The same day two mass shootings — one just outside of Washington D.C. at the GOP Congressional baseball team’s practice session, the other at a UPS facility in San Francisco — occurred, NBC made a slight adjustment to its evening schedule. That’s because “Shoot-Up-Able,” the fourth episode in the critically acclaimed The Carmichael Show‘s third season, featured a mass shooting. According to Entertainment Weekly, the network had not yet decided when (or if) it would reschedule the episode, which further encouraged show creator and star Jerrod Carmichael to speak out during an appearance on Chelsea.
“I thought that [the] episode would have an opportunity to talk about these tragedies in a meaningful way. You know, really lend itself to conversation,” Carmichael told host Chelsea Handler. “A lot of times when things like this happen, and someone wants to talk about it in an outlet that’s not the news, people will say, ‘Too soon!’ But when is it not too soon? Unfortunately these things happen constantly, and it’s a thing that breaks all of our hearts.”
As Uproxx‘s Alan Sepinwall noted in his review of the first five episodes (including “Shoot-Up-Able”), “[t]here’s something about the collision of loud sitcom punchlines with incredibly difficult topics that’s made Carmichael Show one of TV’s best and most unexpected comedies.” And judging by Carmichael’s description of the episode plot to Handler, it seems his series’ take on mass shootings could have offered American TV viewers a thought-provoking antidote at just the right time:
“The episode itself was about me, the character of Jerrod, surviving a mass shooting and him coming to the realization that, although he wasn’t physically harmed, he is still very much so a victim. We all are victims when something like this happens. We realize that we all suffer from fear — fear of going out, fear of enjoying your life — and we all suffer from the pain of knowing that families have lost loved ones. That’s what the episode is about.”
As for NBC’s decision to pull “Shoot-Up-Able” regardless of the episode’s finer points, Carmichael admitted he “understands a corporation making that decision.” However, this didn’t stop him from suggesting NBC was essentially saying “[they] don’t think America is smart enough to handle real dialogue, and something that reflects real family conversations, and something that feels honest and true and still respects the victims.” Doing so, he concluded, is a “disservice” to those who make the show, those who watch it, and pretty much everyone else in the country who needs to have this conversation (and others like it) right now.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)