Judging Amy
Witch Hunt

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Witch Hunt

Amy's sitting at her desk in the courtroom. She asks Bruce how many cases are left before lunch: Just one. "Good," she says, "stand back and observe how fast I can work when my stomach's involved." Well, it's nice to know that you've got your priorities straight. You know, lunch versus the welfare of children. Way to be invested in your work. Amy asks the prosecutor, Dobbs, (well, if family court technically even has "prosecutors") to step up to bat. I'd like to take this moment to point out that, in a shout-out to Super Tuesday, Dobbs bears a disturbing resemblance to George W. Bush. In a shocking and unforeseen plot development, this week on Judging Amy the case in front of the judge involves a custody battle! Dobbs explains that his client, Mr. Axelrod, is seeking full custody of his son because the child's mother, Ms Featherstone, is "a witch." You'd think that Mr. Axelrod would be okay with that, seeing as at over at UC Sunnydale, he works as a scientist associate of the Evil Bitch Monster of Death in a super-secret think tank called the Initiative. The CBS and WB universes must be different. Amy says "A what?" Bruce looks up from his tiny desk in the corner, where he's doing the crossword puzzle, his interest piqued. Axelrod repeats that Ms. Featherstone is "a witch." Featherstone rolls her eyes dramatically. You'd think, considering the fact that she's battling to prove her fitness as a mother, that she'd bother to comb her hair. Amy asks Axelrod to "qualify that statement," at which point Ms. Featherstone protests that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Amy, who, I guess, is still hungry, tells her to shut up. Okay, actually she tells her that because this is just a "show-cause hearing," she'll have plenty of time to present her side of the story. Featherstone gives Axelrod the look of death. Amy surmises that when Axelrod calls Featherstone a witch, that he really means...something else. (If this were on another network, she'd actually say the word "bitch," but, you know, the address is CBS.) Axelrod says no, he means she's actually a witch. When Amy asks Featherstone what, exactly, is going on, Featherstone takes the opportunity to give the "please don't take my baby away, your honor" speech which, it seems, every television show involving trial procedure or the law in general is contractually obligated to include at least twice a month. Bruce rolls his eyes. He needs to work on fostering empathy for others, although if I heard that particular speech as much as he probably doess, I'd probably start running my own little cottage industry from the confines of my desk, making faux flower arrangements from stray subpoenas and unfiled motions, just out of pure boredom. Amy interrupts to ask Featherstone why, exactly, Axelrod thinks she's a witch. Featherstone explains, "Technically speaking, I am a witch." Bruce looks skeptical. Amy looks upset. It looks like another lunch of Doritos and Diet Coke from the vending machine for our presiding judge.

Over at DCF, Maxine "Lacey" Gray follows her evil supervisor Susie "Dick" Nixon, across the office. I'd like to point out that Susie is played by Wendy Makkena, who's best known for playing Sister Mary Robert in both Sister Act and its heartwarming sequel Sister Act 2; Back in the Habit . Considering the fact that Tyne Daly has done a bunch of Broadway, winning a Tony award for Gypsy, maybe we can look forward to a brassy, show-stopping duet between the two of them. Maxine is wearing, like, eight things around her neck: her glasses, a whistle (is she a gym teacher in her spare time?), what looks like a bunch of keys, and a little chalk board and a piece of chalk in case she's suddenly struck dumb like the women in The Piano, but still wants to be able to tell everyone in her family what to do. Well, not that last thing. Snoozy Susie is filling Maxine in on the details of her latest assignment -- two kids, chronic bruising, acting out, "inappropriate sexual behavior." Hey, I watch Law and Order-- that sounds like child abuse to me! The family's name is Compson. I wonder for a brief moment if that's an allusion to The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner's classic novel about incest, madness, and this really screwed up family, the Compsons. Then I remember that I'm watching Judging Amy, not American Masters . Maxine, with her steel-trap mind, remembers the family name (maybe from American Lit 101?). According to Susie, who couldn't, clearly, care less if she tried -- DCF employees today! -- the Compsons are "repeat visitors." Maxine tells Susie that she worked the case last time, but that "nothing concrete was ever established" in terms of the previous charges. Susie, flipping though papers on her desk and foolhardily ignoring Maxine and her Many Years of Wisdom and Experience, asks if there was evidence of abuse last time. Maxine admits that she inherited the case from another social worker and that while the judge assigned to the case believed the family's "'she's just accident-prone' defense," she thought there was "something very wrong " with the Compson family. I wonder if Maxine will be right in the end? I just don't know. I wish I could run ahead in time to find out. Susie condescendingly tells Maxine to "try not to miss it this time." What a beeyotch. I wouldn't talk to Maxine that way -- she could drop-kick me across the room. On her way out the door, Maxine remarks that she hopes the third Compson kid is having an easier time of it. Susie wonders what the hell Maxine is talking about, because the Compsons only have two children, a boy and a girl. You can tell that she just wants Maxine to leave so she can read a magazine and cackle to herself. But no, Maxine clearly remembers the youngest child, because he had "pediatric myopia, wore the Coke-bottle glasses." Susie just purses her lips and tells Maxine she has the wrong family. Maxine says she's pretty sure she doesn't. Susie sort of sniffs and dismissively tells Maxine that "the information is pretty clear. And you don't always have to be right." Ah, Susie, you are so wrong. Get with the program. Maxine gives Susie the tightest, fakest smile in the world and tromps out of the office.

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Judging Amy

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