“What if a murder was presented as a comedy?” is the tagline of NBC’s newest comedy series, Trial & Error. John Lithgow plays an eccentric southern man whose wife is suspiciously deceased. The show is set in obscure-rural-town-6, South Carolina, so all manner of fun can be poked at the “every bit a sophisticated a manner of justice as you may be accustomed.”

The comedy stems largely from ignorance and ridiculously quirky characters, with a fish-out-of-water “northeasterner” lawyer (“Daddy always said, ‘If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law, hire a [pregnant pause] northeasterner’.”). The lawyer’s office is the side room of a taxidermist; his investigator is an inept ex-cop; and his assistant suffers from an ever-growing list of bizarre afflictions.

The show is presented as a documentary of the sensational case, shot live as events unfold. It is a pronounced choice as characters look straight into the camera and acknowledge its existence. There are even moments where the characters try to have private conversations by stepping away from the ubiquitous film crew. Fortunately, they seem to have disposed of the “confessional” booth trope.

The first two episodes premiered last night. They seemed like the producers/writers opened a thirty minute shoe-box and crammed an hour’s worth of jokes inside.

While I hesitate to call it a good show, as it is peculiar, I did find myself giggling for the whole time… intermixed with bursts of “really, another [bizarre affliction]?” They were, at least, consistent; she didn’t have a problem when it suited the story and be miraculously unaffected when it didn’t.