HO CAN RESIST that angel of justice we've known for the last decade as "Judge Judy"? Her flowing black robe as she wafts into the room. That expertly teased helmet of hair, sprayed fiercely enough to withstand hurricane-force winds, never mind the hot air of her contestantwitnesses, I mean. That dainty, white lace collar, reminiscent of Grandma's armchair doilies. Oh, yes, and those recently collagen-enhanced lipspuffier, perhaps, but no less effective transmitters of the final judgments that are The Judy's ultimate purpose.
Poor Judge Judy, who has, I believe, been cruelly misunderstood. You think she's being too harsh, don't you, when she yells, "I'm speaking!!" or "Put your hand down!!!" Or when she rolls her eyes and calls someone an "idiot!" or a "moron!"
Does she really mean those stinging words, or is she emitting secret, pathetic cries for attention and love? After speaking with the renowned therapist-to-the-legal-glitterati, Dr. Rudyard Garlandia, I can confidently announce it is the latter.
"Judge Judy, or 'Judgie Wudgie,' as she prefers me to call her, is one conflicted, depressed lady judge," confided Dr. Garlandia, whose frank comments about his client are protected by a little-known contract dubbed the "pre-shrunk" by legal scholars. It's apparently so little known that even the judicially savvy Ms. Judy doesn't have a clue that she signed something in Dr. Garlandia's office which protects him from all liability should he decide to "tell all."
Says Dr. Garlandia, "My clients think they're signing off on a simple questionnaire about their current mental state. But when I later soak the 'questionnaire' in Brut cologne, their answers wash away like, well, ink that's been soaked in Brut cologne. All that's left is their signature above what is now a disclosure contract that allows me to, as you journalists say, 'spill the beans' on my famous clients, such as dear Judith. Who is, by the way, so needy that she often begs me to come over and watch Godfather II with her until she falls asleep, which is usually during the scene where Michael Corleone kisses his brother, Fredo, right on the mouth. The kiss of death, which is like valium to Judith, let me tell you."
Leaving aside for now the ethical questions surrounding Dr. Garlandia's loose tongue, what can we learn about Judge Judy from his revelations? We asked the good doctor to comment on her most infamous and oft-repeated outbursts in court.
Dr. Garlandia: Here, Judgie Wudgie is simply stating, "I want to be heard. Hear me out." You see, Judith's father never showed the proper paternal interest in the finger paintings she brought home from the 1st grade. To this day, his indifference to those childish splotches on construction paper makes it impossible for me to get a decent reading from Judith on a Rorschach. I spent the first two years convincing her that Dr. Rorschach was not mocking her from the grave. She kept yelling, "My splotches are better! Get out of my courtroom!" It was really quite disturbing. Finally, we scratched the Rorschach and spent the next year trying to agree on a suitable replacement. There really isn't one, but I pretended to like the Myers-Briggs personality inventory.
"Put your hand down!!"
Dr. Garlandia: The judge in Ms. Judith wants no distractions. But the woman underneath the robe wants to be the center of attention. If someone—particularly another woman—has her hand up, the behavior is symbolic to Judith of attention grabbing. Judgie Wudgie takes a very dim view of other women gaining attention when she is in the room. She prefers to "hold court" if you will. The need to be at the center of things is the main psychological impetus for Judy's becoming a judge. As she put it early on in her therapy, "Sitting on the judge's bench is the legal equivalent of being the belle of the ball." Let me give fair warning to all men: you'd better fill up Ms. Judy's dance card but quick. And ladies, sit out the dances when Judy's at the party, if you know what's good for you.
"Don't be a moron!"
Dr. Garlandia: "Moron" is the secret code between Judith and Bert, the long-suffering deputy who has kept order in her courtroom all these years. It's short for "more on that subject," the subject beingwell, even I have scruples regarding confidentiality between client and therapist. But you'll notice that the word is often followed by a discussion of a dollar amount ostensibly pertaining to the case at hand. It's actually their little code telling each party when they should rendezvous in the judge's chambers. Have I said too much?
"Don't be an idiot!"
Dr. Garlandia: After treating Judy for many years, I've learned that this statement means that you're not to behave like an idiot.
And what will Dr. Garlandia do now that his cover is blown?
"Not a problem," responds the clever doctor. "I'm enrolled in the Federal Unethical Therapists Protection Program. You can't possibly believe that a name like 'Rudyard Garlandia' is for real. In about a year I'll re-emerge with another identity. Maybe I'll put a lure on the line for Oprah. My instincts tell me that many untold secrets lurk under all that hair product."
© 2006 Kate Heidel