Paternity Court, It’s Time to Get Tested!*

Ladies with bad taste in men, rejoice.

A new show is heading to a TV screen near you, determined to uncover the truth.

My friend Caroline made me aware of this show, which is, as the fine New York Daily News reports:

“Paternity Court” is a new syndicated show on which people take DNA tests and learn from a “judge” if they are related.

Think of it as a cross between “Judge Judy” and the “Maury.”

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I used to love those Maury episodes back in college. So suspenseful.

The show will be “officiated” by Lauren Lake. Here’s the first line of her Wikipedia bio:

Lauren Laniece Lake is an American family lawyer, author, interior designer, real estate developer, background singer, legal/relationship/life consultant, guest host, and talk show presenter.

Lauren

Holy over-achiever, that’s a lot of jobs. No doubt about it: Miss Lake has got some hustle. Respekt.

But I can’t help but notice that “judge” is not listed among the many jobs. As the NY Daily News notes:

Lake is not a real judge and by law her decisions are considered nonbinding mediation.

But she offers good advice.

“Once we get that DNA evidence, then it’s my job as a judge to talk about how that scientific evidence will relate to the law,” Lake said.

That’s odd. I also don’t see scientist listed among her many professions. But I think, based on the very thorough “Paternity Court” Wikipedia page, that what Miss Lake will bring to the proceedings will be far more useful than background in biology (emphasis mine).

In distinct contrast to Judge Judy, Lake maintains little order over her courtroom in handling cases on Paternity Court. Rather, she runs a much more unruly courtroom: Lake allows noisy bickering, interruptions, name-calling, outbursts, dramatics, and misbehavior from the litigants and their witnesses. Even audience members are allowed to make a ruckus and regularly interrupt the judge with boisterous hand-clapping and vocal utterances. Most of the cases are filled with the litigants spewing scurrility and vitriol at each other in unison. In the midst of all the chaos, Lake observes quietly with added dramatic facial expressions. At the end of the cases, Lake offers the DNA test results while dramatic music sounds. Following this, Lake closes with advice in the form of a speech to help the couples move forward.

“Spewing scurrility.” Awesome phrase. Henceforth, all scurrility shall be spewed and only spewed. Those wordsmiths over at Wikipedia were on fire when they wrote this one up.

Dramatic facial expressions? Wait a minute. This gig sounds perfect for me. I have absolutely no poker face whatsoever.

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I’m also pretty free with the (unsolicited) advice. And very judgmental. For example, I think people who go on court room TV shows to find out if they’re related are a bit pathetic.

Actually, me and Miss Lake have a lot of things in common. She “calls it the way she sees it.” I tell it like it is. She likes red lipstick. I like red lipstick. She likes to expose deadbeat dads. I had a deadbeat dad.

By Steve Kabelowsky

And we were both weird kids:

“I was always a quirky kid,” said Lake…. “I’d ride my Big Wheel wearing Jackie O sunglasses, plaid pants, a polka dot shirt, a big hat – thank God my parents were OK with it. They didn’t put me in a box, so I was always designing something – clothing, my room, all kinds of things.”

Now that “Breaking Bad” has ended, I figure I have an open slot in my TV viewing schedule for scurrility and vitriol accompanied by dramatic faces and even more dramatic music sounds. After all, that was kind of “Breaking Bad’s” bread and butter, no?

*Paternity Court, it’s time to get tested! is an actual tag line for the show, along with the also awesome: “Paternity Court, where science meets law,” and “Paternity Court; she’s the judge; DNA is the jury!”

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I Want All My Babies’ Mamas

I am hopping mad, y’all. Madder than a cat on bath day. Our civil liberties as citizens of this fine nation are under attack. Our constitutional rights are being trod upon. And no, I’m not talking about efforts to rein in assault rifles.

I’m talking about the premature cancellation of this fine bit of television viewing.

The show is called All My Babies’ Mamas and it is (was?) a reality show being developed by Oxygen. It featured the complicated, day-to-day life of an Atlanta rapper known as Shawty Lo, who has fathered 11 children by 10 different women.

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Oxygen released the trailer a few weeks ago and all hell broke loose. Controversy erupted. Petitions for its demise were organized. Oxygen pulled the trailer, saying the show was still in development.

You can see the video for the trailer here, along with a young lady who introduces it and offers her own opinion on it. Hilariously enough, there’s an advertisement for a What to Expect When You’re Expecting Workout Video at the beginning of it.

Listen, I get what everybody is mad about. I do. However, I think we are vastly overreacting here.

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One of the major objections is that it glorifies a certain, less-desirable lifestyle. I find this objection specious on several levels.

First of all, everyone knows reality television is not really reality. Real reality is very, very boring. Watching me work, clean house, and eat dinner is only sometimes mildly amusing to myself, my cat and XFE. For the most part, it’s incredibly dull. So any “reality” show that has any entertainment value is going to feature some crazy premise. That doesn’t mean that one should model one’s life after a reality show and start having babies with multiple women. Nor should one take a dump truck and make a pool out of it, kids of Buckwild. Nor should anyone talk about their incontinence issues on cable television, Kardashians. Nor should one buy a winery without doing some research, people of Duck Dynasty. These are all things I’m not going to emulate, regardless of whether I saw someone do it on television.

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Second, 11 children with 10 women is Shawty Lo’s reality. And a lot of other people’s, by the way. My father had five daughters with three women, so he was pretty much making inroads into ATL rapper territory way before the term “babies’ mamas” was coined. The Kardashians have like, 30 children between the two of them. And what about them Sister Wives folks? Seems like they’ve got a passel of young ‘uns, and only one father figure on the scene.  Maybe we should seize this opportunity to talk about preventative measures here.

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Third, Shawty Lo appears to be taking care of all these children and women (according to this very interesting MTV interview about the controversy), and that’s actually something to be applauded. There are a lot of people having kids and then bouncing, so the fact that he’s supporting them is great. And, Shawty and his family have just as much of a right to earn a reality buck as any of the other yahoos on reality TV, including the kids of Jersey Shore, Honey Boo Boo’s family, and a slew of others.

Fourth, some have suggested that the show is playing on racial stereotypes. To which, I would point out, so does Honey Boo Boo, Buckwild, Jersey Shore, Basketball Wives, Mafia Wives, and even, Doomsday Preppers. You almost never see anything other than crazy white people on Doomsday Preppers. There. I said it. And it’s true. I’m white trash straight from the trailer parks of West Texas and I do not take any offense to the way my people are portrayed on these shows. I wish I were half as ingenious as those kids on Buckwild (they can find fun anywhere), or had half the cojones as those crazy jackholes on Gold Rush (again, all crazy white dudes), or felt as passionate about a cause as those crazy white hippie kids on Whale Wars.

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So Oxygen, here my plea: Let us have our All My Babies’ Mamas. Let us learn why Angela is known as the “Fighter Baby Mama.” How does she get along with Amanda, the “Jealous Baby Mama?” What is it exactly that makes Serena the “Shady Baby Mama?”  How does First Lady E’Creia manage the finances? What can Tamara, the “No-Drama Baby Mama” teach us all about civility? Why shouldn’t Sujuan, the “Wanna be Bougie Baby Mama” strive to be bourgeois?

All these questions must and should be cleared up.