Yes, we did catch Judge Marjorie O. Rendell on the Food Network earlier this week (see screenshot above). As we previously mentioned, she recently appeared on Dinner: Impossible, in her capacity as First Lady of Pennsylvania.
Chef Robert Invine was given a challenging task. He was directed “to prepare a stately array of hors d’oeuvres,” to be served at the Inaugural Ball of Judge Rendell’s husband, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell.
The number of guests: 4,000. The amount of time available to him: 24 hours. Despite the difficulty of the project, Chef Irvine completed his mission.
But we were a little disappointed with the episode, for a number of reasons….
Here are the notes we’d give to the producers of Dinner: Impossible, explaining why we were dissatisfied with the episode:
1. It gave short shrift to the fabulous Judge Rendell, who appeared only briefly, near the beginning and at the end (when she swooped in to praise Chef Irvine’s duck-and-apple wontons, and so ordered him to “send us the recipe”).
2. The show made a much bigger deal over her husband, Governor Rendell, even though he holds an icky elective office (as opposed to Judge Rendell’s presidentially appointed, life-tenured one).
3. Chef Irvine went on and on about how “intimdiating” he found Governor Rendell. But he didn’t say anyting about Judge Rendell, whom he also got to meet.
Why should Governor Rendell be intimidating? The man is an elected official, who has to whore himself out at campaign fundraisers and retail voter meet-and-greets.
The Honorable Marjorie Rendell, in contrast, is a far more fearsome figure. Since he’s not a lawyer, Chef Irvine wouldn’t know this, but Judge Rendell is a tigress at oral argument. If you want to understand “intimidating,” we ask you to consider the famed Midge Rendell Face-Scrunch.
In the middle of your Third Circuit argument, Judge Rendell will scrunch up her judicial hottie visage, as if she’s not comprehending your argument. But in reality, she’s comprehending it all too well — as you’re about to find out.
The Rendell Face-Scrunch is immediately followed by a sharp line of questioning from this razor-sharp jurist. Judge Rendell relentlessly finds the holes in your argument, rips them wide open, and reduces you to a self-contradictory mess. Now THAT is what we call intimidating!
(We never appeared before Judge Rendell. But we have seen other lawyers suffer that fate.)
4. This isn’t the fault of the show’s producers, but we have to give Midge Rendell’s inaugural ballgown a thumb’s down.
The gown, designed by Paula Hian, sounded fabulous when described in writing. But it was problematic when actually viewed.
It made Judge Rendell look like a giant black sea bass. Wearing an apron. Made of chain-mail.
Not flattering — at all. Judge Rendell would have been better served by showing up in her black judicial robe.
(But props to her for the elegant silver clutch. Might it have been a Judith Leiber?)