Main cast: Catherine O’Hara (Geraldine Ferrett), Peter MacNicol (Austin Haggard), Joseph Maher (The Judges), Wesley Mann (Purdy Lee Dreyfus), and John Kassir (The Crypt Keeper)
Director: Russell Mulcahy
What season are we in now? The sixth? The comic-style episode art has been switched up a bit, although I’m certain the artist is still the same, and hopefully there will be some great episodes this time around. Unfortunately, the season-opener Let the Punishment Fit the Crime won’t be one of these episodes.
Geraldine Ferrett is a lawyer who never lets scruples get in the way of her winning a case and, hence, the jackpot. When the episode opens, she is brought to this dusty, old-fashioned courthouse in Stueksville, for “driving an improperly licensed vehicle”. To underscore what a mean person she is, she kicks the plastered leg of a man in a wheelchair while demanding to know where she is. She expects the whole thing to be over in an hour or so, but as it turns out, this is not an ordinary courthouse. The judges hand out disproportionately heavy punishment – including the pillory, cutting off of various body parts, and even capital punishment that will be carried out there and then – for the slightest of crime, and Geraldine’s only ally is the bumbling public defender Austin Haggard, who dresses like he’s walked out of a Pee-Wee Herman impersonator meeting.
Our protagonist is singularly shrill, vile, and bitchy to the point of being a cartoon character, and she’s supposed to be that way. This episode is all about piling on one absurdity after another, leading up to a revelation that most people can see coming early on, and after a while, it seems like everyone has just given up and we are now just going through the haw-haw-haw like clockwork. The take home message is of course predictable – lawyers are lowlifes who deserve to burn in hell. Of course, this episode offers lawyers a place worse than hell – Stueksville offers incessant degradation and abuse of lawyers to such a degree that Austin will rather burn in hell than to remain there any longer – so there’s that.
Let the Punishment Fit the Crime is ideal for people who are in a dark mood when it comes to lawyers, but this thinly-plotted cartoon-like episode has little to offer everyone else.