Gladden’s genuine reactions are funny, expressing his silly side in the process. The funniest moments occur whenever he interacts with James Marsden and his showboating Primadonna persona. Marsden, being the only notable face, has Gladden a bit starstruck at first. The two go on listing all the movies Marsden starred in, but Ron admits he didn’t see “Sonic the Hedgehog” because he heard “it sucked.” The laughs hit even harder as Gladden reveals a certain late 2000s raunchy comedy as his favorite Marsden movie, making it a running gag that always calls for a laugh whenever mentioned. Marsden is the MVP, an actor who takes the comedy higher with his consistently obnoxious behavior and comic timing. He doesn’t share the same improv experience as his co-stars so it’s impressive how well he consistently keeps it professional and commits to his diva demeanor with fun comical results.
The unique structure here serves as a strong improv showcase for the talent onscreen, with Alan Barinholtz, Rashida “Sheedz” Olayiwola, David Brown, Kirk Fox, Mekki Leeper, Edy Modica, Maria Russell, and Ishmel Sahid, as notable standouts. “Jury Duty” sometimes has the same chill, relaxing vibe as “Animal Crossing.” Gladden is the Villager and must aid all the quirky colorful strangers he interacts with on their island and better his relationship and friendship with them, despite that island being within the halls of a courtroom.
“Jury Duty” keeps its laughs and premise at a moderate level, treading lightly in its absurdism. It doesn’t necessarily keep audiences hooked for laughter and outrageous workplace shenanigans are kept at a minimum. Despite its low-key charms, like so much TV lately, it’s not the right length. The novelty of the premise starts to run its course at the halfway mark. Even Marsden’s wackiness loses its flair. However, what it lacks in laughs, it makes up for in charm. Its beating heart of endearment makes this comedy series delightfully stand out.
“Jury Duty” pulls its last prank on the audience, wringing our emotions more than belly laughs. This solid workplace comedy tells a resonant story of community, unpacking how it’s not just about serving in this world but who you’re serving with.
Whole season screened for review.