Kate Walsh's new NBC series has recently come under fire for its lumbering and very off-the-mark depiction of a sassy, questionably clad, highly unethical female judge. Two weeks after the show debuted on Oct. 2, Deborah Baker, president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, sent a letter to NBC CEO Steve Burke asking that Bad Judge be taken off the air. (There's an "I object" joke here somewhere, but I can't put you through that on a Sunday.) From the letter:
Over the past 35 years, the mission of Miami-Dade FAWL has been to promote the advancement of women in the legal profession; unfortunately, Bad Judge is a step in the wrong direction. The show depicts a female judge as unethical, lazy, crude, hyper-sexualized, and unfit to hold such an esteemed position of power.
In the letter, Baker points out: "A misogynist who believes that women in power cannot control their sexuality, their bodies and their professional or personal conduct would have their views endorsed by this show."
From what I've seen of it, this show's attempt at writing a sexually liberated woman does it in a way that associates female sexuality with irresponsibility. While I'm all for TV depictions of women over 40 doing something other than raising kids and looking tired, Kate Walsh's character Rebecca Wright is not exactly blazing trails—in the pilot, she has sex on a desk with her colleague, insists on wearing literal lingerie to her job in a courtroom, gives her bailiff a used pregnancy test to throw away, and is the proud owner of a bumper sticker that reads, "If you are rich, I am single." (She also listens to the "Chili Peppers" and calls everyone "dude," if you need further evidence that this show was conceived by a couple of drunk boomers on a golf course.) And I guess we're supposed to take all of this with the caveat that she is Good At Her Job, but Rebecca's constant hangover and penchant for rolling her eyes during testimony calls that into question. According to the letter,
In this country, (i) only four of the 112 Justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court have been women; (ii) less than 35% of the active judges sitting on the thirteen federal courts of appeal are women; (iii) only 32% of the active U.S. district court judges are women; and (iv) there are still nine federal district courts around the country where there has never been a female judge.
So, maybe let's not make it even harder for women to be taken seriously in leadership positions! It's likely that Bad Judge is not long for this world, with terrible ratings and worse reviews, but the fact that a seriously un-funny show with questionable moral takeaway has even made it all the way to episode 4 is, frankly, pretty mind-blowing.
Check out the full letter below.
Photo via NBC.