In his new series Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show, comedian and actor Jerrod Carmichael takes the idea of a reality show to another level. 

Carmichael is best known for his Emmy award-winning comedy special Rothaniel — which tackles the emotional aspects of coming out as gay with light-hearted jokes — as well as his semi-autobiographical sitcom, The Carmichael Show

Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show follows Carmichael as he explores love and relationships and his family’s disapproval of his sexual orientation.

In the first episode of the series, Carmichael mentions he’s trying to “Truman Show himself.” While reality shows are edited and the cameras turn off at some point, Carmichael takes a different approach. 

In one of the most vulnerable moments from the series, Carmichael confronts his best friend — and crush — about the distance between them since he admitted his feelings. This best friend turns out to be Tyler, the Creator, a rapper known for his off-kilter humor, making for interesting moments. 

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This awkward confrontation leads to long-silences led by Tyler, the Creator’s initial response to Carmichael’s feelings — calling him a “stupid bitch.”

The pair’s conversation leads into a strained take-out dinner, with Tyler, the Creator still not afraid to throw quips to fill the silence and Carmichael on the verge of tears. It’s a moment that makes you want to peel away from the screen but also wonder how far Carmichael will go to show all sides of his reality. 

This question is answered with the second episode of the series, which follows Carmichael from the beginning of him developing feelings for someone into a love-spun committed relationship. The series isn’t afraid to get personal and explores more serious topics such as sex addiction. 

The show does not have many typical reality show elements, but rather creates an entirely different interpretation of the medium. While Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show displays real time action and interactions, it also uses cinematic elements to bring together the story as it unfolds. 

In one scene, the show uses tight shots to show Carmichael’s stricken emotions when confronting his feelings for Tyler, the Creator and more playful, quick-paced shots when Carmichael gets ready for the Emmys. 

The use of clips from Carmichael’s comedy specials creates what feels like a “tell-all” interview common in reality shows. These scenes feel like he’s talking more casually rather than reciting scripted stand-up show lines. 

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In some scenes woven throughout episodes, Carmichael sits on a chair with a single spotlight on him, swallowed by a dark background. It almost feels like a therapy session, giving the audience more insight into what Carmichael is feeling in the moment rather than showing it through rehearsed comedy bits.

While the first three episodes of the eight-part show are a rollercoaster of emotions and embarrassment, it’s a dose of reality for viewers. It’s tempting to believe in the glitz and glamor of reality show drama, but this series is truly as real as it gets.