02 June 2015


Early Edition: Hung Jury

A Paper that you might get some morning

Gary is pretty good at taking orders. Compulsive, even. Once he reads something in The Paper, he has to do something about it. But when someone else with authority tells him not to read any paper, he's such a stand-up guy that he obeys that order as well. And The Paper has to pull some pretty crazy stunts to make sure it gets read.

"I know how much you enjoy reading that paper with your morning coffee,
but for the duration of this trial, you must forgo that pleasure."

I'm really not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, Gary's vocation as The Reader means that as long as The Paper keeps coming to him, he has no business being on a jury. Like the single mother with five children who is excused by the judge, he should not let the performance of a secondary duty get in the way of the performance of his primary duty. Besides, he's kind of like a psychic, isn't he? I can't think of any lawyers or judges who would be happy with a declared psychic on a jury. LOL! On the other hand, since Gary can't tell anyone about his primary duty and psychic powers, he must fulfill his obligation to be a good juror and to avoid The Paper until the trial is over. By insisting on being read, The Paper tempts Gary into doing something wrong.

On the third hand (Yes, I'm an octopus. An octopus with hands at the tips of my tentacles. What's your problem?), if The Paper lets the trial unfold fairly, an innocent man will be declared guilty and will either kill himself or have his murder disguised as a suicide. And then Gary will read about it the next day and nearly kill himself with remorse as well.

Or he'd do all his usual rushing about then, righting an evil caused by doing a good! If I were still in the Fan Fiction business, I'd rewrite this story so that there is no conflict of interest.

You know what's absolutely perfect about this episode, though? The middle-aged lady who has served on juries eighteen times in the past and seems to have made a hobby of it. I love her and the actress who plays her. Shirl Maschinski, if you're reading this, I hope you know that you stole every freaking scene you were in!!!

Your Turn to Be the Hero: Have you ever been called for jury duty? How did that work out?


Belfry Bat said...

I remember this episode! So very funny! I also have (I think) fond memories of a twist-ending...

No, I've never been called to jury. Not sure what I'd do about it, either. There are definitely laws I don't approve of... though, come to think of it, I can't see that any of them would impinge on a jury trial... sæcular jurisprudence is not my Thing; please ignore me.

I see where you're coming from, with the Paper trying to suborn Gary against the state; the End is good, but the Object Means is questionable. It seems to me that Gary could even have been found in Contempt, but wasn't... Television Logic perhaps... so, anyways, it's clear that the Paper Character isn't supposed to be a dispassionate thoroughly moral agent, but the visible manifestation of ... [spoilers]. Well.

Sorry for the ramble!

Enbrethiliel said...


The first time you ask to be ignored and apologise for rambling is the first time my happiness at reading a comment from you isn't slightly muddled by confusion about what in the world you could possibly mean!

This episode takes pains to make the judge a "cool" sort, so it's easy to believe that he'd let Gary's odd behaviour slide. And we do get a super strict bailiff to be the necessary balance to that! I think that helps the credibility with the audience.

Spoilers are okay in the combox. What are you saying The Paper is a visible manifestation of? Gary's conscience? Or even actual psychic powers?!?!?

Belfry Bat said...

No, the paper is definitely [from] a character; one we've heard of (iirc) but haven't met. I think. I could be getting things muddled.

Brandon said...

We've seen The Paper exhibiting agency before, but here it seems quite passive. It doesn't really do anything. So I'm actually inclined to see this as an episode in which The Cat shows its agency. The Cat is obviously upset that Gary won't read The Paper, and it disrupts an entire courtroom long enough to make sure that Gary does. So it seems to me that The Cat is quite determined that, no matter what Gary's scruples are, it's still going doing its job of making sure that Gary reads The Paper!

DMS said...

I don't know who Shirl Maschinski is- but I tried to find a picture of her online. She is still a mystery to me. I am curious though!

I have been called to jury duty- but never for a jury. I imagine it would be tough depending on the case and its length. This sounds like a fascinating episode!

Enbrethiliel said...


Brandon -- Good point! It figures that a feline wouldn't care much for human ideas of justice. =P

DMS -- I was disappointed to learn that Maschinski had only two TV roles in her entire life. She's a great character actress! But maybe she stuck to local theatre and shone there.

If you really want to see her, this Early Edition episode (its real title being "The Jury") is available on YouTube. Here is one of the uploaded videos. Her lines begin @5:49 with "Actually, the rules don't say anything about hockey sticks . . ." I'll have to watch it again to see if she's really knitting or if the needles and yarn are just props! =)

cyurkanin said...

I wish you would just start watching LOST already...