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Jury Duty's Ronald Gladden Was 'Truman Show-Ed' By The Big Reveal

Amazon Freevee's show "Jury Duty" quietly premiered on April 7, 2023, on the streamer — and ever since, accidental star Ronald Gladden has become one of the year's most beloved television personalities. After participating in what he thought was a documentary about the experience of sitting on a jury, during which weirder and weirder things kept happening, Gladden was informed, by lawyer and actor Alan Barinholtz (acting as the "judge"), that the entire thing was fake.

This wasn't a mean-spirited experiment, though. The show is sort of a "hero's journey" for a guy who has no idea that he's even on one, and as Barinholtz tells the confused man, Gladden chose to do the right and kind thing with his fellow jurors at every turn — even as they tried to completely freak him out. So how did Gladden feel about it all?

Gladden, who's still working full-time even after walking away from the series with $100,000, doesn't even really tell people about the show half of the time. Why? "One, because it doesn't sound believable," he told TODAY. "And two, I feel like this is something that's much better seen rather than explained." He did say, though, that the entire thing felt like a beloved Jim Carrey movie. "The best way I can describe it is I got 'Truman Show'-ed in real life," he joked. "That's such a crazy thing to say."

Ronald Gladden had trouble figuring out what was and wasn't real after Jury Duty

Asked if it was tricky for him to get used to his real life after "Jury Duty," Gladden admitted that he did start to question, well, everything. "I wouldn't say it was difficult," he revealed. "But after the reveal I took a month off, easily. I did not work for a month after this. Every single day there would be something that just hit me, like, 'Oh my God, was that fake? Was this an actor? Was this setup?'"

Before the show aired, Gladden couldn't share details of it with anyone in his life, making everything that much more bizarre. "It was an adjustment period, but it wasn't ever difficult. Not to mention I couldn't talk about this show. I couldn't tell family members, friends. I couldn't post about it. So, I just had to live like it never happened."

This all makes sense; the series went to the trouble of meticulously crafting an entire trial and environment that was carefully monitored and planned to the minute — except for Gladden, which meant that the creative team and actors had to anticipate his every move. As far as Gladden was concerned, the reveal meant that, aside from James Marsden (who played himself), every single person he met was simply pretending. But at least, in the end, the bonds were real.

Jury Duty helped Ronald Gladden make a lot of new friends

Gladden might have had a rough time readjusting to real life after appearing on "Jury Duty," but the good thing is that he made plenty of new friends during the very confusing process. The magic of "Jury Duty" is that it's never, ever mean-spirited about Gladden; he's clearly an incredibly kind individual, and the show really just lets him shine by putting him in situations where he forms very real bonds with the absolutely absurd people in his orbit. The finale of "Jury Duty" revealed that Gladden and his castmates, including Marsden, still spend time together, which he confirmed to TODAY.

After the reveal, Gladden was relieved to watch as the actors surrounded him and told him not everything was fake. "They're like, 'Hey, just so you know, yes, we were acting this whole time. But, we really did bond. Those conversations we had, those were real. The things I told you about myself, that was real.' That is what made it OK to me. I know a lot of people will question the morality and the ethics of the show, but honestly those friendships being real made it completely fine with me. Because that's what I took away from this."

"Jury Duty" is available to stream on Amazon and Freevee now.