- Base-Breaking Character: Judge Judy herself has run the full spectrum of reactions since her show began airing. One the one hand, Her Honor has many fans who love to see her lay down the law (figuratively and literally) to litigants who don't have a case, and think her razor-sharp personality makes her endearing. On the other hand, there are those who see Judge Judy as a bully and a jerkass, arguing that she makes the whole justice system look bad with her abrasive attitude. There's not much middle ground on her.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The infamous "Ebay scammer" episode sees Judge Judy telling the defendant, "If you live to be a hundred and twenty, you're not going to be as smart as I am in one finger." Discounting the fact that only one human ever lived to the age of 120, the defendant, Kelli Filkins, would never live to be 120, as she passed away in 2017, apparently due to suicide.
- Memetic Mutation:
- The August 17, 2017 episode has spawned several memes, both from the case itself, which involved the theft of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, to Amy Schumer making a surprise appearance in the audience. It has to be seen to be believed.
- The episode involving an argument between two individuals over Guacamole has become this.
- An episode where a woman was suing her date, a Twitch streamer who was live streaming the date, for invasion of privacy has spawned memes and discussions.
- Nightmare Fuel: The earthquake in one episode. It's real (not staged), it comes out of nowhere, and even the tough-as-nails Judge Judy leaves the courtroom.
- No Such Thing as Bad Publicity:
- As stated by Judge Judy herself during a case:"I really don't need you [the winning plaintiff] to approve of me. 10 million people approve of me. There are a lot of people who watch that don't approve of me. I don't care as long as they watch."
- Some litigants who clearly had no case must have agreed to appear on the show because of this. This tends to backfire on them catastrophically, since Judge Judy gives them no time to look "cool" and is sure to expose every rotten trick they've ever pulled before she's through with them.
- As stated by Judge Judy herself during a case:
- Spoiled by the Format: With the rare exception of a long two parter case, most cases are decided within the half hour time block, so if a case ends right before the final commercial break and a new case starts, the new case will only be a few minutes and will be typically ruled quickly.
- Tear Jerker: There are a number of cases where some upsetting moments are shown. However, Judge Judy has said that "Feelings have no place in court" even if sometimes she doesn't feel that way. She's also not swayed by litigants' tears, whether the tears are real or a ploy to try to gain her sympathy.
- One case in which Judge Judy didn't chastise a tearful litigant was the infamous case in which a woman sued her son's deceased friend's mother for damage to her car following an accident in which the defendant's daughter was killed. The defendant sobbed quietly through much of the case, obviously still devastated by the loss of her daughter. When the plaintiff admitted she'd left her keys in the car and always did so out of habit, Judge Judy tore her a new one and called her an idiot before dismissing her complaint and ruling in favor of the defendant on her $5,000 counterclaim for emotional distress. Her Honor was so angered by the plaintiff's position that the defendant, who was still in tears during the post-case interview, barely had to say a word.
- A 2013 case in which a mother and her son were suing the defendant for either the return of their dog or $2500. Judge Judy chastised the defendant, who had found the dog after it ran away, for failing to take the necessary steps to return the dog to the plaintiff. However, Judge Judy determined that since the dog had lived with the defendant for three months and obviously bonded with him, she opted to let the defendant keep the dog and award the plaintiff $2500 so she could buy her son a new dog. Although Judge Judy had explained the reason behind her decision in a sensitive and gentle way to the plaintiff's son, the boy burst into tears afterward, and his loud sobs were heartrending.
- A 2017 case in which a sister was suing for a loan for dental work. The plaintiff had taken out a loan for her sister, the defendant, and was suing for the maximum amount ($5,000) as the loan was over $6,000. The defendant originally paid $1,000 on the loan but stop paying after a fight between the two. Judge Judy found out the reason for the fight; the defendant was in the hospital having a child and found out that her husband (the father) was cheating on her with the plaintiff and were still together. Judge Judy felt very sorry for the defendant after that point (while the defendant was crying the whole time) and started to yell at the plaintiff and the unseen husband for causing that to her while she was in the hospital. However, she said that while the plaintiff was "morally bankrupted" still ruled in favor of the plaintiff for the maximum amount and explained her reason as it was a loan and no matter how morally bankrupt the plaintiff is and how she shouldn't get a dime, her hands were tied on this case.
- There was a 2014 case in which resulted in back rent and ownership of a snake. The snake was owned by plaintiff's son (who was 7 years old). The plaintiff waited over a year before asking for the snake back and the defendant refused saying they had become attached to the snake. Judge Judy ruled that the back rent was owned but she couldn't get the snake back, when the plaintiff's son started to cry finding out he wouldn't get his snake back. The plaintiff then said that she was willing to forget about the money but just wanted the snake back when the defendant's son started to tear up a bit. Judge Judy said that if she was willing to forget about the money then she could have the snake back. While the plaintiff did get the snake back, the defendant's son wasn't happy and started to tear up during the interview at the end.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Judge Judy occasionally come off this way. While a number of litigants are scumbags who deserve her tearing into them, there are cases where her harsh and caustic behavior comes off as needlessly cruel or unnecessary. She also isnt above judging things based on her own outdated values, such as demonizing the use of social media and online shopping, or one particular case where she ruled that a woman could not have owned a video game console herself (as opposed to having purchased it as a gift for her boyfriend) because video games, in the judges view, are not a ladylike hobby.
- What an Idiot!: Countless numbers of litigants, both plaintiffs and defendants, have fallen into this category, as Judge Judy herself is wont to point out during their cases:
- In one case, the plaintiff was suing her former friend for damages to her house after the defendant and her family came over to beat up the plaintiff for dating her ex-boyfriend. The plaintiff was granted a restraining order for three years for the defendant and video evidence showed the defendant clearly damaging the house. The defendant kept saying "It wasn't me" over and over again, claiming that it was someone else. It got to the point that Judge Judy kept saying "You're an idiot or lying if you claim it wasn't you".
- Another example is where the plaintiff, while parking, tapped the bumper of his car with the defendant's car. When the plaintiff's witness returned to the car to get some items, he saw the defendant vandalizing the plaintiff's car. The defendant not only posted video of himself vandalizing the car online, but he even bragged about it on Twitter. Judge Judy couldn't believe how stupid the defendant was.
- Litigants who slip up and incriminate themselves regarding actions that they claimed to have not committed - for example, "Dumb and Dumber," who denied stealing the plaintiff's purse, but couldn't keep from interrupting to dispute the plaintiff's list of the purse's contents.
YMMV / Judge Judy