After 25 seasons, Judge Judy—the TV courtroom show starring the eponymous Judge Judith Sheindlin—is coming to an end.
While discussing this monumental event, I let slip a deep, dark secret to my co-workers, a secret that I've never dared utter before: I might have a crush on Judge Judy.
My editor said I should write about it but then quickly retracted her approval. "Don't be creepy about Judge Judy," she said.
"The other day, we published an article about John C. Reilly's hot son," I said. If commenting on the hotness of John C. Reilly's (grown man) son isn't at least a little bit creepy, then me talking about my very real emotion-driven crush on Judge Judy shouldn't be creepy either.
Judge Judy has been a mainstay on daytime television for the vast majority of my life. She's 77 years old and has been presiding over her televised courtroom since 1996; I'm not even 30. I'm also in a committed relationship, and to be clear, I'm absolutely not saying that I would give up everything for the chance to date Judge Judy. Moreover, Judge Judy is married, so I doubt she'd be interested in dating me, anyways. No, my crush on Judge Judy isn't a youthful, naive, "throw caution to the wind" kind of crush. Rather, it's the kind of crush that develops almost out of necessity.
As a senior in college, I interned on a TV show called The Soup that centered around comedian Joel McHale making fun of humorous clips from other TV shows. While higher-ups on the totem pole mined current TV shows that viewers actually cared about, interns were tasked with finding "evergreen" content from daytime TV that could be used anytime, because nobody actively watched any of it. Thus, I got saddled with Judge Judy.
So for five months, I went into an office every other day, brewed myself a cup of coffee, and strapped in for six-to-eight hours of Judge Judith Sheindlin's no-nonsense judging.
Now might be a good time to note that I'm a deeply indecisive person, to the extent that my indecisiveness borders on pathological. Deciding what to order on Grubhub or picking a TV show to watch on Netflix is more than enough to send me spiraling into decision paralysis. Oftentimes, we're attracted to people who possess traits that make up for our own shortcomings, so naturally I was drawn to Judge Judy's perpetual sense of conviction.
Judge Judy had the uncanny ability to look at a case and know within minutes—sometimes even seconds!—who was right and who was wrong. Some defendants might have walked in with a smug demeanor and an "I didn't do anything wrong!" attitude, but Judge Judy always made sure that the bad apples got what they deserved.
"Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining," Judge Judy would say to slimeballs who attempted to lie in her courtroom.
As I watched episode after episode after episode of Judge Judy, I'd often fantasize about the stability Judge Judy might be able to instill in my disjointed life. If she could pinpoint an abusive ex-spouse with a single glance, she could also say, "We're ordering Chinese tonight" without a second thought. And if she was capable of discerning lies practically before they were even spun, she could definitely say, "Just put on The Office." There could never be nonsense on Judge Judy's watch. Judge Judy's time was precious—so unlike my own, as I spent day after day witnessing the carousel of liars, cheats, and thieves in her courtroom.
Eventually, my internship ended, and I never watched an episode of Judge Judy ever again. And yet, anytime I hear the name "Judge Judy," I'm hit with a strange sense of comfort. Perhaps my feelings are not directed at Judge Judy, the person, so much as the idea of Judge Judy, an almost mythical figure representing competence and conviction. Maybe amidst a life plagued by indecision and insecurity, the presence of Judge Judy feels like a bedrock of sorts, like no matter how hard things get, someone will know the right thing to do. Perhaps that someone is Judge Judy.
Or maybe I just think Judge Judy is kind of hot.