Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #94 -- Good bad TV


The worse the news gets, the more thankful I am for escapism. That's why I’m a connoisseur of crap TV – programs that are the intellectual equivalent of empty calories. Nowhere can you find more inconsequential programming than during the day, and currently my favorite daytime TV show is The People’s Court. When I’m sick in bed, it gives me something to look forward to. When I’ve got a day off from work, I always try to catch it. To borrow from Tom Cruise in Rain Man: Defendants! Plaintiffs! The People’s Court has it all! They make legal history every day, and I highly recommend it.

1) It is currently the most popular courtroom program with female viewers. (And that includes Judge Judy!)

2) The civil cases shown are resolved legally on the show. The judge’s ruling is binding.

3) The show’s researchers canvass courts to find interesting civil suits that have already been filed. They ask the litigants if they would allow their cases to be decided on TV.

4) The current judge, Marilyn Milian, has been on the TV bench since 2001. She is both the first woman and the first Hispanic to preside over this show.

5) She became a real-live judge in 1999, when she was appointed to the Miami Circuit Court by then Governor Jeb Bush.

6) I love the stuff she says when she’s angry. “I wouldn’t believe you if your tongue came notarized.” “Stick a fork in me, I’m done!”

7) She played herself on As the World Turns and The George Lopez Show.

8) Her baliff is Douglas McIntosh. He has been on the show as long as she has.

9) Curt Chaplin interviews the litigants as they leave the courtroom. In addition to the People’s Court, he also works as voice-over talent.

10) Harvey Levin is the guy who interviews the fans in Times Square and gets their opinions on the courtroom goings on. He’s a lawyer himself and now also hosts TMZ.

11) My unofficial observation is that most of the cases involve Good Samaritans who let friends and neighbors use their credit to get cell phones and then renege when the bills come in. So don’t ever do that.

12) Judge Joseph Wapner starred on the bench for 12 seasons and almost 2,500 episodes.

13) He was immortalized in the 1988 movie, Rain Man. The character of Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) was a big People’s Court fan and said, “10 minutes to Wapner.”

Happy Thanksgiving, TT'ers!

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About Nanowrimo

This month I have been writing a novel. Well, la-de-dah. Just call me Ernesta Hemingway (my tribute to a fellow Oak Parker). It's part of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and it's been great fun.

As a Nanowrimo participant, my goal is supposed to be 50,000 words by November 30. I am going to fall woefully short of that ambitious word count. But that doesn't mean it's been a waste. My novel-writing exercise has been good for me, as helpful as this blog has been in keeping my head (reasonably) clear. For my topic was paths not taken -- how my life would be at 50 if I married the men I thought I wanted so desperately. I have happily come to the conclusion that I am far better off now, and it's helped me remember that "alone" is just a downside to "independent," and for all that "alone" scares me these days (especially in this economy), "independent" is still the right path for me.

It also reminds me, wistfully, that one of the men I've been involved with is definitely the love of my life. He is a good man, with integrity and intellect. I miss the give-and-take with someone who is soooo much smarter and cooler-headed than I. But he was too emotionally remote and I know I couldn't be happy with a man who didn't share his heart as freely as his head. I have been involved with some shitheels in my life, but he was not one of them, and I hope wherever he is, he is happy and healthy because, in my way, I still love him very much.