Are you overwhelmed by how much television is available right now? Is life getting in the way of keeping up with the shows you wanna try out? We feel your tube-related pain. Here’s a handy feature that’ll help you locate the hidden gems in this era of Peak TV.
NETWORK | NBC
CREATED BY | Jerrod Carmichael, Nicholas Stoller, Ari Katcher and Willie Hunter
NUMBER OF EPISODES | 19 over the first two seasons (six in Season 1, 13 in Season 2)
EPISODE LENGTH | 30 mins.
PREMISE | Stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael plays a heightened version of himself in this multi-camera sitcom, which revolves around the tight-knit Carmichael family. Though now living on his own with girlfriend Maxine (Greek‘s Amber Stevens West), he frequently finds himself back at his parents’ home, where everyone gets into heated discussions about current events and contemporary issues. Among those who make up Jerrod’s family: wise-cracking older brother Bobby (Lil Rel Howery), Bobby’s ex-wife Nekeisha (Tiffany Haddish) and extremely opinionated ‘rents Cynthia and Joe (played by Grey’s Anatomy‘s Loretta Devine and In Living Color‘s David Alan Grier).
Each episode predominantly takes place in the Carmichaels’ living room, with Jerrod and Maxine coming for a visit and bringing up whatever debate they were having earlier in the episode, which gives Joe and Cynthia an opportunity to chime in. Among the vast range of topics tackled during Seasons 1 and 2: Black Lives Matter, gentrification, Islamophobia, prayer in school, porn addiction and transgenderism. Two of the show’s most buzzed about episodes featured discussions about whether it’s still OK to recognize Bill Cosby (among other controversial celebs) for his talent after he was accused of 50+ counts of sexual assault, and in an episode that aired all the way back in May 2016 (which at this point feels like a lifetime ago), whether members of the family could support Donald Trump’s run for president.
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WORTH YOUR TIME IF YOU ENJOY… | Norman Lear’s brand of comedy. In other words, a well made sitcom shot in front of a live studio audience that is just as likely to make you laugh as it is to make you think. The Carmichael Show is perhaps most similar to All in the Family in that the action is typically confined to the one living room set, and that “action” is merely a discussion amongst the show’s central characters. (For what it’s worth, the show would fit perfectly in a block featuring Mom, The Ranch and Lear’s One Day at a Time remake, fellow contemporary multi-cams with distinctive points of view that are never just looking for a cheap punchline.) If you appreciate Carmichael’s stand-up comedy, you’re bound to like what you see here.
YOU SHOULD PROBABLY ALSO KNOW… | You’re not always going to agree with the direction of the conversation amongst the Carmichaels, or Jerrod’s overall opinion on any given topic. Don’t be fooled: Though the discussions at hand tend to be quite progressive, the family is almost always divided on where they stand. Jerrod’s opinions, especially, tend to be more right-of-center (at least when compared to the über-liberal Maxine), taking after his father. In other words: This isn’t just a show catering to the left.
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IS IT COMING BACK? | Yes. Season 3 (which will consist of 13 episodes) premieres Wednesday, May 31, at 9/8c.
Get a taste of The Carmichael Show with this scene from its Cosby episode, then tell us if you plan to catch up ahead of the Season 3 premiere.