#29: Most daytime judge shows are judicial blackface.

gordon gartrelle said...


I was trying to get at that with #2b, but you put it much better.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree!

I love court shows and I took the week off and have been watching show after show after show.

My sister says I act like I don't have cable.

Something about their drama makes my life seem so balanced...LOL

Invisible Woman said...

So spot on!