Tuesday, August 25, 2015

NBC Summer Pilot Review: The Carmichael Show - Premieres Wednesday, Aug. 26; WGN America Announces Launch Date for Prime Crime Block

Mr. Robinson

The Carmichael Show - Wednesdays at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT


by Skees

From stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael comes The Carmichael Show, a series based upon his real family life. Everything seems to go pretty well back at home in his apartment (where he lives with his girlfriend, a therapist in training), but back at his parent's home, he has to deal with his vocal and politically incorrect father, a mother who fears God and will get involved in anything that is none of her business, and a brother who is always there to take advantage of everybody.

Cast Details:

Jerrod Carmichael as Jerrod Carmichael
Amber Stevens West as Maxine
David Alan Grier as Joe Carmichael
Loretta Devine as Cynthia Carmichael
Lil Rel Howard as Bobby Carmichael

Jerrod Carmichael (Jerrod) plays the starring role, which is (clearly) named after himself. Carmichael is a stand-up comic based in North Carolina, and previously had a recurring role on the short-lived Fox series The Goodwin Games.

Amber Stevens West (Maxine) plays Jerrod's live-in girlfriend. She is best known for her role on the ABC Family series Greek, but has also had appearances on How I Met Your Mother, 90210, New Girl, and Criminal Minds.

David Alan Grier (Joe) plays the Carmichael family patriarch. Grier started out as a dramatic actor originally, even appearing on Broadway shows, but found his true calling in comedy with In Living Color. He briefly had his own sitcom in the early 2000s with DAG, and later appeared on the ABC series Life with Bonnie. More recently, he appeared in the series Bad Teacher, and has had plenty of movie roles along the way.

Loretta Devine (Cynthia) plays the role of the Carmichael family mother. She is best known for her starring role on Boston Public, and has also had regular roles on Eli Stone and The Client List. She has appeared in several other guest starring roles, including one recurring role on Grey's Anatomy.

Lil Rel Howery (Bobby) plays Jerrod's brother. He is mostly known for his stand-up comedy, but has appeared on the TruTV series Friends of the People.


Pilot Plot:

We have watched the first three episodes for review (the first two of which will air this week), and the plots of them are as follows.

"Pilot" (Airs August 26 at 9:00PM ET)

Jerrod Carmichael is living with his girlfriend, which shouldn't be a huge deal... except he has to figure out how to tell his parents about this. It's not going to be easy, but he has a few tricks up his sleeves to make it a little bit easier.

"Protest" (Airs August 26 at 9:30PM ET)

The Black Lives Matter protests have divided the family just in time for Jerrod's birthday, and things only get more divisive when Maxine and Cynthia decide to join the protests, leaving Jerrod and Joe with their own war back at home.

"Kale" (Airs September 2 at 9:00PM ET)

Jerrod decides to force his parents to eat healthy when they visit his apartment, but in the midst of it, a health scare occurs with his father. Now, he is trying to do whatever he can to see that his father takes care of his health so that nothing worse happens, even if nobody is interested in actually living a healthier lifestyle.


Analysis:

This show has one huge problem: it's called The Carmichael Show, it stars Jerrod Carmichael, and as such it is supposed to be his show. A show about him and his character. In watching the first three episodes, however, I didn't really see him as the best thing or the star of the show. The roles of his parents, played by Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier, are the ones who really shine on this series. The real laughs in the episodes that I viewed mostly came from them, along with Jerrod's brother Bobby (Lil Rel Howery) and Bobby's ex-wife Nekiesha (Tiffany Haddish), and even the promos for the series have been making them out to be the stars of the series. The stars of the series aren't so great. There aren't so many great moments of them, especially when they're at the apartment all alone. But when the other characters are around? Those scenes were pretty good.

Fortunately, I think they seem to recognize that the show functions best when the entire family is there, and as a result, they're often together. I have to wonder, though, how they will continue this if the series were to continue for another season (which seems unlikely given the level of confidence NBC is showing the series as it is). How will they be able to explain the family constantly all being together all the time? If the series does go on, I think the appropriate move would be to make it more of an All in the Family style series where Jerrod and Maxine are living with Jerrod's parents. Those characters are very critical for the continued success (if that is what the network wants, at least) of the series.

The comedy in the series reminds me a lot of what The Millers was like on CBS, at least in the first season (the second season took a quick nosedive into cancellation). There is a lot of "dysfunctional family" comedy going on, whether it comes from the family argument about politics, family disagreements over the Black Lives Matter movement, or simply healthy eating habits. It is difficult to inject a lot of humor into these topics, but the series manages to do it.

One other small side-note, it really feels weird seeing David Alan Grier playing the role of the father of two grown sons. It seems like it wasn't all that long ago that he was just a young and fresh face on In Living Color (though he was in his 30s at that time even), but now he seems to appropriately fit this role of a character who is said to be 60 years old... which is about how old he is in real life.


Conclusion:

I sort of have mixed feelings about this series. As long as it continues to focus on life of the extended family, and not the (frankly) boring scenes back at the apartment, it could be a good series. But this is an NBC summer burn-off, so honestly, I think NBC is showing a lot of uncertainty about it before it even begins. It is a much better series than NBC's other summer sitcom, Mr. Robinson (which it was initially slated to be paired with), and I sort of feel like it deserves a place in next year's mid-season lineup, provided that they make a few minor tweaks. I can't necessarily say that the series is for everybody, but I'd recommend watching it and giving it a fair chance. It has great qualities, even if the series does need a bit of work.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 9:00PM & 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • The Carmichael Show Photo Gallery


  • Preview:




    WGN America Person of Interest

    WGN America becomes the exclusive cable destination for TV's most popular procedurals, Elementary and Person of Interest, premiering Monday, August 31 and Tuesday, September 1, respectively, in the network's new "Prime Crime" line-up. Airing weekdays, back-to-back, starting at 7:00pm ET/6:00pm CT, the two hit crime dramas join fan-favorite Blue Bloods, in the new programming block that kicks off with a binge-worthy 100-episode event. Over the first two weeks, a total of 100 installments of Elementary and Person of Interest will give viewers the opportunity to watch these compelling series from the very beginning, diving into the cases and capers that have unfolded since their television debuts. WGN America acquired the exclusive off-network rights to the coveted dramas in 2014. The schedule of important dates are below:

    Monday, August 31 (7:00pm-1:00am/ET)
    Elementary debuts with six back-to-back episodes

    Tuesday, September 1 (7:00pm–1:00am/ET)
    Person of Interest debuts with three back-to-back episodes, followed by three episodes of Elementary

    Labor Day Marathon, Monday, September 7 (1:00pm–1:00am/ET)
    12-hour marathon features episodes of both Elementary and Person of Interest


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

    Wednesday, April 24

    The Conners - "Manifesting, Marriage Testing and Cheeseballs" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    The Conners relish national cheeseball day as a family. Meanwhile, Harris falls behind in her work duties at the Lunch Box, and Darlene and Ben must figure out how to spend time together despite their two separate schedules.

    Not Dead Yet - "Not the End Yet" / "Not a Ghost Yet" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Nell finds out that Duncan is selling the SoCal Independent, so she takes matters into her own hands to save her job when Lexi seems unwilling to help. Then, Nell navigates an unexpected incident that leaves the sale of the newspaper on hold.

    Animal Control - "Skunks and Swans" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    Frank and Shred take on an aggressive swan; Shred has a meet-cute with a mysterious woman; Emily makes a mistake that results in Victoria having very little time to prepare for her big exam; Patel gets his father to help Victoria cram for the test.

    Family Guy - "A Stache From the Past" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    When Peter loses the Griffins' home in a reverse mortgage, he and Mayor West travel to confront the man advertising the scheme, Tom Selleck; Stewie and Brian open a booth at the flea market, leading to a rivalry with Bruce.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 22)

    Wednesday, April 24

    • Carol Burnett (Palm Royale/Mad About You/Mama's Family) - Watch Carol on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Nicole Richie (Great News) - Nicole is a guest on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space) - Fred sits in with The 8G Band on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Lisa Ann Walter (Abbott Elementary/Emeril) and Michaela Watkins (Dinner with the Parents/Search Party/The Unicorn/Casual/Trophy Wife) - Lisa and Michaela are guests on After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
    • John Early (Search Party) - John appears on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 10:15pm on Bravo.
    • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 10:15pm on Bravo.
    • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - E! News has an interview with Tiffany at 11pm on E!.
    • Ronny Chieng (Young Rock/Ronny Chieng: International Student) - Ronny guest co-hosts Comedy Central's The Daily Show at 11pm.
    • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew will be on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
    • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry talks about Unfrosted on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am and on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
    • Mayan Lopez (Lopez vs Lopez) - Mayan talks about NBC's Lopez vs Lopez on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
    • Carrie Preston (Crowded/Happyish/Emeril) - Carrie, a fan-favorite on The Good Wife, tells Sherri about her new show Elsbeth on Sheri, so check your local listings.
    • Harry Hamlin (Movie Stars) - Harry has a cooking demo on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray

    Father Knows Best - The Complete Series Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series

    12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
    12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
    12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
    12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
    12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
    12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
    12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
    01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
    01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
    02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
    03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
    03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
    03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
    04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)

    The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

    More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    04/24 - Apple TV+ Comedy Trying Season 4; Shoresy Returns to Hulu in June
    04/23 - Bob Hearts Abishola Coming to Syndication This Fall; Off Script With The Hollywood Reporter Returns in May
    04/22 - Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head Comedy Tour Expands Into June & July, Including at NJPAC; Comedy Central Orders Golden Axe
    04/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 22, 2024)
    04/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Cancels Two Series and Picks Up New Soap Opera; Potential New Buyer Interested in Paramount
    04/19 - Nikki Glaser Gets HBO Special; Peacock and UK Channel 4's We Are Lady Parts Season 2
    04/18 - Acapulco Returns May 1; Iliza Shlesinger Heads to Prime Video
    04/17 - 31st SAG Awards Airs on Netflix Next February; Prime Video Orders Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Spinoff with Host Travis Kelce
    04/16 - ABC Renews The Rookie for Season 7; CBS Orders New Soap Opera The Gates
    04/15 - Paramount+ Announces Final Season of Animated Star Trek Comedy; Lifetime May 2024 Movies
    04/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 15, 2024)
    04/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Talk Coming to an End at CBS; CBS Renews The Neighborhood
    04/12 - Netflix Orders Tom Segura Comedy Series; Surprise! S.W.A.T. Gets Uncanceled...Again
    04/11 - Max's Velma Returns April 25; Eva Longoria Apple TV+ Series Premieres in June
    04/10 - CBS Renews NCIS and The Neighborhood; Max's Pretty Little Liars Returns May 9
    04/09 - CBS 2023-24 Season Finale Dates; Hacks Star Gets Max Comedy Special
    04/08 - Letterman's My Next Guest Returns April 30; Jack McBrayer HGTV Series Premieres May 3
    04/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 8, 2024)
    04/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Cancels Quantum Leap; Airdate Set for Final Pat Sajak Wheel of Fortune Episode
    04/05 - Hulu Spring and Summer 2024 Slate; Netflix Orders Tyler Perry Drama; Remembering Joe Flaherty
    04/04 - Apple TV+ The Big Door Prize Returns April 24; ABC Renews Will Trent for Season 3
    04/03 - Sony Pictures and Game Show Network Upfront; ABC Renews Grey's Anatomy and 9-1-1 for 2024-25
    04/02 - Adult Swim's Smiling Friends Returns May 12; Stallone Drama Returning for Season 2
    04/01 - Selena Gomez Gets New Food Network Series; Orphan Black Gets New Series
    03/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 1, 2024)
    03/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Patricia Richardson on Potential Home Improvement Reboot; Paramount+ Removes Several Nickelodeon Series
    03/29 - Hulu Launches on Disney+; Under the Bridge Premieres April 17
    03/28 - Netflix's Good Times Animated Comedy Trailer; Too Close for Comfort and Check It Out! Complete Series on DVD
    03/27 - The Upshaws Part 5 This April; Max Orders Noah Wyle Medical Drama
    03/26 - Apple TV+ Orders Star-Studded Comedy; Elizabeth Banks Joins New Peacock Series
    03/25 - Disney Channel Orders Wizards of Waverly Place Revival; Paramount+ Animated Comedy Ark: The Animated Series
    03/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 25, 2024)