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Saturday June 15th

‘Jury Duty’ is the refreshing ‘Truman Show’ style mockumentary you need to see

<p>‘Jury Duty’ is about jury #6, Ronald Gladden, who lives a real-life “Truman Show” scenario. He serves on a jury, not knowing that all of the other jurors are actors, and the trial is fake (Photo courtesy of <a href="" target="">Amazon Studios</a>).<br/><br/></p>

‘Jury Duty’ is about jury #6, Ronald Gladden, who lives a real-life “Truman Show” scenario. He serves on a jury, not knowing that all of the other jurors are actors, and the trial is fake (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios).

By Chelsie Derman

For fans of “The Truman Show” or “The Office,” the new comedy Freevee show “Jury Duty” is a must-see. The show premiered on April 7, and Freevee released the final episode of the eight episode series on Friday. Each episode runs roughly a half an hour, making it great to binge watch.

“Jury Duty,” filmed like a documentary and created by the producers of “The Office” (Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky), follows a jury duty during a ridiculous trial. Ronald Gladden, jury #6 and the appointed foreperson, thinks this is a normal trial. He had applied to participate in a documentary about how jury duty works after seeing a Craigslist post about it. Because Ronald is under the impression that he is simply on a documentary, he doesn’t question the cameras.

The catch? The case is not real, and the judge, defendants, prosecutors, lawyers, police officer and every single person on the jury are actors. Everyone is just playing a character, including James Marsden (best known for his roles in “Enchanted,” “The Notebook” and many others). Marsden, the alternate on the jury, plays an exaggerated, egotistic version of himself. 

While I personally did not recognize any of the other improv actors other than Marsden, other actors have been in well-known shows. For example, Mekki Leeper, who played Noah, starred as Eric in “The Sex Lives of College Girls.” Other well-known shows or movies that the improv actors have made an appearance in include “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Parks and Recreation” — the list goes on. Fortunately, Ronald did not recognize any of these improv actors and just barely recognized Marsden.

The show features many interesting characters —  an eccentric inventor who has some pretty odd inventions (one being his pant chair: a device that lets you sit without a chair), a virgin who is in denial that his girlfriend is cheating on him (played by Leeper), and a older lady who can’t stop falling asleep in the courtroom.

Everyone has their unique backstory, and everyone on the jury gets to know each other really well. Oh, and they’re sequestered, so there’s no way to communicate with anyone off set.

For someone who is not interested in watching documentaries or shows about court cases, “Jury Duty” is not like your typical documentary or court case show. I simply decided to give it a try after watching the teaser trailer on TikTok. The spoilers did not make this series any less enjoyable, as the show still had a lot more fresh content.

From every one liner to the way the show was cut, “Jury Duty” kept me engaged and made me laugh at nearly every scene. Despite the “serious” trial, nothing in the show was taken seriously. 

The unusual behaviors of everyone on cast made the show truly hilarious and refreshing.

The show also didn’t just take place in the trial room — jury members were very into figuring out their lunch plans (which I found humorous because it isn’t what you would expect to see in a jury). They ate at Margaritaville, threw a birthday party for one member of the jury and they hung out in the hotel. One of the highlights of the show was when everyone on the jury did something and the police officer threatened to arrest every single one of them. The funny moments never dulled. 

I also loved how, by the end of the trial, everyone on the jury was now a part of a big family. 

Ronald was the perfect guy for the show. The show revealed that, while many plot point ideas were scripted, Ronald was hitting every script they planned for him. Since everything is all improv, Ronald had ultimately determined the direction of the series, but he had unknowingly read the scriptwriter's mind many times. Ronald was also extremely sweet — he actually got really into the trial and wanted to be friends with everyone.

I also really like how the series ends with Ronald going behind the scenes and learning how everything in the show was done. We also learn that even though he was fooled by everyone in the show, he still keeps in touch with other members of the jury. 

I admit, I had been dreading going to jury duty ever since I got called in to go for the first time in mid-June. After watching this series, I am not dreading going in as much, even though I know it will be nowhere as exciting as the “Jury Duty” trial. 

“Jury Duty” is available to watch on Freevee, which can be accessed on Amazon Prime.


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