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October 8, 2015

The Five: Here come d' judge

by Adam Finley, posted May 19th 2006 2:02PM

judge snyder toy simpsonsThey are there to maintain order, or just add to the chaos, but they are an essential part of the television's fake judicial system. Today we honor the people we call "your honor." It's time to judge the judges, but not too harshly. Here we go:

Judge Wapner (The People's Court): Long before there was Judge Judy or any number of cranky old people in robes bellowing from the bench, there was Joseph A. Wapner, who didn't tolerate any shenanigans from anyone and sometimes ruled the court room like a drill sergeant. Nevertheless, his decisions always seemed fair to me, and I often saw him decide for the party he seemed to personally dislike the most. A much mellower version of him turned up years later on Animal Court, but I liked the old surly Wapner better.

Judge Constance Harm (The Simpsons): Clearly modeled on Judge Judy and played with gusto by Jane Kaczmarek of Malcolm in the Middle, Constance Harm is not the lady you want to face, especially if you happen to be a troublemaker like Bart Simpson. Then again, maybe she'll cut you some slack because you remind her of how she used to be when she was a little boy. Also, stop spitting on her cupcake and calling it frosting. She's got no time for such nonsense.

Judge Reinhold: Okay, he's not really a judge, but he has played a Judge Reinhold in at least two television series: once on the Clerks animated series and a few years later on Arrested Development. Perhaps someone should just give him his own court show. I'd certainly watch it.

Mentok the Mindtaker (Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law): There's no use telling this judge anything, because he already knows what you were going to say. A super villain who now resides over a court room, his supernatural mind powers usually seem more impressive to himself than to anyone else in the room. Also, he has a nasty habit of announcing what the outcome of the case will be before it even gets started. Voiced by comedic actor John Michael Higgins.

Harry Stone (Night Court): I'm giving Harry a shout out because Night Court was one of my favorite shows growing up. I hate to say though, that after Tivoing some recent late night reruns, the series hasn't aged very well for me. The character of Judge Harold T. Stone seemed to have only two emotions: wide-mouthed silly, and unhappy frowny face. Still, the show wasn't without its goofy charm.

Okay, so who do you remember? Let loose in the comments.

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I still fondly remember "Night Court", but more for the antics of John Larroquette or Richard Moll than Harry Anderson.

My favorite TV justice? Judge Henry Bone, played by the late great Ray Walston on the late great "Picket Fences". His cranky common-sense arguments with Fyvush Finkel as the irrepressible (but you'd sure repress him if you could) lawyer Douglas Wambaugh were the show's most entertaining moments, which was good because Creator/Producer/Lawyer David E. Kelley has never let any of his shows stray too far from a courtroom set.

May 19 2006 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Night Court had two charms - they were both attached to Markie Post.

May 19 2006 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

when did Fez say it? that's awesome.

May 19 2006 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

I've enjoyed watching Shelley Berman playing a cranky old judge on 'Boston Legal' this season and his constant use of the phrase "Jibber Jabber".

Since he's been on, I've heard the phrase pop up twice more in the shows. The first one escapes me, but it was on just last night in the finale of 'That 70's Show', said by Fez' friend from back home.

May 19 2006 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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