Imagine seeing this screenshot a year ago with no explanation. What a time to be watching television!
The People’s Court returned for its 36th season on Monday with a welcome back message from Judge Marilyn Milian (who is “confident, sassy, and empathetic,” according to the show’s official site). “We hope that you are doing well during these uncertain times and that you and yours are happy, healthy, and safe,” she said, as personable as an out-of-the-blue email to someone you worked with a few jobs ago. And then, as she explained that because of the covid-19 pandemic, The People’s Court is practicing social distancing, the camera pulled out to reveal... a screen in the courtroom where she once sat.
And then a cut revealed that the litigants were being sworn in via screen as well.
Welcome to court television’s new normal.
I love that the on-screen flags are lined up almost perfectly with those in the courtroom.
The hourlong episode’s two cases, both about travel disputes, played out very much as they do when all participants congregate in the same room. As is the case with many industries, it turns out that The People’s Court can totally work from home.
Aside from one pandemic reference, which gave two exes’ battle over airline miles some much-needed perspective, it’s pretty much the same show.
Harvey Levin is still popping up to comment and remind us of his legal expertise, and Doug Llewelyn is still in that hallway talking to people after their cases have been decided.
The overall effect is like returning home... via screen.