Jury Duty: The Whole Trial
April 22, 2023 12:55 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Jury Duty is a documentary-style comedy series that chronicles the inner workings of an American jury trial through the eyes of one particular juror.

Ron Gladden, a solar power contractor, is the focus of the series; he's also the only person in the trial who's not an actor. That even includes James Marsden playing a parody of himself.

"In the wrong hands, “Jury Duty” could have come across as meanspirited and condescending. But the tone is almost whimsical and turns into a toast to a regular guy who faces one dilemma after another and almost always does the right thing." -- Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

"The last prank on the audience by "Jury Duty" is how it wrings our emotions more than belly laughs. It's a solid workplace comedy that tells a resonant story of community, delightfully unpacking how it’s not just about serving in this world but who you’re serving with." -- Rendy Jones, RogerEbert.com

"The wishy-washy, unfocused nature of the comedy in Jury Duty leaves it without purpose, without target and, most unfortunately, without direction." -- Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter

Jury Duty streams in the US via FreeVee on Amazon.
posted by Etrigan (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was more delightful than I thought it would be -- it starts out with the cast (particularly Marsden, who is pitch-perfect as an entitled narcissist) being as weird as they can to Ron, but as it becomes more apparent than Ron is a basically decent person, the intentionally cringey stuff fades (except for one particularly bad burst of bad behavior from Marsden).

All in all, a nice way to spend a few hours.
posted by Etrigan at 12:58 PM on April 22, 2023

We loved this. Funny and light hearted…. Our only quibble *very mild spoiler* was after we saw the last episode which was the “behind the scenes” episode. That was absolutely delightful to see all the preparations and how the cast/crew was constantly scrambling to stay ahead of Ronald. We wished that there was more of this kind of footage throughout the series but absolutely enjoyed it anyway.
posted by pearlybob at 3:19 AM on April 23, 2023 [2 favorites]

I did not expect to enjoy this.

Enjoyed this tremendously.

Agree with pearlybob - the ending is incredibly apt for the good-natured everything of the show.

The concept of 'soaking' as a plot arc is also featured in the show 'Get Shorty.'

I need to check out Edy Modica's (Jeannie) other work.
posted by porpoise at 7:08 PM on April 25, 2023 [1 favorite]

We wished that there was more of this kind of footage throughout the series but absolutely enjoyed it anyway.

I'm not going to go back and look, but this makes me wonder -- other than the titles at the beginning of each episode revealing the truth, did they ever admit to the gimmick within the episodes themselves before the last one?
posted by Etrigan at 7:15 AM on April 26, 2023

We heard late about this show, but watched it 2 episodes a night (we held ourselves back) and finished it way too quick. I haven't laughed so hard so much at a TV show in....I don't even know. And I hate mean pranks. Our family lives by the judge john hodgman motto of "if it isn't fun for everyone, it's fun for no one."
My deep analysis is: this was the best.
posted by atomicstone at 10:25 AM on May 22, 2023

This was a delight. I love real life improv and Ronald is a sweetie.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:18 PM on May 22, 2023

In case anyone else was wondering, like I was, why they had excellent weirdo Kirk Fox in the jury and didn't use him, it was because Ronald was chatting with one of the other "jurors" and brought up that he was a huge Parks and Recreation fan. The producers were worried that he'd eventually recognize Sewage Joe, so they pulled back on all of Kirk's potential plotlines and kept him in the back of the jury box as much as possible.
posted by Etrigan at 11:11 AM on June 7, 2023 [3 favorites]

I was wondering about that! He's the only actor I clocked other than Marsden -- I couldn't resist looking it up, I recognized Fox as the enlightenment meth guy in Reservation Dogs -- and that started a discussion as to whether I would recognize him in real life, in a jury duty situation, when he hadn't introduced himself as an actor. I don't think I would, but I don't blame the show for erring on the side of caution.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:34 AM on June 7, 2023

It's SoCal. It's literally plausible that some actor you've seen on TV drew jury duty time. Like LITERALLY THEY WROTE THIS INTO THE PLOT. I wouldn't have worried about it too much if I were them.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:51 AM on June 7, 2023

Yeah, but they'd already introduced him as Pat McCurdy, driving instructor, so they didn't want Ronald to tip to "Wait, I've seen you on Parks and Rec though...".
posted by Etrigan at 11:59 AM on June 7, 2023

"Oh, Sewage Joe is my twin." Problem solved, soap opera style!
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:59 PM on June 7, 2023 [1 favorite]

Or "oh, Kirk Fox is my SAG name, but I'm really Pat McCurdy the rest of the time, you think actors are always in front of cameras? I'm a driving instructor most of the time."

Honestly, I think they were _incredibly_ lucky with their casting. I mean sure, even with a suboptimal casting, the Hero position would have been forced to be more involved than any random schmuck in a jury pool, but Ron really just dove into it headfirst in a way that I don't think most people would have.
posted by Kyol at 7:19 PM on June 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

Amazon later added commentary for every episode at least on Prime. It’s there now.
posted by bendy at 8:57 PM on June 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

Interesting interview with a few of the people behind the show.

I’ve been doing this for a long time. Maybe the thing I’ve learned more than anything else is that reality is a very sturdy construct for people. No matter what happens to people, they are going to find a way to make it fit within the reality they think they’re living in. You can do anything, basically and as long as you tether it to some loose form of reality, people are going to want to believe that it’s all real and happening ....
posted by brainwane at 5:58 PM on September 18, 2023 [1 favorite]

I absolutely loved this. We are 26 years on from The Truman Show - but Jury Duty is an important complement to the theory of putting together a TV show where only the central character is in the dark. The frantic groundwork by the writers to work around any errors and unexpected events, was a joy. Kudos to the actors for making such great characters under these circumstances.

(I loved particularly that one of the Executive Producers as a female called "Cody").
posted by rongorongo at 10:35 PM on December 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

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