This week’s episode of The Carmichael Show talks about stress and how to deal with it — a topic I know nothing about because I avoid stress and let it accumulate until I have a breakdown…

Don’t be like me.

We open with Jerrod talking about his fake moon landing conspiracy theories, which his family’s not here for. Bobby stops by wearing sunglasses at night, so Jerrod reprimands him for it (rightfully so) but then Bobby reveals that Nekeisha hit him. Joe starts to laugh because Bobby got hit by a girl (shout out to that toxic masculinity ::rolls eyes::) but Maxine and Cynthia chastise him because domestic abuse is very much a real issue for everyone.

Cynthia suggests that they beat up Bobby so that his abuse is more apparent and believable, but Jerrod stops her because that’s wild. Bobby tells them that Nekeisha hit him because he questioned her about her drinking problem and the family shifts to thinking of solutions on how to help Nekeisha.

Nekeisha pulls up to the house and gets chewed out by Cynthia (because, duh) and Nekeisha gets pissed because nobody loves a snitch.

The Carmichaels essentially sit down and prepare to roast Nekeisha when Maxine asks her what’s going on. She tells them that she hit Bobby sober and did it because he poured all her alcohol down the drain. They all turn on Bobby (because liquor is expensive bruh) and Cynthia apologizes for being so rude to Nekeisha out loud.

Bobby apologizes to Nekeisha and everybody’s fine with it except Maxine. She questions Nekeisha about how the drinking might be affecting her life. She goes into a very long (and confusing) story about her family problems (a lot of drug use and abandonment) and that she just drinks a little to deal with the issues.

Joe and Cynthia commend Nekeisha for dealing with all her problems by herself in silence and Maxine is flabbergasted by their lack of care for her life (so, the usual). She asks Jerrod for support in her outrage but he resists, saying that Nekeisha is going through a lot and sometimes people who have it rough like she does just need a drink. Maxine suggests that Nekeisha tries meditating as a means of stress, revealing that not only are their journeys different, but Maxine is coming from a place of privilege.

The next day, Maxine stops by Bobby and Nekeisha’s apartment to teach them how to meditate. Bobby gets distracted during the process and then Nekeisha’s nephew Terry wakes up ending the practice for the day. Like most children, Terry has no sense of boundaries so he goes through Maxine’s purse on a search for candy but finds her Xanax instead.

Nekeisha and Bobby are outraged by Maxine’s hypocrisy and ask her what the difference is between Maxine taking Xanax and Nekeisha’s drinking. Maxine agrees to stop taking her doctor prescribed anxiety medication (great idea) if it will help Nekeisha be more invested in meditating. That night, Maxine falls into a click hole of information about child soldiers waking Jerrod up in the process.

He pulls out a joint because Maxine is unhinged so that he can ignore her and go to sleep.

The next morning, Joe and Cynthia stop by Bobby and Nekeisha’s apartment to give her a gift as congratulations for getting a promotion.  Jerrod and Maxine stop by afterward to get her Xanax back, and then she gets shamed by Joe and Cynthia.

Offended, Maxine has a breakdown telling them that she takes Xanax because she cares too much and that the rest of them don’t care enough or they’d be taking Xanax too.

Musing  

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This was a great episode in terms of character development which is one of my favorite things. I love getting into Nekeisha’s back story more. Even though she isn’t a main character, she’s one of the only people who we see frequently on the show. I appreciate the time being taken out to subtly critique the use of interventions and whether they are a time to help people of just air your grievances. I was also delighted by the highlight of the blatant class disparity between Maxine and Nekeisha. These two come from completely different lifestyles, and the advantages of one can’t be afforded by the other. The entire thing demonstrates a blind spot with Maxine as well as the dichotomy between black women.

All that praise being said, the plot line for this episode was a little lackluster, there isn’t really a resolve at the end of it — Maxine throws a hissy fit and walks off, leaving audiences to wonder how any of these suggestions have helped Nekeisha.

Side note, I’m obsessed with the fact that Black-ish is a tv show on The Carmichael Show

“Lying about landing on the moon is so American, but actually doing the work and getting there, that kind of Japanese-ish if you think about it”

“Nekeisha’s life sounds like an episode of The Wire”

Episode Winner: Cynthia

Cynthia coming for both Nekeisha and Maxine was hilarious (if not a little classist) but I love that she acknowledged domestic abuse is a problem for men and women without emasculating Bobby. And her plot to beat him up further to show he’s been abused was hilarious and ingenious.   

“Sometimes you have to lie in order for the truth to come out”

Stephanie FrancisStephanie Francis is an aspiring journalist with a TV addiction. She has been published in a multitude of small papers including the Gloucester Times, the Salem News and the Boston Globe. You can find a collect of her published work at adventuringsomewhere.wordpress.com. And her live tweets @stephsfrancis.