Now that's more like it! After watching every other show this week more or less tread water, I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to see Bad Judge fix basically every problem I had with the pilot. Read More
The second episode, "Meteor Shower," does away with the annoying kid, makes you laugh, and most importantly, commits to an identity for both its main character and the show as a whole. The character is a spiteful, insecure hedonist that's oddly sympathetic, and the show? It's a live-action cartoon.
That's not an insult, either. "Live action cartoon" is a perfectly fine sitcom route, and it's worked, to varying degrees, for everything from 30 Rock to certain seasons of Scrubs to every single episode, good and bad, of the vastly overrated but sometimes charming Parks and Recreation. For Bad Judge, this is a cartoon universe with minimal consequences for big actions like imprisoning an entire courtroom or attacking a stranger with an axe, and yet still one that takes its characters and their emotions seriously. This is a massive step in the right direction.
Kate Walsh no longer has to heroically blend two completely separate characters, as the new show runner has given her a unified version of the mess we saw in the pilot. Judge Wright is, way deep down, probably a good person but she doesn't have her shit together even a little bit, and her first instinct in all cases is spite. Sometimes this works out for her (getting control of her super famous defendant), sometimes it doesn't (flipping off the paparazzi), but either way it's usually funny. Walsh is a good enough actress to make Wright a human being even beneath the cartoon shenanigans, and here, much moreso than in the pilot, she's backed by an able supporting cast.