Monday, July 06, 2009

I, the jury

Things are going to be quiet in these parts for the next couple of days as I serve my civic responsibility and head to the county courthouse for jury duty. In past experience on jury duty, I've never made it to voir dire, and if I make it that far this time, I have no idea how the lawyers will react to the phrase "I'm a TV critic." But we'll see.

In theory, I'm going to be out of action for two days, and possibly more if I get paneled and the trial runs long. So here's the deal: I'm setting up a brief "What did everybody think of 'Nurse Jackie'?" post to go live tonight at 11 (and no talking about that episode sooner, On Demand people), a similar one for tomorrow's "Rescue Me," and I have a column about "Warehouse 13" going live tomorrow morning, which you can also use to discuss the show after it airs tomorrow night. And in a few minutes I'm putting up one other post for you guys to talk about amongst yourselves.

Beyond that, don't expect much out of me until at least Wednesday morning, and I doubt the "Sports Night" review is going to get done on time, unless I A)Wind up spending the two days in the waiting room, and B)Have access to a power outlet. And I fear the next "Wire" review might be delayed, too.

So play nice while I'm gone -- when in doubt, look at the commenting rules and remember that I'll be checking the comments when I can -- and hopefully we can get back to this TV thing we do on Wednesday.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Be a good juror! I know you will do your civic duty well and you won't end up like these guys, causing mistrials and doing outside research.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/18/us/18juries.html

Chuck Nottheshow said...

Do NOT tell a DA to ipso something...something...

Nicole said...

If you tell them that you believe DNA solves all crimes, like on CSI, then one side will probably want you off the jury. I suspect saying that Boston Legal is your favourite legal show may also have the same effect.

Bitsy said...

Do I have to be the one to say it? BRING YOUR PRINCESS LEIA COSTUME.

Anonymous said...

While not as numerous as "Christmas Carol" takeoffs, a bunch of sitcoms have paid homage to "12 Angry Men."

If you make the jury, you can mimic Fonzie and vote "Not Guiltyimundo." If you're sequestered, try to hold out like Homer so that you can catch "Free Willy" on HBO.

One of my favorites, the "12 Annoyed Men and Women" episode of "Newhart" is actually on WGN this Sunday.

Unlike those three episodes, I doubt you'll be empaneled with other familiar characters from your life.

David J. Loehr said...

When I was living in NJ and briefly writing for a newspaper, I got called for jury duty twice. Both times, all I had to do was say I wrote for a newspaper and boom, done. I didn't point out that I wrote a humor column...

Sonia said...

Alan -- that is one of my favorite Odd Couple moments...speaking of which...I was just talking with someone about the Odd Couple a few days ago. Where are those re-runs? Does anyone have any idea why that show isn't on TV now?

Matthew L said...

Am I the only person in the world that actually wants to serve on a jury? I got a jury summons last year, and was all excited because I thought it would be an interesting experience, but my name was never pulled out of the ballot. So my jury service ended up being going to this one room day after day for a week, waiting for an hour or two, not hearing my name called, being told to come back tomorrow, and then going to work (which was two minutes walk away) for the rest of the day. Very disappointing.

Eldritch said...

Matthew L said...
I got a jury summons last year, and was all excited because I thought it would be an interesting experience ... Very disappointing
.

Got put on a jury one time.

In my county, you're called for only one day. You're given a batch number. Depending on how fast they go through jurors, the day your batch is due can change. You call a recording each night to find when your batch is up.

The trial took a week for a drunk driver. And boy howdy, was he drunk! We hung him (so to speak), but his sentence was time served (a few hours the day of his arrest) and community service hours.

The trial was mostly just waiting and terribly dry testimony.

The thing television doesn't tell you is that no one talks to the jurors. For fear of tainting us somehow, I guess.

But there's no orientation. No instructions. You just sit down. In court, the only thing the judge told us was not to think about anything we hear during the trial, to wait until the end of the trial. Ever try not thinking about something?

The lawyers don't talk to you. I mean, no "good morning," or even a grunt for "hello." In fact, they turned their backs to us as we walked in to avoid eye contact. It was like being the most unpopular kid in school. I've never felt so shunned in my life.

Anonymous said...

Is there a TV station that plays reruns of the Odd Couple?

Anonymous said...

WPIX (Channel 11 in New York) has been showing "Odd Couple" reruns at 2 a.m. for the last couple of years. I've DVR'd a bunch of my favorites.

Increasingly, they've been pre-empted by infomercials.

Anonymous said...

I can't understand why cable channels like TV Land or any of the other similar channels aren't rebroadcasting these episodes.

Anthony Foglia said...

Anonymous said...
Be a good juror! I know you will do your civic duty well and you won't end up like these guys, causing mistrials and doing outside research.

Actually, Alan, I suggest you do the opposite. I was a juror for a murder trial in California, and I grew frustrated with the way the case was presented--the judges don't tell you the legal definition of the charges till after you see the evidence--so I looked up the definitions online in the penal code.

I techinically shouldn't have done it, and a few years later, when I was called back, I told the judge I would do it again. They let me go.

But seriously, is there reason, I, a citizen, can't read the penal code? This isn't the same as researching the specifics of the case. It's being better informed to learn what is important to pay attention to, and why, in the trial.

I'm tired of lawyers, politicians, and judges acting like they are the only ones who can directly read the law.

Anonymous said...

TV Land has so many shows that they never air, I've always wondered why they they didn't try an original show like this:

"The Classics"--an hourlong show where they run a legendary sitcom episode at full length, with the syndication cuts restored, and fill out the time with short reminiscences from a couple of actors/writers/directors who worked on it.

It wouldn't pull in 20 million viewers, but I think enough people would watch it to justify the slight cost of producing the intro and wrap-up segments. Plus, you'd build up a lot more buzz than with a "Home Improvement" rerun.

Aside from the standards ("Chuckles," "Sammy Davis, Jr.", etc.), I'd love to see the "Keaton Manor" episode of "Family Ties" again.

Anonymous said...

Anthony,

I think there are two reasons

First, many of the penal codes are annotated with case law, so jurors might apply the law (the judge's job) rather than deciding whether X, Y, and Z happened based on the evidence presented to them.

Second, a juror who goes into the trial knowing exactly what the law is looking for may be inclined to find it (or fail to find it) without evidentiary support. It's the "Don't think about an elephant" syndrome.


No doubt, you and many others could carry out jury duty effectively (and possibly better) armed with this knowledge.

However, some people couldn't handle it and the present system requires to cater to the less sophisticated minds.

Anonymous said...

As far as "The Odd Couple" not being broadcast anywhere now...at least now all 5 seasons are on DVD, and are available for purchase or rental (like through Netflix). I don't know if they're on Hulu or some other web site, but it seems like nearly everything out on DVD ends up on one sooner or later.