NBC’s underrated hit, The Carmichael Show, returned tonight with 2 brand new episodes and it did not shy away from the controversial topics!
In Yes Means Yes, Maxine reads that her friend was raped, but when the family hears that this wasn’t “drag her by the hair into an alley” but rather about a lack of consent, they start to debate the definition of rape. Cynthia thinks it would be “whore-ish” for women to come out and say yes, Nekeisha thinks saying it takes some fun out of it, Bobby starts thinking that he raped his date because she didn’t give explicit consent and Maxine is just trying to get the point across that both parties should be comfortable and willing participants at every step of the way.
Among some jokes about sexual consent forms and safe words (Mike Pence) the episode does a great job of debating the topic without trivializing assault. In one exchange, Jerod likens being falsely accused of raping someone to actually being raped, stating that allegations are forever and lives will be ruined. Queen Maxine comes back with a list of people who are doing just fine after allegations, including one guy who bragged about sexually assaulting women and then dismissed it as locker room talk. That guy is the president now.
At the end, Bobby doesn’t want to be a guy who rapes someone and tries to get away with so he goes to see Nathalie. She assures him that despite never saying yes explicitly, she wanted to sleep with him. The reason she’s ashamed of last night and not returning his calls? The sex was B A D. Jerod goes home having witnessed that interaction and admits that Maxine was right all along.
This episode ha does the topic well enough and Bobby certainly grasps the importance of what Maxine was trying to convey. It would have been better though if Jerrod hadn’t simply acquiesced because it’s more humiliating to the conversation after. He could have ~listened~ to his girlfriend and given the rape victim in the episode the respect she deserves and believed her instead of defending the guy.
In Support Our Troops, Jerod refuses to thank a soldier for his service and Joe is not having it. The boys are bringing donuts to the army recruiting office, something Joe does weekly to show his appreciation, when they run into someone who used to beat up Bobby and who abandoned his pregnant girlfriend. He’s a soldier now so Joe calls him over and thanks him for his service. Bobby also forgets about all the bullying and shakes his hand, but Jerod not only doesn’t shake hands, he calls him out right there in front of everyone!
When they get home, Joe and Cynthia continue shaming Jerod while Maxine is so proud of his stand against jerky people and his questioning of the system. Joe wants the kids to love their country and not question anything, to do as the government tells you. Jerod asks if he even knows what countries The USA is at war with right now, which leads to some hilarious absurdity I’m sure we’ve all recognized while talking to our older cable news watching relatives. The kids are trying to prove that America has done some shitty things, while the parents keep talking “big picture.”
Kevin later shows up to apologize to Bobby and in an effort to prove how patriotic he is, Joe agrees to watch his dog for the next 6 months. Cynthia HATES the dog and they are having the worst time with it when Nekeisha busts in and tells them Bobby is joining the army. Turns out, he’s doing it to make his dad proud, but Joe doesn’t trust his sons life to this government, that he voted for, so he makes an impassioned speech and gets him home.
It’s only been 2 episodes and we’ve already tackled sexual assault and the military individually. The rest of the season is said to tackle gun violence, Cosby, and the n word (in an episode that will actually say the word 6 times), so you know it’s going to be amazing must-see TV at every turn.
The Carmichael Show airs Wednesdays at 9 and 9:30 on NBC.