Sits Down with Television’s Judge Karen


When it comes to daytime Judge shows, perhaps no show is more entertaining than the courtroom of Judge Karen, daytime television’s sassiest Your Honor. A few weeks ago, we told you about our obsession with Karen, who according to her own show introduction, has “flair to spare.” This is not an overstatement: From her red robe to red gavel to lightning fast sense of humor to no nonsense attitude, Karen has quickly become what is commonly referred to as “life inspiration”.

Well, good fortune shined down upon us recently, as we had a chance to chat with Judge Karen over the phone while she gardened in the luxurious Miami sunshine. But before we get to the interview, it should be noted that Ms. Karen will be making her soap opera debut as a Process Server on CBS’s The Young and the Restless, airing on March 16th, 2009 (check local listings). Check out this behind the scenes look as Her Honor is shown the ropes to “hamming it upon daytime TV”:

Judge-Karen-1.jpgAnd now, join us, as Interviews The Reigning Lady of Daytime Television, Judge Karen, where Judge Karen Mills-Francis talks about judging people, Miami, The Amazing Race, her view on The View, and the craziest cases she’s ever seen in her courtroom.

BWE: Hi Judge Karen! It’s such a pleasure to chat with you. How are you doing?

Judge Karen: I’m great! I am working in my garden today. It’s a pretty day today no clouds in the sky.

BWE: Oh I’m so jealous. I’m basically wearing an Uggs Dress in New York today. I should tell you in advance that my Mother in Miami Beach is your biggest fan. She’s the one who got me turned on to your show.

Judge Karen: Oh my God, really?

BWE: Yes – she tells everyone about it. So America wants to know, Your Honor: How does someone get their own Judge show?

Judge Karen: I used to be a criminal defense attorney in Miami. I had a criminal division as a Judge here. You really get to see a little bit of everything.

When Judge David got his show, I saw him in the parking lot. And I thought “My God, every judge on TV is from Miami! How come no one has contacted me?”

Trust us and click ahead to keep reading.

BWE: Rightly so.

Judge-Karen-3.jpgJudge Karen: Then about a couple of weeks later I got a call from Sony Pictures saying that they wanted to interview me, they were interviewing 7 or 8 other judges. I came up to NY for an interview and here we are.

You know, five of the television Judge shows have judges just from Miami. Maybe it’s the weather… it could be the orange juice. Also the fact that it is such a diverse city… We’ve seen some of everything in Miami.

BWE: Do you think it is because Miami is such a corrupt city?

Judge Karen: No that usually happens in Chicago, what are you thinking?

Actually, if you ever watched America’s Most Wanted, you will notice that every fugitive that is on the run ends up in FL. You always hear “He’s believed to be somewhere in the state of FL.”

BWE: You have a point. I think it’s because there are a lot of orange groves to hide out in.

Judge Karen: Right and this is a good place too if you are homeless.

BWE: Yes! You can’t beat Miami weather if you’re homeless. I always say, even in New York, you always know it’s springtime when the homeless come out. They’re like sunshine and flowers. So, I watch your show every day, and I think the main question that’s on my mind is WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

Judge-Karen-6.jpgJudge Karen: Isn’t it a scary, scary proposition? Some of the things that people will say on TV knowing that it is going to be shown to millions of viewers! We had a case where a guy was a bed wetter. He wets the bed and he is in his 40’s. His wife said it on TV and the women that keep throwing good money after bad money after good money to these men. There’s so many of them! That was the biggest awakening to me. I was surprised at the number of women out there that are just foolish, grown women.

BWE: That seems like a running theme on your show. It’s always women suing ex boyfriends or lovers for money. Why do you think women are so easily manipulated?

Judge Karen: I think we outnumber men 3-1, and so there is so few to choose between. I think that some women think a half a man is better than no man.

My mother has a friend, every boyfriend she has is missing some part of his body. He either has one eye, or one leg, or nine fingers. She used to say it’s better than no man at all.

BWE: As long he’s got his whole heart. And wallet.

Judge Karen: You never see a man suing a woman for that, that’s very rare. Men are supposed to be the ones footing the bill, but its always the other way around. It’s kind of sad actually.

BWE: It is sad. One of the saddest cases was the Mother who had to sue her son for arranging her own funeral behind her back. She gives him $10,000, and the his wife convinces him it would be a good idea to go and plan her funeral without her knowing. You said it was a CSI case in the making.

Judge Karen: That was a really sad case and he showed absolutely no emotion. I never did really figure him out. He’s her only child and she said she had been a good mother. I just couldn’t imagine that his marriage was enough to create a breach with his mom.

BWE: No, and I am sure his wife was the one driving the stake in there.

Judge Karen: Exactly.

BWE: What was the craziest case you’ve ever seen?

Judge-Karen-7.jpgJudge Karen: No… The craziest case, oh God, there are just so many crazy cases.
Did you see the case with the blind man? A blind man was suing his wife because she took the TV. She took it because he used to listen to pornography on TV.

BWE: Listen, you have to take it wherever you can get it.

Judge Karen: But how can you really listen to pornography, but that’s what he did.

BWE: It’s better than calling the 976 numbers. It’s a little cheaper. You know he saved her some money in the end, when you think of it.

Judge Karen: You know they are all kind of crazy to me in one way or another.

There was also a case where a woman sued her mother for credit card identity theft. A woman sued her mother, claiming she had been getting credit in her name since this plaintiff was 12 years old. And the mother was denying it. Then the father broke down and said it was basically true, and she had done it to several members of the family.

BWE: That’s a shame. We knew someone who got a credit card offer in the mail for his dog. But he didn’t take advantage of it. Which makes me to think, maybe I should get some dogs, because my own credit really has some problems. Do you have a lot of animals?

Judge Karen: Oh my god, a lot of them, 5 cats, 3 dogs.

BWE: What else does Judge Karen do to relax?

Judge Karen: I love to garden and travel. I was thinking last night that I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world that I need to go because I have seen every place. I’ve been to Hong Kong, Africa, Europe, all of the Caribbean two or three times,. I love to travel I love to meet people. I take Spanish lessons because I want to be bilingual by age 50. Right now I am working on a book.

BWE: When is it going to be released because I would like to pre-order it?

Judge Karen: We have not gotten that far yet. We are just getting a proposal together, but it’s called Stay in Your Lane!

STAY-IN-YOUR-LANE.jpgBWE: (audible !!!) That is my favorite catch phrase of yours! Your publicist sent me a Judge Karen mug that says “Stay In Your Lane” on it, and it’s the talk of the office.

Judge Karen: What? I didn’t get that mug! They told me I would get it first! What’s it look like?

BWE: Well, it’s red, it says Judge Karen on it, and in the back it says “Stay in your lane!”

Judge Karen: That’s my line, “Stay in your lane.”

BWE: How do you come up with lines? Every episode you say something that on itself could be it’s own book title.

Judge Karen: You know I don’t know… just living. Nothing about our show is scripted, it’s just me. Nobody tells me what to do, what to say. I grew up with a close family, and you know Grandma and Grandpa give you great things to say in life. Some of the things I cant repeat on TV.

BWE: Do you watch a lot of TV?

Judge Karen: I am an outdoors person, but I watch a lot of court TV, which is now TruTV. Not reality but actuality.
BWE: Have you heard of The Amazing Race?

Judge Karen: A friend of mine wants me to do the show.

BWE: Judge Karen, you gotta go on!! You would be GREAT on The Amazing Race. You just need to find a friend to go on with. (loud coughing) You know what other show you should be on? I wish I was your manager, because I swear to you I would be making calls all day long. Why are you not on The View?

Judge Karen: A couple people have said that to me! They don’t think my name is big enough. My show has only been on one season.

BWE: I mean they would be so blessed to get you. You are a million times smarter than anyone they have on there right now. It hasn’t really been the same since Rosie left. At least Rosie brought some life to the show.

Judge Karen: What about Star Jones?

BWE: Star really gave the show a name. Without her, I don’t think it would still be on the air today.

Judge Karen-What do they talk about on The View nowadays?

BWE: Everything. If they aren’t talking about menopause, which is like half the time, then it’s top new stories, gadgets. You would be fantastic on it.

Judge Karen: I would love to talk about menopause I was thinking about that last night. It took me a year to figure out that is what was going on with me. That would be something else. You know I enjoyed the inauguration though.

BWE: Tell me everything.

judge-karen-9.jpgJudge Karen: I get to Washington and I have to pick up my tickets for this BET Honors thing and I see Anita Baker walking down aisle. She says, “Judge Karen, I love you!” And I am thinking Anita Baker knows Judge Karen?

And then that turned out to be my weekend. Everyone I met — Samuel L Jackson, Denzel, Latifah — all knew me.

BWE: A lot of people watch your show!

Judge Karen: I have been on the air for 5 months. It’s amazing the people that know me. I can’t go out of my house. Half the time I wear a wig and glasses, and then once a lady stopped me and said “Judge Karen, is that you under that wig?” I think I need to do something controversial to end up in tabloids.

Judge Karen Listen, why don’t we get together a team and make a proposal to be on The Amazing Race.

BWE: You have just described my greatest dream.

Judge Karen: My boyfriend doesn’t have that kind of spirit he practical. My best friend is crazy. Do they take celebs?

BWE: Actually, yes! There’s a pretty well known writer and actor on it this season.

Judge Karen: I’m gonna talk to the publicist about this I would love to do it but I need to lose a little weight. Don’t you have to climb 110 steps sometimes or something to find the next clue?

BWE: Well, yes, but sometimes the skinny people are very weak. I think you should for sure apply.

Judge Karen: Now you just put a new thought in my head. I am going to call my publicist. What could I do for you if I get amazing race?

BWE: Next time I am in Miami, lets get some bagels and then head over to Loehmanns.

Judge Karen: Sounds like a plan. Thank you, honey.

BWE: Thank you Judge Karen!

Check your local listings to see Judge Karen, and make sure to tune in to her soap opera debut on March 16!

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