The show centers around a fictional version of Jerrod Carmichael as he tries to build a life together with his girlfriend Maxine (Amber Stevens West), while having to deal with the antics of his parents Joe (David Alan Grier) and Cynthia (Loretta Devine), and the spectacular fights between his brother Bobby (Lil Rel Howery) and his brother's hopefully-soon-to-be-ex-wife Nekeisha (Tiffany Haddish).Lil Rel Howery as Robert "Bobby
Much of the humor comes from the Carmichaels' working-class sensibilities clashing with those of Maxine's upper-class upbringing while Jerrod is stuck in the middle trying to keep everyone from getting too nasty with varying results.
At first it seemed as if NBC was burning-off yet another short-lived comedy, but after a surprisingly strong showing for the first six episodes, the network renewed the show for a second season, and then a third. In June 2017 Jerrod Carmichael announced he was stepping down from the series, after which NBC announced its cancellation.
This program provides examples of:
- Black Comedy: The series features many jokes about racism, death, rape, poverty, abortion, and general Comedic Sociopathy, from Jerrod's apathy about serious issues to how brutally honest and tasteless his parents can be.
- But Not Too Black: Maxine is the butt of many jokes because of her biracial background.Maxine: (bringing wine to Jerrod's parents) Pinot grigio. It's white. You like white, don't you?
Joe: Not as much as your daddy.
- Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Jerrod is pretty big on evading subjects he's uncomfortable about. In the pilot he talks about the futility of voting to get Maxine off the subject of him not telling his parents they moved in together. In a later episode his young charge Jordan comes out as transgender and Jerrod segues into the origins of basketball.
- The Eponymous Show: The Carmichael show.
- I Call It "Vera": Jerrod keeps a gun named "Petey" in his sock drawer. He even treats it like a pet.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: This causes the family some problems when Joe's father dies, since he was an abusive drunk who abandoned Joe and his mother. Jerrod wants him to be honest, but he can't bring himself to badmouth his father at the funeral, so he and his mother skip out on the eulogy.
- N-Word Privileges: The rest of the family is up in arms when a white friend of Jerrod's calls him "my nigga" at a restaurant where he's hosting, and where they've taken Cynthia for her birthday. Jerrod thinks the word in general should be less of a big deal.
- The Oner: The opening follows Jerrod from his and Maxine's place, to Bobby and Nekeisha's apartment to his parents' house, but looks to be done in one take.
- Only Sane Man: The Carmichaels are prone to hysteria and Jerrod is constantly trying to talk them down.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Jerrod and Joe act rather carelessly with their guns. Accidentally sweeping people with the muzzle is the least of what they do.
- Sexiness Score: In "Ex-Con", Jerrod's friend Shawn has just gotten out of prison and needs a place to crash for a while. Maxine is a bit reluctant about it, but Jerrod vouches for him. But when Shawn first meets Maxine the first thing he does is rate her a "real 10" (as opposed to a "prison 10"), which naturally makes her worried again.
- Unwanted Spouse: Bobby and Nekeisha's divorce is derailed when it's discovered that Nekeisha would have to pay alimony. She declares that they're going to be stuck together until she can find a way to make less money than Bobby.Bobby: Good luck with that.