plaintiff: james from north little rock, arkansas. james is wearing a dark grey dress shirt with a diagonal-striped tie and light-colored khakis. in a shocking yet cool-ass move i haven’t seen before, he has both hands clutching his accordion of truth™ behind his back. what a suave entrance! nothing says “i don’t give a fuck” like swaggering into the courtroom like it’s the club! james has an interesting chinstrap/mustache/soul patch combo and is keeping his hands behind his back during that long and awkward “stare into the camera without moving while we change the chyron” time, which i respect.
defendant: jalisa from higginson, arkansas. jalisa, it would appear, has gone to the sam irby school of wearing daytime pajamas to important outside-of-the-house events: she is wearing a cozy black pajama-ish shirt with soft black sleepytime cuddlepants with a black headwrap and ballet flats, plus glasses and large hoop earrings. i’m sorry, BUT: is this me???
the complaint: james claims jalisa, his ex-girlfriend, became overly controlling when he got a new job and is suing her for burning everything he owned. okay, that’s definitely not me because i would “disappear in the middle of the night with my cats and all the good cheese never to be heard from again” before i would ever risk 3rd degree burns and JAIL TIME for “arson,” but i’m stoked to get into this nonetheless.
what does he want: $3200, for everything he owned. seeing this makes me want to pare down my life, just leave all my half-empty bottles of hair products that don’t work and stained coffee mugs and my 19" television set (i own absolutely nothing of value, a shame!) and move into a tiny house with just a couple of sweatshirts and a bottle of advil (my essentials). that romantic daydream quickly fades when i take stock of what i actually need to survive (decorative throw blankets, economy-sized bags of terra chips, literal pallets of canned tomatoes) and how if i ever tried to live in an RV i’d be crushed to death by a gallon of retinol serum before the end of the first day. how simple would life be, though?! countersuit in the building: jalisa would like $2800 for unpaid rent and loans.
how it went down: james met jalisa in september of last year, and the beginning of their relationship was “just like the beginning of any relationship”: GREAT. preach, preacher. is there any better feeling than the first 2-3 weeks after you’ve met someone who might be romantically interested in you? not a single one! james went to stay at jalisa’s house for a week in january and everything was good so then he decided to move in with her in february. OH, BROTHER. this is a huge mistake! anybody can be great for a week! you know how much fun i am for one fucking week?? lots!!! i have many different recipes i could cook for you and i will keep the bathroom clean and change my clothes every day and can generally maintain a positive attitude for seven full days but on day eight? i might have to repeat these jeans and order a pizza and by day ten i’m sorry but i can’t help but be a little messy and maybe mean to you. i’m not a bitch it’s just science!
so james moved in with jalisa while they were still in the honeymoon period of their relationship and everything was great until he got a job and started “making his own money.” i am going to table the editorializing i would love to interject here but i bet you can guess what it was going to be! james says jalisa started checking up on him, calling him all the time and “just popping up” to make sure he was where he said he was going to be. sometimes he would go to his “aunt’s house” which was an hour away and be forced to “stay overnight.” james has no idea why jalisa didn’t trust that this was true but okay!! he says that jalisa lives in the country and when she’s at work friday, saturday, and sunday he didn’t want to be home alone by himself, so that’s why he went to stay with his “aunt.” listen could we speed this up and just go get jalisa another pack of matches because DUDE COME ON.
jalisa begins, in the eerily calm voice of a woman you know would run your head over with a car if you crossed her, by saying that she and james indeed met in september of last year and everything was indeed fine and dandy until she caught his ass cheating. and there you have it. i knew all that “she’s mad i got a job” and “i’m just eating my auntie’s good food” shit was bullshit. jalisa says she had two phones, one for work and a personal one, and one night when she was at work james used her phone to “text his little friend.” you used her work phone to text a trick and didn’t even bother to delete the evidence??? lmao electric chair! she called the woman back and discovered that james had been seeing her for about a year. firing squad!!!!!!
james tries to defend himself and it’s worth noting that the chyron right now says “james gant, moved in with the defendant.” LOL NAME ME A BETTER SHOW. i’m gonna apply for a producer job, could you imagine?? what a dream to work on this mess. okay greg is grilling james about the cheating and james does not give a fuck about decorum, he’s shrugging his shoulders like “that was my boy phone, yahmean?” and the judge is exasperated and this is hilarious. i mean this dude is the epitome of unbothered. i’m surprised he even cared enough to sue!
greg says “let’s get to the property damage” and what happens next is quite possibly one of the best moments in judge mathis history. from his accordion of truth™ james pulls a large ziploc bag filled with what looks like burnt hair that turns out to be the ash remaining from all the shit jalisa burned. i am agog! i feel like we hear about people’s shit getting burnt up theoretically but never see it in practice, but this dude has a baggie full of the sooty cremains of his entire life and ohmygod i’m crying.
the ruling: “you burned the man’s stuff?” greg asks jalisa with a laugh and she says, without missing a fucking beat, “YES I DID.” you gotta be careful with quiet people. bernie mac taught us that shit. a loud bitch like me? not gonna be a problem, i’m terrified of everything and can’t fucking fight. this silent but deadly lady on here? setting fire to your belongings without a drop of remorse! gregory ellis mathis then takes the bag of ashes and proceeds to shake it out all over his bench while screaming “woo! wooooooooo!” what on earth is happening here? has the judge lost his mind? he then says “you know you cheated on that woman, that’s why she burned all your stuff! coming in here with that nonsense!”
he tells jalisa she does have to pay, though. he asks her to describe the circumstances and she deadpans “i burnt up all his stuff because he was cheating” and a shiver went down my spine. she might be a sociopath. greg tries to help her out, saying that maybe she could claim temporary insanity if she explained her state of mind at the time and who is writing his script, shonda fucking rhimes? turns out that james never stopped seeing the young lady he’d been texting and one day jalisa caught him texting her again and confronted him. shit got heated, he left, then shit got real heated when jalisa found a lighter and some acetone (i assume, that would be my method of choice) and burned everything of his she could find. she can’t prove that james owes her money and then gets caught in a lie (oh no, the worst!) about whether or not they split the bills, so judgment for the plaintiff and her case is dismissed. my condolences to the cleaning staff that has to sweep all that dusty charcoal up.
did uncle greg say anything fucked up to anyone: “this is a waiting to exhale party!” greg gleefully shouted, shaking what was left of james’ scorched diploma and jewelry. [angela bassett car fire dot gif]