The Carmichael Show came to an end, last Wednesday, after only three seasons on NBC. Reportedly, it couldn't keep a steady audience. Still, I see it as one of the best comedies on TV in recent years. It's a semi-autobiographical sitcom about a comedian (Jerrod Carmichael), and it carefully steers clear of being a black variant of Seinfeld; A talking point is introduced - whether very serious or very out-of-the-ordinary - and the rest of the episode is an unconventionally productive discussion regarding that topic.
That is the formula to each episode of The Carmichael Show, which is set in Charlotte, North Carolina. It has covered Black Lives Matter, our current President, mass shootings, and infidelity as well as gentrification, threesomes, social media, and porn addiction. There aren't many topics, if any, not tackled in its three years. In the finale, Jerrod's younger brother Bobby (Lil Rel Howery) brings by a much older, much richer woman. After meeting her, the Carmichaels tease Bobby about the age difference and label him a gold digger. It isn't an original concept, per sé, but they expertly navigate it in an original manner.
The great part about Carmichael Show's topical diversity is that it created a dialogue between the very different characters on the show. His mom (Loretta Devine), dad (David Alan Grier), girlfriend (Amber Stevens West) and Tiffany Haddish (ex-sister-in-law?) each gave contrasting takes on what's going on, and that is significant. It isn't a show that was made to reaffirm personal beliefs. The purpose seems to be a bit more progressive, and most of the content favors an open mind. It closely mirrors Jerrod Carmichael's stand up.
The Carmichael Show will live on through streaming services, both legal and not-so-legal, so there will always be opportunities to delve into it. There are only 32 episodes - at just over 20 minutes each - so going through the three seasons can be done in half of a weekend. It is certainly recommended. There aren't many shows I've seen able to handle this kind of highly provocative material with such goofy elegance, and do it relatively easy. It will be missed.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% (season average)
WATCH a very brief clip from the end of the Season 3 episode Intervention below!!