Some people, for whatever reason, look forward to that civic duty that most of us fear. Perhaps this rare species hopes to be part of an exciting national interest story, one that would place it at the very center of its outcome.
Most people, of course, know that being a member of a jury is rarely exciting. Most of the cases involve low-key crimes, where neither Perry Mason nor Matlock appear. However, after receiving the notice in the mail last month, I prepared to drive to court every morning until the end of my week.
Luckily for me, I didn’t even have to start the car that week. Per instructions, I called the jury number every night before, only to find that jurors would not be needed.
As I was relieved when I heard that message, it set me apart from some characters in my favorite TV sitcoms. In many of these programs, people enjoy the responsibility of hearing cases. Actually, those who feel like me are the minority on this list.
Here are ten classic sitcoms that feature an episode about one of the regular characters who serve as a jury.
Edith Bunker on “All in the Family”
Archie’s wife (played by Jean Stapleton) is the only one of the jurors who refuses to pass a guilty verdict, and she ends up being right.
Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show”
The head of the Taylor family resists what the other eleven jurors believe, but her reluctance is justified.
Homer Simpson in “The Simpsons”
In the episode called “The Boy Who Knew Too Much”, Homer serves as a jury in a case in which Bart ends up being a reluctant eyewitness.
Fred Sanford in “Sanford and Son”
The father (played by Redd Foxx) enjoys his hotel stay and free meals so much that he refuses to reach a unanimous verdict.
Lois in “Malcolm in the Middle”
In the same episode where the main character sees Kitty naked, her mother (played by Janet Kaczemarek) fights with other jurors to analyze her case rather than just saying guilty to get it over with.
Peter Griffin in “Family Guy”
In an episode called “121/2 Angry Men”, the selected jury includes Peter, Quagmire and Brian.
Roger in “American Dad”
Roger ends up being part of the panel that will decide Stan’s guilt in an episode called “The People v. Martin Sugar”.
Jess in “New Girl”
The main character (played by Zooey Daschenal) is in high spirits to fulfill his civic duty, until he learns that missing work could jeopardize a new job promotion.
Adrian Monk in “Monk”
The title private detective (played by Tony Shalhoub), while serving on a jury, discovers that one of his companions is involved in a crime greater than the case they are hearing.
Diane in “Cheers”
Not only does the female star at the bar where everyone knows your name (played by Shelly Long) serve on the jury, but is also assigned the unenviable responsibility of being the foreman.