Jerrod: Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show
May 27, 2024 8:33 AM - All Seasons - Subscribe

Follow the life of Jerrod Carmichael, through his encounters with friends, family, and strangers, all in his search for love, sex, and connection. (imdb) Spoilers inside

I must confess, I'd never heard of Jerrod Carmichael until I read this review in the Guardian.

This is reality TV with no punches pulled, no fake scenarios or dialogue, no glitzy locations (other than a brief reference to the Emmys). What you do have is a protagonist who is selfish, narcissistic, a bad friend a terrible boyfriend - but who at the same time is willing to be open, raw and vulnerable, with a camera literally in his face at some points in the show.

We follow his life over a period of several months, where he's exploring coming out as gay in his early 30s, and trying his best to make up for lost time with anonymous Grindr hookups, but at the same time, falling in love with Michael, a sweet, gentle man who behaves with dignity and grace, even after finding out that Jerrod is incapable of staying monogamous in their long-distrance relationship.

Jerrod treats his friends appallingly, not showing up as best man for his friend's wedding because he got distracted on his way to buy a black shirt so he'd match all the other groomsmen. Then when he was trying to make amends, thinking it was enough to arrive on the friend's doorstep months later, unannounced, to give the best man's speech he'd meant to give at the wedding.

He'd promised another friend, Jessica, when they were growing up in Winston-Salem, that he'd take care of her when he was rich, and, shit, now he's rich she's somehow expecting him to fulfil his promise, so she moves into his fancy New York apartment to pursue her career as an actor. Jerrod tires of her very quickly as a roommate, and to be fair, she's pretty messy and demanding. So for her birthday, rather than the trip to the Hamptons she wanted, he blindfolds her, and drives her to a new apartment he's found for her, forgetting to tell her that he's only paid a month's rent. We don't see Jessica again until the last episode, when Jerrod's mother visits him in New York.

And this brings me to the part where I really feld for Jarrod, despite him being such a difficult person to like. His parents are the embodiment of This Be The Verse.

A road trip with his father to trace his roots show's Jerrod's dad to be remote, unemotional and uncommunicative, unable to connect with his son and unwilling to acknowledge his own awful behaviour (he had a whole other secret family that his wife knew nothing about).

And his mother - oh dear God, his mother... A deeply relgious women, she claims to love her son unconditionally, but at the same time is convinced she can 'pray away the gay'. She's unable to accept that his being gay isn't a lifestyle choice, and refuses to believe that all the time Jerrod was growing up, when he was pretending to like girls he was actually hiding his true self. When Jerrod introduces her to the lovely Michael, she can barely bring herself to speak to him. She visits Jerrod in New York, and he takes her to a gay-friendly gospel church in Harlem. After the service, there's an uncomfortable conversation with the pastor, who chides her on her homophobia.

This was a compelling piece of television, surprisingly honest, and I hope his dreadful mother will be horrified when she sees it.
posted by essexjan
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