You the Jury

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
You the Jury TV Poster Image
Viewers choose the verdict in sensational courtroom reality.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

While it's important to learn right from wrong, the way this series treats serious court cases is not very respectful.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A mom sticks up for her son, who was the victim of online racial slurs.

Violence

One of the cases concerns a drowning, for which the defendant was deemed a prime suspect by law enforcement (who considered it murder) in Aruba, where it took place.

Sex

References to sunbathing topless, a man and woman who met on a dating app being "lovers."

Language

There's a case concerning online trolls making racially charged comments about a 3-year-old African-American boy. Racial slurs and jokes are repeated in evidence, and the word "douche" (referring to people) is thrown around quite a bit.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A meme depicts a man at a table with a crack pipe and other drug paraphernalia.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that You the Jury is a courtroom reality show where TV viewers across America serve as both audience and jury, casting their "guilty" or "not guilty" votes at the end of each episode. These are civil, not criminal cases with defendants seeking to clear their names and, in many cases, plaintiffs seeking monetary compensation of some kind. The show strives to feature "hot button" issues such as internet trolling and LGBTQ rights, but in at least one instance, a defendant is accused of murder.

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What's the story?

Controversial Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro serves as the Ryan Seacrest-style host of YOU THE JURY, introducing the key players and announcing the binding, audience-decided verdict at the end of each show. Retired former Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell presides as judge, while the participants are represented by any one of six well-known attorneys, lawyers who have represented high-profile clients such as Alex Rodriguez and Casey Anthony. The trials follow the usual pattern of opening statements, witness interviews, expert testimony, and so on -- but when it comes to the summation portion of the proceedings, the attorneys are sidelined while the plaintiff and defendant are seated face-to-face and make their final statements directly to one another. This is all happening in a slick, stadium-like set filled with cheering and jeering audience members and a jumbotron-style monitor zooming in on every tear-streaked moment. At the end of each episode, viewers at home can text or use an app to cast their votes for guilty or not guilty, the same way one would vote for a favorite performer on a televised variety show.

Is it any good?

While it's understandable that a network would want to update the boilerplate courtroom-show format, giving murder and racial discrimination cases the glitzy game show treatment is a bit much. The stadium seating lends a Thunderdome-type feel to the proceedings of You the Jury, with glaring spotlights and sound effects adding extra drama. The grandstanding attorneys are beyond over the top, physically circling their foes during cross-examinations while the live audience loudly vocalizes their support or disapproval.

It's one thing to televise civil cases about a neighbor's barking dog or an ex-roommate who trashed your apartment, à la the milder scenarios seen on The People's Court and similar shows, but when the civil cases presented concern human lives being extinguished, there's something very tasteless about treating the proceedings like a monster truck rally. There's a reason actual court cases are decided by a jury of one's peers and not a live television audience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether being on a show like You the Jury would be a good way to prove someone's guilt or innocence. How might having an audibly reacting live audience affect how people view the facts of the case?

  • Why might someone want to appear on a show like this? Would the face-to-face portion of the closing arguments be a good way to get things off your chest as a participant?

  • In real life, a jury is carefully screened so as to be as unbiased as possible. How might a case's outcome be affected when a jury pool becomes open to anyone with a working cell phone?

TV details

  • Premiere date: April 7, 2017
  • Network: Fox
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14

For kids who love courtroom drama

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