I absolutely adore Judge Judy. Her witty, no-nonsense method of dealing with the muck of small claims mediation is not only a public service, but also a free lesson in contract law.
I am also a sucker for the voyeuristic schadenfreude that is on full display in the disputing parties, as well as the rather interesting people in the gallery. I love how you can see enough of their expressions. The angry heads shaking as you can tell how fired up they’re getting over the douchebaggery that has presented itself.
Most of the time, the details measure up on one clear side, but the asshat’s refusal to understand the easily applicable contract law. It is quite an enjoyable program. Judge Judy doesn’t disappoint.
I stumbled across some Judge Judy trivia and was surprised to learn a few key facts. The first is that both parties are compensated just for showing up, but the amount is relatively small. The second is that the rulings (at least the ones in cash) are paid by the show.
That kind of bummed me out, because although the party that is owed is made whole, the offending party doesn’t have to give anything up. I think that’s probably why the Judge is so harsh with the guilty party, because at least they need to understand what they did wrong.
The third thing that I discovered was that for these proceedings the parties are not done in a real court, but rather a binding arbitration, which is smart. No matter what happens, it ends here.
But in all this dishing about behind the scenes details, I found the last bit the most compelling. The entire gallery is made up of paid extras. I had often wondered how I could get that gig, even if only for one day. I am one of those people that enjoyed my experience on jury duty, so this would play into that nicely.
I imagine that this would be quite a preferable role for the usual work-a-day extra, compared to the bizarre film jobs out there that all tap the same pool of actors. There would probably be a lot of competition for the Judge Judy extra gigs, and the lucky chosen and even luckier regulars would be strutting around, totally sticking it to the day’s zombies and hookers.
It would probably be impossible for a noob like me to break into the Judge Judy pool, but I might luck out. If I made it, I would totally list it on my resume as a film credit. And, although I haven’t taken any other steps to figure it out, it may be one of those crazy things one just has to do. I guess we’ll see.