TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 440: Right to Redress

This week: Right to Redress. Morgan files suit against her sister Sarah. Sarah is getting married in November and asked Morgan to be her maid of honor. According to Sarah, Morgan has an “alternative” style. Sarah would like Morgan to alter certain aspects of her appearance for the wedding. Morgan doesn’t think she needs to change.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Only one can decide!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 440

Transcript

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[Three gavel bangs.]

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[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. This week: "Right to Redress." Morgan files suit against her sister Sarah. Sarah is getting married in November, and asked Morgan to be her maid of honor. According to Sarah, Morgan has an "alternative style." Sarah would like Morgan to alter certain aspects of her appearance for the wedding. Morgan doesn't think she needs to change. Who's right? Who's wrong? Only one can decide. Please rise as Judge John Hodgman enters the courtroom and presents an obscure cultural reference

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[Door shuts.]

john hodgman

[Sort of singing] When you punish a person for dreaming their dream, don't expect them to thank or forgive you. The best ever death metal podcast out of MaxFun will in time both outpace and outlive you. Hail Satan! [Rhythmic thumps, like John or Jesse is striking something.]

jesse

[Less enthusiastically] Hail Satan.

john

Haaail Satan—

jesse

Hail Satan.

john

—tonight! Haail Satan!

jesse

Hail Satan.

john

Haaail, hail! [Speaking] Bailiff Jesse Thorn, will you swear them in please?

jesse

Morgan and Sarah, please rise—

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[Chairs scrape.]

jesse

—and raise your right hands. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or whatever?

morgan

Yes.

sarah

I do.

jesse

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman's ruling, [stifling laughter] despite the fact that he, personally, added piercings before his wedding?

morgan

I do.

sarah

I do.

jesse

Very well. Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

john

Morgan, Sarah, you may be seated.

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[Chairs scrape.]

john

For an immediate summary judgment in one of yours' favors, can either of you guess the piece of culture that I referenced as I entered the courtroom? Morgan, I could hear in your voice that you knew it. I could hear it in your voice. You know this one, don't you?

morgan

I genuinely wish I did, because that sounded absolutely amazing.

john

Ohhh, I'm so excited. I'm so excited that you don't know. [Morgan or Sarah laughs.] I'm sure, Sarah, you don't know. [Laughs.]

sarah

Mm, yeah, I'm not gonna lie on that one. I do not. [Sarah and Morgan laugh.]

john

Yeah. Because Morgan is the alternativa sister.

sarah

Yes.

john

Yeah. And you're not.

sarah

No.

john

But you are both from around, and maybe living in, the area of Denton, Texas?

morgan

Yeah, Sarah lives a little more south, but I am in Denton, yes.

sarah

Mm-hm.

john

Okay. Yeah, you're in Denton, Morgan, and you don't know this song?

morgan

Oh!

john

[Laughing] I love—I love how Morgan's like, "Oh!" [Morgan and/or Sarah laughs.] Like, she didn't realize until this moment that it was a song. [Laughs.] I was singing a song.

jesse

It was more of an incantation in your performance.

john

[Laughing] It's true, it's true, it's true. Morgan, what's your guess?

morgan

I wanna say Rocky Horror Picture Show?

jesse

Eh, it's not that far off.

john

[Cracks up.] I know one listener—a potential listener who might be—and friend of the court who might be laughing very hard at that.

jesse

Tim Curry. We can just say. It's Tim Curry.

john

[Laughs.] Tim Curry. Sarah, Morgan has made her guess. Something from Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's a valid guess. What would your guess be? If you had to guess, and you do have to guess.

sarah

Well, we were discussing My Chemical Romance's return at lunch, so I'm gonna go with My Chemical Romance. [She or Morgan laughs.]

john

My Chemical Romance... Do they have songs? [Laughs.]

jesse

Hodgman's more—I should explain. [Morgan or Sarah laughs.] [Stifling laughter] Hodgman's more of an Evanescence guy. [Multiple people laugh.]

sarah

Ohh, okay. Can I change my guess to Evanescence?

john

I'm gonna use the line that was presented to Jonathan Coulton when he was in elementary school and mentioned that he enjoyed the band Kiss. [Stifling laughter] And his teacher said "What kind of music do you like?" He goes "Kiss." She goes "Is that a band? Or a song?" [Everyone laughs.] That's how I feel about both of those things. Evanescence, My Chemical Romance, something from Rocky Horror Picture Show. All guesses are wrong. It is of course... "The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton," by... Mountain Goats! Our friend John Darnielle—

crosstalk

[Sarah laughs.] Morgan: Oh... my... John: Friend of the court and occasional—Morgan, now you're feeling it, right?

morgan

I did tell my sister before we started that she should just guess something from the Mountain Goats just... because. [John laughs.]

sarah

[Sheepishly] Yeah... [Morgan laughs.]

john

That would have been so exciting, Sarah! If you had only done what your sister said! You would have walked away with this!

sarah

That's why we're here! [Laughing] I can't listen to my sister.

john

Yeah! Without any knowledge of the Mountain Goats, without any emo leanings at all, with zero piercings or hair colors...

sarah

Mm-hm.

john

You would have walked away with this. And now we're—have to hear the case!

sarah

Yeah...

john

So let me recap as I understand it. Now, Sarah, you are to be wed.

sarah

Yes.

john

Correct? You are to be married?

sarah

Yes.

john

Morgan is your younger sister by one year. And you have asked her to be your—uh, what they call maid of honor.

sarah

Mm-hm.

john

Right?

sarah

Yes.

john

But you have a concern about how she will appear at your wedding. Tell me about that.

sarah

Well, since my sister was a little girl, she's been allowed to dye her hair whatever color she wants and any hairstyle she wants. So she has her—both sides shaved, and has a blue color hair right now, and a piercing between her eyes. And so that concerns me, that she'll outlook me on the wedding day. Like, she'll outdo me.

john

Mm-hm, okay! Morgan, you bring the case to this court. You would like me to order your sister to stop cramping your style. [Morgan or Sarah laughs.] Tell me your side of this.

morgan

I was actually a little surprised when she asked me to be her maid of honor. And obviously I was extremely grateful and happy for this opportunity. Earlier this year she had just kind of offhandedly made some comments about my natural hair color. And then on my birthday, whenever I had gotten kind of the piercing in question, she did make a comment, like, as soon as she saw it, that—you know, it would have to be out for the wedding. I just personally don't think that she has anything to worry about, because our family knows who I am and what I look like, and no one expects anything less from me. I don't think so.

john

Let's describe your style! Uh, you've talked about a piercing that is between... somewhere on your face.

morgan

[Stifling laughter] Yes.

john

Um, but it is not a—what people would typically consider to be a nose or septum ring, right?

morgan

No. So it's called a bridge piercing, because it's on the smallest part of the bridge of your nose, which is right between your eyes.

john

Hooo! Right between the eyes! Does that go through cartilage? Or just skin?

morgan

It's actually just skin. It's like right on top of like, the base of your nose.

jesse

I think I speak for all Judge John Hodgman listeners when I say that I'm currently pinching that part of my face... [Morgan, Sarah, and John laugh.] ...and wondering what that would be like.

john

Yeah. Jesse, you would understand that as a place where a pince-nez goes.

jesse

[Laughing] Oh, yeah, sure! [He and John laugh for a few seconds.] Well, me and my friends from the Bull Moose Party, yes. [John and Morgan or Sarah laugh.]

john

Pince-nez being the kind of eyeglasses that stereotypically you'd see Teddy Roosevelt wearing. They don't have arms that go over your ears 'cause it just pinches your nose. It pinces your nez.

jesse

Yeah, and John said that to me specifically because he knows about my robust physical outdoorsman's lifestyle. [Morgan or Sarah laughs.]

john

That's right. [Laughs.] The, uh—what is it called? What has he called it again? The Strenuous Life!

jesse

Yeah, The Strenuous Life.

john

The Strenuous Life of Jesse Thorn. We'll of course go to evidence. We have photos of both of you in different stages of your life. That'll all be available on the Judge John Hodgman page at MaximumFun.org as well as on our Instagram page, Instagram.com/judgejohnhodgman. But before we do, Morgan—'cause I'd like to hear you describe—overall, besides your bridge piercing, how would you describe your style? And how would you describe Sarah's style? And this can be what you wear, how you do your hair, or as Fred Rogers would say, all those things that are not what you wear and how you do your hair. [Morgan and Sarah laugh.]

morgan

I'm part of—I guess what most people label as like, the goth and punk community.

john

Mm-hm.

morgan

So I have only black clothes. I like lots of kind of like, spikes and like, leather accessories. I do have a—I have a full mohawk, so it's completely shaved on both sides all the way down. My hair is a little too long to spike it right now, but I can indeed spike it into like a full mohawk. And it is colored. I have lots of tattoos. My ears are gauged.

john

What does that mean? I'm sorry, I'm 48 years old.

morgan

[Stifling laughter] I have the big holes in my ears.

john

Big holes!

morgan

Yes.

john

Yeah!

morgan

Yeah.

john

Okay. Got it. I've been to a coffee shop, I know what you're saying. [Morgan, Sarah, and Jesse laugh.]

morgan

Yeah, my style kinda fluctuates between kind of a classic, almost eighties kind of goth look to a kind of contemporary punk style.

jesse

It never goes to a classic eighties punk look like the guy that Spock does the Vulcan death grip on, on the bus in Star Trek IV.

morgan

Oh, it can, sometimes, yeah, absolutely.

crosstalk

Jesse: Oh, okay. Excellent. Morgan: If I go to a—if I go to like an old-school show, then I definitely try to kinda pull that out.

john

Now look, I'm not gonna touch the Internet. I will risk the wrath of pedants writing me letters to say what I'm gonna say without touching the Internet, just to keep the flow of conversation going. I believe that that character in Star Trek... IV! The Voyage Home is known as Bus Punk Number Two. [Laughs.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Uh-huh...

john

[Stifling laughter] And I believe I've met him. In real life. And I believe that his name is Kirk... Oh, I gotta look it up!

jesse

That song that he's playing on his boombox—or at the time we would have said ghetto blaster—on the back of that bus, is a song by his own band. He was working on the production of the film, and they were like, [laughs] "Hey, you're a punk rock guy. Will you be the punk rock guy?" And they were like, "We need a punk rock song to play." And he's like, "Yeah, what about one of my band's punk rock songs?" And so yeah, it was a local punk guy from the Bay Area in 198... 6? Or whenever that film was shot.

john

Kirk Thatcher! Is the name of the song, and Kirk Thatcher is someone I met at Comic-Con; I was introduced to him by Ken Plume, so. Full circle... [Stifling laughter] Let's get back to the case. I apologize for using the Internet, and I—I suspect that I'm gonna get letters anyway. So alright, I got the picture now that Morgan, you're classic, uh, Star Trek IV punk. [Morgan laughs.] How would you describe Sarah's style? Like, more of a Class of 1984 punk?

jesse

Is she, like, gutter punk? Is she, like, Gilman street? Is she like... Sex Pistols, crust punk? Yeah, what's her story? Hardcore, like, shaved head and a flight jacket?

john

I was gonna say anti-racist skinhead or two-tone ska, or what's going on? New York Dolls glam? ...I just wanna repeat, I'm 48 years old.

morgan

[Laughing] Yeah. She's very colorful, and kind of... [stifling laughter] I don't wanna say "classic adult," because I am also an adult, but, um... [Morgan and Jesse laugh.] Though I mean, she wears a lot of—she does sometimes wear graphic tees. We're both extremely nerdy. Like I'm wearing a Harry Potter shirt right now. She usually has, like, a—she has lots of Star Wars T-shirts. But she's very well put together. Kind of—I don't want to say "classic girly," kind of prep look, I guess?

jesse

Morgan, just for the point of clarification, are you wearing... a gothic Harry Potter shirt?

morgan

It's just a black shirt with the Harry Potter symbol on it.

jesse

Got it. [Through laughter] It's not like a gravestone that says "Harry Potter" on it or something. [Morgan or Sarah laughs.]

morgan

I mean, I am—I'm also wearing layers of rosaries and a black leather jacket, so.

john

I would expect no less, Morgan! [Sarah laughs.]

morgan

Mm-hm.

john

What a delight.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Do you have those pointy black fingernails? I think those are so cool. [Sarah and Morgan laugh.]

morgan

Yeah, no. I actually work as a cook, so I can't really paint my nails, unfortunately.

john

You gotta have short nails, right?

morgan

Mm-hm, yes.

john

Yeah, right, okay. Sarah, how would you describe Morgan's style, if you were to use your own words? And your own style?

sarah

Yeah. I would just say, like, people that don't know my sister and just pass on the street just think she's just a gothic... you know, with all the leather and everything. So I guess just like—

john

Yeah!

sarah

—classic gothic that people say? And then I guess I'm more of the preppy, "wearing dresses and—[laughs] stuff" type. [Morgan laughs.] I don't know, I'm more the girly type, so...

john

Like a "Lindsey Stirling from Evanescence" type? [Sarah or Morgan laughs.]

sarah

Uh, I would go with that, yes. [She and Jesse laugh.]

crosstalk

John: I used the Internet again, I admit it. Sarah: Yes. [Sarah and Morgan laugh.]

sarah

That's fair. [Laughs.]

john

Since I'm using the Internet, let's take a look at the evidence, 'cause I think that it's gonna illuminate a lot for us and the audience. If you're listening along while driving the car, [stifling laughter] don't look at the Internet. [Sarah or Morgan laughs.] But if you're sitting at home, take a moment and look at the evidence with us, won't you? You both sent in photos. And I'll flip a challenge coin to decide whose evidence I'm gonna look at first. I have this 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea challenge coin. If it comes up nautilus, it's gonna be Morgan. [Sound of a coin flipping.] Nautilus! Morgan. Here we go. I can see this bridge piercing. It looks, uh, very painful, but it's your style; I'm not gonna say anything. I don't—it's not for me. You say you have a mohawk, and I see it right here when it's all spiked up, but otherwise... you know, your hair is in a blue configuration here and a green configuration here, and even though the sides are shaved, it's like a secret mohawk, 'cause I wouldn't say—I wouldn't think that you had a mohawk in these photos.

morgan

Yes, I actually did that on purpose. A few years ago I was working for—I don't wanna buzz market; a big—

john

No, go ahead. We've—we've given up on that. [Sarah laughs.]

morgan

[Laughing] Okay. I was working for Chick-fil-A—

john

Ope! You know what? We don't say them. [Sarah laughs.]

morgan

[Laughing] Yeah, that's what I thought. I was working for Big Chicken—

john

We call them, uh, BIC: Big Intolerant Chicken.

morgan

[Laughing] Okay. And you know, of course they had me—I had to do my hair in a normal color for that job, and kind of in retaliation I decided to shave my head. And—but in order to kind of remain—have some level of professionality, I did a much thicker mohawk than the kind of classic look, so that when my hair is down, it's a lot easier to cover. However, I don't ever really wear my hair down. It's quite rare that I do that, because my long hair makes me a little uncomfortable. And so it's usually up in a ponytail, in which you can see, like, the shaved sides.

john

That is evidence—piece of evidence two, here, "How I usually wear my hair, ponytail and bangs pushed aside," and it looks—you know, if I were the owner of a, um... an anti-gay chicken sandwich company, and looking for a respectable person to hire, I would hire you. Luckily I'm not in that position. Luckily I have a—I cohost a very tolerant podcast. Are—you no longer work for Chick-fil-A, do you?

morgan

No, I was only there for about a year.

john

What do you—what do you do now? You work as a bakery, you say?

morgan

I run my own freelance bakery company where I make custom cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, that kind of stuff.

john

Now that's a job for a goth! Come on! [Morgan and Sarah laugh.] That's a great career for a punky goth, a gothy punk. A gunk. [They laugh again.]

jesse

Morgan has given us pictures of all of the various levels of intensity of her personal look. And she looks really great in—with all of them!

john

I agree! I'm curious about picture number five. You are being patted on the head by a stormtrooper. What is that story?

morgan

Yeah, so we—our family went to Disney World. I think this particular occasion might have been four years ago. My father and I had heard about how at—it was I think Hollywood Studios—the stormtroopers will like, walk around, and they're hunting for traitors and rebels. And if they decide upon you, they will actually take you with them for questioning, and you go into the back with them.

john

[Disgruntled] Ohhh... I don't—how—this is supposed to be a theme park, not some kind of Sleep No More immersive experience! [Morgan, Sarah, and Jesse laugh.] Leave me alone, stormtrooper! Did you get picked?

morgan

No, and that's the unfortunate thing. But I was trying to kind of push it to be picked, so I created my own—the outfit I'm wearing in that photo, I made myself. It was kind of like an original character cosplay type thing. And so I spray-painted, like, the Empire symbol on a shirt, and I put an anarchy symbol over it. And I spiked up my mohawk, and every time the stormtroopers would pass by me, I would yell at them and tell them, you know, that the rebels were out there, and... So this particular stormtrooper came up to me, and of course I got excited 'cause I thought they were gonna pick me. But instead he kinda just stared down at me, and then was like, petting my mohawk. [Someone stifles laughter.] And we did—able to catch a picture of that, and it was pretty awesome.

john

[Stifles laughter.] It's a pretty cool picture, but I guess the—I guess the stormtrooper was like, "Mm... She wants it too bad." [Morgan and Sarah laugh.] You know? [Laughs.] "She wants to get picked up." And now the other question I have about the evidence that you sent in, Morgan, is number seven: "The day my sister chose her wedding dress." You're all holding up signs, and I can't make out what Sarah's sign says. So this is you and presumably a mom and a—some other bridesmaids or attendants, all of them holding up signs that say "yes," as in "say yes to the dress." What does—Sarah, what does your sign in that picture say?

morgan

So I guess fun fact, my sister's wedding is actually Harry Potter–themed. And so I had made us these signs for kind of—you know, in a kind of classic way where one side of it says yes and one side of it says no, so when she would come out you kinda flip the sign. And then I made one personally for her for when she found it. It says "I said yes to the dress." But all of the font is in the kind of, like, the Harry Potter font that you see like, on the books. And then it was with like, a shiny material, so that's why it's kind of hard to see in that picture.

jesse

Right, it's a little lightning bolty.

morgan

Yeah.

john

Oh, I gotcha. Okay.

morgan

Yeah, that's why it looks weird.

jesse

Let's take a quick recess. We'll be back in just a moment on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

john

[Menacingly] You can't see them... but they can see you. They know your age, your relationship status, your musical tastes, your political opinions! [Dropping the tone] Yeah, it's me, John Hodgman. Using my scary voice. But I'm scared! Online trackers know a ton about you. Because they are everywhere online! Collecting your personal information, and selling it for a profit without your consent! Booo! That's why Firefox blocks ten billion trackers for users every day. All the time, all over the web, automatically. It's called Firefox. Get it! Get Firefox and get your privacy back. Learn more at Firefox.com/privacy. That's Firefox.com/privacy. Firefox fights for you.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Gentle, rhythmic music underscores the dialogue. Janet Varney: We are so thrilled at your interest in attending Hieronymous Wiggenstaff’s School for Heroism and Villainy! Wiggenstaff’s beautiful campus boasts state-of-the-art facilities and instructors with real-world experience! We are also proud to say that our alumni have gone on to be professional heroes and villains in the most renowned kingdoms in the world! But of course, you are not applying to the main school, are you? You’re applying for our sidekick and henchperson annex! You will still benefit from the school’s amazing campus, and! You’ll have a lifetime of steady employment. Of course… there’s no guarantee how long that lifetime will be. Travis McElroy: Join the McElroys as they return to Dungeons and Dragons with The Adventure Zone: Graduation. Every other Thursday on Maximum Fun, or wherever podcasts are found. [Music ends.]

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Sarah, when are you getting married?

sarah

I am getting married November 25th.

john

This year? It's coming right up!

sarah

Oh, yeah, yeah. It's coming. We've gotta settle this debate! It's coming! [She and Morgan laugh.]

john

November 25th! [Briefly struggles for words.] I don't know—[sighs]. That's—November 25th, I—I'm recording iPodius episode six that day. I just can't make it! But I wanna come to this wedding! [Sarah and Morgan laugh.]

crosstalk

Sarah: I can make arrangements, I mean— John: This sounds like it's gonna be great!

sarah

We can reschedule. [She and Morgan laugh.]

john

Well, maybe that will be my ruling. [They laugh again.] Here's my question. Harry Potter theme, tell me all about it. What's gonna—what makes it a Harry Potter theme? And whom are you marrying, if I may ask?

sarah

So my fiancé's name is Mark, and he is a high school math teacher, and we both are obsessed with Harry Potter. So my fear of—when I tell people Harry Potter wedding, is people imagine like a Halloween party, so it's still kind of like, a rustic wedding, with Harry Potter stuff here and there. So we kinda have marquee letters that spell "Lumos" and different characters of stuff, um, sitting around, and just little touches here and there. And we're gonna have a Honeydukes candy station, and so...

john

Yeah.

jesse

"Don't worry; it's still a contemporary wedding! There will be hay bales." [Morgan and Sarah laugh.]

crosstalk

Sarah: Exactly. Jesse: "You don't have to worry; there will be hay bales."

sarah

Exactly. [She and Jesse or John laugh.]

john

What house are you in?

sarah

I am Hufflepuff.

john

Yeah, you know what? That's what the thing told me, too.

sarah

Really?

john

I answered a questionnaire that my son gave me a while ago.

sarah

That's awesome.

john

That's what I turned out to be. Hufflepuff. The dumbest-sounding one, sorry. [Morgan and Sarah laugh.] [John laughs.] "Hufflepuff."

sarah

[Stifling laughter] Oh my gosh.

john

[Stifling laughter] Do you think she ever—do you think J.K. Rowling ever goes back and goes, "That was—that was a bad call." [Laughing] "I should have workshopped that a little bit more [inaudible]."

jesse

I don't know, John, I feel like you grading Harry Potter houses by goofy-sounding-ness is a pretty fu—like, what do you think you're gonna be, a Rocktronica? [John and Morgan or Sarah laugh.]

john

Is that a band, or a song? [Laughs.]

jesse

[Through laughter] I don't know, I'm just saying a word that—[breaks off, laughing]. It's like, at the end of the day, you're choosing which Harry Potter guy you are.

john

Alright, but look. This is a Harry Potter–themed wedding. Isn't there gonna be some dress-up to this thing?

sarah

No. None. [Someone laughs.]

john

That's where it stops for you.

sarah

That's where it stops. [Laughs.]

john

That's where you draaaw the line.

sarah

Yes. Yes. There is a line. [Laughs.]

john

You sent in some evidence as well, and in all fairness, let's talk it through. I mean, there's this great photo of the two of you next to a Jawa. Is this the same trip to—it's not Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland or Disney World; this is before that, right?

morgan

Yeah, this was much before. Much to our dismay.

john

Right.

sarah

Mm-hm.

morgan

But yeah.

john

Right. And either this is a very tall Jawa, or you are both, uh, moderately-sized humans.

morgan

Yeah, we're both pretty short. Yeah.

john

Okay. And it's at—this is one of the great photos of all time, 'cause you have this Jawa. You have Morgan with her straight-up mohawk and her, you know, "Pick me; I'm a rebel terrorist—" [Morgan or Sarah laughs.] —outfit on. And Sarah, you're just wearing your cute ears and pigtails—

sarah

Mm-hm!

john

—and running shorts, and sneakers! That's—would you say that this accurately describes your difference in style?

sarah

Very accurate.

morgan

Yeah.

john

And would you say that you're very different as people, too?

morgan

Yeah. I think we both have very different personalities. We were not extremely close growing up because of that. We have very different interests.

john

Oh!

sarah

I mean, you're—you're, like, a Slytherin, I'm a Hufflepuff... [Morgan laughs.] Morgan's, like, part of the rebellion; I'm part of the Empire. I mean, we're on the epi—or opposite levels of everything. [Laughs.]

morgan

Yeah.

john

I am frankly embarrassed that I did not pick Morgan as a Slytherin until you mentioned it, Sarah. [They laugh.] 'Cause you know your—that's—but you're right. That—you know your sister well. But are you really team Empire? I mean, that's a—that's a genocidal, fascistic organization.

morgan

Oh, yeah, this is an argument we have a lot.

john

I'm glad to hear that you have a conversation about—you have a big conversation about this. Jesse? Cancel the next two podcasts. We're gonna make— [Jesse, Morgan, and Sarah laugh.] Sarah, [stifles laughter] what's your dispute over the Empire?

sarah

I mean, 'cause it's got Darth Vader! [Hitting the “th” in “Darth” very softly, almost saying it as “Dart”.]  You can't—you can't go against Darth Vader! I'm all about Darth Vader. [John laughs.]

crosstalk

Morgan: She's— Sarah: And Kylo Ren is bae. I love Kylo Ren. John: [Laughing] You can't—? The whole movies are about how you can go against Darth Vader! Sarah: [Calmly] Nooo... Morgan: She has Stockholm syndrome.

sarah

I mean, Kylo Ren and Darth Vader, I just can't—I wanna be with—

john

Hmm.

sarah

—on their side. I wanna be on their ship.

jesse

Can I just make the way she says "Darth Vader" canonical from here on out? [Laughs.]

john

That's a Texas Darth Vader. Were you excited in the trailer for the new Star Wars movie, when it looks like Rey's gonna go dark side?

sarah

I was more excited about the scene of Kylo Ren with rain pouring down on him. [Morgan and Jesse or John (or both) laugh.]

john

You like Kylo Ren.

sarah

Oh, yeah.

john

You love Kylo Ren's style, [stifling laughter] and yet you look at your sister and you say no.

morgan

Yeah, ex—! This is—yes.

john

I mean, your sister is really Kylo Ren!

jesse

To be fair, Kylo Ren is pretty Evanescence-y. [Sarah laughs.]

morgan

I would say he's a little emo.

crosstalk

Sarah: Yeah. Jesse: Yeah. Sarah: Yeah, this is true. Morgan: He's— John: A little emo?!

morgan

Mm-hm. Do you see his hair? It's—he's very, very angsty. [Beat.]

john

Yeah. You like Kylo Ren.

sarah

Mm-hm.

john

You like the dark side.

sarah

Yes.

john

But you don't want the dark side as your bridesmaid. [Sarah or Morgan laughs.] So you sent in some photos of—one photo here of Morgan in a maroon or burgundy dress. What is the significance of this dress?

sarah

So that is the dress that she's gonna be wearing. I am letting her wear to the wedding a different dress than the rest of the bridesmaids. So she has her own style dress—um, even though it's not her style; it's my style still— [Someone laughs quietly.] —but it's different than the rest of the bridesmaids, so she can stand out some.

john

What are they wearing?

sarah

They are wearing kinda the same thing, just with one shoulder.

john

Oh, okay. But different color, or the same color?

sarah

[Stifling laughter] Same color.

morgan

It's—yeah, it's essentially the same exact style, but they have just one shoulder strap instead of like, a full dress top.

john

I gotcha. And Morgan, is this a preview of what you want your look to be at this wedding?

morgan

That just happened to be the only picture I took in it when it first got delivered to me. One of the reasons why—I mean, I don't know why she submitted it— [Someone laughs quietly.] —but one of the reasons why I submitted the photo is 'cause my hair was a little bit purple at the time. And you can see just my bangs in that picture, but it is a purple color, which is the color I planned on doing for the wedding.

sarah

Oh. I did not know we were having purple hair. This is new. So you're changing from blue to purple? [Laughs.]

morgan

Well, if I wear blue, I'll look like an American flag!

sarah

[Laughing] Oh my gosh...

morgan

I'm trying to policy myself a little bit. I thought purple was better than the bright blue.

jesse

We should explain the flag thing. Morgan has stars in her eyes. [Morgan, Sarah, and John laugh.]

john

So Sarah, you would have Morgan not have a hair—uh, what color hair would you have—would you force her to conform to the Empire's wishes?

sarah

The Empire requires brown hair or black hair that just doesn't stand out.

john

Interesting. Why is this important to you?

sarah

[Pause.] Because growing up she's always had colorful hair, and like, every time there's pictures of us, everybody talks about my sister, so she's more kinda the well-known sibling of us. So on the wedding day, I'd kinda—I wanna outshine my sister! So—[breaks off, laughing].

john

[Laughs.] Glad you're open about it.

sarah

[Laughing] I mean, let's be honest—

morgan

Can I object to that? [Sarah laughs.]

john

No—no, not yet, Morgan. Do you feel overshadowed by Morgan?

sarah

In her style, yeah. But when it comes to personality—

john

Mm-hm.

crosstalk

Sarah: —I end up being the crazier one, so we balance each other out. Morgan: [Stifling laughter] Mm-hm.

john

Yeah! I feel like Morgan is like, on the side of, like, anti-fascism. [Laughs.] [Morgan and Sarah laugh.] And you're on the side of like, "Mm, I don't know. I'm kind of Dark Force–curious." [Morgan and Sarah laugh.] What do you do in your regular life, if I may ask?

sarah

I am a veterinary technician at an animal hospital.

john

Oh, thanks for that work, that's incredible!

sarah

Thank you!

john

Morgan, how did you feel when Sarah asked you to be her maid of honor?

morgan

I actually—I almost cried. It was a very kind of touching moment. 'Cause like I said, we were never really that close growing up, and we've gotten much closer in our adult years. And so whenever she asked me that, like, it really meant a lot to me that she wanted me to be in this role for her.

john

When you say "I'm going from blue to purple" and she's asked you to have no non-natural hair color at all, are you poking her a little bit?

morgan

I'm not trying to aggravate her or get like, a ruse out of her by discussing this. I just more feel like—I was just kind of taken aback when she asked me to do this, and since we never really had a full conversation about it, I just kinda figured I might as well keep... doing what I'm doing until it gets to a point where she's like, "Okay, really though."

john

And you've been involved in the wedding; you made those signs and everything else. Are you excited to be a part of the wedding?

morgan

Oh, absolutely, yeah.

john

Are there any areas where you would compromise that she is asking you to compromise on?

morgan

[Sighs.] I think the one thing that I can concede is the piercing. Because I do understand—I mean, since I've gotten it I've had a lot of people tell me they've never seen it before, and it's extremely, like... not—not say "weird," but very unique, and I do understand that is kind of the one thing that is very much out there, more so than my usual look. I don't have any other facial piercings. You know, I don't—and honestly don't even have that many piercings in general, compared to my tattoos at least. I can absolutely concede that, as long as she allows me to put a spacer in. Which is something she also doesn't want.

john

A spacer would prevent the piercing from closing?

morgan

It's just a clear bar that you can put in that just fills up—you know, obviously the space of it, but you can't see it.

john

It's not an attention getter. It's not a conversation starter the way the full-on metal bar would be.

morgan

Yes. But she thinks that even with the spacer in, it would still be noticeable, which I don't believe so.

john

Just out of curiosity, if you didn't put the spacer in is there the chance that it—the piercing would close over the course of a day?

morgan

No, absolutely not. It's healed at this point. I've had it since July, and you know, if I had to take it out for the one day it wouldn't cause any problems.

jesse

Morgan, I'm looking at the picture of this burgundy dress. Which is the dress that your sister picked out for you. And while I would certainly say that I wouldn't call it punk rock, you know, I went to arts high school in the great goth revival of the late 1990s, and I could certainly see one of the many... Vampire: The Masquerade enthusiasts who I knew—the many... Skinny Puppy concert-goers—wearing this dress. Is your objection that you would prefer to wear something more... [searching for words, sighs] martial? [Stifles laughter.] Or that you would prefer to wear something more... that is black? Like, what exactly is your upset with this deep red lacy dress that is, to be honest, a little gothic?

morgan

[Laughs.] I actually don't have that big of a problem with the dress. I had told her, whenever she first asked me to be maid of honor, that I would do anything that she wants to make this the perfect wedding for her.

sarah

Mm-hm!

morgan

[Laughs.] Her whole life, you know, my sister's been one of those girls who's always dreamed about like, the perfect wedding. You know, we tease Mark because before they even met, she already had, like, her wedding essentially planned out. And you know, so I absolutely from the beginning was like "I will wear whatever you want me to wear, like, you know, even if you want me in heels, I'll do that." Like, that hasn't been a problem. Especially with the style of the dress. I do enjoy lace, and so I do like the kind of look of that. I do—[laughs/sighs]. I do attend vampire balls and stuff like that, [laughing with the others] so there is a way for me to recycle this dress. [Everyone laughs, one of the sisters cracks up. Someone claps a couple times.]

john

Sarah, what have you told Mark he's going to wear, and how have you told him he's going to live?

sarah

Yeah, I—he was not happy that I got to see him in his suit for the day, but I went with in the store and picked it out and...

john

[Laughing] Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

sarah

...told him what he was gonna be wearing, a navy suit and burgundy tie, basically.

john

A navy suit and burgundy tie? Is he Gryffindor? [Morgan or Sarah laughs.]

sarah

He is a Ravenclaw, actually. [Laughs.]

john

Wait, this theming is all off, Sarah!

crosstalk

John: Come on! Sarah: [Laughing] I know, I know!

jesse

Sarah, do you have colors for the wedding? I know from my experience editing the blog Put This On that often weddings are built around a palette.

sarah

Yeah, so we're looking at like navy, burgundy, and gold.

john

Wait, you're Hufflepuff too, right? You and me, right Sarah?

sarah

Yeah. Yeah.

john

What's this burgundy and gold biz?

sarah

Well it's gotta be, like, my vision—

john

Okay.

sarah

—with touches of Harry Potter. But my vision isn't yellow. So—[laughs].

jesse

[Stifling laughter] And you have to be careful not to let the vision of others participating in the event slip in sideways.

sarah

Exactly.

john

It's my vision or the high vision if you're Sarah.

crosstalk

Sarah: Yes. [Laughs.] John: [Muttering] I don't even know what that means. Yeah, exactly.

jesse

Honestly John, I have to say that—speaking as someone who's gotten a lot of panicked emails from grooms about the colors that their partners-to-be or their partners and spouses-to-be have chosen without consulting them, and the clothes dilemmas that it puts them in—it sounds like Mark at least got off pretty easy. [John and Sarah or Morgan laugh.] 'Cause frankly, a burgundy tie and a navy suit, you could do a lot worse than that. In general.

john

Yeah. That's absolutely true. [Sarah or Morgan laughs.]

jesse

Those are absolute classics, yeah.

john

Yeah. Yeah. Tch. How long have you been dreaming of this wedding, Sarah? When did you first envision the Harry Potter–ness of it and the dream of it?

sarah

Well, the Harry Potter was—uh, when I first met Mark, I honestly just dreamed of this big, like, classy, crazy, huge, expensive wedding. I mean, I'm not getting the expensive part. But—[laughs].

john

Mm-hm.

sarah

It's gonna be—it's—and then when we first met, we were always talking about Harry Potter. He hosted me a Harry Potter movie night when we were first dating, and so it just kinda became our thing. And going to Universal Studios and whatnot. So whenever we got engaged, right away we were like, "We have to have Harry Potter."

jesse

I should explain to you, John. I'm looking at this in the evidence and you're not. She's saying Harry Potter party, but to save money it's actually a "Barry Porter" party. [Everyone laughs.]

john

And I also—before I go into my, um, Chamber of Secrets to make my decision— [Sarah and Morgan laugh.] What kept you and Morgan apart when you were younger as sisters, and when did you start to become friends again and why?

sarah

We moved around a lot. We were both Air Force brats and so you'd think we'd be really close, but we were just always clashing in personality, and because we were having to only be with each other [stifles laughter] when we were moving, you know, every few years. We were, like, sharing bedrooms, doing everything together. We just kind of fought all the time. So in a way it's like we were really close, 'cause we were only always stuck to each other. But we would fight with each other a lot and then when we kinda got to adulthood and realized, you know, how much... you know, being around each other really meant. I think it was probably like four years ago. We just... you know. We just clicked. Put our differences aside. [She or Morgan laughs quietly.]

john

Was one of you more resistant to the relationship than the other?

sarah

[Laughs.] For sure. I would say—'cause I'm the big sister, I was kinda like that, uh, you know, "I'm too good for a younger sibling; stop following me around and trying to be my friend," and—[laughs] and stuff at school.

john

Yeah. Okay.

sarah

That was definitely me and, you know, she'd try to run up to me at school and I'd be like, "Oh my gosh, this girl's annoying." [Morgan laughs.] [Laughing] And "Just go away." And that's kind of what we were like, so yeah. She—she—yeah, you know, was sweet, and kinda looked up to me growing up. But I was the resistant one, I will admit to that.

john

And now when you hear about her saying how touched she was that you asked her to be the maid of honor, that she is more than happy to wear the dress that you picked out for her, though it's a little different than the others for sure. She's willing to take out the piercing, you know, she's excited to be a part of your wedding! How does that make you feel?

sarah

Super excited and super happy. I'm so glad she's like, really happy to be a part of it, for sure.

john

How would you have her change her appearance to actually be part of your special day?

sarah

I would have her just more natural hair and natural beauty. No piercings on the face. [She or Morgan laughs quietly.]

john

Alright. And Morgan, I think all you're asking for is basic bodily autonomy?

morgan

[Laughs.] Yes. [Jesse laughs.] I just personally think that my sister is so beautiful and so radiant, I mean especially in her wedding dress—like, whenever she chose it, the reason why we all thought it was the one as soon as she came out, I just—I started bawling. And so I think she underestimates how much on her wedding day she's absolutely gonna stand out more than I will. 'Cause first of all, no one's there for me. You know, this is her day, and you know, everyone's coming in from—you know, we have family flying in from Scotland to be there for her. And I think that, you know, she's gonna look absolutely gorgeous, and I think all eyes will be on her regardless of if my hair's blue or not.

john

Are any dudes gonna wear kilts, from Scotland?

crosstalk

Sarah & Morgan: Yes!

john

Yeah, I knew it. [Sarah and Morgan laugh.]

jesse

Jesse: Yeah, are any dudes gonna wear kilts who are definitely not from Scotland, but they're like— John: [Laughing] Yeah, that's the—that's the real question. Jesse: "Hey! Can I get a kilt for the wedding?" [Morgan and Sarah laugh.]

morgan

Probably our uncle.

sarah

They—yeah. There's a few people that, uh, have heard about it and they've all asked if they could join and wear kilts.

morgan

Yeah.

john

Yeah. I don't wanna tip my hand as to my ruling, but that's where your real problem lies, Sarah. [Sarah, Morgan, and Jesse laugh.] Dudes who are not Scottish wearing kilts. [Sarah or Morgan laughs.]

sarah

True.

jesse

Sarah, who is gonna be at this wedding who doesn't already know Morgan?

sarah

Basically my in-laws. None of them have met her, or really seen her, so yeah. A lot of in-laws.

jesse

Are you concerned about how they're going to react to her... alternative aesthetic choices?

sarah

Oh, yes. Very. [Stifling laughter] They are very conservative.

john

Let me ask you this, Morgan, though, seriously. However you present yourself at the wedding, are you gonna go up to these in-laws like they're stormtroopers and be like, "Yeah, check me out, narc! Arrest me!" [Morgan and Sarah laugh.]

morgan

Well, actually I will be meeting them a couple of days before the wedding, 'cause Mark's mom is hosting a dinner so that she can meet all of Sarah's family.

john

Ohhh, interesting!

morgan

So it will—we won't be meeting at the wedding, which I think will be a good thing.

john

If you were to have your way, Sarah, for the pre-wedding, for the rehearsal dinner...

sarah

I don't wanna push my boundaries, here. [Stifling laughter] I don't wanna push the buttons even more, 'cause we haven't discussed this part, but, uh... I had—I would like her to... tone it down for meeting the in-laws, yes.

morgan

Which I plan on doing. I mean, part of the evidence I submitted is photos of—with me with my family. At certain occasions I do tone down my appearance. You know, I will wear just all black. I will even sometimes wear a dress.

crosstalk

Sarah: But the hair... Morgan: And I will do less accessories, and...

sarah

But the hair's still the hair. [She and Morgan laugh quietly.]

john

Like the bridal shower picture that you submitted here.

morgan

Yeah! I just wore an all-black—

john

Yeah.

morgan

You know. I wore like a cardigan and stuff. I didn't even put, like, any makeup or anything like that on, so.

john

In this bridal shower picture, I notice you have something around your neck, Sarah. Is that a Snitch?

sarah

Yes. It is. [She or Morgan laughs quietly.]

crosstalk

John: Yeah, good, I got the eye! Sarah: Good job. John: I still got the eye, Jesse! [Sarah and Morgan laugh quietly.]

john

I don't know My Chemical Romance— [Sarah and Morgan laugh.] —but I see a Golden Snitch when I—alright, I'm gonna go commune with the Basilisk in my Chamber of Secrets. [Sarah and/or Morgan laughs.] I'll be back in a moment with my verdict.

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[During above: door opens, chairs scrape, footsteps.] [Now: door shuts.]

jesse

Sarah, how are you feeling about your chances?

sarah

I'm on either side. I'm really scared, to be honest, because I'm—I'm real close to the wedding and bridezilla's coming out, so if I don't get my way— [Morgan laughs.] —I don't know how I'm gonna react, [laughs] but— [Jesse cracks up.][laughing] I'm very hopeful.

jesse

Have we had any bridezilla incidents already?

morgan

Very minor.

sarah

A few. Not too bad. It's been—this might be the first big one. So we'll see.

jesse

[Laughs.] This is a referendum on bridezilla, it sounds like! [Sarah and Morgan laugh.]

sarah

[Laughing] Yeah.

jesse

Morgan, how are you feeling?

morgan

I'm actually not too sure. I came in pretty confident, and now I'm a little split. I'm—I really—I don't know! [Laughs lightly.]

jesse

Well, we'll see what Judge John Hodgman has to say about it when we come back in just a second.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Hey everyone, it's me, your Judge John Hodgman. I'm in my chambers right now, and I should be mulling this case over. But here's what I'm thinking about: I'm thinking about all the fun I, and your Bailiff Jesse Thorn, and you are gonna have on the road together over the next several days! That's right! This very evening, November 6th, we're gonna be in Toronto, Ontario, at the Danforth Music Hall. Get thee to there! If it's not too late. But if it is, hit the road with us! Thursday November 7th we'll be in Durham, North Carolina, at the Carolina Theater. Friday November 8th, Atlanta, Georgia. You can come see us at the Variety Playhouse. Sunday November 10th, Washington, DC. We'll be at the Lincoln Theater. And then Monday November 11th we'll be in Portland, Maine, at the State Theatre, and can I say something? [Stifling laughter] The State Theatre! This is the dream venue! You know? The—we've had fun together before at the Port City Music Hall, and we love them there, and they're part of the State Theatre family. They're the younger sibling. The State Theatre, this is the big brother theatre. Which doesn't mean that you're gonna be surveilled, it's just the big one. And we're gonna be putting on a big show, [stifles laughter] and we are gonna have not only Jesse Thorn, not only me your Judge John Hodgman, but also: Joel Mann! Our summertime producer is gonna be there with his jazz trio! Recreating the front porch at the Pentagoet Inn in Castine live on our stage in Portland, Maine.

john

You're gonna hear Joel Mann say maybe two words gruffly, but then... play some bass. I think I referred to him as a saxophonist on social media, and I apologize for that, Joel. You're a bass player, I know that. Anyway, come check us out! You can find all the details, of course, at MaximumFun.org on our events page, or JohnHodgman.com/tour, where you will also learn we've booked some more shows! This January! We're gonna be in Brooklyn, New York! My hometown! At the Murmur Theatre on January 13th. And coming home to the Wilbur in Boston, Massachusetts, January 14th. It's gonna be a big show. So anyway, as I say: go, please, join us! It's better when you're there. MaximumFun.org, check out the events page for all the details or go to JohnHodgman.com/tour as well. There will be copies of Medallion Status. There will be brand new Judge John Hodgman merch. We'll be hanging out afterward to say hello to you and sign any darn thing you like. And also, most importantly: there'll be justice. Okay. Let's get back to the case.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs. As Jesse speaks below: door opens, chairs scrape, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman re-enters the courtroom and presents his verdict.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

john

[To the tune of "The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)" by John Williams] Dun dun dun, dun duh-dun, dun duh-dunnn. [Sarah or Morgan laughs.]

jesse

That's all we can play! That's all we can play, John!

john

[Through laughter] Oh, sorry. [Morgan, Sarah, and Jesse laugh quietly as John cracks up.]

jesse

We don't have ASCAP BMI. [Morgan, Sarah, and John laugh.]

john

Sorry if I just caused the complete liquidation of Maximum Fun— [The others laugh again.] —but I had to do it. Is that gonna be what you go down the aisle to, Sarah?

sarah

No... That's actually a genius idea, though.

john

Oh, I'm sure it's been done a gazillion times.

sarah

True. [Laughs.]

john

I'm very glad that your theming of the wedding is low-key theming. That you are—[laughs] you're not all wearing, uh, robes. [Quiet laughter from multiple people.]

sarah

Mm-mm. [Laughs.]

john

And so forth. That it is an expression of something that you and Mark really enjoy together, but it is not going to be overwhelming your style of the wedding. 'Cause all that stuff has been done before. And what a wedding is about is not—I mean, to a degree it is the pageantry. It is the excitement, and the generosity to your friends and family members that you get to show and shower them with passed hors d'oeuvres and gratefulness that they're there. But it's also about acknowledging the real bond that you are making with a different person. You know, this is a hard one because I do respect especially that, you know, when people are throwing their wedding—brides and grooms or brides and brides and grooms and grooms and thems and theys or whoever the couple that are getting married, and I suppose more than one, I mean I'm just trying to be open to everything—but you know, the people who are getting married really do have the right, I think, and the privilege to curate the day. To create the day that is going to feel special to them, while also being generous to everyone else. And you don't want a lot of wild, wacky chaos sowers out there trying to make it all about them. Whether that person is maybe getting too drunk at the bar, [stifling laughter] and insisting on making toasts that have not been pre-approved... or whether that is a person who is dressed counter-the-theme. If you're throwing a Harry Potter—light Harry Potter theme, you don't want someone wandering in from The Maze Runner. [Sarah and/or Morgan laughs quietly.] And yet I have to balance your right to curate your day—and I say "you" because you're the one I'm speaking to, and Mark seems, you know, utterly subservient to you and acquiescent to whatever you desire, which...

sarah

[Laughs quietly during the last of the above.] Mm-hm.

john

...is one way to begin a marriage. [Laughs.] Against the expression of personhood that is your sister! And has been established for a long, long, long period of time. Like, this is who your sister is. And while you are not the same person, you have come to love her as she is. She obviously has genuine and clearly generous desire to be your helper in this, and not to overshadow you. She is not trying to be a Maze Runner in your Harry Potter universe. She's trying to be herself. And I think in fact she's shown remarkable self-modulation to different situations, in terms of how she expresses herself. I mean, there are some serious mohawk pictures in here! [Sarah and/or Morgan laugh quietly.] You know what I mean? Like, this could have happened! [Laughs.] She could have been that sister, who's like, "I can't believe you're not letting me totally wear my mohawk all the way up! And otherwise be dressed up as... the—" Mmmm, I'm trying to think of some good cultural reference, Jesse. What's—[stifling laughter] what's one?

jesse

Jeez, I guess the only cultural reference I really know is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. [Everyone else starts laughing.]

crosstalk

John: [Through laughter] Correct! Jesse: Does it fit with that at all?

john

Thank you, yes! She coulda said, like, "I'm sorry, it's my expression of myself to dress as Bus Punk Number Two, the great Kirk Thatcher, at your wedding!" I still would be—even though that would be, I think... ungenerous to one's sister, I still would be in the same bond of balancing rights. Your right to curate your day, and your sister's right to curate... herself and her life! Here is the thing that I can say about both of you. First of all, even if I did not have all of this evidence to look at, you're both wonderful human beings and it's gonna be great. It's gonna be a great daaay! It's gonna be a great day. Your sister loves you, and I could be saying that to either one of you and it would be true. [One of them laughs.] Alright? You both—

sarah

True.

morgan

Mm-hm.

john

I tend to shy away, for obvious reasons, on commenting on people's superficial looks, as I am a man and you're—you both identify as women. It is a dangerous game to play, but I'm gonna say you both look amazing. You have incredible style, both of you, in completely different ways. In all these photos, I'm like, "That's a wedding I wanna go to, 'cause those both look like great people." And I'm gonna say that, you know, from mohawk up to mohawk down, Morgan, you've got incredible taste. And I'll say Sarah, like, that outfit that you're wearing with the Golden Snitch is so different from Morgan and so totally you. I think the way you express yourselves, and yet are still such close friends, is really, really wonderful. And I think that you have to let your sister express herself. She has given a lot of ground already. She's wearing a dress that is within your color palette. It is basically matching in color to your other attendants' dresses. She has offered to remove her piercing. And I think you should take her up on that offer, because with great respect, Morgan, I think it's an incredible statement, but it is a Capital S Statement. And the fact that you offered without prompting to like, "Maybe I'll take this out and leave this be" shows a lot of generosity of spirit, and I think that that is one area where certain conservative grandmoms would be like, "I wanna enjoy this wedding, but I have to talk about the thing on her nose." [Laughs.] You know? Like, that's an incredibly generous thing. I gotta hold the line with the hair. I'm sorry, Sarah. I know it's your day, and I do not wanna get roasted bridezilla-style.

sarah

[Sighs.] My goodness...

john

But—I know. Hang on, it's gonna be okay. [Sarah laughs quietly.] Because I don't think that there has been a time in your sister's life when she has not modified her hair in some way. It's who she is. And you're entwining your family with Mark's. And Mark's family may find that... challenging. But honestly in this day and age, if you put that photo of Morgan in the bridesmaids dress with that purple hair, and put that up on a social media platform, I think most people would just stand up and applaud. She looks great! She looks great. It's gonna be fantastic. I promise you. And I urge you to take your sister's word at its value. Which is: you are going to totally shine. You will not be overshadowed by your punk younger sister anymore. There is no doubt this is your day. And you're very lucky that I did not order that she dress up as Snape! [Sarah laughs.] Because that would be...

morgan

[Stifling laughter] That would be amazing!

john

...amazing. [Laughs.] That is the bullet that you dodged down in Denton, Texas today. [Morgan and Sarah laugh.] By all rights, by theming, by who your sister is... Who's another character that you coulda gone as, Morgan, that would've been appropriate to your style?

morgan

Uh, Bellatrix Lestrange?

john

Yeah, Bellatrix Lestrange! [Sarah or Morgan wheezes with laughter.] That's the one I was looking for! Ughhh, I really wanna drop the gavel on Bellatrix Lestrange! That would be so incredible! Sarah! [Sarah and/or Morgan is laughing.] I think you should really consider that before you despair!

sarah

I could consider it! I mean, she can be Bellatrix, [through laughter] she just can't be my maid of honor! [Everyone laughs.]

john

[Through laughter] Oh no! [All-around laughter continues for a few seconds and then winds down.] I understand why this ruling may be difficult to take. But I think your sister has given considerable ground, and I think her motives are good. And I don't want you to go into your wedding thinking for a moment that one streak of purple hair is going to take anyone's eyes off of you. Certainly no one's gonna be looking at Mark, 'cause as far as I can tell he doesn't exist. [Sarah and Morgan laugh.] So unfortunately I find—well, no! I say fortunately I find in Morgan's favor. If the look that you're presenting is the one that you presented in the evidence, I say go forth, and I say no piercing. I think I'll take you up on that offer. I can't rule on whether the spacer or not. I think probably if you can just do without anything on the bridge of your nose, or wear a decorative pince-nez instead, do that. [Sarah and Morgan laugh quietly.] But you're working hard to honor your sister on a very special day, and I think that deserves a certain small measure of reciprocity. And you know, Sarah, what you'll learn is—as soon as that wedding starts is—some of it's gonna go exactly as you dreamed, and a lot of it isn't. And what doesn't go the way you imagined is probably going to be the most memorable stuff. That's what the big question mark of joining your life with someone else—and joining your life with someone else's family—is all about, is that wild and exciting question mark. And that's what Morgan's always been in your life, and that's how it's gonna continue. [Morgan and Sarah laugh.] This is the sound of a gavel.

sound effect

[Sounds of a lightsaber manifesting and then swinging.]

john

Judge John Hodgman rules; that is all.

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[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

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[Door shuts.]

jesse

Morgan, how do you feel?

morgan

I... feel great! This is definitely what I wanted. I can—absolutely am okay with taking out the piercing, as long as I get to keep my hair, and I completely agree with the judge. I mean, this is about Sarah, and she's gonna look amazing regardless of how I look.

jesse

Have you ever thought about doing your hair, like, specifically within the color palette of the wedding? Maybe a navy blue? [Morgan or Sarah laughs.]

morgan

I did discuss that as like, kinda to be funny and monotonous, [stifling laughter] but I think it'd be a little too much.

jesse

[Laughs.] Sarah, how do you feel?

sarah

I... feel... good? [She and Morgan laugh.] [Laughing] I'm lying a little bit.

crosstalk

John: Yeah, I can tell. Sarah: I'm okay. I'm very—I'm very open to this whole thing.

sarah

I'm going to listen to the judge. I swore into it. And, um... tch—but I'm a little... I'm a little... I thought I would get this! I thought this was all—I thought I had this right in the basket! [Laughing] So I'm a little shocked! [Morgan also laughs.]

jesse

Sarah, I think what you'll find—speaking as someone who went through a wedding once in my life—is that a wedding is a celebration of you the bride, it is a celebration of your partnership with your spouse-to-be, and it's also a celebration of the community in which you inhabit. It is about this group of people who have made you who you are, and who will hopefully sustain you through your marriage, and... it's wonderful from my perspective that your sister, who you love so much, so clearly, will bring something of herself to that celebration.

sarah

This is true. Yeah.

jesse

I think you're gonna have fun, Sarah. [Morgan laughs.]

crosstalk

Sarah: Yes... yes... Jesse: Everybody's gonna be throwing you up in the air or whatever; it's gonna be a blast. Sarah: I mean, it's gonna be great! It'll be great. It'll definitely be fun no matter what— Jesse: Here's— Sarah: —so I'm really excited. [Laughs.]

jesse

Here's the truth, Sarah: all weddings are perfect! That's why people like weddings! [Jesse, Sarah, and Morgan laugh.]

sarah

That's all I expect! [Laughs.]

jesse

A wedding in a flooded basement is beautiful! [Sarah, Morgan, and Jesse laugh.]

sarah

That's all I expect. Perfection. [She and Morgan laugh.]

jesse

[Stifles laughter.] Sarah, Morgan, thank you for joining us on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Upbeat rock plays in the background. Announcer: Dead Pilots Society brings you exclusive readings of comedy pilots that were never made, featuring actors like Patton Oswalt— Patton Oswalt: So the vampire from the future sleeps in the dude’s studio during the day, and they hunt monsters at night. It’s Blade meets The Odd Couple! [Audience laughs.] Announcer: —Adam Scott and Jane Levy— Jane Levy: Come on, Cory. She’s too serious, too business-y. She doesn’t know the hokey-pokey. Adam Scott: Well, she’ll learn what it’s all about. [Audience laughs.] Announcer: —Busy Philipps and Dave Koechner. Dave Koechner: Baby, this is family.

promo

Busy Philipps: My Uncle Tal, who showed his wiener to Cinderella at Disneyland, is family. Do you want him staying with us? [Light audience laughter.] Dave: He did stay with us, for three months. Busy: And he was a delight! [Audience laughs harder.] Announcer: A new pilot every month, only on Dead Pilots Society from Maximum Fun.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Another Judge John Hodgman case in the books. In a minute, Swift Justice. First our thanks to Michael Lande for naming this week's episode, "Right to Redress." If you'd like to name a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. You can also follow us on Twitter. John is @hodgman. I am @JesseThorn. John is on Instagram at @johnhodgman. You should hashtag your Tweets #JJHo, and check out the Maximum Fun subreddit—that's at MaximumFun.Reddit.com—to chat about this week's episode. The show is on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman, where you can see the evidence for this week's case and other fun stuff. This week's episode was recorded by Paul Rogers at Addict of Sounds. Our producer is Hannah Smith. Our editor is Jesus Ambrosio. And we also want to congratulate our on-leave producer, Jen—

john

Yeah!

jesse

—on the birth of her beautiful child.

john

Oh, is that why she's been away all this time?

jesse

[Stifling laughter, forcing nonchalance] Yeah! She was making a human life.

john

Oh! She was experiencing the magic of childbirth, with her husband and her dog George?

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah, exactly.

john

Aw, I guess I can't be mad anymore! [Laughs.]

jesse

[Winding down] Okay.

john

I just miss her, that's all!

jesse

Of course. We—

john

Congratulations, Jennifer Marmor!

jesse

Congratulations, Jennifer! Thank you to Hannah for filling in. She's doing a wonderful job. Now! Swift Justice.

john

Okay.

jesse

Where we answer small disputes with quick judgment. Jeff says: "After daylight savings in both autumn and spring, I like to say things like, 'This time last week, it'd be lunchtime!' instead of whatever time it currently is. I sometimes do this months after the fact as well, when literally no one is expecting it. I'm often met with groans whenever I do this. Am I a human monster?"

john

[Speaking the word aloud] Groooan! [Laughs.] Grrroooannn! Groooooan! Uh, yeah. You are, Jeff. Stop it. [Stifles laughter.]

jesse

[Laughing lightly] Yeah, it's annoying.

john

Use lang—[both laugh]. Don't be annoying. [Laughs.] Don't be a—you know that—I mean, it's like—it's—if you didn't know that it was annoying, if it was like a joke you were trying out or like, a fun thing you were gonna give a whirl—if you didn't have feedback already in the form of groans—then no harm no foul, as they say in podcasting. But... all harm, all foul. Use language to be precise, and don't confuse people on purpose for your own amusement. I feel like you wrote that in just to be yelled at, so you got what you wanted, Jeff. Groan!

jesse

[Laughs.] You know what my principle is? If your bit is gonna be antagonizing and annoying people, you'd better be Elliott Kalan. [John bursts out laughing, Jesse also laughs. One of them claps a few times.]

john

[Jovially] You mean cohost of I, Podius, the 12-episode special miniseries about the TV show I, Claudius that Elliott and I are recording together as we speak, and we hope will drop all episodes by Saturnalia this year?

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Yeah, that's—that's exactly the guy I'm talking about.

john

Oh, good. I'm glad I got that plug in. Hashtag #AlwaysBePlugging. Is that about it for this week's episode?

jesse

Yeah, you can submit your cases at MaximumFun.org/JJHo or email hodgman@maximumfun.org. No case is too small. Look, we'll do the deciding. You send in the question... We'll do the deciding. We'll see you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

music

A cheerful guitar chord.

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—audience supported.

About the show

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