Loretta Devine adds just the right touch to NBC's new "The Carmichael Show"

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30 July 2015

NBC, Wednesdays, 9:00 PM ET, premiering August 26

By Barb Oates

From her Broadway turn in “Dreamgirls” and starring roles in fi lms like “Waiting to Exhale” and “Jumping the Broom” to TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” Loretta Devine has the thespian trifecta when it comes to a diversified resumé . The delightfully humble Devine returns to TV this week in comedian Jerrod Carmichael’s new multicam sitcom “The Carmichael Show” (beginning Wednesday on NBC). The laugh-out-loud series is a modern-day “All in the Family” of sorts that follows the Carmichael family’s zany dynamics.

Carmichael plays Jerrod, who’s hiding from his contrarian father (David Alan Grier) and Bible-obsessed mother (Devine) that his girlfriend Maxine (Amber Stevens West) now lives with him.

“Edith Bunker was a very kind woman from my memory of ‘All in the Family,’ but Jerrod also based [my character] on his own mom and own family, even down to the turtlenecks that she wanted to wear,” Devine shares. “There are Bibles everywhere in that living room, and if you really look closely at the set you’ll see … there’s at least five Bibles in the living room. … I think she’s going to be a kind lady. I think a lot of the conflict is going to come from the David Alan Grier character.”

The series marks a long-awaited reunion for Grier and Devine, who first worked together in the ’80s on Broadway’s “Dreamgirls.”

“We’ve known each other for forever,” Devine says. “This is such a treat — to have been in the business this long and finally getting a chance to work together again, it’s just a joy.”

Jerrod’s parents definitely have some old-fashioned views that don’t quite go with the new generation of thinking, and that’s where much of the social edginess of the show comes into play.

“His jokes are like right on the edge,” Devine adds. “He really attacks a lot of the current stuff that’s going on and how people feel about different issues … what people are currently talking about in their houses. … It’s going to cause a lot of conversation. What do you feel about this? And then you’ll be able to really talk about it. Is it family? Is it friends? A while at the water cooler?”
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