Trial & Error Season 1 Review

Trial & Error a real television show that appears on real televisions across the real United States. Sorry, let me rephrase. Trial & Error is a real television show? I have completely founded doubts that it exists. I have not seen a single commercial, advertisement or late show interview plugging this so-called “television series.” It remains equally likely that Trial & Error is just an elaborate prank someone is trying to pull on me… or I’ve had a stroke.

I have never heard another human being mention this show. And yet, every single week a new episode of Trial & Error appears in my Hulu feed. Astounding. Where are these episodes coming from? Who put them there? Hell, sometimes there are two or three new episodes! Wizardry.

According to Hulu, this Trial & Error show supposedly airs on NBC. I have no capability to watch live television and therefore have no method of confirming this wildly speculative assertion. Despite my current status as a “cable cutter,” I have never run into the issue of being uninformed of new television shows. Marketing departments at NBC, CBS and ABC aren’t dummies. They know we exist and bombard us with internet ads.

There are no internet ads for Trial & Error. Zero. How about the ads that play before movies? Lots of shows advertise in that space. Not Trial & Error. This is because Trial & Error is not real. It does not exist. The series is simple an illusion that was fabricated specifically for me, either by a rich prankster or my own withering mind. To prove this, let’s examine the facts.

#1: John Lithgow

I love John Lithgow. He is an amazing actor who’s capable of every type of role. From gut busting hilarity to spine curling creepiness, John can do it all. For that reason, I think he should be in as many shows has humanly possible. So if I, or some prankster, wanted to create a fictitious television show, John Lithgow would 100% be in the cast.

#2: Mockumentary

I like mockumentaries. The Office and Parks and Recreation are great television shows. This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and the rest of Christopher Guest’s filmography are fantastic, infinitely rewatchable films. Mockumentaries, when done correctly, are a hilarious method of story telling. So if I, or some rascal, were to develop a fake television show, mockumentary style would be a completely viable option.

#3: Murder Mystery

I am a sucker for murder mysteries. Even if the show surrounding the mystery isn’t that good, *cough* Castle *cough* I’ll still watch every episode. Creating a quality mystery-based television show is difficult. Some shows fall into obvious patterns like having the perpetrator always be the second person the detectives interview *cough* Castle *cough*. Trial & Error takes a different approach and it is a welcomed addition to the genre. In addition to being genuinely funny, the mystery is genuinely interesting and well written. So if I, or some jokester, were to develop a fake television show, building the plot around a murder mystery would be an obvious solution.

Cross Examination

Before I am able to state with certainty that Trial & Error does not truly exist, I must rid my mind of all reasonable doubt. If this show is a construct of my mind, why is the show not perfectly crafted for me? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that I would love every single aspect of the television show?

There are a few details about Trial & Error that are inconsistent with this line of thinking. However, the most glaring issue I notice also affects similar shows like Parks and Recreation. Both shows exist in, what’s said to be, small town america. Both towns are said to be full of simpletons, conservatives and poverty. And yet both series present towns full of high culture, liberal amenities and wealth.

Trial & Error takes place in the tiny southern town of East Peck. I, the sole viewer of this television show, am often told that East Peck is a sparsely populated, poverty-stricken, backwoods town populated by blue-collar folks with no interest in the modern frills found in big cities. But that is not what I am shown.

The East Peck displayed on screen is a thriving liberal town full of arts and amenities. The streets are clean. The downtown buildings are immaculate. The houses that line the manicured lawns come straight from wealthy suburban sprawls. Either East Peck is one of the most heavily taxed conservative towns in the South, or the city is overrun by a zealous cult.


Trial & Error is a fake show made specifically for my pleasure. Every character is unique and enjoyable. The writing is clever. The humor is natural and consistent. And for a show built around solving a crime, the mystery is legitimately interesting and comes to a satisfying conclusion.

I can easily overlook the inconsistencies that irritate my sensibilities. When trying to convince someone of something false, it is necessary to mix in some flaws. Perfection arouses suspicion. Nothing is perfect. The flaws created a sense of realism that almost allowed Trial & Error to fool me.

I definitely imagined this wonderful television series. I hope to imagine a second season.

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