Judge John Hodgman Episode 211: The Downer Party


Saad brings the case against his wife Zeba. Saad prefers not to celebrate birthdays and would like to keep the hoopla surrounding them to a minimum. Zeba, on the other hand, enjoys the more traditional birthday trappings. They can't agree on the best way to acknowledge their children's birthdays in future.

Evan Cooper named this week's case via the Judge John Hodgman Facebook page. Thanks, Evan!



Nailed it

This was my favourite decision the Judge ever rendered. He gave a very thoughtful (and articulate) response, and I think gave Saad some needed perspective.


Hodgman's closing words are very touching in this one

I respect Saad's opinion! Maybe!

Birthdays are something that should be celebrated, sure... Maybe not on a huge scale, but yeah. I get what he's saying, though. Consumerism has made birthdays about "getting things", rather than celebrating life. I feel like it should be a small celebration with family. Sure, he's a nay-sayer. Literally, about 15-20 minutes in. But I respect some of his opinions, definately.

cultural reference

i thought he was going meta and referencing a past episode: the birthday suit (episode 104). he used the same exact cultural reference for both cases!
full disclosure: i was the plaintiff of that episode.
and spoiler alert: neither of us got the answer right either, just like these guys!

Damn you, Warner-Chappell

While Mozart hasn't been pop culture for a couple centuries, Boing Boing TV fits the bill. I thought the Judge was going for his performance of Happy Birthday for Xeni Jardin:



So very depressing - I can't remember the last time I actually became angry at someone on this show, but Jeez. I almost wanted to scream, "It's not about you! And it shouldn't be!"

Also, the elimination of "Have a safe trip"? It's about wishing the best for someone, and them (hopefully) appreciating that - ugh, sorry.

Saad's voice reminds me of someone.

I can hear it in my head but can't put my finger on it. That same dry, plaintive tone. I feel like it was on a youtube video or part of some video.

Does anyone know who I'm talking about?


I think he sounds like Christopher Guest in "Waiting for Guffman" or "A Mighty Wind"

Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani


The lack of perspective from this guy was kind of depressing. Age to kids is always a big deal as it represents they are growing up. Guess who doesn't feel any phonyness about their birthday parties? Kids.

Just sing the song man!

Yes, its a special day

Yes, a birthday is just an arbitrary day, but for kids it is important. They are growing up. It's a milestone. It's a special day when the child is celebrated. If every day is special, then no day is special. Saad also fails to understand that his children's friends will be having birthday parties, and at some point his children will wonder: "why do other kids have a party on their birthday, but I don't?"

Pigeonholing pigeonhole as malapropism

I metaphorically poke my nose over your transom here because I wish to buttonhole you for a discussion of your use of pigeonhole at the end of this podcast. At the risk of recursion, I think buttonhole is the word you were looking for, and I will cheerfully agree if you wish to poke me into the pigeonhole labelled "internet pedant".

Love the show.