THE PEOPLE'S COURT
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.”
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