Steve Harvey is not a judge, and he doesn’t have a law degree. This is something the comedian and TV host happily and readily admits both during the title sequence of his new ABC court show, Judge Steve Harvey, and throughout the series itself.
Still, when the midseason offering premiered on Tuesday, Harvey presided over three small-claims court cases, two of which involved estranged siblings fighting over finances. And Harvey did so because, as he explained, “I ain’t got no law degree, and I’m way too fly to wear a robe. But this is where common sense presides.”
It’s a brand of common sense that had the Family Feud host proudly wearing a black fur-collared Shaft-style coat in the intro and strutting to music that sounds just similar enough to the Blaxploitation classic’s theme song to ring a bell, but not enough to spark litigation. Talk about irony. Harvey even has a catchphrase — “and that’s the way I see it” — that he said following each of his rulings.
As for the cases themselves, Harvey did seem interested in doling out justice, but only if it was funny. During the case between sisters Daphne Springs and Tiffani Brooks, for instance, Harvey yukked it up because Brooks used the money Springs gave her for their brother’s funeral service to get a Brazilian butt lift (aka posterior enhancement).
The running punchline — whether or not Brooks in fact used the money to get the surgery as well as liposuction on her back rolls — delighted Harvey so much that he stepped off the bench for added laughs to explain the case to the studio audience and criticize Brooks for admitting to misusing the funds. Turns out Brooks had their brother cremated, which was cheaper, but failed to tell her older sister about the arrangement her family had chosen.
Brooks also confessed to using the money on things other than the funeral, such as her travel and dining expenses, but said she paid for her own plastic surgery. Prior to her admission, Harvey ripped Brooks for having receipts for her surgery but not her brother’s cremation. He ordered her to pay back Springs and said Brooks would need reputation repair after coming clean because the case was on TV. You know, just in case the defendant forgot.
The other two cases — two Georgia neighbors disputing whether or not a fallen tree caused fence damages, and a brother and sister fighting over a kitchen-cabinet remodel — weren’t as humorous, but there were moments of heartfelt emotion. The sister, Erin Wytiaz, cried about no longer spending time with and talking to her younger brother Drake Spann because she thought he’d stolen her money instead of building her agreed-upon, custom-made cabinets.
However, Spann fell victim to the COVID-caused lumber shortage and was just trying to wait for the best wood to do the job right. In that case, Harvey was so moved by the kindhearted siblings that he ruled in favor of everyone and told the pair to sort it out themselves once the cabinets were built. Because that’s the way Harvey saw it, and he saw fit to hug them, too.
What did you think of the premiere of Judge Steve Harvey, and do you think his deliberations were fair or foul? Grade the show in our poll, and drop your thoughts in the comments.