The season 3 premiere episodes of NBC’s comedy The Carmichael Show, “Yes Means Yes,” and “Support our Troops,” aired Wednesday night and presented a refreshing change from the liberal agenda driven TV shows we’re used to. The show managed to discuss numerous issues, including rape, Iraq, the troops, and slavery, in a comical yet meaningful way.
First things first, both episodes had to attack President Trump, apparently obligatory for entertainment TV nowadays. Although the show has been pretty even handed in the past, the premiere episodes took multiple shots at the president.
Since the subject of rape can no longer be breached in this country without bringing up past lewd remarks made by President Trump, Jerrod’s (Jerrod Carmichael) girlfriend, Maxine (Amber Stevens West), argues, “A man who bragged about sexually assaulting women, and then dismissed it as 'locker room talk' was elected as the president of the United States. Clearly we don't take it seriously enough.” Jerrod’s brother Bobby adds, “You can brag about sexual assault and become president. I don't know if I should be horrified or inspired.”
In the following episode, Jerrod’s father, Joe (David Alan Grier), marches Jerrod and Bobby into an army recruitment center to show support for the troops. Upon seeing President Trump’s picture on the wall, the two brothers remark, “Hey, Dad, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. That's crazy, right? I mean, it still looks like an ad for The Apprentice to me.”
At the end of the episode, when Bobby expresses an interest in joining the military, Joe points to the picture of President Trump, exclaiming, “Look at this man. This is your president. I voted for him and even I know he's crazy. There are gonna be so many wars. You could die out there. And so could all these people up in here, too! And for what? Nothing! Everybody's gonna die for nothing!” An interesting statement coming from a man who believes the American military can do no wrong, but how else would the writers fulfill the honorable duty of attacking the president?
Putting the anti-Trump remarks aside, the show is able to intelligently and humorously touch on various issues.
In the first episode, as the family discusses the true meanings of rape and consent, intelligent points are brought up on all sides of the issue. Jerrod even manages to bring up the not so much talked about horror of being falsely accused of rape.
The next episode contains hilarious conversations between the unabashedly patriotic patriarch Joe and his family. Joe loves America and its military so much that he claims that if he were assaulted by a troop on his way home, he would “be thankful I gave him the extra training.” He even goes so far as to take a "big picture" look at slavery. While absurd, not many shows contain a black father accusing his black son of playing “the slavery card.”
Maxine: Did you forget that we invaded Iraq over a lie?
Joe: Oh, please, spare me the "We invaded Iraq over a lie" nonsense. I told you why we went! Iraq had oil. Now, these terrorists were gonna do bad things with that oil. So we had to go over there, stop them, get the oil, and return the oil to freedom. Mission accomplished.
Maxine: Look, America does a lot of terrible things, but we'll never improve as a country if we get called un-American every time we criticize it. You know, when I was in college, I made a point that we shouldn't celebrate Columbus Day anymore because of all the terrible things that Columbus did to the Native Americans, and then someone spray-painted the word "Communist" on my car.
Joe: Good. They should've slashed your tires while they were there. Look, Maxine, it was either the Native Americans or the real Americans; one of them had to go.
Cynthia: Yeah, and we took all of their land, but we named a lot of our sports teams after them, and I think that's nice.
Joe: Look, does this country have a history of doing evil things? Of course. But there is a necessary evil. And that has led us to being the greatest nation in the world.
Jerrod: Okay, but, Dad, you can't just excuse all of America's injustices. I mean, do I need to bring up the elephant in the room? We are black.
Joe: Oh... There it is. Now you done played the slavery card.
Jerrod: Dad, it's not a card, all right? It's a real thing that happened.
Joe: I just think, when it comes to slavery, you need to see the big picture.
Jerrod: Dad, are... Are you about to defend slavery right now?
Joe: I am not defending slavery. Slavery is the darkest shame on the history of America.
All: Oh, good, thank God. Whew. Took a turn there for a minute. Yeah, I was worried.
Joe: However. Let me just say this. If it hadn't been for slavery, we'd still be in Africa. Probably starving to death. Probably wind up on one of them infomercials begging some family from Ohio to sponsor us for 98 cents a day.
While obviously a bit ridiculous, the hilarious conversation is a refreshing alternative to the roast of America that is present in most of entertainment TV. With Last Man Standing gone, The Carmichael Show might just be the next best thing.
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