On last night’s The Carmichael Show, the family deals with Jerrod being caught in a mass shooting and all the feelings that follow.
The premise of the episode is unfortunately a pretty common aspect of American life, which is probably why they chose to have it happen. Jerrod returns home from the mall where he was the victim of a random shooter’s rampage. As the episode progresses, we learn that he was actually very close to one of the bullets, and if a random stranger hadn’t let him cut in line, he might have been the one hit by the bullet.
Each family member tries in their own way to make Jerrod feel better and to console him; Maxine wants to make him tea and talk about his feelings; his mom wants to bathe him and feed him junk food.
Most of the time, the show introduces a topic and has different family members argue a side of the debate. Last night was different because there aren’t really 2 (reasonable) sides to this debate. Everyone was just trying to cope while Jerrod was trying to downplay the whole thing. He even escapes to the laundry room for some piece, but there he runs into a neighbour who “survived 9/11” as in she lived in Queens on the day. This touches on the phenomenon of people trying to make tragedy about them, despite the fact that they had nothing to do with it.
At one point, Joe says it might be Jerrod’s fault for going to the mall during “ISIS happy hour” and when Maxine says that he can’t victim blame his son, Joe sarcastically lists The NRA & Republicans who block sensible gun control legislation as organizations/people to blame and Maxine is like yeah dude start exactly there.
Another reality they point to is how people of colour, and black people in particular always have to be walking on eggshells around cops, to protect themselves against institutionalized racism. Toward the end of the episode, a cop comes to the apartment to ask Jerrod some questions about what he saw and no one feels entirely safe or comfortable with him in the house. They announce their every move, keep their hands up, and film the whole encounter. While this is meant to be hyperbole for the sake of comedy, it is rooted in a deep and sad truth about the police’s treatment of black people.
Shoot-up-able brings Jerrod to a breaking point, he starts to question if anything even matters given that it can all end for no reason at any moment. He works through it though and takes “every day as a gift,” as cheesy as that sounds.