Chrissy's Court Review: Promising But Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

Having Chrissy Teigen serving as a judge on new reality-court series Chrissy's Court reads like a slam-dunk idea. Beloved opinion-haver Tiegen gets to judge various squabbles, just like The People's Court or Judge Judy but instead of small claims court, these disputes come from a number of different directions. A performer in a restaurant claims another guest asking him to perform a rap song made him damage his sound system. A couple argues whether the sweatshirt they got for a family member was better than the one they initially picked out. The best part is that the short "cases" lend themselves to Quibi's entertainment ethos of short-form content.

Teigen can basically do no wrong, so it is my unfortunate duty to judge Chrissy's Court and find it desperately lacking. Known for her best-selling cookbooks and sharp wit on Twitter, Teigen is, unfortunately, missing a few ingredients: specifically that her repartee online doesn't immediately translate. The show also seems to undercut her charms and ability from the opening credits. It's incredibly disappointing. The problem is those daytime court shows were successful because we got to see justice: bad people are punished and good people are vindicated.

Judge Chrissy Teigen says Chrissy's Court is now in session, courtesy of Quibi.
Judge Chrissy Teigen says Chrissy's Court is now in session, courtesy of Quibi.

Chrissy's Court can't decide how firmly they want their tongue to be implanted in their cheek to really take a stance on anything. Of the three episodes available at launch, two were between squabbling couples. The case with the singer in the restaurant (Ep 1, "C-RAP Music") seems more like a flimsy excuse to bring in Teigen's husband John Legend to sing a few bars of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" than anything actually worth discussing. Teigen doesn't get to be Judge Wapner or Judge Judy Sheindlin. Because they're too busy cracking jokes to have any sense of gravitas.

Chrissy's Court Needs More Teigen In It

Which is terrible, because Teigen, to me, means gravitas. I care about her opinions on literally everything. Which is why this show should work. I have hopes that they find their groove somewhere, but it concerns me that these are the first three that Quibi is sharing right out of the gate. And that the intro to her show undercuts her authority from the get-go, by saying "The people are real. The cases are real. And the judgments are legally binding, no matter how unqualified the judge is." Seriously? No. This is how it always happens: the authority of a woman has to be undermined from the very beginning by the powers that be. Heaven forfend women have an opinion! That's 100% sexism. And Judge Andy declares it to be 100% bulls**t.

I personally don't care whether Teigen has a background in law. That's not the authority I'm looking for. But she's perfectly qualified (perhaps the most pre-eminently qualified of anyone) to judge these kinds of silly disputes. But I'd like to see the show lean in more heavily to an empathetic view of the cases and why exactly these folks would end up in a fake courtroom over these issues. Or maybe we can have a real discussion about who leaves their laundry everywhere or how someone is a bad tipper and it's embarrassing when they go out. Or it can go the other route and be completely gonzo. It could be late 90's Jerry Springer where the whole point was to start a fight among the guests. The best (only?) laugh came from a "Maury Povich reads DNA test results" joke. So, embrace being an exploitative reality show, or don't. Or be the mix of savage yet funny AND empathetic that is the specific bouquet garni I know and love about Teigen as a person.

The show might yet find its voice. Teigen layering in her family with her mom as her bailiff is already gold and the best thing about the show. Little Luna saying things from the courtroom audience is also blessed content. Could maybe do with a little less Legend, honestly, or at least use him differently. Let him testify about leaving the toothpaste cap off or something. We can hope this show finds that voice and Teigen's team can solve all of our problems in eight minutes or less.

About Andy Wilson

A mild mannered digital strategist working for an environmental nonprofit in Austin, TX roaming the interwebs fighting his nemeses by day, and by night consuming all manner of media. You can find him either on his couch or at the nearest Alamo Drafthouse catching the latest. Don't follow him on Twitter @CitizenAndy.

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