Whether we like it or not, we've all had our worldview at least somewhat warped by sitcoms. Many of us were disappointed when we first learned that you can't rent a giant apartment on a slacker's salary, or that foreigners aren't always wacky and mustachioed.
And apparently one of the professions most profoundly influenced by sitcoms is that of the judicial variety, as the following recent court rulings seem to be straight out of some zany Friday night lineup. All that's missing is the Urkel cameos.
#4. Divorced Couple Is Forced to Literally Split the House
Your standard sitcom house consists of two stories, an attic or basement, and the obligatory awkward living situation, such as bunking with your eccentric Mediterranean cousin or a cat-eating visitor from outer space. For one ex-husband and wife in Spain, that awkward housemate ended up being each other, as a judge (no doubt inspired by Yo Amo a Lucy reruns) has ordered them to literally split their house in half.
"If hijinks fail to ensue within a period of 90 days, you will be subject to a 4,000 euro fine."
The judge didn't specify whether the split needed to be carried out through the cordoning off method or the good old-fashioned "painting a line in the middle" one, so that's up to the couple. The ruling came in consideration of Spain's economic situation, which has made finding housing unfavorable, coupled with the fact that the two ex-lovers have two daughters who are no doubt scheming all sorts of hilarious ways to get Mom and Pop back together.
#3. A Man Is Sentenced to Avoid Women for Three Years
One Nebraska man was your average 20-something dabbler in meth and marijuana. Then, through a set of wacky circumstances (getting arrested in connection to an automotive store burglary), he found himself deprived of his freedom ... *record scratch* ... his freedom of going out on dates, that is!
That's right: A judge sentenced him to "not be involved in any romantic relationships" for a period of 36 months in order to "focus on himself."
What does stealing automotive parts have to do with romance? We have no clue. It's as if the man's fate was dealt by some second-rate screenwriting seminar graduate as opposed to a representative of the law. Now, thanks to the ruling, this dude can expect many an awkward encounter, and perhaps even a hilarious night of having to hide under a table during a date after seeing the judge two booths down.
#2. Two Romantic Rivals Ordered to Act as Girl's Fathers
If the '80s taught us anything, it's that men simply can't look after children without some kind of hilariously inept diaper-changing montage or the summoning of a dead kid's spirit. Extra points go to multiple men who just can't get along with each other in the process -- like in the show My Two Dads, which was about two men vying for the same woman forced to take care of a little girl that could be theirs. It's one of those situations that could only happen in a sitcom. Or in Uganda, apparently.
Like this, but with less Paul Reiser. So, better.
Yep, a high court in Kampala has recently handed down a ruling that would require two men to act as a 6-year-old girl's father pending a DNA test. Sadly, in this case this entails paying for her education rather than living together and learning a new lesson every week. The deal ends once the paternity test comes back, at which point the girl will rip it up out of the love that comes from seasons of getting to know each other.
#1. Judge Forced to Choose Between His Career or His Love of Standup Comedy
Judges themselves can be the victims of sitcom logic, too, although we guess the honorable Vince Sicari was asking for it. New Jersey's Supreme Court recently told Sicari he could either continue presiding over his court or keep telling lawyer jokes in nightclubs in his other job as a standup comedian. It seems that Sicari had gained a reputation as the "joking judge," a moniker that would sound suspiciously at home before the words "filmed before a live studio audience."
Oddly enough, most of his hecklers have a record.
Naturally, Sicari went for the option that offered him the most respect and financial stability: comedy. Now he's a former judge who's just trying to make ends meet as a struggling comedian and actor in the big city -- all, we're guessing, with the help of a talking pet chimp named Justice or something.