Picks and Pans Review: Divorce Court
Syndicated (Check local listings)
Here is genius TV—not the sort of genius you see on PBS, but the sort of genius that brings you revivals of Hawaiian shirts and bowling. Divorce Court is pure camp. This is nothing like The People’s Court (though that’s camp genius too—the best opportunity since Queen for a Day to laugh at real people). Since the people on Divorce Court are acting, the scriptwriters are free to turn out superbly absurd situations. Tune in to one episode and you hear a lawyer asking a would-be ex-wife about the time she tried to get the attention of a Buckingham Palace guard. “The word is streaking, isn’t it?” the lawyer asks snidely. Tune in again and you hear a lawyer accusing another woman of “dancing in the town fountain with your skirt hiked up.” Tune in once more and you hear a husband complaining about his wife’s job as a masseuse: “No wife of mine is gonna call feeling up naked men a career!” Divorce Court, a show of the ’50s, had to be updated for the ’80s—it had to be sleazed. The women are all loose. The men are all horny. The lawyers are supercilious slimes you want to slap around. The acting is worse than anything you’ll see on a commercial for reclining, vibrating chairs at 4 a.m. But all that makes Divorce Court a kick to watch. A real hoot.