Another Period: trial by idiot

The sophomore season of Another Period is now in full swing with last night’s episode having quite a bit of fun with the judiciary. If you haven’t already caught this gem of a comedy, it is an American period sitcom spoofing both reality shows and Downton Abbey. The show follows the outrageous lives of the Bellacourts, the first family of Newport, Rhode Island, and their household staff at the turn of the 20th century. With the first season covering issues such as drug addiction, mental illness, incest, sexual harassment, and abortion, we can expect the second season to continue to merrily cross the line into the taboo.   Uncertain judge

Last night’s episode was no exception, as the groundskeeper (Hamish, played by Brett Gelman) stands trial for the murder of a local gossip columnist with a nasty habit of exposing some of the Bellacourts’ dark family secrets in the Newport Looky-Loo newspaper. Despite the fact that Hamish is innocent (at least of this particular crime), his chances look grim with the fantastically unqualified Lord Frederick Bellacourt (played by Jason Ritter) presiding over the trial. His chances are not helped by the facts that Lillian Bellacourt (played by show co-creator Natasha Leggero) is more concerned with fame than the truth of her upcoming testimony, and Beatrice Bellacourt (played by show co-creator Riki Lindhome) is hoping for a death sentence for her own entertainment.

For his part, Ritter’s Lord Bellacourt gave us some excellent pointers on what a judge should not do during a trial, such as:

  1.  Proclaim himself “King of the Lawyers!”
  2. Have his twin sister (and secret lover) take over as judge while he goes “no. 1.”
  3. Return from a bathroom break to loudly proclaim from the bench, “I went no. 1 but while sitting down, just in case.”
  4. Allow an inebriated Mark Twain to represent the defendant in a capital murder case.
  5. Allow Mark Twain to nap during the trial.
  6. Entertain Mark Twain’s suggestion that he testify against his own client.
  7. Allow his father to interrupt the defendant’s testimony to provide a ridiculous alibi.
  8. Attempt to verify a defendant’s obviously made-up alibi by asking a female spectator to lift her skirts in the middle of the courtroom.
  9. Give the spectators (and me) nightmares about the coastline of New Hampshire.
  10. Accept a clearly unintentional and false confession from a minority spectator, because he’s ready to put down the gavel and flirt with his twin sister.

In short, never give a Bellacourt (especially Frederick, who enjoys “lawn canoeing” in his spare time) any level of power or responsibility.  For my fellow Another Period fans, use the comments section below to tell us your favorite part of last night’s episode.

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