TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 480: Neverlandmark Case

Ryan’s ex-girlfriend made him a Peter Pan themed painting and he still has it. His wife, Jessie, wants to get rid of the painting.

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 480

Transcript

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. This week: "Neverlandmark Case." Jessie files suit against her husband Ryan. During a past relationship, Ryan's ex-girlfriend made him a Peter Pan–themed painting, and he still has it. Jessie wants to get rid of the painting, but Ryan can't bring himself to do it. Who's right? Who's wrong? Only one can decide.

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

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman enters the courtroom and presents an obscure cultural reference.

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[Door shuts.]

john hodgman

We all know Peter Pan. Peter Pan is the story of a young woman who gets ensnared in a relationship with an adulterous narcissist, a guy who literally commands his partner to be his mother, but it's okay, 'cause the young woman thinks her love can fix him! But the narcissist cannot be fixed! And he eventually leaves Wendy for a younger woman, who happens to be Wendy's own daughter! Bailiff Jesse Thorn, swear them in.

jesse

Jesse, Ryan, please rise and raise your right hands.

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[Chairs scrape.]

jesse

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or whatever?

jessie

I do.

ryan

I do.

jesse

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman's ruling, despite the fact that he's... more of a Smee? [The litigants laugh.]

jessie

Yes.

ryan

Absolutely.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

john

Ughhh.

jesse

I just wanna be clear. Judge Hodgman, I picked Smee only because Smee has the funniest name, not because you're Smee-like. [The litigants laugh.]

john

I—you know what? Harsh but fair. Harsh... but fair. I mean, you know—you look at me. You look at my dumb mustache and beard. You can't see it on the podcast, but you can probably hear. I'd like to be Hook. No, I'm Smee. [Jesse and someone else laugh quietly.] Ugh. Right. Bailiff Jesse Thorn. Alright. Jessie and Ryan, you may be seated.

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[Chairs scrape.]

john

For an immediate summary judgment in one of yours' favors, can you name the source of the piece of... arguably popular culture—I'm just gonna say you're never gonna get it.

jesse

Not this time. Never, never gonna get it.

john

You're never gonna get it. Not this time. [The litigants laugh.] I could see a situation where—[laughs]—Smee has finally stopped taking the guff from Captain Hook, and then he goes down into his little bunk, and his little hammock, and listens to En Vogue. [Laughs quietly.] I bet he loves En Vogue!

jesse

[Laughs quietly.] I can see a situation where I hijack this podcast and transform it into an En Vogue tribute podcast. [Jesse and the litigants laugh.]

john

I could also see that situation! And Jesse, you'd be welcome to do so. But first we have to administer justice in this, the very last episode of Judge John Hodgman, [stifles laughter] before it is turned into an En Vogue podcast. [One or both litigants laugh quietly.] One of the litigants is named Jessie. Jessie Non-Thorn, what is your guess?

jessie

Well, I'm honestly really relieved that I have no idea what it is. And I'm even more relieved that Ryan's face tells me he has no idea what it is. [Ryan chuckles.] But I'm guessing that it is the BBC production Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

john

Oh! What's Peter Pan Goes Wrong?

jessie

It is a delightful comedy performance from the Cornley Polytechnic Society, the same people who did The Play That Goes Wrong on Broadway.

john

Oh, yes! I saw that!

ryan

It's their Christmas panto.

jessie

It's—it is honestly a really wonderful 40 minutes.

john

Listen to Ryan dropping the British theatre lingo. "Their Christmas panto."

ryan

That's me.

jessie

He does that. [Ryan chuckles.]

john

Ryan Non-Gosling...

ryan

That's me.

john

And by the way, that's your joke. Before we even started rolling here, we were having a heck of a time. We're gonna have such a fun conversation! In a minute, after I bring it down for a while in a second. But we're gonna have a great time. [One or both litigants laugh.] We're already having a great time. That fun conversation we were having before we were rolling was lost to time. It has gone off to Neverland. Can never be recovered. But it was fun. We were chatting—I'm here, by the way, everyone, in Maine. Still. Up here at WERU, in Orland, Maine. 89.9 in Blue Hill, 99.9 in Bangor, and all across the world at WERU.org. Through the glass across from me is summertime producer Joel Mann. Joel?

joel mann

John, every time you come to Maine, it's a sunnier day for us. Thank you.

john

What did you do with the real Joel? Why are you—why are you saying sentences all of the sudden? [One or more people chuckle.] Okay, we'll get back to you. He's—[laughs]. He's been replaced! Like a changeling! In a fairy tale! Much like Peter Pan! Oh, right! Ryan Non-Gosling, what is your guess?

ryan

I'm gonna go with a young adult novel called Peter Pan in Scarlet.

john

No, you're never gonna get it. [One or both litigants laugh.] You're talking about the official sequel to Peter Pan? Peter Pan in Scarlet?

ryan

Uh, yes.

john

That was licensed? That was officially allowed by the Great Ormond Street Hospital? Which holds the copyright to Peter Pan? It was willed to them by J. M. Barrie? And they commissioned—ooh, I wish I had this. I really was reading the Wikipedia page this morning. What's the name of the author of that book, Ryan Non-Gosling? Do you know?

ryan

Ooh, Peter Pan in Scarlet? I don't. I do not know who wrote that one.

john

It's Geraldine McCaughrean (Mih-CRAWN), I wanna say. I can't—M-C, capital C, A-U-G-H-R-E-A-N. Mih-croggin? Or Mih-CRAWN?

jessie

What a name.

john

A young adult author who wrote the official sequel to Peter Pan, according to the J. M. Barrie estate. And what was that about? Do you know?

ryan

I have no idea. I have not read it.

john

Okay.

jessie

You haven't?!

ryan

No.

john

'Cause you love Peter Pan, right?

ryan

I stop at Peter and the Starcatcher. Peter and the Starcatcher is as far as past canon as I go.

john

Got it. Okay. We'll talk about your love for Peter Pan. But all guesses are wrong. By the way, this is a first. A Judge John Hodgman, eh—yeah, it's a Judge John Hodgman first, Jessie Non-Thorn and Ryan Non-Gosling. You know why?

jessie

Wow.

john

The quote is me! [Jessie gasps.]

ryan

Ooh! [Jesse and the litigants laugh.]

john

I have done an obscure cultural reference to things I've said on Judge John Hodgman before, but this time it's just something that I wrote this morning. [Beat.] [Jessie laughs.]

ryan

Well... [Laughs.]

john

I meant to get a cultural reference together. But then I—I went down this thought hole, [laughs] and I ended up writing this long thing about Peter Pan, and like, "This is too long. I gotta fudge this and put it into the cultural reference." Because I'm—we are gonna have a fun talk about Peter Pan. But I did go into that Wikipedia page and learn all those things that I just told you about, the Great Ormond Street Hospital and blah blah blah. But also—[stifles laughter]

ryan

Mm-hm.

john

I also had to re-visit Peter Pan! Both the memory of the movie, and the book, and the play, and boy, oh boy, oh boy, there was a lot of Peter Pan that I had blocked out. There is a lot of Peter Pan in the world, but there's a lot of problematic Peter Pan in the world. [Ryan laughs.]

jessie

Amen.

ryan

[Laughing] Amen.

john

I mean, Peter Pan... is a creep. [Laughs.] I didn't realize that! I didn't think about it, until then, but it's like—yeah, he's likable, because he doesn't grow up! Which is actually a tragedy. [Laughs.] And to J. M. Barrie's credit—you're gonna have to listen to this for a little bit. You guys ready? You sitting down?

crosstalk

Jessie: Oh, yeah. Ryan: Strapped in. Jessie: We—we're here.

john

So to J. M. Barrie's credit, he does portray Peter's inability to grow up—his immortality—it's sorta fun, but it's really dark. It's this immortal arrested adolescence that is a true—the true and tragic horror show that it would be, when you meet someone who has never grown up. Right? Peter is full of fun tricks and sayings, and he's lively, but like any child, he's also emotionally small-minded, completely self-obsessed, dangerously chaotic, and completely—until he's gotta go save Wendy, like, basically completely unaware of the danger that he poses to his so-called friends. I mean, frankly, Peter Pan is only rivaled in his bland sociopathy by one other character in literature, and that is Ferris Bueller, who is the worst. [The litigants crack up.]

jessie

Wow.

john

This is a pre-verdict verdict. This is a verdict on Peter Pan. And then we're gonna talk about your painting. Your Peter Pan painting. Also, we need to point out: Peter Pan, the book, the play, the famous Disney movie... is racist.

crosstalk

Ryan: Oh, yeah. Jessie: Oh, so racist.

john

Right? It's racist. It's racist... AF. Now, this is a family friendly podcast. But I feel like the kids who listen to this need to know what I mean when I say "racist AF." That means "racist... as Friends." As in the TV show Friends. [The litigants laugh.] Which wasn't actively racist. It only didn't acknowledge the existence of non-white people, until Aisha Tyler showed up. [Laughs.] For a long, long time, there was no people of color on that Friends. No one in New York City! Except maybe some background actors. [One of the litigants sighs.] So Peter Pan, both play, book, and movie, is not passively racist. It is actively peddling in ignorant, gross stereotypes about Native Americans. That were not a product of their time. Because even in 1904, in reviews of the play and the book, it was recognized that the tribe of Indians in this story was composed entirely of incredibly offensive, worn-out stereotypes, and pulp literary cliches. They weren't even stereotypes about real people. They were stereotypes about stereotypes, the pulp literary cliches that J. M. Barrie had absorbed from Victorian-era boys' adventure books, in which the concept of a non-white, non–British Empire "other" was so common, and thoughtlessly accepted, and cruel, that Barrie couldn't even be bothered to keep his racist terms straight. And if you wanna know what I mean by that, I'm not gonna say it. Look up on the Internet, as I did this morning, what the name of the quote-unquote "tribe" of the Indians is. And you will be like—your gob will be smacked. It's a very offensive term that is usually used to describe another group of traditionally exoticized, dehumanized, and marginalized people.

john

So, yeah. We gotta say this. We gotta—I had to say this. I don't know how Disney got a pass on this for the movie. Even 'til now, when they finally had to hide The Song of the South away in a hole. I do know why. It's 'cause the racist dehumanizing of Native Americans was/is more acceptable more recently than the racist dehumanizing of Black people. And until there's a podcast about the Native Americans in Peter Pan, you just have to go and listen to Karina Longworth's six-part miniseries of her podcast about movies, You Must Remember This, that she did last November on Song of the South. Which is an incredible investigation about how even the most liberally-minded white people casually accepted this stuff as okay. They just—they held their nose. If they saw it, they held their nose, kinda looked away, and then came back. To the stuff they liked. So, okay. There. Thank you, Jessie and Ryan. We're gonna have a nice time today. A fun conversation about this painting... of you, Ryan, as Peter Pan? Is that right?

ryan

Uh, no. I am certainly not, uh, portrayed as the main character in this piece.

john

It is a painting of Peter Pan.

jesse

You're more of a Smee? [John snorts.]

ryan

It is a painting of the three Darling children and Peter Pan in silhouette, going across the moon.

john

Okay.

ryan

With text from an actual book of all of my favorite parts of Peter Pan, that I marked up, and she pulled out, and then incorporated into the painting.

john

Now, I've not looked at the painting, 'cause this case does not hinge on... the content of Peter Pan, but rather this painting that was given to you by... an ex-girlfriend? Is that correct, Ryan?

ryan

That is correct.

john

And your relationship with Jessie now is what?

ryan

She is my wife. I am her husband.

jessie

We've been married for almost a year.

john

Happy almost an anniversary. Good job.

crosstalk

Jessie & Ryan: Thank you!

john

I'm glad you did it last year. [John and the litigants chuckle.]

crosstalk

Jessie: Oh, we are, too! Ryan: [Laughing] We are, too!

john

And Ryan, I presume that this was given to you because you love Peter Pan, as a concept, as a thing, as a thing. Right?

ryan

I do. It was given to me—we were dating in college. And for a project she had to do for school, she was being asked to make a piece of painting incorporating light and the use of light, and so to dovetail it in, she was like, "Well, I might as well make something worthwhile." And she knew that I loved Peter Pan, and so she asked me to mark up my favorite pieces and put it together, and gave it to me on a date.

john

And Jessie, you would like this thing to go into the fire.

jessie

I mean, I don't really feel the need to burn it. But... I don't really see a good way to give it away to someone else, because it is such a personal gift, and even has, like, "Dear Ryan" on the back. So I don't really see another option.

john

Right.

jessie

It's either, like, the garbage, or—or a burning bonfire of hate. I don't know. One of the two.

john

[Snorts.] Well, wait a minute. Let's get to the point here. So first of all, you know, thank you for letting me—Ryan, I know that this is a piece of culture that means a lot to you, obviously. And you're also obviously aware of all of its problematic content.

ryan

Most certainly.

john

Yeah.

ryan

It is very easy to see, and hard to overlook.

john

So tell me what Peter Pan means to you, such that this painting—which I have not reviewed the evidence yet. That's gonna be—my final judgment will be based on—in part on the quality of the piece itself, my reaction to it, so I don't wanna look at it just yet. But tell me what Peter Pan means to you, such that this painting was inspired.

ryan

Absolutely. I grew up as part of a performing family, actually. My dad is a performer. And so I grew up in the theatre as a kid.

john

Yeah.

ryan

My first introduction to Peter Pan was actually the Mary Martin musical.

john

Mm-hm. Yeah.

ryan

By Comden and Green. And then later, the Cathy Rigby, which is better because they improved the fly system.

john

Yeah.

ryan

But every version of Peter Pan, I—I read the play, and then read the novel, and then read the novel that it was based on, and then, like, every movie that's come out. There's just—there is something about Peter Pan—and like you said, the very digestible, very tropic things that are tropic because they are based in allegory, and based in, like, the roots of truth. Like, there is something about, like, the loss of innocence vs., like, the cost of innocence.

john

Mm-hm.

ryan

And youth. About, like—Peter Pan is that perpetual boy, and he wants to be that boy, but it also means that he never gets love, and he never gets intimacy, but he avoids responsibility. And—and there's something about it that just—there is no version of Peter Pan in which at some point I don't end up crying watching it.

john

Yeah.

ryan

Like, whether it's "Tinker Bell has taken the poison, and now we all have to clap to believe in fairies," or Finding Neverland, which is the whole movie, because—don't—it's just—I can't watch that movie anymore. I cry too—

crosstalk

Jessie: Haven't you only seen it—you've seen it once. Ryan: I watched it twice. Jessie: Oh!

ryan

I watched it one time, and then watched it a second time, because I was like, "It couldn't have been that bad," and it was, and I cried so hard. [Clapping on each word] Don't kill Kate Winslet. [John laughs.] Titanic understood that. [Jessie laughs.] And in Hook, when he realizes that family is what matters, and he goes back home. Like, there's no version of Peter Pan where it doesn't, like, hit me on like a base, human level.

john

Mm-hm!

ryan

In which you're happy about the joy of it, and sad at the tragedy of it!

john

Mm-hm.

ryan

And you understand the cost of what it means to grow up. And I love that about Peter Pan.

john

It's definitely very heart-wrenching. There's some deep stuff at play, for sure, in Peter Pan. I'll be honest, I couldn't watch it. I was—I was never very—I love Disney parks. I was never very into Disney animated movies, aside from appreciating them as cultural touchstones. That's me speaking as a nine-year-old. [Stifles laughter.] That's what I would say. "I appreciate this as a cultural touchstone." [The litigants laugh.] But one of the things that's true about Disney animated movies is that they go—they punch you in the gut. And Tinker Bell...

ryan

Mm-hm.

john

...sacrificing herself—a woman sacrificing herself to save this narcissist who has paid no attention to her. [Laughs.] It really hit me hard.

ryan

And continues to pay no attention to her afterward.

john

Yeah. I know! He's a monster! [Stifles laughter.] But, you know, I find that to be, to me, the big revelation of my—my rethinking of Peter Pan was like... "Oh, yeah." There's also a reason why you watch Ferris Bueller. Like, something extremely interesting and fun about a person who both subverts the rules, and also shows why the rules are kind of... necessary! Anyway... Jessie Non-Thorn, are you still here? [Laughs.]

jessie

I am still here, yeah.

john

I'm sorry. Ryan and I went down a little—we went to Neverland together for a second.

crosstalk

Ryan: Second star to the right. Jessie: Oh, I've heard it—I've heard it before, so... [chuckles]. It's not news.

john

Jessie, what—how do you feel about Peter Pan?

jessie

I like Peter Pan. It doesn't hit me the same way it hits Ryan.

john

Right.

jessie

And that's because, like, one of Ryan's particular—I think everyone has something that makes them cry. And Ryan's particular thing is children growing up. And obviously there's hardly any piece of art that captures that quite the way Peter Pan does. [Stifles laughter.]

john

Yeah.

jessie

And so he connects to it so deeply. I don't have that same connection to Peter Pan. I do have a harder time getting past the—the racist aspects of it.

john

Mm-hm.

jessie

But I do appreciate it as the—the exploration of what it means to grow up, and what it means to be an adult, and to be a child. And its recognition that all children are monsters. Um— [John and the litigants laugh.] That's not true.

john

Well, it's a—it's a fairy tale in the tradition of real fairy tales, which are much more ambiguous. We'll talk more about that later. But Jessie, I interrupted you. So what would be your version of Peter Pan, in your cultural life? Is there something that you really dig?

jessie

Oh, something that I connect to?

john

Yeah.

jessie

I am far more, I guess, connected to high fantasy stories.

john

[Whistles.] Here we go.

jessie

And also, like, Grimms' Fairy Tales.

john

Yeah!

jessie

Um—[laughs]. Yeah. I don't have anything against darker fairy tales. It's just the—the "growing up" thing isn't my particular cup of tea.

john

Yeah.

jessie

I like stories of people overcoming great difficulty, usually adults.

john

Okay. Yeah.

jessie

Like—not adults, necessarily. But like, not necessarily selfish children. I—I like stories where I can connect and admire the main character.

john

Yeah, people, like, growing into adulthood, and leaving childish things behind, and being able to part with, say, a painting made by an ex-girlfriend. [Ryan laughs.]

jessie

You—you could say that. Yeah.

john

Like, that—that measure of kind of—like, "I don't want—wah, wah! I don't wanna let the past go!" [Jessie laughs.] As opposed to, "I am an adult, and I realize nostalgia is the most toxic impulse. It is time to put this behind me." Ryan, I'm just being—I'm being—

ryan

I'm being painted with a Paul Ian brush here.

john

Yeah, I'm being cheeky. [The litigants laugh.]

jesse

Let's take a quick recess! And hear about this week's Judge John Hodgman sponsor. We'll be back in just a moment on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

It's Judge John Hodgman. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. You know, every week, our program is supported by the members of MaximumFun.org. Everybody who's gone to MaximumFun.org/join. And we thank and salute each and every one of you. We're also supported this week by our friends at Babbel.

john

Yeah. You know, look. There's a young person in my life who is about to go to college. Not to brag, but she was placed in French II in college. Pretty good.

jesse

Wow.

john

Yeah. And it reminded me, I spent all this time in high school and college, learning French and Spanish. And never using them! And I live in a city that is—has a huge Spanish-speaking population. It's a point of shame for me. I'm not gonna go back to college to re-learn Spanish. Guess what? I don't have to.

jesse

You're not Rodney Dangerfield.

john

Yeah, I'm not Rodney—[stifles laughter]—oh, boy. You know, maybe when this is all over, and all colleges are really open again, and we can travel, and we can—we can dine out. We can do everything that we wanna do, when we build this new, better normal. I hope that will happen before my daughter finishes college. So I can ruin her life by re-applying to Yale, and going to Yale again. While she's there. That would just be so much fun. [Jesse laughs quietly.] And then I could take Spanish again! But until then, what am I gonna do? I'm gonna go to Babbel! Babbel can help you re-connect with any language that you learned in the past, fast. The daily lessons are 10 to 15 minutes. They start by teaching you words and phrases you will actually use. The lessons are thoughtfully created by over a hundred language experts. And the teaching method has been scientifically proven to be effective, across multiple studies. This is what I was looking up. Guess the languages that you can learn.

jesse

Spanish.

john

Yes.

jesse

French.

john

Yes.

jesse

Italian.

john

Yes.

jesse

German?

john

Yes!

jesse

Slovak?

john

No. But: Indonesian, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, Dutch, Turkish, Portuguese, and Danish. That's great! So right now, when you purchase a three-month subscription, Babbel will give our listeners three additional months for free. With promo code "Hodgman." That's three additional months free if you go to Babbel.com, use promo code "Hodgman"—H-O-D-G-M-A-N—on your three-month subscription.

jesse

That's B-A-B-B-E-L.com, and the promo code is "Hodgman." We're also supported this week by our friends at CuriosityStream, which is a streaming service exclusively for documentaries.

john

Wow.

jesse

We know that a lot of Judge John Hodgman listeners are smartypants who love to learn.

john

Yeah!

jesse

I'm world-famous for my love of life-long learning. And CuriosityStream is the perfect streaming service if you wanna learn about history, nature, science, food, technology, travel. There are all kinds of cool people involved in these documentaries, including our friend Nick Offerman.

john

Yeah, that's right! Nick Offerman, Chris Hadfield, the very famous Canadian astronaut? Look, citizen of the world.

jesse

I feel like he is legally required to be referred to as "astronaut Chris Hadfield." [Stifles laughter.]

john

Astronaut Chris Hadfield! David Attenborough.

jesse

Or "guitar astronaut Chris Hadfield." [Both stifle laughter.]

john

That's true. Just an incredible array of incredible personalities, bringing you incredible true stories about stuff you might, uh, be curious about! And you can easily stream everything from, guess what, your TV, your phone, your tablet, your computer. Look, you know where to get these things. You're curious. You figure it out yourself.

jesse

The slogan of CuriosityStream is, "Don't try to use a Sony Watchman."

john

[Laughs.] Yeah.

jesse

"But besides that, you can watch it anywhere."

john

No Zune. No Zune.

jesse

[Stifles laughter.] Yeah, you can't—can't stream it on your Zune. That's—that's the one downside of Cur—upside? So many great documentaries, pretty affordable, lots of cool people involved, you can watch it on a lot of different devices. Downside, no Zune app.

john

Yeah. Everyone loves documentaries. People are constantly searching existing streaming apps for documentaries. How many times have you been looking for an incredible thought-provoking or moving documentary, true life story, and then you accidentally find yourself watching a Rob Schneider movie? Then it's like, "This isn't a documentary, this is a joke!" [Jesse laughs.] No. CuriosityStream solves that. It's all docs! All docs! Nothing else. Nothing but docs. Go to CuriosityStream.com/hodgman, or go to CuriosityStream.com and use code "Hodgman" to sign up. It's just $14.99... a month? No! A year! CuriosityStream.com/hodgman, you get CuriosityStream for a whole year for $14.99. That's a great deal. CuriosityStream.com/hodgman. H-O-D-G-M-A-N.

jesse

Let's get back into the case.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

There seems to be a premise that you have both brought to the virtual courtroom, that you are ready to move on from this painting. In other words, Jessie Non-Thorn said the issue isn't whether to throw it in a metaphoric fire, but what is the best way to dispose of it, given that it is so personal. Ryan, have you agreed in principle, and in your heart, that it might be time to let this thing go?

ryan

There is certainly an element of, "It does not quite have a place in our literal or metaphorical lives."

john

Okay.

ryan

In our literal lives, there's literally no place on our walls in our New York apartment to hang this thing. [Jessie laughs.] We have enough other art that is good, and great, and the walls are taken up with that. And the metaphorical of... it is a lovely thing, and it does mean a lot to me, and it means a lot to my past, and it is a very personal gift. But it also feels strange to embrace, like, "Yep, this is a thing given to me by a girl that I used to date. And now I'm gonna hang it in my kid's nursery." Like, that feels weird. That seems like a poor decision in life.

john

Are you still in touch with this person? Is this person still a part of your life?

ryan

We talk very occasionally.

john

Right.

ryan

We ended on great terms. She lives in the city. Now here's the very strange and salient point. Uh, her name is also Jessie. [John snorts, Ryan laughs.]

john

This is a fairy tale.

jessie

This is not strange. It was the nineties! [Laughs quietly.] Everyone was named Jessica!

ryan

[Laughing] You're not wrong.

john

[Laughs.] En Vogue was burning up the charts, Friends was... also burning up the charts, and everyone was named Jessie.

ryan

She works in theatre.

john

Mm-hm.

ryan

She's a lighting designer on Broadway. And so occasionally, when she has friends and family tickets, she throws them my way. So we have gone and seen—Jessie and I, my wife Jessie and I, have actually seen some shows that she has lit, off of her discount.

jessie

I have not. [John snorts.]

ryan

That was how we got the Sweeney Todd hookups. [John gasps.]

jessie

You didn't tell me that. It was a birthday present.

ryan

Yeah.

jessie

Oh my gosh.

jesse

Wow, it was a birthday present? [John and Jessie laugh.]

ryan

Yes. She throws free Broadway tickets my way occasionally.

jesse

Don't talk past this birthday present thing. [Ryan laughs.] Did you also give her the Peter Pan painting as a birthday present? [Everyone laughs.]

ryan

No, absolutely not!

jesse

Or was that Christmas or Hanukkah or something?

john

[Laughs.] Jessie! How does it feel to learn that your tickets to Sweeney Todd were copped off of... Ryan's old lover that he kept secret from you?!

jessie

[Laughs.] I mean, I'm heartbroken. [Ryan laughs.] I'm sad that I ever grew up. [John snorts.] No, it's fine.

john

You're married to a trickster! A trickster. A mischievous trickster.

jessie

I mean, I—I did know that when I married him. So...

john

Yeah.

ryan

Yeah, you went in eyes wide open.

jessie

Yeah.

ryan

Uh, I will say that Wife Jessie and Ex-Girlfriend Jessie have met.

jessie

It's true.

ryan

And have shared a meal together. And have played Broadway karaoke bingo together.

john

Yeah.

jessie

And when two people play Broadway karaoke bingo... no hard feelings can exist.

john

Oh, I—yeah. I mean, look. This is a symbol of maturity, and non-childishness, right? That you're all getting along together just fine. That you have moved on to a new relationship, and yet there are no hard feelings, and that's great. It's terrific. Does Other Jessie know that you're contemplating moving on from this painting?

jessie

She does not. And I actually have floated the idea of offering to return it to her— [John shudders.] —if it's that precious, but that also feels very bad. So...

john

[Shudders again.] Yeah.

jessie

I don't know. I honestly don't know the social, um, contract of this situation. [Laughs.]

ryan

[Stifling laughter] Nope.

john

Do you know if she listens to podcasts? [The litigants laugh.]

jessie

Right before we were about to record, Ryan looks up and says, "Do you think we should warn Jess that we're doing this?" And then we both shrugged, and said, "Maybe."

ryan

We did some Internet research. She has not liked this podcast specifically on her Facebook page.

jessie

Or Twitter.

ryan

Or Twitter. [Laughs.]

john

Oh.

ryan

[Laughing] We actually did do this very specific research.

john

Oh.

ryan

So we're not positive whether or not she listens to this show.

jessie

So we can't say she doesn't listen. But we can say we're not sure that she does.

john

Throw her painting down a well, then. Please. Now. [Someone stifles laughter.] No, it's fine. I'm not gonna punish the painting for Other Jessie's podcast tastes. That's not how I roll. I'm not a punitive trickster god. I'm just a adult human judge. Ryan, you present this as a issue of... decor. You don't have room to display it anymore. And even you acknowledge it's a little weird to have around, say, in—do you have children? Are you expecting children? 'Cause you mentioned something about it.

ryan

We do not have, nor are currently expecting, but plan at some point in the vague future to have them.

john

To steal an infant from a perambulator? [Stifles laughter.] And raise it in a Neverland of your own?

ryan

From Kensington Gardens. You've got it.

john

Yeah.

jessie

That's the working plan.

john

If you had your druths, Ryan, would you like to just... keep this thing, and display it? Are you really ready to let go of it? Like, when you look at the painting, how do you feel about it?

ryan

I am—because I am 31 and a millennial, and we are overly nostalgic, as every tabloid tells us—am a very nostalgic person.

john

Mm-hm.

ryan

And I do like things of the past, and I've had this painting now for seven or eight years.

jessie

Almost a decade.

john

Mm-hm.

ryan

And has hung in my college apartment, and then when I first moved to New York—

john

Mm-hm.

ryan

—and then in a couple of different places. And so it is—it is a memory, not really of the relationship that I had, but of—it reminds me more of my past self, rather than of the past relationship that I was in. I have a couple of other things that I have always had. Like, I've got a Yankees pennant from when I was like six that is still hanging in our house.

john

Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

ryan

Like—and so I am a nostalgic person, by definition. And this painting—I would be a little sad to see it go. And so I'm—I am of two minds. One is, if we were to keep it, I would want to put some effort into it, and maybe get it a nice frame, and maybe make it a little more presentable, to find its place on the wall, and find its place not just stashed in a closet somewhere.

john

Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

ryan

Or, if we do let it go, find a replacement for it. Something that has a—a spiritual tie from the past to the future. And I would make Jessie get me a new one. [Jessie laughs.] If she's gonna get rid of my painting, I want a new one, and she has to get it for me.

john

Some kind of new Peter Pan artwork?

ryan

A new Peter Pan piece. Something that still represents my connection to that and the past. But if this particular Peter Pan does not suit her, her personality and her flexibility, she can get rid of it, but at the cost of getting me a new one.

john

Oh, you mean that your wife is gonna commission a new painting from your ex-girlfriend? [The litigants laugh.]

ryan

Uh, maybe not that specifically. Maybe she finds something she likes on DeviantArt, or—or Redbubble. Or we actually do have a couple of artist friends, that I'm sure could make a lovely painting. It's one of the benefits of living in New York. There is no shortage of up and coming wanna—painters who want to paint things.

john

So you don't have anything, a particular piece in mind.

ryan

No.

john

That you're using this older painting for as leverage to get.

ryan

No. I do not have a current piece that I am trying to wrangle out of the deal.

john

Right. You're not a master strategist. You're not a master emotional strategist. You flit and fly from impulse to impulse, like Peter Pan. [Pause.]

ryan

I—I am a Lost Boy.

john

[Snorts.] What do you do for a living? [Pause.]

ryan

Uh, musical theatre. [John sighs.] I sing and dance. I never grew up. I play pretend. I've done Peter Pan on stage. That's happened. I played—

john

Who did you play?

ryan

—Captain Hook for Disney Cruise Lines.

john

WHOA! Joel Mann, did you hear that?

joel

I did, Judge.

john

Would you call that burying the lead?

joel

Absolutely. [The litigants laugh.]

john

How did I—! That's—I just wanna—look. We don't have time— [John and the litigants laugh.] —to go into your experience playing Captain Hook on the Disney Cruise Line. For how many times?

ryan

I was at sea for six months.

john

Speaking of nostalgia! I mean, I—first of all, I'm thinking, like, "Oh, wasn't it great when there was theatre and there was cruises?" [Laughs.] You— [John and Jessie laugh.] You were—I mean, it's lucky you survived. You were at the most virus-y place in the world!

ryan

I was the nexus of badness, yes.

john

But I—oh, I can't—I mean, look. You know, I talked about that six-part podcast series from Karina Longworth, You Must Remember This, on Song of the South?

ryan

Mm-hm.

john

Like, I could easily do a six-part podcast with you about this experience that you had. I have so many questions that need to be answered. [Jessie laughs quietly.] But we'll have to table that for a debrief later on. Ryan, do you agree to that at some point? [Jessie laughs.]

ryan

Absolutely. I love talking about that.

jessie

His stories are wonderful.

ryan

They are pretty wild.

john

I just—all I'm gonna ask you to do is do a Captain Hook voice. Do a line. Do something.

ryan

Alrighty. Um... [Hook voice; English, raspy, high-energy] "Blast that Peter Pan! It was he that cut off me hand!"

john

[Gasps.] Riveting.

ryan

[Back to his usual voice] Thank you!

jesse

Yeah. Cruise Line quality! [John and Ryan crack up, Jessie laughs.]

crosstalk

John: [Sympathetic pain sounds] Oh, you're never gonna get it! Ryan: Augh, god! The first cut is the deepest! John: You're never gonna get it! [Ryan and/or Jessie laugh.]

john

Not from Jesse Thorn!

jessie

That stung me. [Ryan laughs.]

john

Ouch. And Jessie, may I ask what—what do you do in the world?

jessie

I work for a big publishing house in the city. Making eBooks things.

john

Oh! Also someone who refused to grow up. [Laughs.]

jessie

I guess so. Yeah.

john

People in publishing—you know. It's just like people in podcasts. Anyone in the arts. We don't wanna grow up.

jessie

It's true. [Sighs.] So we take a salary hit, and we just live in our land of pretend.

john

I know, it's just—it's just pretend work. It's pretend business. It's money-losing business, for funs. You know what it's like? It's sorta like community radio. You know what I mean, Joel? Joel, did you ever— [The litigants laugh.] Joel, did you ever grow up?

joel

No.

john

Right. Jesse Thorn, did you ever grow up?

jesse

[Reluctantly] Yeah...

john

Yeah? [Stifles laughter.] Some have grown-up-ness forced upon them.

jesse

Yeah.

john

Yeah. So, alright. Jessie. This is a crux that I gotta un-crux. How much of your dislike for this thing is aesthetic? How much of it is, "Let's put childish things behind us"? And how much of it is, if any, resentment because of a previous, uh, assignation?

jessie

I think it is 70% aesthetic dislike. I don't think it is very... pretty.

john

Right.

jessie

I just don't—I don't like it. And I'm not—I'm not a professional artist, so I guess I don't know all the rules of art. But, uh, I don't see that it's following the rules, nor do I see that it's breaking them in an interesting way. So...

john

Alright. I guess it's time for me to look at this piece of art.

jessie

Please.

john

Here I go. Exhibit A. Submitted by Jessie. A photo of the painting. Yeah. You say that Other Jessie made this in college?

ryan

Uh, yes.

john

Yeah.

jessie

I think it shows.

jesse

I would say it's at least cruise ship quality. [John snorts.]

ryan

[Laughing] Oh, gosh.

john

Do you know what? I've never been on a Disney cruise. But I've been on a couple of other cruises with my friend Jonathan Coulton, a couple of other lines. And my friend Jesse Thorn. I think you're onto something there, Jesse. Thorn. Yeah. I could see this hanging in a—a landing between promenade deck and lido deck. For sure. [The litigants laugh.]

jesse

I'll say I look at this picture, I think... "This is a painting done by a very talented lighting director." [John snorts, the litigants laugh.]

jessie

The use of light is really wonderful! It's true.

john

Jesse Thorn, you can't see this, but you're cracking Joel Mann up over here in Maine. I've never seen him smile this much in the past five years.

jesse

It genuinely—like, my very sincere evaluation of it is that it's a very interesting-looking and competently executed piece. It has some interesting ideas. I think she incorporated the pages from the book, like the literal pages from the book, beautifully. And it is much more—it's a much more sophisticated work of art than I imagined when it was described. That said, I could see it not being to plenty of people's taste or fitting decor. And it doesn't take my breath away in its extraordinary artistic achievement.

john

Thank you very much, Antiques Roadshow Jesse Thorn. Appreciate that. [Jesse and the litigants laugh.] Art appraiser. Everyone can go to the Judge John Hodgman Instagram account and see this, and all of the evidence from our cases, at any time, and you can judge for yourself. But I would say this is a very endearing, very sentimental work of art, executed commensurate to a college-age person's skill and sensibility. It's cute! It's cute. It's a little—maybe cutesy, even. But you know what? Ryan, you're sentimental and cutesy, right?

ryan

If nothing else.

john

Yeah.

jessie

And endearing. [Ryan laughs.]

john

And endearing, too!

ryan

I was raised to be charming, not sincere.

john

[Snorts.] Wow, that's an incredible quote.

ryan

Sondheim, I can't—I can't take credit for it.

john

Ohhh. Excuse me, I apologize. And now, Jessie, you also submitted some photos of other pieces of art in your home? Is that what I'm looking at here?

jessie

Yeah. So the other art in our home is also usually handmade. Like, by friends or by me.

john

Yes.

jessie

And it's all very sentimental as well. And I guess it just feels weird to have this... also very sentimental, homemade piece, but from someone not in our current world of relationships.

john

Mm-hm. And also, I'm gonna say that, you know, these—these works of art are... a little bit more mature in their style and execution.

ryan

Very much so.

jessie

And also collages!

john

Yeah.

jessie

Now, they're not fancy. Because I just made them on cardboard. With old magazines. But...

john

I'm sorry, you made—you made these things. I missed that.

jessie

Yeah, those are all mine.

john

Oh, wow! Well done. Very nice. Yeah, I think—

jessie

Thanks!

john

I think you've got the eye.

ryan

I agree.

john

The—yeah. This is like, art that's grown up.

jessie

And I don't love all of them, but one of them Ryan won't let me get rid of, because he's sentimental. So...

john

They'll all be available for your review on the show page on MaximumFun.org, and obviously at the Instagram account, @judgejohnhodgman. But which one—which one would you like to get rid of, Jessie, that Ryan doesn't want you to get rid of?

ryan

And this is news to me.

jessie

We've had this conversation.

ryan

Which one are you wanting to get rid of?

jessie

The Conservatory Garden. There's one that's—

ryan

Oh! We can't get rid of that one!

jessie

Exactly. [John snorts.] So there's one that I made—I—we were—got engaged in the Conservatory Garden in Central Park. And I wanted to make a collage of it, and it is huge. It's like three feet long.

ryan

It's massive.

jessie

And it didn't turn out quite the way I was hoping, but...

crosstalk

Ryan: It's a collage you made of the place I proposed to you! We can't get rid of that! [John sighs.] Jessie: And I hid—I hid a diamond ring in the collage, so...

jessie

It's also a fun game for guests.

john

You hid a diamond ring in the collage?!

jessie

Not a real one.

john

Oh.

jessie

But like, a picture of a diamond ring is one of the pictures of the—from the magazines that I put in there.

john

Oh. That would—if you had pasted your engagement ring into this collage, I would agree with Ryan. [Stifles laughter.] You should probably not throw it away.

ryan

Maybe— [The litigants laugh.]

john

Alright.

jessie

No. Excuse me. It's just a photo.

john

And then finally we have a photo here of Ryan as Captain Hook. See, this is why I didn't know. 'Cause I didn't review the evidence, 'cause I was trying to remain neutral.

jessie

I will—

ryan

That is actually not a picture of me as Hook. [Jessie laughs.] I am in—over his right shoulder, as one of the—uh, that is a different production of Peter Pan that I did.

john

You're rocking a tambourine in this one. Yep. And you're looking—I would say you're looking at the foregrounded actor playing Captain Hook, in this other, non–Disney Cruise production. You're looking at Hook with a lot of envy. I will say.

ryan

Uh, I am his understudy.

john

Yeah. [Someone stifles laughter.] That's right. You're hoping that that Smee that Captain Hook is sitting on will collapse, and then Hook will break his neck. [The litigants laugh.] And fall into a crocodile.

ryan

And I can step into the limelight.

john

Still—you're still Peter Pan. You're Peter Pan at heart. Alright. Well, this misdirection has basically sealed your fate. I thought I was looking at a picture of you as Captain Hook! [The litigants laugh.] If I were to rule in your favor—let's just be blunt here before I go in and make my decision. If I were to rule in your favor, Jessie, what would you have me rule?

jessie

I would have you rule that we gracefully and gratefully acknowledge this painting's meaning to Ryan, and then discard it.

john

How would you discard it?

jessie

[Sighs.] See, that's the tricky thing. I think—I can't think of a better option than—it's like, trash or... or, uh, burial at sea? Like...

john

Mm-hm.

jessie

I don't—I'm not sure.

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

What about the free section of Craigslist?

jessie

Ohhh.

john

Yeah.

jessie

Now that—that would probably work.

jesse

Now, Craig happens to be a Judge John Hodgman listener. I think he could probably hook you up. [The litigants laugh.]

john

Yeah, but don't tell Jessie that Craig's hooking us up, 'cause we like to keep secrets from her. [Jessie laughs.]

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Tell her it's a birthday present.

john

[Laughs.] Yeah! [The litigants laugh.]

ryan

Oh no!

john

"As a birthday present, I got you one free listing on Craigslist. You're welcome." Ryan, if I were to rule in your favor, what would you have me order? You're ready to let go of this thing, but you—but you're not, are you? You wanna replace it with another thing?

ryan

If you were to rule in my favor, I would probably want you to rule that we put some effort into it and get it a nice frame, and find it a place. In our house.

jessie

So we can take it out of the closet?

ryan

Yes.

jessie

Okay.

john

Is that where it is now?

ryan

It currently hangs on the inside door of a closet. Of the linen closet.

john

Mm-hm.

jessie

Every time I get a towel, I have to look at it.

john

You don't want to look at it at all, ever again.

jessie

Um, not really.

ryan

And I would settle as a backup verdict that she gets rid of this, but gets me a new piece of Peter Pan art. [Jessie laughs.]

john

I think I've heard everything I need to in order to make my decision. I'm going to go into my Skull Island to contemplate this case, and I'll be back in a moment with my verdict.

sound effect

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

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

jesse

Jessie, how are you feeling about your chances here?

jessie

Well, I feel... pretty good. I mean, I would be happy to get Ryan a backup piece of Peter Pan art. And I think we could have a good time selecting that. So I didn't even realize that was an option, but if that's the verdict, then that is fine by me. Framing it would be a little bit more of a—a pull. Because first of all, very hard to get a frame. And, uh, second of all, have to keep looking at it.

john

"Very hard to get a frame."

jesse

Wait, it's very hard to get a frame? [John laughs quietly.]

jessie

It is if you're not—[laughs]. Okay, let me rephrase. [Stifling laughter] It's hard for me to get a frame, because I'm not willing to spend a ton of money.

jesse

Okay. [Laughs.] I was like, "You know, they have a type of store. I'm not gonna tell you what type it's called, but..." [Jessie laughs.] "...you'll probably figure it out."

jessie

I'm limiting myself here.

jesse

I know it's hard to access specialty retail in New York City. [Jesse and Jessie laugh.]

jessie

Well, it is kinda right now.

jesse

But maybe if everybody piled into the truck and drove the 40 miles to the Super K-Mart, you could find a frame.

jessie

I'm sure we could locate one.

jesse

Ryan, how are you feeling?

ryan

I am feeling pleased as punch. If I lose the case, I've made my case honestly and fervently, and I can do no more. I have—I have done my best. I'll say I don't feel good about the verdict going in my direction. Mainly because I believe the judge may or may not be correct in his assessment of Peter Pan, and the right to love it as much as I do.

jesse

Well, we'll see what the judge has to say about all this when we come back in just a second on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Guitar strums as singer counts out “One, two, one two three four.” Up-tempo guitar and harmonica music plays in the background. Justin McElroy: Hi, everybody! My name is Justin McElroy. Dr. Sydnee McElroy: I’m Sydnee McElroy! Justin: We’re both doctors, and— Sydnee: Nope. Just me. Justin: Okay, well Sydnee’s a doctor and I’m a medical enthusiast. Sydnee: Okay. Justin: And we created Sawbones, a marital tour of misguided medicine! Sydnee: Every week I dig through the annals of medical history to bring you the wildest, grossest—sometimes dumbest—tales of ways we’ve tried to treat people throughout history! Justin: And lately we do a lot of modern fake medicine. Because everything’s a disaster. But it’s slightly less of a disaster every Friday, right here on MaximumFun.org, as we bring you Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine. And remember: Sydnee: Don’t drill a hole in your head. [Music ends.]

sound effect

[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.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman, we're taking a break from the case. Let's get in chambers and talk about what we've got going on. What's going on with you, John?

john

Well, we're nearing the end of my and David Rees's short form animated show, the name of which shall never be named on this podcast due to its family friendliness, set in the fictional Richardsville, North Carolina. If you are listening to this on the day this podcast is released, then tomorrow, Thursday, August 20th, you can go to FXX at ten PM. Watch the TV show Cake, for which our show is a segment. This week's episode, "The Mystery of the Moaning Ghost." One of the most Scooby-Doo–ish episodes of our series, featuring the wonderful vocal talents of Jon Glaser and Griffin Newman and Kristen Schaal, and I dare say this is one of the funniest ones that we've got going. I love it. "Mystery of the Moaning Ghost." David Rees's character and I are hired by Jon Glaser, who is a shady attorney, to process serve a ghost. We have to subpoena a ghost. [Jesse laughs.] It's a lot of fun. Our show—I'll refer to it as "our show"—airs every Thursday night until it ends, which is coming up. On Thursday nights at ten, on FXX, as part of the show Cake. If you can't watch it live, or want to see it again, you can watch it the next day on Hulu. You can watch Cake season three, 'cause Cake has all sorts of really cool short form animated and non-animated weird little shows like ours, and it's a terrific show in its own right. Or if you just wanna watch whole episodes of our bit, you can go to Bit.ly/dicktown. That's Bit.ly/D-I-C-K-T-O-W-N, all small letters, all one word. I don't know why Bitly assigned us that URL. But that's the one we got.

john

This was a lot of fun to make, and I hope if you haven't checked it out, you might, and if you like it, tell someone. Jesse, what do you got going on?

jesse

Well, the summer clearance sale continues in the Put This On Shop. You can get 40% off almost everything in the store with the code "Summer Sale" at PutThisOnShop.com. You can also get 25% off fine jewelry with the code "Fine Summer." I'm looking right now at a bicycle medal, a silver bicycle medal, from 1927, with a giant penny-farthing in its design. Which is that giant—one giant wheel, one tiny wheel type of bicycle.

john

Hey! Hey, I've seen The Prisoner. I know what a penny-farthing is. "Be seeing you."

jesse

[Laughs.] Also, a tie clip to celebrate the centennial of Vancouver, British Columbia. A collection of pins from the 1920s with various breeds of dogs. And some great enamel pins from I'm gonna say the seventies, maybe the early eighties, of hot-air balloons. Colorful hot-air balloons that say "Mexico" on them. Among many, many other items. Including our handmade pocket squares and bandanas, which are perfect for wrapping around your face if you're so interested, and vintage clothes, and stuff for boys, stuff for girls. Stuff for folks who aren't boys are girls. All kinds of stuff at PutThisOnShop.com, and again that code is "Summer Sale" for 40% off everything except fine jewelry, which you can get 25% off with the code "Fine Summer." Let's get back to the case!

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

sound effect

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

jesse

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

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

john

So first of all, a verdict on Peter Pan. I am not here to cancel Peter Pan. Peter Pan is obviously a cultural touchstone, [stifles laughter] as nine-year-old John Hodgman knew. And still knows. And it is so for a reason: because it is mysterious, weird, complicated. It's good, and it's bad. It probes strange feelings that people have about childhood. There are versions of Peter Pan that celebrate eternal childhood. But it is clear to me, based on my research, that actual Peter Pan doesn't. And there's lots and lots and lots of culture that has racist stuff in it. That is either intentional or unintentionally harmful. In the stuff that we love! And we—you know, we hold our noses. Or grimace, or roll our eyes, say, when you're showing your kids the movie Peter Pan for the first time, and you've completely forgot about "What Made the Red Man Red," the incredibly offensive, racist song, in that movie. You're like, "Ooh, I forgot about this. Let's just white-knuckle through this." That's how I showed it to my kids. [Stifles laughter.] All I'm saying is, when you see this stuff, to realize you're holding your nose, and to think about why you're doing it. In fact, don't hold your nose! Open your nose, and breathe in the stink. And think about it. And talk about it with the people you're sharing it with! Kids, in the most—for the most part. And so part of the reason that I would not cancel Peter Pan is that what is good about it, we discussed with Jessie Non-Thorn earlier, is that like fairy tales—like real fairy tales; they get plucked from public domain by certain animation companies and kind of spiffed up—there is a dark strangeness to Peter Pan. Peter Pan is not a good guy, nor is he a bad guy. He is a child, and the exploration of the chaos of childhood is obviously something that resonates deeply with people.

john

The tension between childhood and leaving childhood is very meaningfully explored in Peter Pan, even though J. M. Barrie himself put in this completely execrable and non-necessary bit of racism, because white guys in England at that time just tossed off racism like it was nothing. It is a piece of art that is worth engaging in. And I'm not just saying that 'cause I don't want Disney to cancel me 'cause they own everything. I wanna be MODOK in a Marvel movie. Please, Disney. Please don't cancel me. [Ryan laughs.] Please don't fire me from culture. And by the way, Warner Brothers? That thing I said about Friends? I still love Friends! And by the way, don't cancel me, 'cause I got this incredible pitch! For a Friends spin-off. Put on the air now. It's more friends who live in a different—it's set in the same time period, exactly the same period as Friends, but it's different friends living in a different apartment, and they hate the other friends. [John and Ryan laugh.] You re-use old footage! It's incredible. Yeah, see? Ryan likes it. Sold in the room with Ryan. [The litigants laugh.]

ryan

[Laughing] I'd watch that show!

john

Yeah. More Friends. [Laughs quietly.] And you know, they could a diverse cast. Like, show what New York was like in the nineties. Anyway, look. So I'm not on you, Ryan, for loving Peter Pan. People like what they like. They love what they love. You've obviously explored all of the aspects of Peter Pan. Now, I thought this thing was going to hinge on nostalgia. The tension, as I say, between... you know, being a child and growing up! And I, as you know, am against nostalgia. Because it aims to hold on to a past that is usually illusory, and as well suggests that time can go backwards, or that you can hold on to the past. You can hold on to a painting, but you can't hold on to the past. So you would think I would come down very hard on you, Ryan. Not merely for loving this problematic piece of art—not the painting, but the subject. But also trying to hold on to the past. But what this hinges on is something that was glossed over very early by Jessie, and me. Which is it is inscribed to you. It's written—your name is written on the back, from Other Jessie. And when something is given to you, and it is inscribed, you can't just put it on the street! Someone will find it, and they'll find out. [Stifles laughter.] That you don't want the thing that they gave you! It's horrible! Like, I'm hoping that Jessie never listens to this podcast! Other Jessie. I mean, Other Other Jessie. [Stifles laughter.] Jessie Non-Thorn Non-Thorn. Because she's gonna be hurt! Probably. That you wanna get rid of this thing. So the solution is simple: Jessie Non-Thorn Non-Thorn, if you're listening? I am ordering Ryan to keep this treasured gift forever. This is the sound of a gavel.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

Judge John Hodgman rules; that is all. Hold. [Pause.] [Whispering] Okay. Now that Jessie Non-Thorn Non-Thorn is no longer listening, and I saved you from that social embarrassment... [The litigants laugh.] [No longer whispering] ...you gotta throw this painting into a crocodile, quick. [The litigants crack up.] The best place for this thing would be a parent's basement. For you to never have to deal with it again. You never have to give it up. But you never have to have it. And then as you grow older, and your parents grow older, and maybe their house accidentally burns down, this problem is solved for you. [John and the litigants laugh.] The next best place for it to be is for you to send it on a journey. That is appropriate to it. To its sentimental importance to you. Because here's the thing, Ryan. I do think that you know—you have said yourself, "It would be weird to hang this in my kid's room." It is a beautiful gesture that someone who cares about you made for you, at a certain time in your life. But you know that that time is over, and also, the person you've chosen to spend your life with going forward... just doesn't like it! She doesn't even wanna look at it in the closet. If you had a thousand rooms, would it be fair to say, Jessie Non-Thorn, that you would not wanna look at this thing?

jessie

If we had a thousand rooms, I actually would feel differently about it.

john

Okay.

jessie

But we live in a one-bedroom apartment, so...

john

Alright.

jessie

We don't—we're kinda low on space. And I, as a New Yorker, am terrified of acquiring items.

john

Alright.

jessie

Or having too many items.

john

Alright. So here's the solution: Ryan?

ryan

Yes.

john

You're in musical theatre, right? A booming business right now. Just make a lot of money and get a thousand-room mansion. [Ryan laughs quietly.] And if you can't do that, then what I would suggest is you leave it in the closet until such time, as time moves forward—not backwards, ever—forward, into a new and better normal that we're all gonna make together. Once we have a vaccine, once we are able to move, once we are able to speak to each other's faces again, you're gonna take Other Jessie out to dinner, and you're gonna say to her, "I think that it's time for me to part with this. I love it, and it will always be meaningful to me. Do you think you would like to have it back to give to somebody else? Because if not, my plan is to fly—" What is it, two stars to the right and straight on 'til morning?

ryan

Second star to the right.

john

Well, whatever, I was close. "Fly second star to the right, straight on 'til morning, to Disneyland"—a place that I love—"to get on that Peter Pan dark ride"—a thing that I think is great. It's like you're in a gondola in someone's living room. [Ryan laughs, John stifles laughter.] "I'm gonna take the painting with me. I'm gonna get on the ride with the painting. And I'm gonna get off the ride without the painting." [The litigants laugh.] "And then I will walk out of Disneyland."

ryan

[Laughs.] Fling it into the abyss!

john

I bet she will be okay with that. Finally, I order Jessie—Non-Thorn, your wife, Ryan—to commission from one of your artist friends a painted version of this photo of you not as Captain Hook, but as tricorner hat tambourine man in the background. [The litigants laugh.] A painted version of that photo, with the caption, "I was raised to be charming, not sincere." This is the sound of a gavel. [Jessie laughs.]

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A tinkly "magical" sound effect.

john

Judge John Hodgman rules; that is all.

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[As Jesse speaks below: Chairs scrape, footsteps, door shuts.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom. Ryan, how do you feel?

ryan

Elated. I think that the judge has honorably and rightfully ruled, and I cannot wait to be arrested by Disney police. [Jessie laughs.] As I try and leave something on a ride in the middle of the darkness.

jesse

Jessie, how about you?

jessie

I think having a painting of himself as tricorn man with the caption "Charming, not sincere" is everything Ryan has ever wanted in life. So I'm thrilled, and I can't wait to figure out which artist friend would be best suited to create this beautiful piece of artwork.

jesse

Jessie, Ryan, thanks for joining us on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Another Judge John Hodgman case in the books. We'll have Swift Justice in just a moment, but first our thanks to Alex Butschli for naming this week's episode, "Neverlandmark Case." If you'd like to name a future episode, make sure to like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. You can follow us on Twitter at @JesseThorn and @hodgman. Hashtag your Judge John Hodgman Tweets #JJHo, J-J-Ho. And check out the MaxFun subreddit, MaximumFun.Reddit.com, to chat about this episode. We're also on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman, where you can make your own evaluation of the Neverland painting. Judge John Hodgman produced by the ever-capable Miss Jennifer Marmor. This week's episode edited by Hannah Smith. Now, Swift Justice! Where we answer small disputes with quick judgment. Rebecca asks: "Who should clear the last few seconds off the microwave timer at work? The next person to use it, or the monster who stopped it before it was done?"

john

[Laughs.] I mean, I know that you have a Breville Smart Oven. You have a microwave, though, right, Jesse?

jesse

I do have a microwave, yes.

john

You ever have that experience when you're walking into the kitchen, and you're like, "I wonder what time it is." And you glance to the clock on the microwave, and you're like, "It's 17 seconds o'clock? What's going on?"

jesse

[Chuckles.] Yes.

john

[Laughs quietly.] Yeah. And do you do what I do when you realize that the last person who used it, maybe even yourself, didn't clear the timer? And therefore, you don't know what time it is? Do you—do you take the microwave and throw it away?

jesse

Uh, yeah. Typically, yeah.

john

Right. Joel, what do you do?

joel

I reset it.

john

You reset it after you use it?

joel

Any time I see that it's 17 o'clock.

john

So you're saying that there's someone in your house who maybe doesn't clear the time.

joel

That would be me.

john

You do it. You're the—you're the—

joel

I'm—I'm the monster.

john

The perpetrator.

joel

Yeah.

john

Alright. Joel's the monster. Even the monster knows: Don't be a monster! When you're done using that microwave, clear the countdown! Let us know what time it is. That's all I got.

jesse

That's it for this week's episode. Submit your cases at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or email hodgman@maximumfun.org. No case is too small. We'll see you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

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A cheerful guitar chord.

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