During her time on Rugrats, Susie wore her brown hair in three braids with a barette at the end of each, and wore a yellow and purple dress, purple leggings, a green bracelet, and red ballet flats. She is shown to be a sweet, bright, kind, friendly, compassionate, trusting, fun-loving, athletic, competitive little girl and was one of the few African-American characters on the show. Susie was shown as the youngest of her siblings (she was shown to have two brothers, Buster and Edwin, and one sister, Alisa). Susie's dad Randy was established as writing for Dummi Bears (which is among the other babies' and parents' favorite TV shows), and her mother Lucy was revealed in The Rugrats Movie as being a doctor (she had previously had the occupations of airplane pilot and chef).
Although Angelica did not appear in their first story, Susie was soon made as a rival to Angelica, and was shown to be better than her in many things ("Susie vs. Angelica"). However, the Carmichaels' roles were significantly smaller than those of the other characters and their families, as they appeared in fewer episodes. The movies reflected this well:
- In The Rugrats Movie, Susie sang a duet with Angelica during Didi's baby shower but was not with the babies during their trip back to to the hospital to return Dil.
- In Rugrats in Paris: The Movie: Susie attended both weddings, and briefly made fun of Angelica in French, but did not go on the other characters' trip to Paris, France.
- In Rugrats Go Wild!, Susie brought her video camera with her when the other families went on their island vacation, but unlike the others, was not accompanied by her parents.
Although Susie had been voiced by Cree Summer since the character's debut, two 1993-1994 episodes had her unavailable to voice Susie, so E.G. Daily, the voice of Tommy, filled in the role for those two episodes.
Later in the show's run, there was consideration to give Susie her own spin-off, The Carmichaels, which was slated to have her move to Atlanta, Georgia. However, due to subsequent continuity issues that were raised by the green-lighting of two other spin-offs, it was eventually shelved.
In Rugrats Tales From the Crib: Snow White special, Susie stars as the titular princess.
When Susie sang at Didi's baby shower in the first movie, it was the first time that she displayed her talent for singing, a talent that would later become the most important part of her character. The Rugrats episode "And the Winner Is..." featured her singing at a talent show.
All Grown Up!
In 2003, when the spin-off All Grown Up! was put into production, a press release for the show announced that "smart, spunky Susie - still a crusader for what's right - upstages Angelica as a singer with real talent", which implied an increased role for Susie in the new spin-off. Besides her singing talent, it was revealed that she also knows ten languages, as shown in the episode "Runaround Susie".
The very first episode of the regular run, "Susie Sings the Blues", concerned Susie and her singing talent. Since then, she has appeared in a majority of the episodes (although still in less than the other characters.
Also, while Susie and Angelica still treat each other as rivals the two actually hang out with each other. Angelica has become jealous of Susie's singing. On the other token, Susie has become somewhat of a "best" friend to Angelica. Susie helps Angelica find her doll in "Saving Cynthia", and, in the same episode comforts Angelica about loosing her other things too.
There was supposed to be a third spin-off which would feature Susie and her family moving to Georgia, but due to many continuity problems with the other two spin-offs, it was canned.