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Wednesday on TV: ‘Carmichael Show’s’ jokes about rape are uncomfortable, but sitcom makes some excellent points

First Published      Last Updated May 31 2017 12:16 pm

A few months ago, I attended a read-through for tonight's season premiere of "The Carmichael Show" (8 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5), and it made me wildly uncomfortable.

The subject for this deliberately provocative episode is what constitutes rape. And some of the excuses for why men might have sex with a woman without her consent, which were getting laughs in the room, sounded an awful lot like what my Salt Lake Tribune colleague Alex Stuckey had told me about the rape charges leveled against former Utah State football player Torrey Green — a story that was part of the Trib's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage.

At one point during the "Carmichael Show" read-through, I blurted out, "That's not funny." Only later did I realize some of the writers were sitting in front of me.

What we heard that day was toned down somewhat. And, while it's kind of weird and uncomfortable to laugh at what amounts to a joke about rape, "The Carmichael Show" does make some excellent points — that not only does no mean no, but young men should be taught that they should hear yes before they have sex.

Elsewhere on TV …

• Stanley Cup Final (6 p.m., NBCSN): Game 2 — Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins

• MLS (6:30 p.m., KMYU): Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo

• "Little Big Shots" (7 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): An 8-year-old newscaster; a 7-year-old stand-up comedian; a boy band from Mexico.

• "NOVA" (8 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7): A report on the water crisis in Flint, Mich.

• "MasterChef" (7 p.m., Ch. 13): America's best home cooks compete in a challenget to earn a place in the top 20. (Season preiere)

• "The F Word with Gordon Ramsay" (8 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): Teams of families and friends compete to impress Ramsay, celebrities and other dinner guests. (Premiere)

• "Food — Delicious Science" (9 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7): The hidden chemistry in food keeps bodies fit and healthy.

• "This Is Us" (9 p.m., NBC/Ch. 5): If you missed this really fine series, NBC repeats the pilot tonight.

• "Brother vs. Brother" (10 p.m., HGTV): Jonathan and Drew compete to remodel Gulf Coast properties.

• "Fargo" (11 p.m., FX): Gloria tries to work around the system; Varga comes up with an alternative plan.

• "Gomorrah" (11 p.m., Sundance): Raffaele returns after seven years in prison.

• "Nobodies" (11 p.m., TV Land): Larry Rachel and Hugh perform improv at the Groundlings Theatre.

• "Lopez" (11:30 p.m., TV Land): George's co-star jeopardizes his TV show.