Calling all “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office” and “Abbott Elementary” fans. A new mockumentary just dropped and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The eight-episode mini-series called “Jury Duty” is a “Truman Show”-like set-up where all characters on the show are actors, except one.
Ronald Gladden was one of 4,000 people who applied to a Craigslist advertisement that sought participants for a documentary about the judicial process. And, because of his likable and kind characteristics, he was chosen to come down to the courthouse for questioning. What Gladden didn’t know, however, was that it was a fake advertisement for a pretend trial and the directors had already chosen him as “the hero.”
Fourteen jurors, two of which are alternates, take part in a three-week civil case in Los Angeles, Calif. where they fall victim to faulty lawyers, interesting witnesses and unique peers. During court hours, the jurors judge the trial of a business owner who sued an employee for having caused damage to the merchandise and machinery. Allegedly, the accused employee was under the influence during working hours and soiled himself all over countless company t-shirts. The jurors’ jobs: to unanimously find the defendant liable or not liable.
One of the jurors is James Marsden, a well-known actor who has played roles in “The Notebook,” “Hairspray,” “Enchanted” and more. It is possibly one of the funniest aspects of the show because he plays himself, only a cocky-arrogant version which is shown by his constant bragging, career talk and audition practices. Due to this, Marsden causes the entire group to become “sequestered,” in the hopes that his identity wouldn’t interfere with the privacy of the case.
Like I told most of my peers, I have never laughed at a show as hard as I did watching “Jury Duty.” There would be points when watching that I was giggling so loudly I thought for sure my housemate was going to yell at me for being so loud.
While each episode has a loose outline for what the showrunners wanted to happen, since Ronald is the only one that is not an actor, the characters have to come up with responses to whatever Ronald does or says on the fly—and quickly. The improv and humor are so impressive as it is hilarious that it is impossible not to smile as the show plays out. Not only that, but Ronald is genuinely one of the sweetest people I have ever witnessed in my life, and for that reason only, I urge anyone and everyone to take the two and half hours out of their schedule to binge-watch the entire show. I actually teared up in the last episode watching him process that the past three weeks of his life were a ploy because his disposition is just so full of light.
All eight episodes are available to watch on Freevee, a complimentary Amazon streaming network.