TV Review: ‘Bad Judge’

Bad Judge TV Review

Ah, “Bad Judge.” If ever a title lent itself to ridicule, it’s this one, although the show works pretty hard to earn the gibes. Kate Walsh plays the robed dispenser of justice, who, when not on the bench, has sex in her chambers, shows up to work hung over and generally behaves like a college sophomore on perpetual spring break. Walsh’s mix of comedy chops and sex appeal do as much as an actress could to sell such a role, but even generous acceptance of the show as broad farce makes it difficult to return a favorable verdict.

In a way, the series is a one-note joke, in the same way “Bad Santa” or “Bad Teacher” sort of said it all about the movie. But if you’re really going to go that route, it practically requires a pedal-to-the-metal approach that isn’t pursued – or perhaps even possible to the extent necessary, on an ad-supported broadcaster.

Yes, Walsh’s Judge Rebecca Wright is an unapologetic party gal, and a self-described “workaholic freakshow.” Yet in the reworked premiere — which has managed to make the show inoffensive, but not good — she’s not even really that bad. After all, she goes out of her way to help a wisecracking foster kid. But presumably, “Mildly Inappropriate Judge” wouldn’t have looked as good on billboards.

The same largely holds true for a second episode, in which Judge Wright beds a hunky firefighter — despite the fact she considers him dumb — and presides over a case involving an actress, with paparazzi flooding into her courtroom.

As for the cast, there’s not enough support to be found in Wright’s bemused bailiff (Tone Bell), the expert witness (Ryan Hansen) she occasionally sleeps with, an officious prosecutor (John Ducey) and a very underemployed Miguel Sandoval as her ostensible boss.

Basically, it’s all just “Night Court, 2014,” down to the silly cases and creative sentencing. Then again, NBC might have been slightly starstruck by the off-screen auspices, which include Will Ferrell’s production company and Anne Heche collaborating on the story with writer Chad Kultgen (“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone”).

That the show has already undergone a showrunner change suggests the whole exercise wasn’t the subject of particularly careful deliberation. NBC has slotted “Bad Judge” on Thursdays, pairing it with the incompatibly romantic “A to Z.” Viewing the matter charitably, the network might be throwing a couple of different looks on, hoping one of them sticks.

Whatever the rationale, based on the available evidence, the title might as well apply to whoever gave the pitch for “Bad Judge” a thumbs up.

TV Review: 'Bad Judge'

(Series; NBC, Thurs. Oct. 2, 9 p.m.)


Filmed in Los Angeles by Gary Sanchez Prods. and Squirrelius in association with Universal Television.


Executive producers, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Anne Heche, Chad Kultgen, Jill Sobel Messick, Kevin Messick, Betsy Thomas, Kate Walsh; co-executive producer, Andrew Fleming; producers, Owen Burke, Joanne Toll; director, Fleming; writer, Kultgen; story by Kultgen, Heche; camera, Alexander Gruszynski; production designer, Bill Arnold; editor, David Helfand; casting, Geraldine Leder. 30 MIN.


Kate Walsh, Tone Bell, John Ducey, Ryan Hansen, Miguel Sandoval

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  1. Luz Elena says:

    I’d like to cast my vote for The Bad Judge, it may be a modernized version of Night Court which was highly successful though ridiculously inane, talk about outlandish situations and the Judge’s deadpan or corny humor. Alas, Ms. Walsh is actually FUN to watch and as my male buddy says HOT. And their interactions flow, even allowing for the mandatory weirdo stenographer… I think the idea is to be raucous, yet lovable, be bad in theory of lifestyle but good in actual execution. I like me sum Bad Judge! (not to forget cutie pie Tedward… yummy not just in looks but that once again paradox of being a confident and knowing he’s a hotty but maintaining an innocent not vain style with the pal with no sexual innuendo ………… of course, all unbelievable, but this is comedic, this is TV, c’mon ENJOY!)

  2. Granny Grunt says:

    TO CONTINUE – must have hit wrong button…
    Granny Grunt says:
    October 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

    *BY WAY OF INFORMATION – *There is YET one more new TV series that is as bad as
    “Bad Teacher”, and “Bad Judge”. *This one is “JANE THE VIRGIN”. *AND – again, is shown
    during the “7:00 pm – 8:00 pm” time period!! YUK!!! *Am curious to see the reviews on that one!
    **It is VERY DISAPPOINTING that the networks show these programs! *AND even more disappointing that varies name brand companies would sponsor series of this nature! *Maybe, we, viewers should “Contact Us” of those companies and express our disgust!??

  3. Granny Grunt says:

    *BY WAY OF INFORMATION – *There is YET one more new TV series that is as bad as
    “Bad Teacher”, and “Bad Judge”. *This

  4. Jef Galanzzi says:

    I think the show is hysterical.

    Love Kate in it.

    Why would I wanna see a judge in a show that’s more like a real judge?

    That would be way boring.

    The irony is what works here.

    Those people all mad in Florida need to lighten up.

    Hello, it’s a TV show, not real.

    It’s not going to set woman back 100 years, sheesh.

  5. Scott says:

    Bad judge wasted 30 minutes of my time. I wish I would have turned it off after 10 minutes but gave it the entire show. I can not imagine what the producers and the sponsor were thinking when they said GO WITH THIS SHOW.

  6. Rj says:

    “Granny?” … I almost got as much of a laugh at your profound rhetoric as I did at Bad Judge. However, from its descriptive title, I turned it on looking/expecting laughs. Thank ZGod the professionals know how to deliver.

  7. OBXconsumer says:

    I am somewhat dumbfounded and at a loss for words, but there is something in this Judge’s eyes when she hands the bigamist the T-shirt that made me want to see more. Of course, this is a satire/comedy so why would anyone take offense for the judicial system? The joke is what goes on beneath the robe of a judge – literally – in other words – hilarity. Lighten up. Kate Walsh is a brave soul for taking this lady on. I’ll watch it for the laughs.

  8. chuck seddio says:

    how could this show ever make it passed the execs at nbc? it was terrible,i lasted through thru the whole show and could not believe it was for real. what a waste of talent and will ferrell? it wont make 4 weeks,just watch the drop off this week. did nbc use a test audience ?

  9. Denise B. says:

    I think I lasted five minutes. I changed channels the minute she handed the (USED!!!) pregnancy test to her bailiff in open court. I think I can safely assume it did not get any better after that.

  10. Babs Sanders says:

    I wanted to like the show but… The pilot just didn’t work for me. It’s like it was just trying too hard. I hope it gets better.

  11. Tony says:

    Personally, I thought the show was good. However, I am not one of those fools who watches shows like this and expect high art. Some people just have to much time on their hands and or love to hear themselves whine.

  12. Bill Gibson says:

    This perhaps the worst show since Bad Teacher, hopefully they cancel this also.

  13. Granny Grunt says:

    “Oh! I most assuredly agree that “BAD JUDGE”IS NOT a family show! ** There are probably more viewers that did NOT see the trailers, commercials, or promos. *NO – it definitely is NOT a family show! *AND it should NOT have been shown at a time that is usually considered “family” time to watch TV. *SO – Megan.S, would YOUR PARENTS have approved of YOU viewing “BAD JUDGE” if you were under the age of 10? *YES? *NO? *BE HONEST!! *There is a lot of difference in what a 16-yr. old finds funny – and what a mature adult finds funny. *I sure would NOT want my young great-grandchildren seeing a program of that ilk! *AND there is NO way I will watch “BAD JUDGE” again! *”BAD TEACHER” sure did NOT last long! *AND “BAD JUDGE” out does “BAD TEACHER” BIG TIME!! *I don’t imagine the sponsors will care to have “BAD JUDGE” continue AFTER all the bad reviews BY PROFESSIONAL REVIEWERS!

  14. Megan.S says:

    So the pilot wasn’t brilliant but that doesn’t mean it can’t get better. What has society come to? This is a comedy show that is on for 20 mins, I may only be 16 but even I know the show isn’t like The Good Wife or any other law based drama! It is a comedy show that made me smile and giggle in places so just sit down and attempt to enjoy it because it isn’t designed to make you think or study it. It’s a silly comedy show and I got exactly what I was expecting. Oh! By the way its not a family show! Anyone with any common sense KNOWS that after watching the trailer. Just sit back and watch it, but if you have such a serious problem with it don’t watch it next week, I’ll be watching though!

  15. Ron C says:

    I really wanted to like this show, but other than Walsh’s legs, it is a train wreck.

  16. Granny Grunt says:

    “BAD JUDGE” is crude, loathsome, revolting, insulting to the Judiciary System! *The “opening scene” was absolute, unadulterated porn!!! *I am not a prude…*Utterly bad taste at any time!*AND at prime FAMILY time!! *DISGUSTING!! *Using the black child as a “gimmick” was beyond abhorrent!! Who writes this “Stuff”, to use a polite term! The “term” I am thinking also starts with an “S”! *The quality of “writing” sounds as if it is a “fantasy” reflection of some pre-pubescent 13-year old male! *UGH! YUK!! *BLAK!!! ;-( *It sure is a bad reflection on the judgment of some unsuspecting sponsor! **THE SOONER IT IS CANCELLED – THE BETTER!! *The writing is overall reminiscent of the series “BAD TEACHER”. *I repeat, UGH! YUK!! *BLAK!!! ;-( *A More Than Disgusted Viewer!!

  17. Jeanette Avila says:

    This show is terrible! What has our society come to? To Have a person of high stature and dignity downgrade them self so much on public television. Major shame to American culture!!! I’m only 27 and I find this show grossly offensive!

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