“Judge Annie” pokes fun at televised justice and rich privilege as ownership of a local lake becomes an issue.
This recap of Duncanville Season 1, Episode 8, “Judge Annie”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Very early in Duncanville Episode 8, Duncan (Amy Poehler) makes what I’m pretty sure is a reference is Chuck Palahniuk’s infamous short story “Guts”, about a grim pool-drain accident, and you have to wonder how many of the show’s viewers will pick up on it. That Duncanville on some level seems to misunderstand its audience has been a consistent problem, but at least “Judge Annie” is a broad mockery of public-access television, justice as entertainment, and rich privilege, all of which should be relatable enough subjects for humor.
Since it’s summertime and the local swimming pool is packed — hence the “Guts” reference — Jack (Ty Burrell) and Annie (also Poehler) lead the kids to an idyllic and secluded lake where they swam as youngsters. They have a nice time, and then on the way home Annie, never off-duty, tickets a smug, wealthy parking violator for taking up three handicapped spaces. He contests the ticket, and the case is argued in the televised court of Judge Jeremiah. Annie gives a rousing speech about inequality and how the wealthy should still be bound by the same laws as everyone else, which, according to the Mayor, who is watching, makes Annie a hit with her “idiot constituents”. The Mayor offers Annie a low-paid part-time judge position on public-access TV, with Jack as her bailiff.
Meanwhile, Duncan, Kimberly (Riki Lindhome), and Duncan’s friends return to the swimming hole — which, it turns out, is owned by the parking douche. They’re charged with trespass and the case is argued in Annie’s court. Despite her apparently for-the-people sensibilities, the law is what it is, and since Parking Douche is the official legal owner of the land, she has no choice but to rule in his favor.
Judge Annie’s ruling prompts a protest in Duncanville Episode 8, as Duncan and his pals skinny dip for justice so that Parking Douche can’t drain the lake. They quickly begin to regret it — well, everyone except Bex (Betsy Sodaro) — once their modesty is threatened, but the timely arrival of the fabled Squirrel Man interrupts the proceedings. Squirrel Man has lived there for 50 years, which gives him squatter’s rights. He gets to decide what happens to the lake — and since it’s basically his toilet, he’d like it to stay.
Duncanville Season 1, Episode 8 ends with a last-minute Judge Judy cameo as Jing (Joy Osmanski) sues Annie and Jack for failing to buy her the puppy they promised, which is probably the best joke of the episode.
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