It all started with “The People’s Court.” Everyone loved Judge Wapner. Many have followed: Ed Koch (the former Mayor of New York City), Judge Sheinlin (or however you spell it), and now Marilyn Milian. Then of course there are knock off shows like “Divorce Court” which is sooooo great because you see really angry couples doing a he said/she said routine until the judge wraps the gavel so hard that it breaks occasionally. Then there was the guy who was a military boxer who became a judge in Texas, replaced by some other guy who’s from Texas. And Judge Hatchett has a show too.
My favorite of all the court shows is Judge Judy. Why? Because I think if I were a judge, I’d be just like her. I’m kinda like the way she is in front of my classroom. So I’m pretty much not Judge Judy because I didn’t have any interest in law school. I’m the poor man’s JJ.
Spinning off of these court shows, we have all these contest shows with judges. The greatest of all is our “American Idol” trio. The first season introduced their personas to the world. Simon Cowell scowls; he hates everyone; he’s what the British call a git (I’m guessing—I’ve always wanted to be British for a day to find out how to use all their slang). Paula Abdul is so cool because she loves everyone; everyone does a great job no matter how much they suck. And then Randy Jackson is in the middle, keepin it real for all the dawgs and boyz.
Whenever Simon says something, the audience boos. Whenever Paula says something, the audience cheers. Whenever Randy says something, the audience gives a collective “Huh?” and shrugs, barks, woofs, and then cheers some more to get out of the awkward situation as quickly as possible.
After Idol set the stage, so many other judgment shows have popped up. Each has three judges. And, so-called-coincidentally, they all have a version of these three personas. “Celebrity Fit Club” has Dr. Ian who is Randy Jackson without the slang, Dr. Greek Goddess who is Paula Abdul with hair extensions, and Drill Sargeant Harvey who is Simon Cowell on speed. No audience here to cheer and boo, but ANT and the celebrities kind of make up for that with comments and cheers and jeers.
“Skating With Celebrities” touts three judges as well. And I don’t even know their names because I just call them Simon, Paula, and Randy. There’s the guy with the gray hair who tells the truth, causing everyone to boo, there’s a girl, and there’s another guy, who people usually cheer unless the celebrities skate so badly that the nicer judges just have to break some negative judgment to them.
“Dancing With The Stars” has three judges. Three distinct personas. Very reminiscent of the AI trio. Only the nasty Simon judge sits in the middle here. Ooh, quite a change-up. Honestly, in my mind, the three judges here have melded into the judges for “Skating With Celebrities.” Take a minute here … think about it … see? Just kinda mutant clones of each other, aren’t they?
But this season, the AI trio has a new attitude. Sure Paula has been drugged up beyond belief, and Randy has been getting skinnier, and the fake love affair between Simon and Paula has been developing, and the banter with Seacrest is chee-zee. Yet the new attitude has come out full force. They’ve all turned into Simon. Seriously. Paula no longer claps for everyone. Randy’s new phrase is “it’s just not good.” Sure these moods have been in development, but this season, I think they’ve had it with the bad singers with bad attitudes.
Simon has supposedly gotten even meaner this season. All of those gay activist groups are saying he’s being homophobic and prejudice against all the gay people who audition. If that were true and Simon was really anti-homosexual, can someone then explain how Clay Aiken got so far in the competition? And don’t forget that Simon really loved that Hispanic singer who wore those fedora hats and Miami Vice neon shirts before dropping out of the competition.
People audition on Idol knowing that they will be judged. Get over it.
So while these other shows are following traditional AI formula, AI has broken tradition. The other judges are starting to catch up, but too little, too late for me.
[b]And this is why I love reality TV[/b]: Even on reality television, people try to put on a certain persona. However, humans must cave after a period of time, and Paula and Randy have finally found their breaking point. In the infamous words of Randy Jackson himself, reality tv judges must eventually start keepin it real.