I have watched “Judge Judy” on TV a couple of times; I enjoyed it. I have watched Africa Magic “Judging Matters” a couple of times; I don’t know what to make of it but enjoyment is not a word that comes within a metre of my mind. In fact, I am struggling not to use the word annoyance.
But you could ask, why do I bother watching something that borderline pisses me? Because it’s in the borders and because I am a fan of intellectual reality shows and would want Nigeria to join the map of countries actually making a hit out of it – plus I rather like Ebuka.
But so far, it doesn’t just move me. Why? Let’s start from the beginning.
What makes Judge Judy tick?
When you watch Judge Judy, the first thing you see, and feel, and perhap, breath, is the feeling of seriousness. You know you are watching serious business and that the people involved, both the plaintiff and the defendant stand in some sort of jeopardy and may lose something.
So you watch intently, watching to see what fate awaits each. You are drawn to take sides.
And Judge Judy herself is a meaner. She doesn’t just give the impression of someone you don’t wanna mess with. She’s someone you don’t wanna mess with. Her stare is one that seems to be able to see through the marrows of the subject before her so that you, the viewer, is almost relieved that they are not the one standing before her lordship.
What is Judging Matters not getting right?
1. Justice Williams is just there
First of all, Justice Olusola Williams is not Judge Judy. For some, this is the end of the discussion. If she’s not Judge Judy or anywhere close do her, what’s the point? But I disagree. Not being Judy is not a game changer, although for some of us who see Judging Matters as a Nigerian edition of Judge Judy, it’s hard for us not to continually make this comparison. Still, not being Judge Judy is not a game changer.
But this is not to say that there are not qualities of Judge Judy that can prove powerful in the show. Judge Williams is serious. But. It is not a serious that comes from a kind aunty who is called to mitigate between her visiting wayward nephews. It’s a seriousness that comes when you look for it. It’s not a seriousness that kick you in the teeth.
Her tongue is not sharp. Where we have cases in which my mother, for one, will eat you whole and vomit you without breaking your bones, or give you a quick haircut without wetting your hair and be done before you knew it, Judge Williams just gives a ruling that can hardly pass as sternness.
She shows no outrage in her mien, no zingers, no legal dissing, no biting wit, no sarcasm, no hint of humour, nothing above ankle depth. Just Justice and normal vibes. Justice Williams doesn’t just have the “I can eat you up alive right now and the only reason you’re still breathing is because I don’t want to make a mess of this place at this moment” factor.
And it’s a big hole on the show.
2. The needlessness of Ebuka
I initially wrote the uselessness of Ebuka as the heading and thought against it and tweaked.
But let’s tell each other the truth, Ebuka is useless in the show. The first time I watched the show, I didn’t see the point of him in the courtroom. Now, it’s even more puzzling.
Sometimes, he speaks into Justice Williams talk. Sometimes, Justice Williams speaks and says she agrees with Ebuka (just imagine?). A whole judge being second-guessed by a common host (even if he’s a star, he’s still a common bailiff – general counsel indeed). Imagine anyone, even if he’s named Stephen Colbert, interfering with Judge Judy’s case or whispering into her ears.
No one confers with the oracle. Ebuka shouldn’t. His presence hurts the power and diminishes the authority and invisibility of Justice Williams.
If Ebuka must be part of the show, he should be outside the courtroom, near the gate, anywhere, and interview the plaintiffs/defendants after the cases. He can also be the narrator. Ebuka is not in the diary room in Big Brother, a pseudo-authoritarian show. So why does he need to be in the shrine with an actual authority, an oracle?
The kola nut of the king returns to the king. Ebuka is a pest that can be ignored. But his presence or otherwise will not turn Justice Williams into a lioness. It’s an arbitration-based reality court show, her show and she’s not owning it enough, pushing it enough.
Honestly, I am not entertained by this show, I am not intellectually challenged or even pinched, so what is the use of the show?
Image sources: Thenet.ng and Twitter