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October 17, 2007


Scott Free

Did you know I'd walk away from this singing "The Pareto Principle, Oh-oh, oh-oh" in my head?



Rich, this is excellent work. I realise you probably don't need any anonymous kudos, but I really enjoyed this piece. You have a keen ability to quickly drill right to the core of an issue and you express your views in an highly accessible way. Thank you.


Welcome to your first TP movie. They're all the same, pandering to the lowest common denominator (but hey, at least someone's making movies for them. Tyler's not so much a director as he's a preacher. Watching his movies is like going to church.


I definitely see your co-worker's point. If you're from a neighborhood that isn't particularly heterogenous, you're only experience with black people could be what you are exposed to via popular culture. If your only contact to "black culture" is I Love New York, you have to admit you'd have some pretty distorted views of reality.

You may think of everyone as individuals. I try as much as possible to do that as well. But popular culture has an agenda that is antithetical to this more humane worldview: that agenda is making money, making a product that they can sell. That agenda is repeated and disseminated and repeated again. There are ramifications to the fact that the media is controlled by a very small group of elites and than mass distributed.

It's a little scary when you think about it. And no matter how ironic and funny you are about your interpretation of the products of mass culture, you have realize that most people who view these programs aren't so critical as you. There are ramifications to these even the most ridiculous of shows.

Anyway, that's my two cents.


I'm so glad you repeatedly referred to him as "T.P." Perfect.

I recently attempted to watch "Medea's Family Reunion" on cable. Good God, it was insufferable. Characters like cardboard cut-outs. They could have worn placards around their necks "Sassy Girlfriend," "Wise Old Lady," "Cheating Playa" ... it was insulting. Everyone was model beautiful - the women stunning and perfect, the men chiseled and perfect - in their rediculous $6,000 / month aprtments and multi-million dollar mansions. It was all so pathetic and unreal.

"three couples and some change, who go on a retreat to examine their marriages and then go home to practically apply their findings" I mean ... who the fuck does that????

The Soup last week did a riff on "A Tyler Perry Production of a Tyler Perry Movie starring Tyler Perry in Tyler Perry's ..." You get the idea.

T.P. needs to be flushed


Hi Rich! Loved this post!

I agree with you... it's like people (i.e. Tyler Perry) try to make it out as though they are so original, when in reality it's the same drivel everyone's being fed. I don't know if there could be a (successful) "black" movie produced without cookie cutter characters and not have people nag, calling it anti-black (think "The Cosby Show".)

Still, I might go see the movie, as there is nothing else out...


And I think it's mildly funny that Tyler Perry's initials are TP... toilet paper!! Yes, I'm immature, shut up.


I'm a white female so I'm going to tread lightly here.....

I feel like this is the double edged sword to Flavor of Love and I Love New York. On one side you have the ghetto trash, the cheap laughs, the cringe worthy black men and women that blacks insist are what's hurting the culture and not letting them show who they really are.
On the other side you have all the Tyler Perry books/movies full of actors and actresses that I've never heard of and plot lines that try so hard to show black people as normal and just living their lives that everything feels forced and preachy. Everyone tries so hard to scream "look at us white people, we're doing the same things you are!" that again it feels like a satire of what real black people are.
The New York Times had a good article about Tyler Perry; how he tries to add a message of spirituality to his films while at the same time bragging about his multimillion dollar homes. He goes on record saying that God rewards those who are just, so he feels entitled to his wealth and what he does with all of it.
Whether this makes me sound bad or not, frankly I think Tyler Perry's stuff is in that category of "black entertainment", along with the black author Zane who's books are all about baby mama's and brothers just getting out of jail. I can't relate to any of it, and even though reading and cinema is supposed to transport us to places we've never been, I don't feel the subject matter is compelling enough to make me interested.
I'm chalking it all up to what my Puerto Rican boyfriend thinks about my obsession with Friends, ketchup, and why I can't dance: it's just a culture thing that I'll never understand.


I love that you referenced Kundera.


I agree with an earlier sentiment made on this post--TP movies are the same, even those direct-to-video movies with some of the worst music known to musicals ever.

And off-topic, and I apologize if this has been mentioned, but Amy Sedaris was on the Food Network this past week promoting I Like You on Paula's Party. Sadly I don't known when Food Network will re-air that particular episode, since Food Network does not believe in re-airing episodes of Paula's Party as much as they do, say, anything with Rachael Ray's name on it.

i need sleep

"In this negative world we're in, perhaps being able to love is an achievement. But the greatest? Better than, like, thinking outside of yourself, promoting independent thinking and actually helping society?"

I agree that the general sentiment can be cloying, and I hate sitting through movie speeches like Janet's. But I think that thinking outside yourself, independent thinking, helping society, and other similar acts are crucial components of the kinds of love that she ticks off there; what kind of love is it if its only evidence is words?

Though it might be possible to hate everyone and everything and yourself -- or to be absolutely indifferent to these things -- and still do beneficial things for others. But you probably wouldn't mean it, and dude, you've already spent a month on it and there's a whole lotta other shit you gotta take care of, because seriously, benefiting the world's just become like this total pain in the ass.


I find it rather disturbing that white folk can't relate to anything in the entertainment industry if blacks are not "cooning it up".
Any other day the comment section would be full.
If we're not the thugs, and the big loud asexual mammies on your tv and movie screen y'all just don't know how to react to it.

And for one of the other commenters to refer to an entire race of people as the "lowest common denominator" is just f*cked up,
but I expect nothing different from some of you.
And yes, someone does have to make movies for US. Why shouldn't WE have movies?

Whenever a movie or television program has an all white cast it is never termed a "white" program or movie.
A movie or program with an all black cast?
It's a black movie, and usually other races don't even give it a try unless it's an over the top stereo-typed minstrel show.
And for the record most black folks cannot stand BET.

Blacks have to integrate with white people everyday all day. We almost know you like the backs of our hands, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer...

Yeah we work with you, go to school with you.
But the only thing you seem to know about us seems to come from the media, or from the shitty black co-worker you know (we all have people we work with that we hate, and they come in all races) or a bad run in with a black person you don't know.

You don't usually draw from personal experiences you've had with blacks in personal relationships and friendships.
You probably couldn't be real friends with a black person if you tried. If we'd even have
you anyway.

That is all you know because you see it on tv. And then try to immitate the stupid shit you see. When will y'all stop saying "bling", and "you go girl" and adding "izzle" to the ending of words, and calling stuff "ghetto", and talking about your "hood".

Any other way of viewing blacks just takes you right out of your comfort zone.

And you better believe that the rest of the comment section will contain way more generalizations, and hurtful comments than what I said.


I haven't seen the movie yet. I have seen Tyler's other films and concur with the same issues you have with this movie.

The movies are cookie cutter versions of each other.

Part 1:
The problem: Abusive relationship. Cheating. Molestation...etc

Part 2:
Hitting rock bottom

Part 3:
The epiphany/finding one's self through God, Family or Friend's

Part 4:
The Resolution

Tyler is not going to stray from his formula because hey, it works. The box office receipts don't lie. He makes feel good films with a message. And I applaud a black man making money in a non-black industry. Do I feel like I need to see it? Nah, I'll catch it one night on pay per view. For me, if you've seen one, you've seen them all.

However, with the clout that he now has, it would be great to see him step out of his comfort zone and tackle a new, meatier plotline or help to finance other black filmmakers to get their feet in the door.

Instead, he will probably continue to make formula films and build bigger houses.

Fake Janice Combs

Okay Rich are you African-American or biracial? You got too much flava and your black caesar fade is too tight not to be...


I agree. Aiming at spawning "lazy, group-thinking love-zombies" is LAME. Right?


I see his name on all his stuff and wonder what Tyler Perry is like at home. I picture him with a label maker that he uses to print his name so he can stick it on everything. "Tyler Perry's toaster oven". "Tyler Perry's computer". "Tyler Perry's sock drawer".

I've never seen any of Tyler Perry's tv shows or movies (yeah, I'm a white girl). I have a close friend (black girl) who has seen all of his movies except the new one, and she loves them. When I watch one, maybe I'll think it totally sucks, but I'm not the intended audience. If people like it, that's cool. The pickings are slim for movies with an all-black cast. I couldn't care less what color of people are in a movie I'm watching, but I also have the privilege of growing up not having to notice that people of my own color aren't represented. They're usually all white. I use a wheelchair, and I get pretty excited whenever I see someone represented on the screen using one, no matter what the show is. If the person is portrayed as basically normal, I'm pleased. I think maybe there's a parallel there. Is the bar set lower for black entertainment? Maybe, but whose fault is that?

Anyway, the portrayal of black people in Tyler Perry's recent movie may not be the ideal, or even realistic. There are a lot of ignorant people who don't see individuals, they stereotype people based on their color. If there are more representations of black people who are being portrayed as successful, that can't hurt too much. I don't know if shows that feature mostly black people like "I Love New York" are harmful or not. They might be. I hope they're seen by white people in the same way that they see "Rock of Love". Not representative of a color of people at all, just a representation of a sub-group of weird people that are entertaining.


I'm not here to get into a race debate (although it may be too late for that), but bottom line: Art is art, crap is crap. Tyler Perry is crap. As many others here have said before me, his work is redundant pedantic drivel. Many cultures make beautiful films (just take a look at some of the movies to come out of Spain, Italy, or South Africa for example), and should the black filmmaking community put out something meaningful I'd love to see it. I'm sure there are works out there I just haven't heard of. Bottom line: thinking Tyler Perry sucks doesn't mean white people only want to see blacks as fools in the media, it just means that Tyler Perry sucks. And it's ok for people to like him anyway. Hell, some of the crappiest movies starring white casts are my favorites. And I'm done!


To thisblackchick:

First of all, I don't like the Tyler Perry stuff because I'm not religious and I hate how black oriented movies are primarily about spirituality and "lifting yourself up." Even watching the Salt and Pepa show the other night made me want to puke with the prayer group and the fundamentalists, if you want to know the truth. I don't believe in any of it and it just makes me angry, so I don't watch any movies that have to do with it.
Second of all, my stepfather is black, my best friend in the whole world is black, and the last three guys I dated were black; but most likely you'll think I'm "stealing your men" and that they couldn't find "real sisters" to date so they settled for me, right???


Scorzi, if you want them, by all means you can have them.
Am I supposed to feel sad because you think all black women are worried about our men not wanting us? That is a hyped stero-type as well.
If you are attractive enough that a man wants to come in you, go ahead and pat yourself on the back hon.


"...that a man wants to come in you..."


I'm talking about a movie that I don't like, but because I'm white it means that I'm racist and it's not that the movie sucks, as evidenced by other people on the board not liking said movie.
You're talking about sex that has nothing to do with the movie, and you're actually not mentioning the movie at all. Pat yourself on the back hon :-)


Okay Kids..let's calm down. I'll be happy to break the Tyler Perry phenomenon down for you.

For those of you who don't know, Tyler started out producing stage plays with his character "Madea" being the crowd draw. The only thing Tyler is guilty of is taking account of who is audience was-"African-American women." What do you when you identify your target demographic? You market like hell to them! A large percent of black women are church-going and are dramatically concerned with relationships and men. Ta-da!! Tyler's got a formula and he's sticking to it. What has happened now because of his new BFF Oprah, a larger demographic that includes white women are catching Tyler fever and going to see the movie. I agree Tyler has to step up his writing..hell, hire a new staff of writers or buy someone else's script. Hey,Rich you should write for him!
I'll end (finally) by saying this: We (black people) aren't that one-dimensional and we do have plenty of other stories to be told. A lot of us are just happy "a" story is being told. By the way Rich, you're a cutie..I'd smash!


You know that I was referring to you saying that I'm concerned about you stealing "our" men. Did I even bring that up before you did?


Unfortunately people make generalizations about others.
I wish the world was so enlightened and that people weren't lumped into groups based on ethnicity or gender etc.
I am a woman and I hate the trashy 'I Love NY'. Unfortunately a lot of people watch that show think all black people act that way and that black women all wear fake hair and are ignorant. My family would disown someone for being so stupid.
BTW, not all black women think women of another race are "stealing" any one so please don't attribute that idea to all black women either.


I'd say that she either has post traumatic stress from dating those 3 black guys, or she suffers from hysteria.
What's up with the 3 question marks at the end of your comment anyway?
You seem a bit defensive.
And why would I bother being concerned with whom black men settle for (your words not mine)?


Someone mentioned The Soup's parody of Tyler Perry last week already, but here it is in video form: http://youtube.com/watch?v=RJoleJnSHeg

I just don't get his success. At all. I don't find his work particularly enlightening or entertaining.

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