Everyone has heard the phrase “you never know until you try it” at least once in their life. Someone might assume they can know the everyday hardships of a homeless person, for example, but when they experience life without a roof over their head, those harsh realities can become all the more clear.

“World of Jenks”

Mondays at 10 p.m.
MTV

This concept is what the new MTV series “World of Jenks” is trying to convey: You must immerse yourself in something to truly understand it. Though we’ve seen this idea on TV before (see Morgan Spurlock’s FX series “30 Days”), “Jenks” still carries the possibility to show us a world most of us will never truly understand. The series follows young aspiring filmmaker Andrew Jenks (“Room 335”) as he travels around the country and lives with different people for one week each, trying to gain perspective on how they live and the challenges they face.

Jenks first finds a roommate in rapper Maino (“All the Above”). Maino has one request for Jenks before moving in with him: “No cryin’, no bitchin’.” But while Maino unsurprisingly proves to be quite the clubbing aficionado, Jenks is still able to uncover more about the artist’s life than most of his fans would know. After watching Lady Gaga show up at this year’s VMAs wearing a dress made of meat (or more accurately, watching her any time she shows up anywhere), it’s pretty easy to assume most popular musicians are crazy and out of touch with the real world. Sure, Maino is living the life for a good part of the episode, but we also catch a lesser-known side of him: Main the father who faced hardships to get where he is.

Maino spent 10 years of his life in jail for kidnapping, and when he finally opens up to Jenks, he means it sincerely when he says “Sometimes you gotta go through hell to get to heaven.” Maino went on to get his GED and began writing his music, all while in prison. These are the kinds of raw, intimate moments that give the show its power.

In planning the show, Jenks made sure that his style of documentary wouldn’t simply watch someone’s life from the sidelines. He immerses himself in Maino’s life and does what he does for a whole week, from picking his son up at school to paying a visit to Maino’s old neighborhood. However, given that the show is dealing with a whole week’s worth of footage, it’s difficult to see how the entire experience could be displayed in 30 minutes of airtime.

There’s a lot more that could be learned about the lives of these people if the time was lengthened. While the audience does see and learn a lot in the 30-minute span, the limitations of the runtime take away a lot of possibilities for further delving into the lives of Jenks’s temporary roommates.

Jenks may only have seen a glimmer of the spotlight for now, but if he comes back to his audience every week with inspiring stories like Maino’s and presents them in a similarly captivating manner, it won’t be long before he, too, is thrust right into the spotlight. Sure, we may have seen this style of show before, but Jenks has something special going on. It will be truly exciting to see what he does each week.

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