As much as the African American community loves playwright, television, film and actor Tyler Perry, it goes without saying that he is widely supported and appreciated. However, the flip side of that adoration is the deafening silence of the African American community regarding Tyler Perry’s television series “House of Payne” and “Meet The Browns.”
With everything that Tyler Perry touches turning into gold, it is no wonder that he would try his hand at a television sitcom. The problem develops soon after in that the shows are not original and the story lines are sub par. “House of Payne” borrows too much from the Archie Bunker meets George Jefferson school of situation comedy. In fact, “House of Payne” is crammed pack every week with tons of buffoon / clown antics and situations that make little sense. It is hard to concieve that Tyler Perry would put something of this magnitude on the small screen that only justifies why television executives aren’t really hard-pressed at creating positive African American television shows. Why should they when number one top box office filmmaker Tyler Perry produces sitcoms that border on unintelligent and unwatchable, which continues to project a negative image of African Americans?
Spike Lee made an interesting quote that should not be shot down just because he said it:
“I am a huge basketball fan, and when I watch the games on TNT, I see these two ads for these two shows (Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne”), and I am scratching my head. We got a black president, and we going back to Mantan Moreland and Sleep ‘n’ Eat?”
It is fascinating how accurate that statement is! The scary thing about it also is that no one in the African American community with clout is standing up and saying that “House of Payne and “Meet The Browns” are mere modern day charicatures of “Amos and Andy.”
Here’s a suggestion: perhaps instead of the African American community applauding publicly and frowning privately behind closed doors about the negativity of Tyler Perry’s two sitcoms , maybe a healthy dialogue should take place to bring “House of Payne” and “Meet The Browns” up to a standard that will be in line with the historic election of an African American President.
When future generations look back at the year 2009, wouldn’t it be great to show the steady positive progression of African Americans in ALL aspects of achievement? It would be a shame to have President Barack Obama and his family on one wall and the cast of “House of Payne” on the other. What would be the lesson there? Our generation still didn’t get it?