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Where Will You Be On Judgment Day? Maybe Before Paula Abdul on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva

July 2, 2009

Paula Abdul is getting typecast.  When she first started making the tough decisions—or crying and not making them—in season one of American Idol, the country clamored for more.  She supposedly has an impeccable eye for talent, although in “Opposites Attract” she paired up with mediocre rapper and animated feline MC Skat Kat, who was later eaten by a neighbor’s pitbull.  The entertainment brass quickly recognized Abdul’s prodigious magisterial skill and cast her as Undercover Judge in That’s So Raven episode “Road to Audition” where she plays, strangely, a talent judge for an American Idol-like show surreptitiously searching Bayside High for the next Jordin Sparks or Katherine McPhee.

After seven years on Idol and a cameo in Raven, Abdul has again been called to the bench, this time as Honorable Judge Nina Hodge for the new Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva.  Before you convulse with fear wondering how Abdul gets another show where she can judge people, this is a scripted TV show, on Lifetime:  “Broadway star Brooke Elliott plays the sassy lawyer lead in the dramedy about a shallow model who, after death, finds her soul inside the body of a smart plus-sized attorney named Jane.   In a September episode, Jane will go before Judge Nina Hodge, played by Abdul, in a case about a store that refuses to carry plus-sized clothing.”

What kind of jurist will she be?  An empathetic, activist judge who legislates from the bench demanding that all stores, including auto-body shops, carry plus-sized clothing?  Or will she weigh in (ha!) as a no-nonsense law-and-order arbiter who hurls the book at sartorial scofflaws of all stripes?  Either way, I see lots of Dove soap, Lady Schick razor, orange juice, and Lemon-Scented Pledge commercials.  Our only hope is that Lifetime launches a Nina Hodge spin-off called Supreme Justice, where leather-robed SCOTUS Justice Hodge is always in the majority, and dispenses jurisprudence with a 12-gauge gavel.

Drop Dead Diva premieres on Lifetime July 12.  Avoid it.

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